It all starts one week from today.
Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc.
All rights reserved
A solid two years of planning has gone into the 2011 edition
of the D23 Expo. We're talking about months of meetings with the various
divisions of The Walt Disney Company.
Hundreds of hours spent putting together various panels and
presentations. Thousands of e-mails being sent and phone calls being made just
to make sure that all of the surprise and announced celebrities and Disney
Legends will actually be on hand at the Anaheim Convention Center next week.
So you'd think - what with all of the last-minute
preparations that must be involved with pulling off an event of this size -
that Steven Clark would be stressed at this point. But when I spoke on the
phone with the Head of D23 last week, Clark sounded surprisingly calm.
But that may because Steven has actually already seen some
of the truly cool exhibits that will be on display at this three-day-long fan
event. Take - for example - Frank Thomas' old office from the Animation
Frank Thomas animates a scene from
"Robin Hood." Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved
"I just walked through the mock-up of this exhibit last week.
Ted Thomas - Frank's son - let us borrow a lot of material, as did Disney
Legend Tony Anselmo. We'll have Frank's Firehouse-Five-Plus-Two helmet in
there. Plus some of the pencils he drew with and the mirror that Frank would
use whenever he was studying which expression his characters should make,"
Steven explained. "That combined with the artwork that we're getting from
Disney's Animation Research Library will make it seem as though Frank has just
stepped away from his desk. That you're looking in a real working office in the
old Animation building back when many of the Studio's animated classics were
Mind you, it's not just the Walt Disney Company's past
that's going to be celebrated at the D23 Expo. Take - for example - the costumes
from such present-day hits as ABC's LOST
and Walt Disney Pictures' Pirates of the Caribbean movies. Which are going
to be on display in an elaborately themed Treasures of the Walt Disney Archives
exhibit at this year's event.
"As popular as the Treasures exhibit was with attendees at
our 2009 event, we thought that we could make it even better and this time
around," Steven said. "Really take advantage of Becky (Cline,
Director of the Walt Disney Archives)'s background in theater. Which is why the
LOST and Pirates costumes & props will be displayed in an island/beach-theme
area. Whereas the costumes & props from TRON will be showcased in a special
blacklight environment, which will make them appear to glow in the dark."
Which brings us to one of the main themes of the 2011
edition of the D23 Expo: upping the ante. Taking everything that Disney fans
enjoyed about the first Expo and then plussing that experience.
"Take - for example - what we're doing with all of the fan
art that D23 members created for our One Hundred and One Dalmatians
contest," Steven continued. "These folks did such a nice job with all
of their entries that we didn't just to display their artwork in a basic art
gallery environment, so we recreated Cruella de Vil's office from Disney's 1996
live-action version of 101 Dalmatians. And now all of our favorite entries are
going to be showcased in this spectacular all-black-and-white display area."
But when I asked Steven about what he thought his very favorite
part of the 2011 edition of the D23 Expo was going to be, he talked about the
more-forward-looking panels and presentations that are scheduled for this
Cruella de Vil's office from
Disney's 1996 live-action remake of "101 Dalmatians." Copyright Disney
Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved
"The people who belong to D23 are obviously among the
Company's most passionate and dedicated fans," Steven observed.
"Which is why I'm always excited when we then get to show these people
concept art for a theme park attraction that's never been seen in public before
or show them test footage from an animated feature that's still in production. And
when I think about some of the stuff that we're going to spring on event
attendees this time around, D23 Members are going to be really, really happy."
Of course, recognizing that not every D23 Member is a theme
park or animation enthusiast, Steven and his team have really made an effort to
have this year's edition of the Expo touch on all aspects of The Walt Disney
Company. So if you're a Disney Channel fan, you can meet the stars of that
cable channel's latest hit, Shake It Up. Or if you're a Marvel maniac, Marvel
Studios president Kevin Feige will be on
hand to give you an extended sneak peek of next summer's sure-to-be
blockbuster, The Avengers.
In short, this year's D23 Expo is looking to celebrate the
past, present and future of The Walt Disney Company. And while I wished that
Steven had more time to talk on the phone with me about what was going to
happen at next week's event, at present the Head of the Official Disney Fan
Club was pressed for time.
"I just approved the show guide today. So that's headed off
to the printer. Likewise the catalog for our Treasures of the Walt Disney
Archives display," Steven concluded. "So it's a busy but exciting time right
now. And I hope that D23 Members enjoy the fruits of our labors when the Expo
officially gets underway on August 19."Your thoughts?
Thanks Jim for bringing this discussion with Steven to us. I had a tough time believing Disney would be able to top their first D23 Expo since they shrunk it down to 3 dayss But it seems like they are going to have even more displays and museum like artifacts to view which I think is really awesome!