Disney's D23 Expo 2013 Coverage
The Mouse House Takes Over Anaheim...
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By David Yeh
For the past six years now, Disney's presence at San Diego Comic-Con has dwindled quite a bit, but it's not for being lazy. In fact, they've been in the business of setting up their own "comic-con" using their official fan club, D23 (Disney + 1923, the year the Walt Disney Studio had its beginnings). D23 has staged an expo every two years and this past weekend was their third and largest one to date, taking up a good portion of the Anaheim Convention Center (a convention center that boasts more space than San Diego's). While the D23 Expo isn't as big as San Diego Comic-Con, it still is a force to be reckoned with and getting bigger every time now that Lucasfilm has recently joined their ranks.
All aspects of the Disney company contribute and have presence at the D23 Expo, from showing off the latest toys, books, and artwork in the Disney Consumer Products Pavilion, to Disney Interactive's large territory showcasing upcoming games Fantasia: Music Evolved and Disney Infinity. Disney Store has their own pop-up shop, Disney Theme Parks have their own Dream Store, and Walt Disney Imagineering, the division that creates the Disney shows and attractions at the parks, also have their own pop-up shop. ABC's Once Upon a Time, Walt Disney Animation Studios, Disney's Tomorrowland, Disney Toon Studios, Disney Channel also had exhibits for fans that included various signings and raffle throughout the weekend. A large stage nearby offers musicians to perform and it was also the location of the Disney Costume Contest featuring the fashion elite Edna Mode from The Incredibles.
The main draw of course of the D23 Expo are the presentations by Disney Animation and the Walt Disney Studios. Each presentation showing fans exclusive footage of films and projects to come.
In the Animation Presentation lead by John Lasseter, Pixar showed off The Good Dinosaur, Inside Out, and Finding Dory. Bill Hader, a voice in three Pixar films, came on the stage in hopes of taking over for John Ratzenberger as the good luck charm for all Pixar films. He's got a ways to go to combat Ratzenberger's 14 appearances.
For Disney Toon Studios, they discussed Planes and its sequel coming next year, Planes Fire and Rescue. For Walt Disney Animation, John Lasseter discussed Big Hero 6 coming next year, Zootopia coming much later, and the upcoming feature, Frozen, based on Hans Christian Anderson's story, The Snow Queen. The big highlight, however, was a short Mickey Mouse cartoon calledGet a Horse that features, a return of Walt Disney's voicing Mickey Mouse as well as a 1928 sensibility to the look and feel of the short. It will debut in front of Frozen this holiday season.
Saturday morning was the more exciting presentation that had fans waiting since 4am to attend. The presentation that began at 10:30am was disappointing for Star Wars fans, as nothing was revealed about Episode VII, but fans of Marvel were treated to multiple inside looks at Thor: The Dark World, Captain America: The Winter Solider, Guardians of the Galaxy, with a tease of The Avengers 2. Kevin Feige, the head of Marvel Studios kept things moving briskly but certainly pulled out the stops when bringing Tom Hiddleston (Loki), Natalie Portman (Jane), and Anthony Hopkins (Odin) to the stage with thunderous applause. Chris Evans (Captain America), Sebastian Shaw (Bucky/Winter Soldier), and Anthony Mackie (Falcon) also took to the stage to discuss the next Captain America feature.
The rest of the Expo was filled with exhibits and demonstrations, panels featuring Pixar filmmakers and Imagineers. There was an even a Legends Ceremony honoring the many stand outs (alive and dead) in the Disney corporation, this year honoring: Tony Baxter, Collin Campbell, Dick Clark, Billy Crystal, John Goodman, Steve Jobs, Glen Keane, and Ed Wynn. Saturday night featured a concert with songwriter Richard Sherman (Mary Poppins, Jungle Book, It's a Small World) and Alan Menken (Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, Tangled). Between the two maestros, they have written music for the majority of the Disney empire.
The next D23 Expo will be in 2015 as will the next Star Wars Celebration in Anaheim. Better start saving up now!
Photography by David Yeh
Other Photography courtesy of Disney Enterprises