We were up pretty early for Day 2 of the D23 Expo, but not nearly as early as the folks in the line that wrapped around the outside of the convention center!
Yes, our Sorcerer tickets were expensive, but boy was it worth it to get a few extra hours of sleep each day! We skipped the crazy Starbucks line on the way over to the convention center and once we got inside, Colorado Dad headed over to the arena line while I hopped into the show floor line so I could visit Mickey’s of Glendale. D23 always does a couple shopping days at MOG every year, but we’re never able to make it, so the Expo is our “once every two years” opportunity to find some cool WDI swag. This year, I saw a few people walking around with this pin set, so I had to grab it.
Let the Adventures Begin: Live Action at The Walt Disney Studios
After my shopping pit stop, I joined Colorado Dad in the arena. This was one of the sessions I was most looking forward to for two reasons. First, I was hoping to hear SOMETHING about Star Wars, and second, I had heard a rumor that Angelina Jolie would make an appearance. Once again, a recap of the entire presentation has already been posted on the D23 Expo website, so as you know, I was disappointed on the first point. Alan Horn sure did tease us, but his lips were sealed – no news at all about Star Wars. The mood in the arena was definitely a bit chillier after that!
I enjoyed hearing about the upcoming Marvel movies and any time Tom Hiddleston takes the stage, I’m happy, but I was most excited to see Sir Anthony Hopkins. He didn’t say a whole lot, but just having him on stage made everything a bit classier.
The Muppets preview was amusing, but, no offense to Ty Burrell who was a great sport for folding himself into that little car, it didn’t come close to topping the first expo where the Muppets floated onstage aboard the Mark Twain. I’m sure the movie itself will be great, but the preview didn’t overwhelm me.
I hadn’t heard anything about the live-action Cinderella, so was interested to hear a bit about that. Cate Blanchett as the Wicked Stepmother and Helena Bonham Carter as the Fairy Godmother should be good!
Of course, the “big” reveal was having Angelina Jolie come out to talk about Maleficent. I thought she was very gracious, and sharing her love of Disney from childhood was perfect for the D23 crowd. Not sure I believe that her kids were “playing in the park” while she was talking to us, but it was nice of her to pretend she does “normal” things like the rest of us mere mortals
The Tomorrowland section was entertaining, particularly if you’ve been following “The Optimist” game. I’ll be interested to see how it all gets sorted out in terms of a movie plot, but for now, it seems like it’s one of the greatest marketing campaigns I’ve seen in a LONG time.
I had to leave the presentation a couple minutes early, so missed most of the Saving Mr. Banks section. I am really excited to see the movie, and the more I see Tom Hanks as Walt, the more I feel like he was a good choice. Can’t wait to see the movie in it’s entirety!
ABC’s Once Upon a Time: Behind the Fairy Tale
The Studios presentation was going a bit over, so I had to rush upstairs so I wouldn’t miss any of the Once Upon a Time panel. I’m a huge Once fan and the session was being hosted by my favorite Disney Geek, Jeffrey Epstein, so it was a can’t miss for me.
Jeffrey came out and immediately announced that we’d get to see an extended preview of the new spin-off, Once Upon a Time in Wonderland. I was a little skeptical when I first heard about this spin-off, but the preview changed my mind. Alice is a strong character (and she kicks some major booty!) and it definitely shows promise. I’ll be adding it to my list of shows to DVR for sure!
After the preview, Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz came out for some Q&A with Jeffrey. We learned a bit about the upcoming season, along with a few new characters we’ll meet (Ariel, Tinkerbell, maybe Ursula and Eric and possibly Tiana and Rapunzel in a later season). They also teased that there will be some character crossover between Once and Wonderland and that romance between Emma and Hook is a definite possibility.
These guys love to keep their fans hanging, so there weren’t any answers revealed during the session, but they did promise that many, if not all, of the outstanding questions from last year would be resolved in the upcoming season. Thank goodness!
The session also included a quick preview of a scene with Rumplestiltskin talking to Felix, once of Peter Pan’s Lost Boys. It’s clear that Peter Pan isn’t quite as nice a character as we’ve come to know, so it will be interesting to see how this season plays out!
After the Once session, I met up with Colorado Dad for a brief stop in the Sorcerers lounge to grab a snack (the cupcakes we had every day were dangerous! ) and then I headed out to get in line for the Menken/Sherman concert while Colorado Dad went to the Star Wars session.
Crash Course in the Force: Star Wars Saga 101
This was the first year that Star Wars had an official presence at the D23 Expo, so Colorado Dad was looking forward to this panel. Unfortunately, it was VERY basic, which I guess makes sense since that’s what the title said it would be. There were a few interesting stories and pictures though, so I’ve included a few pics Colorado Dad took with descriptions of each of them.
Alan Menken and Richard Sherman: The Disney Songbook
This was probably my most anticipated moment of the weekend, so I got in line very early to try and be in the front row. As I mentioned previously, I have seen both Alan Menken and Richard Sherman perform at previous D23 events, but to have them together was extra special.
Richard came out first and, along with Tim O’Day acting as an MC, went through most of his songbook, starting with Tall Paul (a hit for Annette) all the way through to his more recent songs from the 2011 Winnie the Pooh. I really liked the setup for this section – Richard obviously played a lot of music for us, but in addition, he and Tim talked about stories and events that happened throughout his career.
The main part of his set ended with Mary Poppins songs and he had some (surprise) guest starts to help him out – BJ Novak and Jason Schwartzman, who play the Sherman Brothers in the upcoming movie, Saving Mr. Banks.
Just that part of the show would have been great enough, but it wasn’t even close to being over. Tim O’Day introduced Alan Menken to the crowd and then left the stage. Alan went through a LOT of music, so there weren’t many stories, but it was still a fun set. He covered at least one tune from every Disney production he’s been involved in, from Little Mermaid to Newsies to the TV show The Neighbors. I’ve never seen the show, but he mentioned he’s up for an Emmy for a song he wrote for it and if he wins, he’ll achieve an EGOT (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony), which is quite impressive!
His set ended with Enchanted, and then from there, Tim and Richard came back out on stage. I knew from the media call we had had earlier in the week, this was going to be a section where the two of them talked about some favorite songs and shared some stories. However, the show was running really long at that point, so I feel like maybe they cut a lot of that out. The only thing they did was have everyone join in on “it’s a small world”, which Richard joked about saying it “makes everyone either want to kill me or kiss me!”
It was a perfect way to end a perfect night!