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D23 In 2011

Now that the new year has arrived, we can start looking forward to a new slate of events and activities from D23. We already knew that 2011 would mark the return of the D23 Expo after last year’s absence, and that a Destination D event would be held in Orlando this spring for those of us who desperately hope for some corporate recognition of Walt Disney World’s 40th anniversary.

Thankfully the “word on the street” is that some of the folks who share our love of the eastern Disney resort are toiling to ensure that the event actually brings the love for the oft-overlooked history of Walt Disney World. We can only hope that the events and perspectives presented are more diverse than last fall’s Destination D in Anaheim. Walt Disney World has its own unique history and it would nice to see it get the attention it deserves.

The D23 slate for 2011, as it stands now:

January 29

Preview screening of Jake and the Never Land Pirates featuring David Arquette

D23 is partnering with Disney Junior – Disney Channel’s new broadcast initiative designed for kids ages 2 through 7 – inviting D23 Members to bring their young swashbucklers for an advance screening of two episodes of Jake and the Never Land Pirates, a new animated series coming to television this February.

David Arquette is the voice of Skully, the parrot who keeps an eye out for Jake and his crew of kid pirates as they navigate the familiar waters of Never Land while dodging the devious Captain Hook and Mr. Smee.

Following the screening of the two 11-minute episodes, Arquette will sit down for a Q&A with D23’s Disney Geek, Jeffrey Epstein, and will also take questions from the audience. Afterwards, the villainous Captain Hook will be available for photos and autographs in front of the Studio Theatre.

May 12-13

D23’s Great Disney Scavenger Hunt: Walt Disney World

In spring 2011, for the first time in the 40-year history of Walt Disney World, guests will have the chance to scour all four Florida theme parks to win incredible prizes in this official Disney scavenger hunt. Each team will consist of 2-4 participants, and additional rules and registration information will be available soon at the D23 Web site.

May 14-15

Destination D: Walt Disney World 40th

Following the rave reviews of Destination D: Disneyland ’55, this event will celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Orlando resort, commemorating its history and heritage. Panels will include all-new presentations that build upon the successful panels at the Anaheim event, including:

  • Walt Disney World: The Way We Were,” hosted by Disney Legend Dave Smith
  • “Weird Disney World” with Walt Disney Archives Director Becky Cline
  • “Walt Disney World Through the Eye of Television”
  • A special evening event featuring musical memories from throughout the history of Walt Disney World

Other panels, featured speakers and details will be announced soon on the D23 Web site.

August 19-21

D23 Expo 2011 in Anaheim, California

Affectionately dubbed “The Ultimate Fan Event” by Disney enthusiasts [Actually, by Disney marketing - Ed.], the D23 Expo brings the entire world of Disney under one roof, providing attendees with unprecedented access to Disney films, television and theme parks as never before. An event that only occurs every other year, this is the first D23 Expo since the premiere event in 2009.

Highlights of D23 Expo 2011’s weekend activities will include:

  • 2011 Disney Legends. Paying tribute to the talented men and women who have made indelible contributions to Disney entertainment
  • Treasures of the Walt Disney Archives. Featuring dozen of props, artifacts and costumes, accessible to the public for the first time in Disney’s history
  • Collector’s Forum. Where attendees can buy, sell and trade precious memorabilia and merchandise
  • Fan Art Contest. Themed to 101 Dalmatians in honor of the 50th anniversary of the animated classic
  • The Ultimate Disney Trivia Tournament will allow participants to demonstrate their Disney knowledge as they compete for outstanding prizes
  • Many more one-of-a-kind D23 Expo panels, presentations and experiences which will be announced in the coming months.

October 14-15

Sip & Stroll at Epcot in Orlando

As part of the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, D23 is once again hosting their annual Sip & Stroll event exclusive to D23 Members. More details will be announced in 2011.

December 17-18

Magic and Merriment at Walt Disney World in Orlando

D23 brings back its annual holiday tradition celebrating the spirit of the season, exclusive for D23 Members. More details will be announced in 2011.

In addition to the weekend events, D23 is continuing its tradition of 50 and Fabulous screenings at the company’s Burbank lot. Taking place in the Disney Studio’s recently refurbished 400-seat Studio Theatre, the screenings celebrate various beloved Disney films that are observing their golden anniversaries this year. The screenings are “free” – except for the $5 “processing” fee – and are good for D23 members and one guest.

January 22

101 Dalmatians

March 12

The Absent-Minded Professor

June 18

The Parent Trap

November 19

Babes in Toyland

D23 is continuing to offer tours of the Walt Disney Studios and the Walt Disney Archives; the two-and-a-half hour tours are available on a limited basis and will be held on the following dates:

February 5

April 30

July 23

November 5

D23 has also announced an expanded slate of member discounts for 2011; they’ve added a page to their website that will allow them to regularly update the list of benefits.

So that’s the schedule so far. Combine it with the incredible TCM event in April, which is D23 affiliated, and any number of unofficial events, and it’s going to be a busy year. Now let’s see if I can afford to go to any of them…

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