Be Our Guest: Kim’s Adventures at the D23 Expo

Estelle is super excited to have Kim guest posting today! She’s been a reader of Kim’s blog since she first found her on Weddingbee.com — Estelle’s wedding blog go-to! After exchanging homemade Valentine’s Day cards one year, they started tweeting and found out they shared a love of Disney! Thanks to Kim for taking the time to write this!

Just to put this out there… I’m a huge Disney fan, just as you probably are! I also happen to be a former annual passholder and Disneyland cast member, which probably amplifies the madness even more.  After attending the very first D23 expo back in September, 2009, I knew there was no way that I could miss out on attending the next one. So this past weekend, I made the trek down to Anaheim with my husband, 17-month old daughter, and my parents and boy, did we have some fun!

The D23 Expo was held at the Anaheim Convention Center, which is actually located across the street from the south side of Disney property. Each morning, the lines to get inside would stretch back and forth along the building… one for card-carrying D23 members who could enter starting at 9am, and another for members of the general public who just bought tickets without joining the club.

Needless to say, the lines are the necessary evil of the weekend. They are everywhere … for the stores to buy exclusive merchandise, for the panels, for the arena events, and even for spontaneous giveaways around the floor. But if you love Disney, you are usually someone who can tolerate a line for enjoyment at the end… and that’s how the weekend goes!

Inside the convention center, there were all sorts of pavilions and exhibits to visit…

Like the Disney Living pavilion, where all of the lifestyle brands came together in one area. You found The Disney Store shopping area right next to the latest artwork from galleries around the country, as well as areas to get glammed up with Disney makeup products or to purchase and play with the latest Disney legos!

2011 - August - Disneyland

2011 - August - Disneyland

As part of Nordstrom’s “It’s a Small World” display, they had actual costumes from the original World’s Fair dolls on display!

2011 - August - Disneyland

And there were even some promo materials from the upcoming movies hanging around…

2011 - August - Disneyland

And the rest of the convention floor was filled with Disney memorabilia as well!

Like this fun relic from a certain TV show…

2011 - August - Disneyland

… and a large display of costumes and props from the latest Pirates of the Carribean movie!

2011 - August - Disneyland

Upstairs, there was a long queue and an exclusive “check all of your cameras at the door” museum exhibit of items from the Walt Disney archives (you can see some of the items here). The line never died down all weekend, which just goes to show you what kind of dedicated fans were around the convention center at all times!

And I don’t want to go into all of the exclusive merchandise that was available over the weekend from every vendor imaginable, but suffice it to say that the list was exhaustive and you’ll have fun raking over all of the available wares on eBay.

The Disney Channel pulled out all the stops by setting up a large stage and parking “Perry the Platybus” nearby to the delight of all the young kids in attendance.

My daughter was no exception to the rule… as this was by far her favorite spot on the entire convention floor.

2011 - August - Disneyland

2011 - August - Disneyland

2011 - August - Disneyland

Each day, the Disney Channel had a new lineup of stars available for autographs and photo-ops from almost every current show. My daughter loved her chance to meet “Special Agent Oso” …

2011 - August - Disneyland - Meeting Special Agent Oso (aka. Sean Astin)

My favorite spot on the convention floor, however, was still the Parks and Resorts Pavilionwhich housed the secrets behind the doors of the Imagineers in Burbank.


Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved

This time around, the exhibit featured both the ride vehicles and accessory items from the upcoming Cars Land in Disney’s California Adventure…

2011 - August - Disneyland
2011 - August - Disneyland
2011 - August - Disneyland

2011 - August - Disneyland

2011 - August - Disneyland

2011 - August - Disneyland
A full scale model of the New NEW Fantasyland debuting in Walt Disney World…

2011 - August - Disneyland
And props/models and a sample virtual porthole from the newest Disney cruiselines!
2011 - August - Disneyland
2011 - August - Disneyland
And that’s just the convention floor!

The rest of the weekend was spent in presentations and panels (many of which had banned cameras) about everything from the future of the parks, to concept art from Pixar’s latest movie Brave, to the celebrity-filled 2.5 hour presentation by Walt Disney Studios on every movie coming out in the near future! Basically, there’s no time to fit in a visit to the parks across the street, unless you choose to miss out on something else… so you pick your battles and hope you chose wisely!

Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved

In short… if you’re a Disney fan/geek/whatever, then you’ll get your fill of fun attending the D23 Expo in the future! Trust me, despite the craziness, I already know I’m going again…

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