I am always looking for ways to get a Disney fix, and after hearing on Lou’s newscast (which goes live every Wednesday night at [7:30]pm) that there would be an event offered to the general public for a D23 Fanniversary in Boston, I HAD to get a ticket! I was able to get to the 5pm show (there was also one at 2pm which was sold out to D23 members who were able to purchase tickets earlier than non-members)! The tickets were $35 a head for the general public, a price I struggled with accepting, but ultimately realized it was well worth it, and you will see why…
With ticket in-hand, we started the 1-hour drive to Boston, giddy as can be. Kevin and I went with my parents, and the whole drive up my mom kept asking if we were excited, then when we said “YES!” she would say, “No you aren’t, because I’m more excited!” My parents are big Disney fans, too, so I guess it runs in the family.
On with the event!
We arrived a bit early, which was fine. The event was being held in a theater at a”fancy” hotel, the Revere Hotel. I didn’t really know what to expect, but assumed there would be a lot of booths and places to buy merchandise, like an Expo, but there wasn’t anything except a waiting room. We walked in and reassuringly saw a Disney banner with Genie letting us
know we were in the right place. Two friendly and cheery cast members welcomed us and gave us our pins, a flip book with 2 scenes from Frankenweenie (one of my favorite movies), and 2 movie art promo books, called “For Your Considerations” for Brave and Wreck it Ralph! Already, I thought, “I would pay more than $35 for all of this, even without the rest of the night’s event!”
The cast members really made me feel like I was in WDW. I wish I would have gotten a picture with them or asked them what they usually do for Disney, but I was way too excited for the event to start! I was quite surprised and extremely happy to hear a familiar voice call out my name! It was Betty and Dave from The Box! You may know them from their screen names: DaveBell and BettyMercier. I met them in person at the WDWRadio Dream Cruise 2.0 this past November and it was so great to see them again! That’s what I love so much about this community, we are all already friends, whether we’ve met yet, or not!
We entered the theater when it was time, and the second unexpected thing was realized: there were a lot less people than I expected! I saw that the event was sold out online before we left, but the theater was small and intimate. It was a plus, in my opinion. Yes, it would have been nice if more people could have the opportunity to buy tickets, but having fewer people there made me feel more special. It was as if the show was just for me, and I would be learning this secret information that no one else knew yet!
The show was introduced and we were reminded that we couldn’t take any photos, videos, or audio recordings once it started. Our show hosts then came out: Billy Stanek, D23.com editor, and Justin Arthur, Archives Collections Specialist at The Walt Disney Studios. They started out the show with a shout-out from anyone who tweeted that they would be at the show. I was 1 of the 3 people they shouted out to, of course, and I embarrassingly said “Woo!” when they called my name. And as with the beginning of all Disney attractions, an announcement came over the loud speaker telling us the theater would be moving backwards (into Disney history) and made a joke about pin lanyards.
Throughout the show, Billy and Justin went back and forth introducing different anniversaries, working from 1923, the start of the Walt Disney Company which is at it’s 90th Anniversary this year, all the way to the start of Animal Kingdom, Disney Cruise Line, and Mulan, from 1998, making this year their 15th Anniversary! Between each introduction from this duo, we saw pictures, audio clips, and film from what they were talking about. Most of it was footage rarely seen or heard!
Here are some notable points and facts from the presentation:
- This year marks Mickey’s 85th Birthday
- Disney Legend, Ub Iwerks would produce roughly 700 drawings per day! The average animator today produces about 82 a week!
- John Hench was the official portrait artist of Mickey Mouse for his Birthday portraits. We watched a clip of him speaking about the birthday portraits and he said that he painted this portrait (to the right) of Mickey with long pants instead of his usual shorts because, “he should have long pants by now.” The whole theater laughed at that, and we all sighed at the end of his interview when he got teary eyed and told Mickey Mouse, “I learned to love you a lot.”
- We watched a commercial called “The Collector,” which reminded me a lot of all of us. It was of a man who collected everything Disney, from an alarm clock, to Mickey ears on the top of his car!
- We watched rare footage depicting how Walt, Frank Churchill, and crew came up with the song “Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?”
- True Life Adventures brought on some interesting video segments, including “Scorpion Dance,” (watch it on YouTube, if you can) which was… weird… If you haven’t seen it, the clip is footage of 2 scorpions edited to look like they are doing a barn dance. We also watched a clip of a duck sliding on ice into a group of other ducks. The scene cut out right before the duck fully crashed into the rest of the others. Seeing this, Walt kept asking the film makers where the rest of the footage was. They explained over and over that they shut off the camera before it happened and the footage didn’t exist. Walt wasn’t impressed and told them to find the rest of the footage. After an exhausted attempt with no luck on finding the non-existent footage, the film makers made a trip up to Minnesota and filmed ducks there. Knowing that this opportunity wouldn’t naturally happen again, the film makers literally picked up ducks and slid them into the other ducks! When Walt saw the footage, he said, “I knew you had it.” Hah!
- Peter Pan‘s 60th Anniversary was introduced with the help of the Magic Mirror, which lead into a segment with a 3D depiction of a spinning Tinkerbell, by Marc Davis, which might not seem impressive until you realize it was drawn, frame by frame, without the aid of computer graphics.
- Ben and Me (60th Anniversary) and Hocus Pocus (20th Anniversary) had ties to Massachusetts! This was a great shout-out for our Boston-crowd!
- It was the 55th Anniversary for the Columbia ship replica, which used to sail around the Rivers of America, is now used in Disneyland’s Fantasmic as Captain Hook’s ship!
- With the 50th Anniversary of Summer’s Magic, they showed a poster of the movie which displayed Richard and Robert Sherman’s names. It was a great opportunity to talk about them, but they didn’t. I had high hopes though, because next they talked about the 50th Anniversary of the Tiki Room, and I thought for sure we would hear about our guest from the Dream Cruise, but no luck. It was finally when they mentioned Meet the World, that our dear friend was finally mentioned!
- Tony Baxter spoke of the 30th Anniverary of the original New Fantasyland in Disneyland. He said it was scary because when they dismantled the old Fantasyland, the Fantasyland Theater was laying on the ground with the lights that were supposed to hang up around it laying around in the dirt. The timer for the lights was activated and all of a sudden, all of the lights were on. He said to the others working on the project (and of course, I am always paraphrasing here), “This is the heart of Disneyland!… What have we done!?” In this interview, he said that all the love and attention that they originally put into Storybookland is what they think the original Imagineers would have wanted to do full scale if they had the budget to do it at the time and that what they were doing with the New Fantasyland would be fulfilling that wish.
- We watched a promo for Horizons. I know all of you Horizons fans would have loved it! I was never able to experience it, though.
- We were showed a Maelstrom promo photo and our hosts pointed out that the actors were staring in amazement at a wall, which anyone who actually rode it could discover… hah!
- Tim Burton worked on a project called Hansel and Gretel which only aired once because it freaked the executives out a little too much!
- We saw Disney’s Animal Kingdom‘s original carousel idea, which you might remember from this past blog post. The idea was ex-ed because it was too glitzy to fit into AK’s conservation message.
- It was great to learn about the animator’s 3 week trip to China to do research for Mulan!
- And of course, Disney Cruise Line was mentioned since this year marks the 15th Anniversary! It’s a special place for our WDWRadio family!
Highlights of the show (for me, anyway):
- We saw a Tokyo Disneyland Commercial from 1983. It may have been one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen. It includes Mickey Mouse in a line with a small group of men and woman, doing such ridiculous choreographed, synchronized dance moves. That wasn’t even the best part. They were singing “I’m Walking Right Down the Middle of Main St. USA,” in Japanese, in an empty theme park. I guess you probably had to see it to think it was funny, though, but the whole theater was cracking up in their seats!
- The Alice in Wonderland Attraction dedication video topped the hilarity of the Tokyo Disneyland video, but for a different reason. Have you ever seen what the 1958 version of Mickey Mouse in the theme parks looked like? Sorry if I am about to scar you for life, but here it is:I didn’t want to have to show you that, but it was necessary for you to understand that we watched that face ride with “Alice” and Walt in a 2 minute-or-so video. To top it off, the bunny character with them had a mask that didn’t cover the back of his head, so a full head of hair and bare neck was poking out, and that key Walt is taking from Alice… well only one side is painted and it was flopping all over the place. Hilarious commentary during the clip was done by our hosts Billy and Justin, such as, “The next clip we are about to see is funny… well, more like.. creepy,” “That kind of looks like the rabbit from Donnie Darko,” and, (in reference to the rabbit) “His roots are showing.”
- Welcome to Pooh Corner was mentioned because of the 30th Anniversary of the Disney Channel. This was one of my favorite shows growing up!
- During the Nightmare Before Christmas portion of the show, Disney Archives Specialist Justin Arthur slipped on a pair of white gloves and uncovered what was hiding under a black sheet. From under it he pulled out an original prop from the movie! It was a jack-o-lantern! I was super excited! There was a hole underneath to put in a light to light it up when necessary, and it was made of foam and rubber. We were able to take a picture of it after the show!
- During the pumpkin reveal, he also pulled out the gaucho doll that Walt was given as a gift during his trip to South America! It was made from felt, with a tag on the arm that said “To: Walt Disney” and it was still in great condition. I wasn’t able to get a picture of this, but here is one I found from D23’s website! Does the doll look like Walt? Because it is supposed to be a caricature of him!
If there are still tickets available to an upcoming D23 Fanniversary in your city, you MUST go! You’ll be happy you did!
Angie has been a WDW addict since her first visit at age 8, and since then her life has never been the same! She lives in southeastern MA with her boyfriend, Kevin (fellow Disney lover), and their 3 dogs, Flip, Josie, and Hildy, where she is currently training to become a professional dog trainer. Please join Angie every week in “Fish Are Friends, Not Food: Eating Vegan in WDW!” Angie believes that WDW is the most magical place for people with special diets, so, should you have any special diet questions (especially about vegan and gluten-free dining) she’d be happy to help! Angie is also an artist, and you can see her work at www.angiecarreiro.com!