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D23 Expo Revisited – Celebrities, Legends, Long Lines, and Magical Memories

D23 Expo Revisited - Celebrities, Legends, Long Lines, and Magical Memories

The 2013 D23 Expo was last weekend, and it truly a a magical event for all Disney fans who attended!  This was my first D23 Expo and I enjoyed every minute of it: I met Disney Legends, new friends, and learned what being a true Disney Fan was all about!

D23 Expo Revisited - Celebrities, Legends, Long Lines, and Magical Memories

Once we got into the convention center, the first day’s main event was the Animation Session hosted by John Lasseter, Chief Creative Officer for Pixar and Walt Disney Studios as well as Principal Creative Advisor for Walt Disney Imagineering.  We were given glimpses into the next several movies in the pipeline for Pixar, Walt Disney Animation, and Disneytoons Studios.

D23 Expo Revisited - Celebrities, Legends, Long Lines, and Magical Memories
We were even treated to guest appearances from voice actors Dane Cook from Planes, Bill Hader from Monsters University, and Josh Gad and Kristen Bell from Frozen, the much anticipated new animated feature from Walt Disney Studios.  We even got a special appearance from John Ratzenberger!

D23 Expo Revisited - Celebrities, Legends, Long Lines, and Magical Memories

Bill Hader from Monsters University and Pixar Veteran, John Ratzenberger

At the end of the session Broadway great Idina Menzel sang “Let It Go” from Disney’s Frozen and brought the house down!

After the main session, which ran five hours, we were all hungry and headed outside to the row of food trucks that D23 had brought in. I enjoyed a meatball sandwich that was incredible.

After lunch, it was time for walking around the Collector’s Gallery, where Disneyana collectors from all over the world were gathered to buy, sell, and trade Disney collectibles from vinylmations to animation cells from classic Disney features.

Pat Carrol, the voice of Ursula from Disney’s Little Mermaid, Imagianeer and Disney Legend Bob Gurr were also there signing autographs and taking pictures, it was incredible.  There were also some amazing collector’s items that were available for sale.

D23 Expo Revisited - Celebrities, Legends, Long Lines, and Magical Memories

Disney Legend Bob Gurr

The next day was filled with smaller sessions in the morning until it was time for the Walt Disney Studios Live Action Feature Movies panel.  We were treated to previews from Marvel’s Thor: Dark World, Guardians of the Galaxy, and even Captain America.

D23 Expo Revisited - Celebrities, Legends, Long Lines, and Magical Memories

Angelina Jolie for Maleficent at D23

The highlight of the day was the presentation for Disney’s Saving Mr. Banks, the story of Wait Disney and P.L. Travers, author of Mary Poppins.  It was a great preview and concluded with an appearance from Jason Schwartzman and B.J. Novak who portrayed the Sherman Brothers in the movie.  Schwartzman and Novak were accompanied by Richard Sherman, one half of the legendary Sherman Brothers songwriting team.  They sang “Let’s Go Fly A Kite” from Mary Poppins as they were surrounded by kite flying dancers.

D23 Expo Revisited - Celebrities, Legends, Long Lines, and Magical Memories

Disney Legend Richard Sherman, B.J. Novak and Jason Schwartzman

On the final day, we were able to sit in a session with Disney Legends, Bob Gurr, Marty Sklar, Alice Davis, and X Atencio called Working with Walt.  These are some of the very Imagineers who actually worked with Walt Disney.  It was an incredible experience to listen to their stories and learn more about some of the great Disney movies and the creation of Disneyland.

D23 Expo Revisited - Celebrities, Legends, Long Lines, and Magical Memories

The rest of the morning and afternoon was spent walking around the vendor booths and some of the incredible Disney Consumer Products.  We got to experience some of the upcoming Disney products before they were released.  We even got some signed lithographs from Disney Consumer Product Artists!

D23 Expo Revisited - Celebrities, Legends, Long Lines, and Magical Memories

 One thing we learned was to divide and conquer.  One of us would wait in line for whatever main event we wanted to see, while the rest of us were able to walk around or sit in on other smaller sessions.  If you attend the next D23 event, don’t forget to bring tons of patience, the lines are super long, but it does give you the opportunity to make new friends and read all those emails you have been meaning to get to!

D23 Expo Revisited - Celebrities, Legends, Long Lines, and Magical Memories

D23 was an incredible event.  We are already looking to the next one in 2015.  We discovered that we were not alone in our love and passion for Walt Disney and all of his wonderful creations.

Sail Away to a Magical Winter Holiday with Disney Cruise Line

This holiday season, give a gift that’s both nautical and nice: a cruise on the Disney Magic, Disney Wonder, Disney Dream or Disney Fantasy, all decked to the “raft-ers” with holiday cheer.

From Thanksgiving through the new year, Disney Cruise Line adds sparkle to each ship, with traditional “turkey day” fanfare, Christmas feasts, “snow flurries” and New Year’s Eve galas. But the best part might just be relaxing on deck instead of shoveling snow.

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Disney Cruise Line kicks off the holiday cheer with special Thanksgiving voyages setting sail Nov. 17 with a seven-night Western Caribbean cruise on the Disney Magic, Nov. 18 with a seven-night Mexican Riviera cruise on the Disney Wonder, Nov. 21 with a four-night Bahamian cruise on the Disney Dream and Nov. 17 with a seven-night Eastern Caribbean cruise on the Disney Fantasy. Guests will enjoy a bountiful Thanksgiving Day feast, with Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse and friends dressed in traditional Thanksgiving attire.

Special stem-to-stern holiday events begin in December during each of the cruises and include:

  • “King Triton’s Tree Lighting” in the atrium lobby on the first night of the cruise, where a young guest helps Disney characters light the glittering, three-deck-tall tree.
  • Family holiday crafts such as decorating stockings, building gingerbread houses, making holiday cards and creating holiday animation cells.
  • Holiday storytellers sharing tales of Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa. Plus, a story just for Disney Cruise Line guests about the magical feeling of the holidays on a ship.
  • Traditional holiday feasts in the Disney Cruise Line themed dining rooms.
  • “Til We Meet Again” (Disney Magic/Disney Wonder) features a special holiday edition of Disney Cruise Line’s cheerful farewell on the final night of each cruise with beloved Disney characters and the ship’s crew in an engaging musical finale led by Mickey Mouse.

When the Disney Fantasy, Disney Dream and Disney Wonder stop at Disney’s private island in the Bahamas, Castaway Cay, during the holidays, the celebration continues with “snow flurries,” decked-out Christmas trees, Disney character meet-and-greets, holiday carolers, and holiday-themed activities and crafts for children.

Onboard activities include holiday crafts for youngsters and the big NFL football games broadcast live on the ships’ outdoor, jumbo LED screen – Funnel Vision – located near the Goofy’s family pool on deck 9 of the Disney Magic and Disney Wonder and near Donald’s family pool on deck 11 of the Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy.

On Christmas morning at the atrium lobby tree, Santa Claus and his elves will have surprises for all the kids, along with cookies and milk. Christmas services will be held on Christmas Day with a midnight mass on Christmas Eve. Hanukkah services will be held each day, Dec. 8-16.

For an extra sprinkle of holiday joy, mini Christmas trees decorated with ornaments, white mums, red berries, mini carnations and a bow topper, in addition to special holiday-themed gift packages and treat baskets, are available for purchase prior to the voyages for stateroom delivery. Plus, during the holiday cruises, Disney Cruise Line’s first-ever holiday merchandise collection, along with the ever-popular Disney Cruise Line ornaments, will be available onboard in the gift shops.

The Disney Magic sails an eight-night Western Caribbean holiday cruise departing Dec. 21 from Galveston, Texas, with visits to Cozumel, Key West and Costa Maya. The Disney Wonder offers a seven-night holiday cruise departing Dec. 23 from Miami, with a Caribbean itinerary calling at St. Maarten, St. Thomas and Castaway Cay. The Disney Dream sails a five-night holiday cruise on Dec. 23 to Castaway Cay and Nassau, Bahamas. The Disney Fantasy offers a seven-night Western Caribbean holiday cruise to Grand Cayman, Costa Maya, Cozumel and Castaway Cay.

To celebrate the new year, the Disney Magic departs on Dec. 29 for a six-night Western Caribbean itinerary with stops at Key West, Costa Maya and Cozumel; the Disney Wonder departs Dec. 30 for a six-night Caribbean cruise calling on Key West, Grand Cayman and Cozumel. The Disney Dream sails a five-night Bahamian cruise that departs on Dec. 28 and features two stops at Castaway Cay and one day at Nassau; the Disney Fantasy sails a seven-night Eastern Caribbean cruise that departs on Dec. 29 with stops at St. Thomas, San Juan and Castaway Cay. These voyages include a special New Year’s Eve party to ring in 2012, complete with music, sparkling wine in commemorative flutes and a midnight countdown.

Christmas by the Numbers on the Disney Dream
Garland, wreaths, twinkling lights and glitter transform Disney Cruise Line ships into a winter wonderland during the holidays. On the Disney Dream alone more than 300 custom designed décor pieces adorn the ship, including:

  • 1,016 feet of garland, which is more than three football fields and nearly enough to stretch the entire length of the ship
  • 66 holiday sprays ranging from 15 inches to six feet
  • 29 wreaths ranging from 24 inches to five feet in diameter
  • 41 Christmas trees ranging from two feet to 20 feet
  • One 20-foot-tall tree takes center stage in the atrium lobby weighing more than one ton and featuring 300 branches and more than 20,000 white LED lights
  • Unique holiday décor is created for specific locations around the ship. Themes include bright colors in the kids’ clubs, holographic foliage for the teen and tween spaces, and elegant accents for the adult areas. Customized ornaments include a paint brush and palette in Animator’s Palate, Mr. Potato Head in Oceaneer Club and colorful tropical fish in Cabanas.

To learn more about Disney Cruise Line or to book a vacation, click here.

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