There are a number of words one could use to describe the D23 Expo. Quiet, spacious, and peaceful probably are NOT ones most attendees would use to describe the experience…. In the hour prior to the opening of Expo, however, I was able to experience the calm before the merriment began. There was a palpable sense of anticipation in the air in that hour–I hope you can feel it in these images.
This image of Mickey just beckons attendees to join in the fun. It is positively enormous and can be seen from down the block. The light poles for blocks around the convention center also were lined with banners (with images of Chip and Dale) announcing the Expo.
Outside the Convention Center was a giant display–the Wafflenator–designed to advertise the Phineas & Ferb/Marvel crossover movie. Just in front of this massive structure (to be described later this week), press assembled on Friday morning. This just added to the crackling anticipation in the air.
After entering the convention center, massive tables held mountains of D23 Expo guide books. For a Disney fan, this book was like getting the Toys R Us Toy guide around the holidays–it held the delicious details of the magic that would unfold over the next 3 days.
Entering the first floor (of THREE!) on opening day, one was greeted with the overwhelming aroma of… CARPET! There were still a few little forklifts buzzing about, and some vacuum cleaners could be heard buzzing. Employees of the convention center could be seen stacking breakfast muffins at food kiosks. Otherwise, there was a sense of calm on this first morning.
Rounding the corner towards the Collectors’ Forum (where the WDW Radio-Mouse Fan Travel booth was located), one could see the curtained exhibit which would be unveiled on Saturday (more to come on that in Wednesday’s blog.) Note the lines of tape on the floor to the left of the photo. These were the queues where attendees would assemble in anticipation of meeting Disney celebrities for autographs and photographs. Disney personalities were scheduled through out the weekend, and rarely were these lines empty after this moment.
Probably most amazing–THIS is the preparation for the line of attendees awaiting to enter the D23 Dream Store. Inside, guests were tantalized by–among other things–Disney artwork, exclusive Vinylmations, handbags, Precious Moments dolls, and books. Throughout the weekend, Disney artists and authors were onhand to sign their works. Behind the store, a bank of approximately twenty cashiers were available to ring up purchases! In the background of the picture is the Collector’s Forum (our home away from home for the Expo). A huge purple banner with Ursula marks the forum, and just below that banner you can see the top of the Disney Cruise Line balloon sculpture peeking through.
I wish there were a way to capture the anticipation in these images… it was so tangible I have goosebumps as I reminisce. We hope that all the blogs over the course of this week help you to prepare for your future experiences!