Saturday, July 22, 2017

The 2017 D23 Expo: Highlights, Part 1

We were in line bright and early on the first day of the 2017 D23 Expo! We've learned from past experience that taking the time to line up two or three hours before the show floor opens pays off with an easier time later on.

As a Marvel fan I enjoyed having the chance to see Agent Coulson's beloved car Lola from AGENTS OF SHIELD, which was parked out front all weekend. One of the show's catch phrases is "Don't touch Lola!" Needless to say, we didn't touch her, but we took plenty of photos!

When the doors opened we headed directly for Mickey's of Glendale, a store with unique Imagineering-themed designs which always draws long lines just to get inside.

One of this year's fun shirt designs:

The Bengal Barbecue at Disneyland is a favorite! Love this shirt.

Some scenes from the show floor, where seemingly every division of Disney is represented:

This was the first Expo where I didn't visit the Disney Archives exhibit. Based on my daughter's description, I believe I had seen some of the Pirates of the Caribbean ride items in past exhibits, and I wasn't interested in props from the movies, so I spent my time elsewhere.

Speaking of spending time elsewhere, this is the basement line for the Animation panel! As I wrote previously, we made it safely inside for the presentation, although there aren't any photos as everyone was required to seal their phones in plastic bags before entering the hall.

A highlight was a very funny scene from RALPH BREAKS THE INTERNET: WRECK-IT RALPH 2 (2018) featuring all the Disney princesses. After the clip aired, nine of the "princesses" took the stage, including Jodi Benson (Ariel), Paige O'Hara (Belle), Mandy Moore (Rapunzel), Auli'i Cravalho (Moana), and more. The clip combined with the personal appearances was delightful!

The cast of THE INCREDIBLES 2 (2018) also appeared in person, including Holly Hunter, Craig T. Nelson, and Samuel L. Jackson.

The presentation concluded with Benjamin Bratt of COCO (2017) taking the stage and singing, accompanied by the Mariachi Divas and dozens of dancers. That kind of spectacular presentation is part of why we wait in the lines!

Everyone received this COCO poster as we exited. I haven't been very enthused about COCO -- love the color palette, don't like the skeletons -- but the live musical performance combined with the movie clip stirred some interest. I'm not sold yet but will consider seeing it now. It will be released around Thanksgiving.

Next it was on to the convention arena for a wonderful combination concert and interview show, "Melodies in Walt's Time." Whoopi Goldberg served as host for this program about music from Disney's live-action films; most of the films were from the '60s, with a couple from the '50s thrown in.

Goldberg seems to have been well-prepared, or at least had a good teleprompter! She did a credible job interviewing Leonard Maltin, Joyce Bulifant, and Caryl Carothers (widow of Disney screenwriter AJ Carothers).

The highlights for me were the interviews with Karen Dotrice of MARY POPPINS (1964), which was the first film I ever saw in a movie theater...

...and Lesley Ann Warren of THE HAPPIEST MILLIONAIRE (1967) and THE ONE AND ONLY, GENUINE, ORIGINAL FAMILY BAND (1968). Since Lesley Ann Warren was my childhood CINDERELLA (1965) it was also particularly special for me to see her.

A Disney employee choir sang a number of songs from the movies, and at the very end composer Richard Sherman came out for a bow:

It was the perfect end to a fun and productive first day at the D23 Expo!


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