Wednesday, July 12, 2017

A Look Back at the 2015 D23 Expo

Disney's D23 Expo returns to the Anaheim Convention Center this coming weekend, July 14th-16th.

This will be the fifth D23 Expo, which has been held by Disney in Anaheim every other year since 2009. I've attended all of the Expos to date and will be attending all three days of the 2017 event.

After the 2015 Expo I posted an overview of the Expo, including a critique of the year's strengths and areas for improvement. That was followed by a pair of photo posts on the 2015 Expo's massive Disneyland exhibit, Part 1 and Part 2.

I left on a trip out of state just after writing those posts and didn't get back to sharing any more on the Expo. (So much to blog and so little time, etc.!) This week is the perfect time to take a look back down memory lane at 2015 as I get ready for the 2017 edition!

We spent considerable time on the first day of the 2015 Expo exploring the previously mentioned Disneyland exhibit. A panel of "60 Years of Disney Parks Merchandise" was atypically disappointing, but a 60th anniversary celebration of the Jungle Cruise was quite enjoyable. The day ended with a multi-panel presentation on "Imagineering 60 Years of Disneyland."

The panel presentations are usually not very photographer-friendly as they are huge rooms, and while the audience can see all the panelists, the best shots sometimes end up being of the Jumbotron screens! A couple shots taken at the Jungle Cruise presentation:

Composer Richard Sherman, seen on the Jumbotron at the Imagineering panel:

My favorite presentations are at the much more intimate Archives Stage, where the second day I saw a wonderful panel with Ron and David DeFore, the sons of actor Don DeFore, who shared stories of growing up at their father's Silver Banjo Barbecue, which operated in Disneyland from 1957-61. This hour was one of the highlights of the weekend for me. Earlier in the weekend I had the chance to chat with them and was able to share my appreciation of their father's work. When I praised his performance in RAMROD (1947) they exclaimed "You're a real fan!"

The menu photo below was shared by Ron DeFore a few years ago at MiceChat:

On the final day I enjoyed a panel on the documentary "The Tunes Behind the Toons," with Dave Bossert, movie music historian Jon Burlingame, and Mark Watters.

There's much to see on the Expo's show floor, relating to every aspect of Disney, including theme parks, movies, Marvel, music, and much more. I loved this whimsical display of Pixar balls:


Plans for Shanghai Disneyland:

As had been the case at past Disney Expos, our highlights included concerts. First off, Leonard Maltin hosted a marvelous program of Silly Symphonies cartoons accompanied by a 32-piece live orchestra:

My other favorite memory of 2015 might be the FROZEN concert featuring live singing performances by Kristen Bell (Anna), Josh Gad (Olaf), and composers Robert and Kristen Anderson Lopez. It was a wonderful experience, and the concluding "Let It Go" singalong finale, complete with "snow" -- and John Lasseter singing along -- was pure Disney joy. Some video may be found here.

Coming tomorrow: A preview of this weekend's D23 Expo!

Select Links of Past Coverage: A Look Back at the 2013 D23 Expo, which includes additional links to my coverage of the 2009 and 2011 Expos; Back From the 2015 Disney Expo!; 2015 D23 Expo: Disneyland - The Exhibit - Part 1; 2015 D23 Expo: Disneyland - The Exhibit - Part 2.


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