Disneyland history event will replace D23 Expo this year

March 10, 2010 | 9:28 p.m.
Disneyland opening day

As reported first here at the Hero Complex, the D23 Expo will not be staged again in Anaheim until next year, which Disney made official Wednesday by announcing the dates of Aug. 19-21, 2011, for the Disneyphile’s answer to Comic-Con International.

Last year’s inaugural event, which got off to a slow start, nonetheless packed the halls of the Anahaim Convention Center for appearances by famous faces such as Johnny Depp, Tim Burton, Miley Cyrus, Robert Zemeckis and John Travolta.

Disney also announced that D23 Expo will move forward as a biennial affair and rotate years with a new history-minded event called Destination D, which will make its premiere Sept. 24 and 25 with a year-specific theme of “Disneyland ’55,” a nod to the 55th anniversary of the Anaheim theme park’s opening in July 1955 (pictured above in a photo from the Los Angeles Times archives).

The Destination D gathering will be a significantly smaller event than the D23 Expo and will be staged in the Grand Ballroom of the Disneyland Hotel. Among the planned speakers is Disney archivist Dave Smith, who will look back at the theme park’s history. Other planned panels and presentations include “Disney Undiscovered,” an exploration of never-built projects and attractions, and “Weird Disney,” a showcase of  some of the little-known facts, people and places that dot the history of the venerable pop-culture factory.

Tickets for next year’s expo go on sale this summer, and the same goes for Destination D. There are more details about programming and events planned for “Destination D: Disneyland ’55” at the website for D23, which is the paid-membership fan community meant to service the intense followers of Disney who want deeper access to Disney’s past, present and future.

 — Dawn C. Chmielewski

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Photo: Los Angeles Times

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