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I love Disney.  I love that one man left a huge mark on this world.  Forget the marketing and the money making.  Think more in terms of inspiration, dreams, goals…think big, huge goals…then think sharing them with the rest of the world.  Think about being intentional enough to want to share them with everyone around you, and to teach those people who are open to it that the possibilities are endless.  That you can achieve anything you set your mind to.  There is definitely not enough of that in the world today.  When I discover companies who have made that their life long goal, and have been successful doing it, I want to be apart of it so bad!  And, that is why I love Disney.

Lots of cool things came from BlogHer 2011, one of them being the advanced screening to see “The Help“.  I was fortunate to be in the right place at the right time, and met the PR Firm for the Disney/DreamWorks/Pixar studios.  They are a group of fun-loving, inspirational, informed people who want to embrace the power of the Blogging community.  Hence, I was invited as press to experience the biggest Disney Fan event in the world, the D23 Expo.  I was super excited to be given this opportunity, and my husband and I agreed that I should jump on it, even though it was the weekend before school started and we had just returned from our month long summer stay at the beach.  It’s not so easy to be spontaneous when you have four kids, but with help from our family, we were able to make it happen.

The biggest thing about the D23 Expo is the Studio Presentation.  This is a coveted event.  In fact, fans from all over the world buy tickets to D23 mainly so they can attempt to attend this presentation.  I mean, there were folks lined up at 4am just for a chance to get inside.  After having attended the event, I could see why.

I convinced my daughter to spend the weekend with me to attend a “work” event.  My son went fishing with Daddy, leaving just the babies behind to be cared for.  The presentation was 3 hours long, and I was worried about my daughter’s attention span.  However, it was three hours of pure inspiration, talent and entertainment.  She sat the whole time, with very little complaining.  At one point, she asked me who John Lasseter, Chief Creative Officer for Walt Disney and Pixar Animation Studios, (creator of Cars and Toy Story) was, and I was able to respond with something pretty impressive.  Something, that as a parent, I strive to introduce her to on a daily basis.  “He sees something in his imagination, and makes it come to life so he can share it with all of us.  Isn’t that cool?” And, she totally got that.  She said, “I want to do that someday.”  The glorious moment of parenthood.

It was such an amazing presentation.  The executives, the talent, the creative people, producers, directors and film makers were all so grateful for the attendance of the fans.  In fact, it was Pixar’s 25th birthday, and to celebrate, Woody and Buzz brought out this ginormous cake, they sang “Happy Birthday,” sprayed confetti, and gave every person in the audience a cupcake.  We got to see special cuts and shorts and trailers not available to the public yet.  We learned about upcoming movies that haven’t been announced, and learned more about ones that are coming soon.  And the celebs!  They came out on stage and spoke to the crowd.  It was a magnificent event.  Here are some of mine and my daughter’s favorite highlights:

Pixar's "Planes"

Pixar Animation Studios:

  1. Planes– John Cryer voices Dusty, a crop duster propeller plane whose dreams take him around the world.  Inspired by the animated world of Cars.  Spring 2013
  2. Wreck It Ralph– John C. Reily voices Ralph, an 8-bit, video game bad guy from the 80’s, living in the present and coming to terms with never getting to be the hero.  He searches to “find himself” amidst the other video games and come out the hero.  Other great voice overs from Sarah Silverman, Jack McBrayer and Jane Lynch.  November 2012
  3. Brave– My daughter cannot wait to see this.  She has the movie poster pinned to her wall in anticipation.  When the first trailer came out a few months ago, it was not enough to hold my interest.  But, watching the shorts and scenes from the movie, I am now a fan.  Based on a Scottish Royal family trying to marry off their only daughter who is feisty and independent.  No princess complex in this movie.  None at all.  Voiced by Kelly MacDonald, Kevin McKidd, Craig Fergueson, Emma Thompson, and Billy Conolly.  June 2012
  4. Billy Crystal and Sully

    Monsters University– Forget that Billy Crystal came out to woo the crowd and received a standing ovation…this movie looks adorable!  And my daughter and I went on the Monsters Inc ride in California Adventure just to revisit how great of a movie the first one was.  John Goodman, Billy Crystal and Steve Buscemi are back to show us how Mike and Sully first became friends.  Looks like a great time! Scheduled for 2013

Walt Disney Live Action Film Studios
  1. John Carter-didn’t really do much for me, as I’m not into the Science Fiction/Fantasy theme, but if you are, you probably know the name and the comic book series.  Enough said for me.  The film comes out in March 2012.
  2. Frankenweenie– In true Timothy Burton style comes a new stop-motion film about a little boy’s wiener dog brought back from the dead.  My kids are huge fans of the Nightmare Before Christmas, and I loved Beetlejuice, Charlie and the Cocolate Factory and Alice in Wonderland.  He is a very talented man, and I know I’m not giving his talent the proper alcolades.  The most impressive thing I learned about these stop-motion movies is that they literally stop the film to shoot the next minute action.  The entire sets and puppets are created using a movable silicone, and it goes something like this, “Move a puppet, take a frame.”  A ten minute frame could take 2.5 hours of production time.  Crazy.  Classic Burton talent are on staff, like Martin Landau, Winnona Ryder, Martin Short, Catherine O’Hara and music score by Danny Elfman.  Guess Johnny didn’t make the cut this time.   October 2012
  3. The Odd Life of Timothy Green– This one gets me every time.

    Jennifer Garner

    Jennifer Garner spoke to us about how this movie was made for every person…whether you’re a parent or not, a child, an adult…everyone can relate to this movie on some level.  Jennifer Garner and Joel Edgerton star as a couple who cannot conceive a child.  One night, they “create” him by writing down all of his talents on pieces of paper, putting them into a box and burrying it in the backyard.  What happens next will stay with you forever.  See it August 2012.

  4. Oz-The Great and Powerful– James Franco stars as the Wizard, and takes us on the journey of how he came to be…before Dorothy, before the Ruby Slippers and the Yellow Brick Road.  Other great talents include Rachel Weisz, Mila Kunis and Michelle Williams as the three witches, and Zach Braff as Frank.  March 2013
  5. Kermit the Frog and Jason Segel

    The Muppets– If you are a child of the 70’s, there’s not much I need to say here except that the movie looks great, the writing sounds funny, and the actors are some of my favorite…Kermit and Miss Piggy.  I mean, Amy Adams, Jason Seagal and Mila Kunis.  November 2011.

Marvel Comics and Walt Disney Studios
  1. The Avengers– If you’ve been wondering what all those super hero movies coming out lately have in common…here’s your answer.  What do you get when you put IronMan, Black Widow, Captain America, The Hulk, and Thor together in one room?  A sure fire way to beat Tom Hiddleston’s villain, Loki.  It’s also a way to get the entire audience screaming in disbelief when the entire cast walked out onto the stage (Robert Downy Jr., Scarlett Johansson, and all.)  I’m not a huge comic book/Super Hero fan, but I do appreciate the message, and the kick-ass inspiration they bring with it.  This movie looks worth seeing.   May 2012
Hope you enjoyed my memory blitz of a phenomenal show.  We were not allowed to bring in cameras or video equipment, so please forgive the lack of interesting photos.  I tweeted out leaving the presentation, “Forget the Happiest Place on Earth, I’m at the Most Amazing Place on Earth.”  And, it really was.  My devotion for Disney was anchored even deeper having participated in this event.


About D23 Expo 2011

The D23 Expo—The Ultimate Disney Event for Fans and Families—brings the entire world of Disney under one roof at the Anaheim Convention Center, providing guests with unprecedented access to Disney films, television and theme parks.

About D23

The name “D23” pays homage to the wonder and excitement that began in 1923 when Walt Disney opened his fledgling studio in Hollywood. D23 is the first official community for fans in Disney’s 88-year