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Cidbliq's purely impartial D23 Expo review (trust me!)

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  • Cidbliq's purely impartial D23 Expo review (trust me!)

    I’m just getting back online now after a week of fun in SoCal – I was able to extend my trip so that I could have some Disneyland fun, too.

    Caveat: As I write this I haven’t read any of the other reviews on the forums or online. This is all strictly based upon my own experiences; your mileage may vary.

    So here’s my thoughts:

    Overall? For me, the Expo was a success and worth every cent. Yes, there were things that they could have done differently, and making the changes to the Expo that they did (such as moving the Toy Story showings) shows that they at least paid attention to what was going on around them.
    I didn’t make it into any of the presentations besides the ones held in the Arena. The lines were monstrously long, and quite honestly I wasn’t up to camping out for two hours. But that’s okay – I had fun nonetheless.

    Here’s some day by day thoughts:

    Thursday: Bob Iger’s presentation was good enough – he seems to *almost* get it, and understand that the love of Disney goes well beyond the gates in Burbank. I was taken back by his announcement / excuse for starting late – “Sorry, but we didn’t know there’d be so many of you that want to see this”. Well, duh Bob. That’s why we’re there. Anyway, he was gracious, or as gracious as he could be.

    The Legends presentation: Awesome, in every sense of the word. The cheer that went out for Leota Toombs seem to shock Iger. Doesn’t he know we’ve come to love and respect his Imagineers? Anyway, Bea Arthur’s kids seemed really uncomfortable up there, but everyone else was a delight to hear – especially Betty White and Robin Williams. And to meet some of the other Legends afterwards? That was icing on the cake.

    The ABC presentation in the afternoon was okay – Tom Bergeron was the perfect host – they should let him host more often. Kelsey Grammar looked to me to be really uncomfortable up there on stage. Ed O’Neill was just as laid back as you’d expect him to be. He’s the kind of guy I’d love to go have a drink with, just because the stories will be awesome. Courtney Cox seemed to be laid back enough, and Patricia Heaton? Patty honey – what’s with the fishnets? The only disappointment for the ABC presentation for me was that their promotion/scenes for the upcoming season of Lost didn’t tell us anything new; it was all clips from previous seasons. Donny Osmond and his dancing friends did well, but they weren’t on stage for long.

    The only real downside to Thursday? The security goons. Who exactly were these guys in cheap rented suits? They certainly weren’t cast members. There was one guy all dressed in black wandering the aisles with his pants tucked into his jackboots – the only thing missing was the goosestep. The whole “check your camera / cell phone” fiasco was pretty much as expected – a mass of confusion and anger. I will however say that it improved (slightly) as the week went on.

    Friday: Dick Cook hit a grand slam, folks. This will be one of the two presentations (Mr. Lasseter the other) that people will talk about for a long, long time. Dick obviously loves his job – his enthusiasm and spirit just shined. And having an opportunity to see the sneak peeks along with most of the stars was great. Johnny Depp rocked the house – when he came out the place just EXPLODED. John Travolta’s appearance also got thunderous applause, and the clip they showed for Old Dogs was really very funny. I hope the rest of the movie turns out to be the same.

    On Friday I made it into the Imagineering exhibit – from the parting movie screen to the sand art, it was really incredible. I could’ve spent all day in there; it was just that cool. I was however sad to see all of those cool new attractions that are coming…to Hong Kong. Hey, I’d like to play in Toy Story Land, too! But that’s a minor quibble -- the entire Imagineering exhibit rocked.

    I also went upstairs to see the Treasures of the Archives exhibit – bought hardcover book #281, in fact. I’d seen a lot of these exhibits before in the Archives, but it was great to see them on full display again. The Nautilus was really impressive, as were the Tron and Black Hole displays. I had a nice chat with Becky at the end; she really is a wonderful person to talk with.

    Saturday: I spent the day hanging out with one of my trivia pals, so the morning was a lot of revisiting some of the exhibits. We also made our way through the vendor’s booths and through the collector’s areas. I got to meet Al and Dusty, and had a great time talking to everyone. I totally didn’t recognize Tommy Kirk when we passed him – guy looks nothing like he did 40 years ago (who does?).

    I also spent some time in the Expo Store – and was really bummed out by the lack of cool things in there. I mean, seriously – Halloween costumes? You can buy those anywhere. I was looking for some really clever, unique things to buy, not stuff I could get over at World of Disney. So in the end I never did buy anything from there – there just wasn’t anything that I was dying to have.

    We went to see the Jay Rasulo show, and it was great to learn about the new stuff for the theme parks, but I really didn’t sense much a love for the fans from Jay. Maybe it’s just his personality – I don’t know him, I’m only guessing – but he didn’t seem to be very happy to be there. More like it was a chore he was being forced to do. Anyway, the new Fantasyland expansion at WDW sounds great, although I’m wondering how he’s going to pull that off without using queues. I can’t imagine how they’ll do it. And seeing Darth Vader and the Stormtroopers was pretty cool.

    Saturday night we went to the auction, where we sat on the floor and watched a whole lot of money go out the door. The guy who bought the Archives auction for $13K was seated right in front of me, and he never wavered in his bidding. He wanted it, and he was going to get it, no matter what. A few other people around us bought stuff, too. As far as the Peter Pan boat goes, I did throw my paddle in the air when the bidding opened at $2,500, but I had to back down when it next hit $5K. (I’d have a hard time ‘spaining that one to my wife…) Still, I can always say that I bid on it.

    By Sunday I’d seen & done pretty much everything I wanted to, so I wandered around for a while (and said hi again to Alice at the Mad Hatter scene – did you meet Alice? H.O.T.!), then lined up for the Lasseter presentation. What can I tell you about John Lassester that hasn’t already been said? The guy is incredible. He’s the only one I saw all week long who didn’t rely on the teleprompter. He spoke from his heart, and we all knew it. I wish there were more people in this world like him. The funniest part of his presentation was the “Groovin’ with Ken” promo – I hope it ends up online somewhere, some time. I’d love to show it to friends and watch them laugh as hard as I did.

    So there you have it – four solid days of fun. Final thoughts:

    (Mostly Minor) Gripes:

    1 – The lines were outrageous. I hope they find bigger rooms and/or a better way to manage the crowds in the future.

    2 – The crowds were mostly controlled, friendly, and respectful. I only saw a couple of “angry bear” moments; mostly related to the camera check, and the lines and inability to make it into presentations.

    3 – Four days was almost too long. By day 4 there was little that I hadn’t seen/done, except for the presentations.

    4 – They need to fill in the gaps more – offer multiple showings of the movies, etc. to help alleviate some of the overflow from those who couldn’t get in. Have the rooms going from open until well past close, with multiple showings and encore presentations whenever possible.

    5 – The security goons need to be trained in the Disney way a little bit. We’re your biggest fans, Disney – not your enemies. Don’t treat us like we’re all criminals.

    6 – The food at the Expo was AWFUL. The $9.50 cheeseburgers weren’t worth $1.00, and the taco “salad” I had contained exactly .0001 ounces of anything vegetable-related. I eventually just started going out to eat instead.

    (Mostly Major) Praise:

    1 – John Lasseter is my hero. Dick Cook, too.

    2 – I’m really glad that I got to see the Legends ceremony. That was really special, and I’m glad that they decided to share the experience with us commoners.

    3 – The Imagineering exhibit rocked, as did the Treasures of the Archives. Wouldn’t it be cool if they took these two aspects on the road and set it up in museums across the country? It’ll never happen, but it would be really cool if it did…

    4 – Alice. Ah, Alice.

    5 – I had a great time talking with Becky, Robert, and Dave from the Archives – it’s always good to see them again.

    6 – And it was a total pleasure to finally meet Al & Todd – thanks guys, for your time and efforts to make the Expo a hit.

    In the end, it was an experience that I’m glad that I was able to take part in. I hope that they’ll do it again soon, and with a few tweaks to the schedule and operation I think the D23 Expo could be a winner very year.

    I’m traveling for work this week, but when I get home this weekend I’ll upload some photos. I took plenty.

    Kevin
    Last edited by cidbliq; 09-15-2009, 04:34 PM. Reason: Stupid MS Word auto formatting...

  • #2
    Re: Cidbliq's purely impartial D23 Expo review (trust me!)

    I pretty much agree. Great write up and yah... Alice.


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    • #3
      Re: Cidbliq's purely impartial D23 Expo review (trust me!)

      Great review. I would agree with many of your points.

      I also hope in the future that they also include more Disney companies such as ESPN who was missing from the show.
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      • #4
        Re: Cidbliq's purely impartial D23 Expo review (trust me!)

        Nice report. I agree with most of your points.

        "I also hope in the future that they also include more Disney companies such as ESPN who was missing from the show." I was really surprised on Saturday afternoon that I couldn't find a television monitor inside the Expo that was showing the UCLA or USC game - both were being broadcast on ESPN.
        Mike L
        Premier Annual Passport
        D23 Charter Member

        '09 - D23 Expo, Princess & the Frog preview, Magic & Merriment Weekend
        '10 - 1st Anniversary Party, Roy Disney Tribute, Pollyanna screening, Toy Story Marathon, Disney Archives 40th Anniversary, Dateline Disneyland 1955, Secretariat preview, Destination D, Zorro screening, Tangled preview
        '11 - Love is Magical, 2nd Anniversary Mixer, Absent Minded Professor screening, Destination D, Studio Tour, Sci-Fi Academy, D23 Expo (premier), Babes in Toyland screening, Magic & Merriment Weekend
        '12 - Newsies screening, Journey to Marceline tour, Sister Act screening, Brave preview, Brave artists meet/greet/screening, Treasures Exhibit - Reagan Library preview, Timothy Green premiere, Destination D (diamond), Treasure Island screening, Magic & Merriment Weekend
        '13 - El Capitan Peter Pan Panel & Screening, Disney Video Game Unveiling, Fanniversary, OZ preview, Son of Flubber screening, Summer Magic screening, Tiki Room 50th anniversary, D23 Expo (sorcerer), Sword in the Stone screening, Hocus Pocus screening, Frozen preview, 20,000 Leagues screening
        '14 - Pirate Fairy screening, Rebel Rendezvous, Three Musketeers screening, Mr. Toad screening, Snow White screening, Big Hero 6 preview, Little Mermaid screening, Destination D
        '15 - D23 Expo, Pinocchio screening,

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        • #5
          Re: Cidbliq's purely impartial D23 Expo review (trust me!)

          I really enjoyed the Expo overall. I wish the 3-D pavillion area showed the game they were livebroadcasting in HD...or was that this coming weekend's game?

          In any case, I had a fantastic discussion with one of the tech guys about 3-D camera technology, how the brain interprets it, and strain from too much in-your-face 3-D effects/how to balance for shorts vs. feature films.

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          • #6
            Re: Cidbliq's purely impartial D23 Expo review (trust me!)

            Great review. Thanks for sharing.

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