Monday, August 17, 2015

Con-Man: D23 Expo '15 Friday

Another jam packed weekend, complete with heat wave! It was another first as we traveled to Anaheim for the every other year Disney celebration that is D23 Expo. D23 is the official fan club of all things House of Mouse and the Expo is like their version of Comic-Con to showcase all of their latest and greatest in film, animation, television, video games, toys, theme parks and the like. We arrived Friday evening with just enough time to walk the floor for a bit. Sadly, unlike previous shows at The Anaheim Convention Center WonderCon and Star Wars Celebration, there were no bars on the floor. #ThanksLittleKids. Since we got there so late we also missed The Goofy Movie Anniversary panel, double sadly.

It was surprisingly not crowded walking in as food trucks had virtually no lines. Greeting us was the Buzz Lightyear balloon from the Macy's Day Parade. Buzz aka animated Tim Allen looked great as we entered the empty lobby to pick up lanyards, event guides and bags (that I ripped right away, Damme lats). Heading into the show floor I really had no clue what to expect. I hadn't done any research and just figured there'd be a lot of Disney things. What shocked me was how empty it was. The entire exhibit hall was set up with colorful carpet, displays, attractions, stores and more; basically a trade show to highlight upcoming products while displaying the history of the Disney brand. Right away you had sections devoted to Star Wars, Pixar, Marvel, ABC, the new Muppet Show, Red Cross, on and on.

There were three stores set up, each selling show exclusives like art, shirts and those little Tsum Tsum things. Unlike a typical comic and pop culture show, there were only a handful of non-Disney vendors, many of them selling pins and other collectibles like statues, paintings and park memorabilia. We walked into a sudden influx of attendees as I realized where the crowd was, in the D23 Hall watching a panel. Earlier in the day the likes of George Lucas, Danny Elfman and Johnny Depp greeted the crowd. One upping San Diego's 6,500 capacity Hall H, D23 passed on using the Convention Center arena and set up 7,500 chairs in Hall E. Even with the new wave of people, it wasn't that crowded. Ed Asner was set up selling autographs and there were tables for the likes of Dick Van Dyke, Sean Astin, Corey Feldman and several voice actors.

Walking around the memorabilia sections I was very disappointed in the lack of items from either The Rocketeer or classic 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea starring one Kirk Douglas. On the other side of the show floor there were Star Wars video game set ups along with Disney cartoons, more Marvel, more Pixar and a large booth selling fine art with several artists dropping by for signings and sketches. Every few aisles you'd run into a Trading Card post where you'd be handed one of thirty cards being given out during the show for trading. Little did I know that this would become one of my hobbies for the weekend. Afterwards we caught an Uber to Anaheim favorite spot The Lazy Dog Cafe that had crowds of people waiting outside but we walked right in and sat at the bar. It was a terrific start to a fun weekend. Saturday and Sunday coming right up!

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