I kicked off the 2015 D23 Expo with a long day.. I arrived at the convention center just after 7am and walked out after 7pm. I made a quick round of the floor in the early morning before the crowds then headed to the Hall D23 for the Disney Legends Awards. Note: If you are planning to attend any of the early panels be sure to arrive early. The lines to get in were really backed up this morning. Hopefully it was just first day bugs to work out in the procedure.
After the Legends Ceremony I headed for the StagePass area along with several thousand others. It was very congested and backed up toward the center stage area. I abandon that line and visited with a friend in the Archives line then headed for lunch. After eating the StagePass line was more reasonable so I hoped in it and managed to secure a pass for the Jungle Cruise presentation. I then roamed the floor for a while, checked out the Charter Member Lounge and then went to use my StagePass for the Safari So Good – 60 Years of the World Famous Jungle Cruise.
After that presentation I had 45 minutes so stopped by the lounge and visited some friends then returned to Stage 23 for the Imagineering 60 Years of Disneyland panels. This was a two hour, two panel session.
After that it was past 7pm and the floor was closed and all the sessions were over. I walked over to Downtown Disney taking Katella to West/Disneyland Drive and then through the Grand Californian. Went to a reception at Catal and then walked back to my hotel as Disneyland Forever was going on to wrap up my day.
Thoughts & Observations:
- The Expo got off to a rocky start for many who were stuck int he lines and arrived late for the opening presentation or were out of luck because it took too long to get in. The Legends ceremony started late to accommodate some but many arrived after it had started and there were still empty seats.
- The flood of guests out of Legends to the Stage Pass area was more than it could handle and it caused a large backup. Eventually it cleared but it made one of the primary walkways a challenge to navigate
- I spent a little time on the floor roaming around. I saw half the parks display, the Shanghai Disneyland section and it featured a lot of concept art, some model, videos, and costumes. I did not make it into the Avatar portion. Hopefully tomorrow.
- The Legends Ceremony was well done with several musical performances between the inductions. There was a surprise at the end when Johnny Depp was named a legend. I thought this was a little odd since he is still relatively young and active. Most are retired from the company when they receive the honor. The crowd went crazy though.
- The food lines at lunch were long and slow as usual. But I did remember to eat so that was a positive.
- The Jungle Cruise presentation was fun. It included a look at all four of the Cruises around the world, which I have now been on so that was cool. A little news was announced with them making it official the new restuarant at the Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World will be The Skipper Canteen.
- Stopped by the D23 Charter Members Lounge a couple of times. It was a nice, peaceful, getaway. It features water, coffee, tea, and popcorn for free. And other snacks you could purchase.
- To close out my time at the convention center I attended the Imagineering 60 Years of Disneyland two panel presentation. First up Disney Legends discussing working with Walt. I had heard the stories before but always fun to hear them again. Then the second panel featured current/recent Imagineers. It was a long two hours but I could have really used two hours for each group. The second one was really rushed.
Some pictures/highlights from the day (these are cell phone pictures, full picture sets with the SLR will be up next week check the summary page for more information)