D23 celebrates first anniversary at Disneyland on March 10 — but no expo this year

March 02, 2010 | 4:48 p.m.

Disney collage

There are plenty of birthdays celebrated at Disneyland and a good number of them are for 1-year-olds enjoying their first cake-and-candles experience. On March 10, though, the youngster celebrating one year of life will be D23, the Disney fan community that shares its name with the D23 Expo that was staged so memorably in September in Anaheim.

More on the party in a moment; first, a bit on that expo: The inaugural convention (a sort of Comic-Con but just for Disney and its films, theme parks, television shows, collectibles etc.) started off slow last September, and I know some folks at Disney weren’t thrilled when I wrote about the small opening-day crowds. But by the end of the weekend, I was among the many people who felt the event had really turned a corner. There were some major surprises and some wonderful memories, and I remember thinking that the 2010 edition would be far more impressive considering the Disney purchase of Marvel Entertainment — how great would it be to see presentations on the upcoming “Thor” and “Captain America” movies on the same bill as “Pirates of the Caribbean 4” and “Tron“?

But as it turns out, that won’t be happening. At least not this year. The Disney plan, as of now, is to stage the D23 Expo as a biennial event, which means we’ll have to wait until 2011 to see the second edition. I’m not sure when this decision was made or how the expo was viewed in the new regime at Disney, but I’ll try to find out.

Now, back to that party: If you’re a D23 member, there are still tickets left for the March 10 event (tickets are $65 and must be bought in advance). If you’re not a D23 member, you must become one to get access to any of numerous D23 events throughout the year (with the exception of the expo, which is open to the public), but you may be running out of time to get into this particular Disneyland celebration.

And what is that celebration? On March 10, after the park closes at 9 p.m., there will be a D23 party in Fantasyland. A limited number of guests will be able to ride all the attractions, mix and mingle with characters (including some that have not been seen roaming the park in a long time) and inspect the Electric Runaround (which Walt Disney used to escort special guests around park) and Cinderella’s Crystal Coach. There will be drinks, desserts and a few D23 surprises. Guests will also get a limited-edition commemorative pin.

I’m looking forward to the event, though, for the chance to talk to some of  the Disney talent in attendance. Among those set to attend: Dave Smith (chief archivist for the Walt Disney ArchivesBob Gurr (a vehicle specialist for Walt Disney Imagineering, he worked on Autopia and the Main Street fleet); Tony Baxter (the Imagineer who had a key role in design  of Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Splash Mountain and, my favorite, the Indiana Jones Adventure); Bill Farmer (voice of Goofy and Pluto); actor Kevin Corcoran (“Old Yeller,” “The Shaggy Dog”); actor Dan Roebuck ( Dr. Leslie Arzt on “Lost“) and Margaret Kerry (the original live-action model for Tinker Bell).

— Geoff Boucher


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Michael Keaton will be boy-toy Ken in “Toy Story 3”

“Alice in Wonderland” fan event on Feb. 19 in Hollywood

50 years later: “Sleeping Beauty” star dazzles D23 audience

VIDEO: Dick Jones, the voice of “Pinocchio,” looks back 

A Tinker Bell movie for boys? Disney hopes so

COMPANY TOWN: Read all Disney coverage at sister blog 

‘Lost’ Mickey Mouse cartoon unearthed

Disney officially owns Marvel universe now

Mickey Mouse mutants? Reaction to the Disney-Marvel deal

Johnny Depp “shocked and sad” over Disney decision

Disney’s D23 looks to future and celebrates past

Images: Walt Disney Co.


9 Responses to D23 celebrates first anniversary at Disneyland on March 10 — but no expo this year

  1. MC says:

    No Expo? Epic fail, Disney. That's ridiculous.

  2. DMarsh says:

    Did you get this from the Walt Disney Company? D23 members have been waiting for an official announcement from the Company, and didn't expect to read this on a blog!
    (P.S. That's a lovely picture of a lovely lady accompanying your article, but it's not Margaret Kerry. It's actress Margaret Kelly…)

  3. JMo says:

    If this is true (the no expo until 2011 "announcement") I cannot believe that Disney didn't post it to their D23 website before hand. Yet some blogger from the LA Times knows? This just solidifies my suspicions that Disney WAS giving tickets to D23 events to "journalists" to write favorable things about them. And then to leak out info like this? Nice job Disney.

  4. Scott says:

    I find it curious that there is no source for this article.

  5. Trent says:

    Oh, man, I wish people wouldn't just jump to conclusions, but that is the world we live in, I guess. When did Disney say that the Expo was going to be an annual event? In fact, I believe going back to your own stories, Mr. Boucher, that Disney said they hadn't made a decision. Comic-Con should be an annual event, but a Disney convention? Every other year is fine with me, gives me more new stuff to see. (Plus, I can't imagine that Disney's ready to weave Marvel in quite yet.)
    Your ASSUMPTION is that Disney was going to do this annually, but you know what happens when you assume.
    "Epic fail"? Hardly. If they did one, MC would probably be saying, "Enough already." Can't win, now, can you?
    DMarsh, as far as I've seen, there's been no official announcement. So, who knows? They're doing a party at Walt Disney World, a party at Disneyland, FREE screenings at the Studios, tours of the Studios, they did a Mary Poppins event, they did two big events at Disney World last year…. so there's PLENTY to do. (See events listings at http://d23.disney.go.com/expo.html)
    Personally, I think Comic-Con once a year is a little ridiculous, so I'm actually glad Disney's showing restraint. Can't please everyone….

  6. Geoff Boucher says:

    Scott, I have two sources in Burbank on this and I feel very confidant about the information.

  7. Scott says:

    Why did you not include that information in the article? I am by no means a writer, but isn't that Journalism 101? Otherwise, it's hearsay.
    Did your two sources know this article was forthcoming?

  8. Geoff Boucher says:

    I'm reporting the information I have. My sources are not surprised to see it here. What exactly are you upset about? This is a blog post not an investigative peice of journalism. Disney never said there would be an Expo this year. I'm now telling you there won't be.

  9. Jennifer says:

    I am extremely sad to learn there won't be an Expo this year. I only went for one day last year, but after seeing the props and costumes from my favorite movies and series and meeting some of my Disney heroes, I wished I'd gone for more days. I had the amazing fortune to meet Mary Costa (voice of Sleeping Beauty) after watching Sleeping Beauty and all the while being dressed up as Briar Rose. Where else can you do that?! I'll definitely be back for 2011.

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