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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.

Meet John Lasseter, Celebrity Chef Cat Cora at Epcot International Food & Wine Fest Dinners

Pixar fans will love the opportunity to meet John Lasseter – yes, he’s an animation genius, but he also makes delicious California wines (with beautiful labels, too). You can meet John and his wife Nancy for lunch at 12:30 p.m. October 19 at Citricos, where Chef Philip Ponticelli will pair Lasseter wines with seasonal cuisine. Cost is $130.

Cat Cora fans will be happy to hear that two wine dinners have been added to the line-up for this year’s Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, with Chef Cat on hand to greet diners at 8 p.m. October 2 and October 4. Cost is $170 for a five-course dinner with wine pairings in the restaurant’s cozy CoraNation Room.

Celebrity Chef Cat Cora

And three very famous dads are teaming up for what promises to be one of the coolest Food & Wine Fest dinners this year – Michael Voltaggio has been added to the line-up, joining his brother Bryan and Andrew Zimmern on stage for the family-friendly Magic of Healthy Living Dinner at 6:30 p.m. October 19 at Epcot World Showplace. Brothers Bryan and Michael shot to the front of the celebrity chef pack in 2009 on Bravo’s “Top Chef,” and Andrew is best known for his show “Bizarre Foods” on the Travel Channel, so diners are guaranteed entertainment with their memorable four-course dinner. Cost is $110 and includes tip and non-alcoholic beverages. (Park admission required).

Disney Parks Blog Exclusive: Pixar Presenters on California Coastal Disney Cruises

You’ve probably heard by now that guests aboard Disney Cruise Line’s special Pixar-inspired California Coast cruises will get to enjoy behind-the-scenes presentations from Pixar Animation Studios filmmakers.

John Lasseter, Chief Creative Officer, Walt Disney Animation and Pixar Animation Studios; Principal Creative Advisor, Walt Disney Imagineering

Excitement has been brewing and fan sites are abuzz about this added bonus to an already spectacular voyage. And today, Disney Parks Blog fans, you’ll be the first to find out which brilliant and creative minds from Pixar will be presenting on these cruises. Drum roll, please…

September 16

John LasseterChief Creative Officer, Walt Disney Animation and Pixar Animation Studios; Principal Creative Advisor, Walt Disney Imagineering

Jay WardCARS Franchise Guardian, Pixar Animation Studios – Ward contributes his enthusiasm for cars and his artistic passions to the creation of anything and everything within the “Cars” Franchise, including the production of “Cars” as character team manager and consultant to the film’s director and co-director, John Lasseter and Joe Ranft.

September 23

Roger GouldCreative Director, Theme Parks, Pixar Animation Studios – Gould collaborates with Walt Disney Imagineering in the creation of theme park attractions and lands inspired by Pixar’s films, most recently the creation and opening of Cars Land at Disney California Adventure park.

Tia KratterShading Art Director, Pixar Animation Studios – Kratter served as the shading art director on “Brave,” “A Bug’s Life,” “Monsters, Inc.” and “Cars,” where she was responsible for specifying the color and texture of every object modeled for a film.

September 30

Harley JessupProduction Designer, Pixar Animation Studios – Jessup leads teams of artists who create and design the sets and characters for films, including “Monster’s Inc.,” and “Ratatouille.” He recently finished working as production designer for “Cars 2.”

Jeremy LaskyDirector of Photography/ Camera, Pixar Animation Studios – Lasky served as director of photography/camera on “Cars,” “Finding Nemo,” “WALL•E” and “Toy Story 3.” His most recent project was as director of photography/camera on “Cars 2.”

October 7

Rob GibbsDirector, Pixar Animation Studios – Gibbs has contributed his story talents to a number of Disney•Pixar films, including “Finding Nemo,” “WALL•E,” “Up” and “Cars.” He has also directed and co-directed several of the studio’s “Cars Toons.”

Sharon CalahanDirector of Photography/Lighting, Pixar Animation Studios – Calahan served as director of photography/lighting on “A Bug’s Life,” “Toy Story 2,” “Finding Nemo,” “Ratatouille” and “Cars 2.” She previously served as lighting supervisor on the studio’s first feature film, “Toy Story.”

The schedule and presenters are subject to change, but from this list, it’s clear these sailings are going to be jam-packed with fun, creativity and imagination!

Lastly, in case you missed it, earlier this week John Lasseter gave Disney Cruise Line Facebook fans a special video message about these cruises. Check it out…

 

Enjoy the Lasseter Family Winery Port Adventure on Disney California Coastal Cruises

Excitement has been brewing since Disney Cruise Line announced Pixar-inspired California Coastal cruises sailing this fall. Aboard the Disney Wonder, Pixar characters like Woody, Jessie and Buzz Lightyear will visit with guests, and artists and filmmakers from Pixar Animation Studios will make special presentations, including sneak peeks of future Pixar films.

What’s more, special Port Adventures will allow you to see the best of California, and as a wine lover, one I am particularly excited about is the excursion out of San Francisco to the Lasseter Family Winery in Sonoma Valley.

 Lasseter Family Winery in Sonoma Valley

Guests will explore the family’s private vineyard, owned by Nancy and John Lasseter (Chief Creative Officer of Walt Disney Animation and Pixar Animation Studios), and sample some of the unique red wine blends offered under the Lasseter label. With Nancy as your host, you will be granted exclusive behind-the-scenes access to the heart of the winery and into the vineyards to taste different grape varietals right from the vines.

Lake Serendipity, a rarely-seen jewel of the estate

After tasting five Lasseter Family wines you will have leisure time at the beautiful Lake Serendipity, a rarely-seen jewel of the estate.

 

Blue Sky Cellar: Imagineering Cars Land at Disney California Adventure Park

Here’s a video that has been featured recently in the preview center that has displayed the concepts from Walt Disney Imagineering throughout the expansion of the park.
It’s a beautiful feature on the creative process behind the design and construction of Cars Land, in which you hear from Imagineers themselves on the inspiration, emotion and rewards of building such an immersive experience for guests. Grab a tissue!

 

You Could Win a Cadillac In Disney’s Cars 2 “Agents on a Mission” Sweepstakes

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state farm agents on a mission cars sweepstakePresented by State Farm, the “Agents on a Mission” tour hit the road with Disney•Pixar’s “Cars 2” when four-time Piston Cup champion Lightning McQueen and best friend Mater joined master British spy Finn McMissile on a 30-city tour that kicked off at the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minn., on March 22. The star cars are racing off the big screen and into a host of cities—life-size remote-controlled models will light up and rev for fans in Detroit, Toronto, Phoenix, Philadelphia, New York, Boston, Washington, DC, and Miami, among others. The tour heats up at the film’s Los Angeles red-carpet premiere on June 18, just in time for the “Cars 2” theatrical opening on June 24.

“The ‘Agents on a Mission’ tour lets fans get face to face with ‘Cars’ favorites Lightning McQueen and Mater, plus the very cool, very savvy spy Finn McMissile, a new character on ‘Cars 2’ roster,” says MT Carney, president of marketing for The Walt Disney Studios. “This movie is filled with fun, action, heart and a lot of laughs—we want to get everyone geared up for ‘Cars 2.’”

agents on a mission sweepstakesStar racecar Lightning McQueen (voice of Owen Wilson) and the incomparable tow truck Mater (voice of Larry the Cable Guy) take their friendship to exciting new places in Disney•Pixar’s “Cars 2” when they head overseas to compete in the first-ever World Grand Prix. But the road to the championship is filled with surprises when Mater gets caught up in an intriguing adventure of his own: international espionage. Mater finds himself torn between assisting Lightning McQueen in the high-profile race and towing the line in a top-secret mission orchestrated by master British super spy Finn McMissile (voice of Michael Caine). Directed by John Lasseter and produced by Denise Ream, the fast-paced fun includes a colorful new all-car cast, complete with menacing villains and international racing competitors.

State Farm brings Disney•Pixar’s “Cars 2” adventure directly to fans with the “Agents on a Mission” tour, showcasing cars modeled after their big-screen likenesses. The cars will be outfitted in Goodyear tires and transported from coast to coast (and back again) by Mack Trucks, Inc. Visitors can check out the cars and take part in a variety of “Cars 2”-themed activities, including a video kiosk, e-photo opportunities, games and giveaways. They can also enter the “Agents on a Mission” sweepstakes, which features 18,000 prizes, including a new car.

“State Farm is thrilled to present the ‘Cars 2’ ‘Agents on a Mission’ tour,” says Pam El, marketing vice president, State Farm. “Like our force of 18,000 agents across the U.S. and Canada, whose mission is to help people realize their dreams every day, families can become secret agents by participating in fun ‘Cars 2’-themed missions at the tour and online.”

The tour will run through June, hitting the U.S. red-carpet premiere in Los Angeles, and wrapping up in San Francisco and Sonoma.

Disney•Pixar’s “Cars,” originally released on June 9, 2006, grossed nearly $462 million worldwide. It was nominated for two Oscars® and one Golden Globe® Award, winning the first ever Golden Globe for Best Animated Feature Film.

Presented in Disney Digital 3D™ and IMAX® 3D in select theaters, Disney•Pixar’s “Cars 2” hits the track on June 24, 2011. The film marks DisneyŸPixar’s 12th feature-length animated film and will be released as Pixar Animation Studios celebrates its 25th Anniversary this year. The Studio, founded in 1986, has earned 29 Academy Awards® and seven Golden Globes®. To date, its 11 feature films have grossed more than $6.5 billion at the worldwide box office.

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