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Trip Reports & Member Reviews Discuss D23's Magic and Merriment trip report... in the Vacation Planning forums; I took video of all of the presentations during the Magic and Merriment event, but have not finished encoding them, so give me some time and they will show up ...
  1. #1
    Jaxum's Avatar
    Jaxum is offline D-Ticket Holder
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    D23's Magic and Merriment trip report... Now w/ video!!

    I took video of all of the presentations during the Magic and Merriment event, but have not finished encoding them, so give me some time and they will show up over the next week or so. Also, if you went to the event please please please share your experiences with everyone. Different stories make a better picture and more enjoyable for all. So here it goes...

    While I was driving out of the parking lot near the Magic Kingdom, a mist and fog covered everything around me. Space Mountain, the Contemporary and Bay Lake Towers, the resorts across the lake, and Cinderella Castle all looked like mirage's hovering around me. They glowed and shimmered as if they were to good to be true, and made me wonder if the past 48 hours were as well.
    I had just spend the last two days basking in the greatest Disney trip I have ever taken.

    None of the 200 participants could believe that we were there as everyone gathered together on Saturday morning outside of the Odyssey Club in EPCOT. Most of the guests had picked up their park tickets and the itinerary of the upcoming events at Guest Services just outside the gates.

    The envelope they gave us contained two one day one park passes, two one day Disney Quest passes and double sided page for the itinerary. As we came up to the check in desk, Jeffery and other D23 cast members checked our photo ID, D23 card, and the confirmation letter that was sent out from the order. With that done, they handed over the big packet with a cord lanyard with our D23 credential hanging from it, along with a welcome letter and several pages of biographical information about the people that were about to speak to us and several park maps.


    After Jeffery told us again for the third time to keep the pass around our necks, I entered the Odyssey Club and got into a second line for scheduling the Castle Suite tour for Sunday afternoon. While waiting to sign up, another Cast Member was showing us the new D23 Magazine case they are releasing and forms to order if we were interested. The second Cast Member has handing out a cookbook to the D23 members. Someone pointed out that is the same book they gave out during the "Sip and Stroll" event during Food and Wine. When we finally signed up for our tour everyone was free to mingle and find seats for the 10:00 AM presentation. They also had soda, water, coffee, tea, and hot chocolate readily available for the guests. I made sure at this time to get myself a back row seat so that I could record this event. At this point I realized how few people were going to be taking part in this event. With only 200 people, it was half of those that attended the Candlelight Spectacular in Disneyland the previous week. It really gave it a more special and intimate feeling for all who were there.

    At the end of each part of the presentations they brought something new out for us. One time was a packet of fastpasses, six for EPCOT rides and seven more for the Magic Kingdom. The second item they handled out was a Santa Mickey hat, and the third item was right after the gingerbread chefs which was a gingerbread man and/or a gingerbread Mickey head. To finish it up D23 brought out a special guest, Christmas Stitch for pictures and such. All in all, it meant a trip back out to the car to drop it off since I didn't have a bag large enough to carry it all.

    When the presentations concluded, we were informed that the Odyssey Club would be available to us up until 4:30, and that drinks would be made available for the whole time and they added wi-fi if people wanted to bring their laptops and use the Internet there. This came in handy for my iPhone since my phone network isn't always speedy in the parks. I did go back to the club a few times during the day, and would find different people in there resting, talking, and even some times sleeping and really just enjoying the hospitality lounge they provided for us. It gave us that one extra touch that keeps it special.



    At around a quarter after 4:00 PM, several of us started heading over to the American Pavilion as they wanted us to start showing up at 4:30 for seating.
    The venue was much smaller then I was expecting to see. They had us sitting in the back sections for the show. Now, this was not a bad spot at all since it is tiered seating and no matter where you were, unless you were behind some one much taller then you, you were able to see most of the stage. The trees could be an obstacle for several spots, but a little neck bending could get you past it to see what was going on. While the performance was very good, I ended up recording the ASL sign language person because he was so expressive with his form of singing.
    When the performance came to an end, the D23 staff had us stay in our seats until everyone else had left so that they could escort us backstage to the buses taking us to Disney's Hollywood Studios for the next events.

    The buses pulled up to the "Lights, Motors, Action!" set, and as we walked through the tunnel we got an ever increasing view of the show stage with cast member servers on the other side of the bridge waiting for us to cross and offering different wines or beers. If you didn't care for these, there was a drink station by the buffet tables with sodas, water, and I believe juices. Up on the main LED screen was a greeting for the D23 attendees. It was a great opportunity to be able to stand on the set of this show and not feel like you were be overly watched. They were free with everyone to take all the photos, video, whatever we felt like while we waited for everything to start up.
    The food was very good. Everything was served up buffet style, and there was plenty for everyone. It was truly a Christmas/Holiday dinner. This also gave everyone a chance to sit down and meet more people of a Disney persuasion or catch up with others we already knew and talk about what we had seen so far.

    When the dinner was completed around 8:00 PM, the park was closing down, so they walked us backstage again to the alley between Prince Caspian and Toy Story Midway Mania. This was to be our "Last Ride of the Night" mini event before the desert party. While they put us all in the Fast Pass lane, and for the first half of the group we still merged with the park guests that were still waiting on their own "Last Ride of The Night". Everyone had fun on the ride and most were comparing scores at the end to see who did the best. I got 235,400. Not too shabby! A few minutes after we came out, they offered to let people back in since they weren't quite ready for us at the Desert Party. This time I only got 224,100. My arm was tired!
    The Desert Party gave us a chance to mingle again while they served bread pudding, fruits, and other items. Fortunately they seemed to be as eager as the guests to move on, and escorted us down a dark New York Street to a platform set about half way down in front of the toy soldiers along with the light switch to turn it all on.
    John Fielding was introduced and gave us a fascinating story about the history of the lights from his point of view as he was the primary person at Disney for getting the lights brought to the park. He talked about the setup and the new upgrades and also some of the little known secrets about the display. When he finished up with this portion, he asked a young boy to come up and turn the lights on for us. Wow! The feeling of seeing the lights, hearing and feeling the music was unbelievable. I was over come with awe at what they had here. Pictures and stories from others just do not do this justice. I fell in love with the display and have found another reason to go to WDW every holiday season.
    Finally they turned off the lights and started to gather everyone up to get us back on the buses. A nice parting song was playing in the background, "A Charlie Brown Christmas". As we got to our rides, they handed everyone a D23 ornament as a keepsake. Watching the lights was, I would say, the best way to end a holiday evening, and I wish I could end every night like that.


    Sunday was a more mellow day, but not any less exciting. They didn't have us get together until the 11:00 AM lunch at the Diamond Horseshoe Saloon in Frontierland. This was also another time where all of us had to explain to passerby's what D23 was and that the restaurant was only open for a private event. I have to admit I was so glad they went with lunch food for this lunch. I know that sounds strange, but it was not going to be heavy on everyone before going out to the parks later on. It was a good mixture of sandwiches, turkey, grilled vegetable, and pulled pork. Plenty of different drinks, and a small dessert bar.


    When Becki from D23 got up, she announced that someone in the room, picked by a piece of paper taped to the bottom of someones chair, would be be given a special opportunity. The winner, which was not me, was going to be the Grand Marshal of the parade that day. After Jeffery finished up on some of house keeping items for us, he let everyone know that we would have the Liberty Belle from 7:00 PM till midnight as a hospitality area, and that the D23 cast members would be there from 7:00 to 7:45 PM to say goodbye. He also gave a reminder to be fifteen minutes early to our tour of the Cinderella Castle Suite at the Sleepy Hollow area. They also handed out our passes for "Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party" so we could be admitted.

    At this point we were free do do what we wanted around the park. I ended up at the waiting spot around 30 minutes early and spend all of it talking to the D23 cast members about the past events and was able to hear a few of the ideas they may work on. But I was sworn to secrecy, so I can't share with you what they may be, so watch their site!

    When our groups time came, we were escorted by one of the parks cast members up to the castle while she pointed out the windows that we will soon be seeing from the other side. Once inside by the tile mosaics, our tour guide explained some of the architecture styles we would be seeing up there, and some of the history of the room before and after the changes. When the previous group came out the door, we were handed off to the next tour guide, and showed us the concierge desk, the tiling on the floor, and the grandfather clock that is stopped one minute before midnight, because the fun must end at midnight, and who wants to see that happen. He also gave us some details about the elevator we would be going in, and was correct that we would all be close friends! Upon exiting the elevator, saw more tile work on the floor as our third tour guide explained it in more detail along with the glass slipper, crown, and pumpkin in the corner case. She also pointed out the three art pieces were from the storyboards for the movie. From there she brought us in the main room of the suite. It's small! It was awesome, but it's small! Our current tour guide explained that she was used to this reaction from guests, and then proceeded to tell us some of the finer details in the different rooms. There are three rooms. The main room with two double beds, the sitting room, and the bathroom. The construction and details looked incredible and you just wanted to beg to stay the night in there. We were given about 10 to 15 minutes up in the suite, and then handed back to the second tour guide and brought back down to the concierge room. After thanking us for coming he gave us each a Cinderella Suite room key similar to what you have out at in the different resorts. Upon the completion of the tour, our group was free to do as we pleased in the park.


    The last event that was planned for D23's Magic and Merriment was "Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party".

    And, as we were told, the Liberty Belle was docked and ready for us. They had cookies, hot drinks, cold water, and smiling faces everywhere. Several of us spent a while on the dock talking and then headed over to the D23 section for the parade. There were two spots across from each other down in Town Square on Main Street. Plenty of room for all that wanted to see it from there, and the area was also reserved for the 10:30 parade if we chose to see it then also. After the parade several of us agreed to meet back up in a while at the Liberty Belle and take in a few rides, and relax on the dock again. We made sure we got emails, Facebook accounts, and other information before saying our final farewells.
    Towards the end of the night, you could see it in people's faces that they didn't want the night, let alone the weekend experiences to end. I took my time walking down Main Street, with the snow still falling, trying to take in as much as I could before having to make my last exit of this trip under the train station and through the turn stiles.

    Maybe this is why as I drove away that everything around me looked like a dream. It was as good as any I could imagine.
    Last edited by Jaxum; 12-18-2009 at 10:50 PM. Reason: Added to the title
    Jaxum- Disneyland Aficionado!
    Disneyland, WDW, and DLPR Annual Passholder
    D23 1st Day Charter Member
    My Disneyland and WDW videos and photos!
    http://youtube.com/tkfore21 .... http://www.flickr.com/photos/jaxum_readis/sets/


    Disney days for 2009:
    Disneyland:(27) / Tokyo Parks:(4) / WDW:(19)
    Total Days in the parks for 2009: 50!
    Disney Days for 2010:
    Disneyland: (27) / WDW:(31) / DLRP: (6)
    Total Days in the parks for 2010: 63!
    Disney Days for 2011:
    Disneyland: (0) / WDW:(17)
    Total Days so far in the parks for 2010: 17!

    D23 and Other events:
    Expo '09, Candlelight Spectacular '09, Magic and Merriment '09, D23 Anniversary DL/WDW, Studio Tour April '10, Disney Archives 40th Anniversary, Destination D: Disneyland 55, Disneyland Scavenger Hunt, Sip and Stroll '10, Tangled Screening, TRON Pop-up Shop, Magic & Merriment '10, Everest Challenge '09, Adventurer's Club Weekend '09, DL Candlelight '09, Gumball Rally '10, WDW Radio 24 Hour Live Show '10, Disneyland's 55th Anniversary, Pacific Northwest Mouse Meet '10, Mickey's Halloween 5k '10,WDW Radio Walkabout '10, ConGaloosh '10, DL Candlelight '10

  2. #2
    disneymystic's Avatar
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    Re: D23's Magic and Merriment trip report...

    I could write my own full trip report but Jaxum covered most of it so I'll just add things I saw and felt. PS: If you look at the pic from in the Diamond Horseshoe, I'm the big guy sitting way in the back by the stage. Amy must have been getting the drinks.

    Ok, so I got off work and drove down with Amy from SC. We got there about 11 pm and I was more than slightly beat. The cast member handling our reservation at Saratoga Springs started everything perfectly. She gave us buttons celebrating us being there and gave Amy about 30 Mickey stickers. She was wearing them like a big sash on the way out. We checked in and was greeted by a towel elephant. She loves elephants so she was happy. Me? I fell on the bed and was out like a light after doing my one thing I do every time. I turn the TV onto the resort channel and listen to the music.

    We got there at the opening and got our pack with no problems. I went to get Soaring passes (if only we knew) and that was a bit of a mistake. For anyone reading, everyone goes there when the rope drops with the same idea. We got to Odyssey and just was excited. To be part of such an event was wonderful for us and felt very special. I was a little disappointed with the first presenter as she doesn't seem very into it but when the chefs came on, you could tell they was passionate about their work. They were joking and alot of fun to listen to. While one was talking, the other decorated a gingerbread house from scratch. That house was given away as a gift (I'll put pictures up soon). Jaxum was right about the amount of gifts they gave. Amy loves free stuff so she was happy. The fastpasses was great but we gave out most of ours. We used a pair for Test Track and gave all the ones for Epcot away. We enjoyed our day, eating at Germany for lunch (Amy had to say to me over and over I was right for all the times I pushed for us to have lunch there. She said it was now her favorite Epcot place to eat). The biggest worry I was having was it looked like it was going to rain at any moment, especially during the Processional. It didn't and it was, as always, very moving (Warning: don't see American Adventure right before. You will wind up crying from the sheer force of the two back to back).

    It was very cool to be on the Lights, Camera, Action set. They really did things up including a Red Carpet leading in. It felt special and we got to talk to some nice D23 members. I want to take a moment to also say how great it was to meet some forum members. Usually, people think I'm odd for loving Disney like I (and we) do. My family REALLY thinks I'm weird, like I should grow up already..

    NEVER!!!!

    Ok, back to the dinner. The food was excellent. Amy loved the Peppercorn Prime Rib with the Sun-dried tomato Tarragon sauce. I have to admit it was pretty good too. Oh and the Crab and Lobster mashed potatos was right up there for her. Me? I liked the Pork loin with Apple relish and cranberry ju. No matter what we got, it was really really good. We was still full from Germany but somehow that food made us eat more (like that is a bad thing at Disney). From there it was a walk to Toy Story Mania. We went twice and I have to say the best I could do was 196000ish. I'll get you next time Jaxum! Off to the desert which was subdued, mainly cause most of us was getting tired. That being said..the two bread puddings offered was yum yum. Amy liked the butterfinger bread pudding while I prefered the Honey granola one. (you will see..we like food and trying new things).

    I wish I could remember the name of the presenter Jaxum talked about. He kept thinking he was talking too long, I wanted him to talk more. To hear how the Lights came to the Studios from a different angle was great. When he asked the crowd if he was talking too much, there was a very loud NO. I think he was the best presenter of the event. The part that touched me and Amy the most was right before the switch, he asked the boy what he would wish for. The kid said snow and they turned on the snow machines. That was the one thing Amy wanted to see. We was hoping to see it on Main Street..this was much more magical. Imagine being one of 200 people standing there when the lights turn on, when the music plays. It's almost humbling as the vastness of the display. Amy and I wanted to stay forever (we was like one of the last to be moved to the busses). Oh and the parting song is the Charlie Brown christmas song they play as you see them skating.

    Ok, so the transportation at the end was a little mixed up but it wasn't that bad. It was easily the best time I ever had at Disney.

    Day two was alot more mellow. I will say the lunch..WOW. The pulled pork BBQ sandwich was the best by most people's vote but we got to have THE Monte Cristos. Yes, THOSE from Disneyland. I had never got to have it and I say the hype was worth it. Amy was all over the Butterfinger tarts (she likes butterfingers, what can I say).

    The Suite? ..I hate to say I was slightly underwhelmed just cause the size was alot smaller than I expected. I wouldn't want to spend more than 2 nights there BUT it was beautiful. Pictures coming. The only downside of this day was Amy and I was beat. We actually skipped the fireworks and parade (I know I know but we b0th agreed we got a whole lot of magic from the entire time, that and we had a long drive tomorrow and I had work that next day after the drive). We did take the boat across the lake to the Grand Floridian so that peaceful darkness was a perfect end.


    Final word? If this is what D23 has in mind for the future, count me a lifetime member. The staff was true fans of Disney. They did it cause they are like us. It felt like everything I ever wanted from the magic.

    wow.

    WISH LIST
    Stayed in Bay Lake Tower: Check
    Seen the Cinderella Suite: Check
    Propose at Disney World: Check
    Married At Disney World: Pending (eventually)
    Worked at Disney World: Double Check
    Travel to Other Disney Parks: Tokyo Check
    Victoria And Albert's Chef Table: Waiting
    Become A Part of WDW Radio Forums: DONE

  3. #3
    NC_WDW_Daddy's Avatar
    NC_WDW_Daddy is offline Annual Passholder
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    Re: D23's Magic and Merriment trip report...

    Great reports and photos, thanks for sharing.

  4. #4
    Jaxum's Avatar
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    Re: D23's Magic and Merriment trip report... Now w/ Video!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by NC_WDW_Daddy View Post
    Great reports and photos, thanks for sharing.
    Like I said. I was glad to be a part of it and be able to share it with others. Now for the fun stuff! I'm going to start adding the video that I shot during the event. Here's the first one. THis isthe Welcome Presentation from Sat. morning:

    Part 1
    YouTube - D23: Welcome to Magic and Merriment Part 1

    Part 2
    YouTube - D23: Welcome to Magic and Merriment Part 2

    Part 3
    YouTube - D23: Welcome to Magic and Merriment Part 3

    Part 4
    YouTube - D23: Welcome to Magic and Merriment Part 4

    Part 5
    YouTube - D23: Welcome to Magic and Merriment Part 5

    Part 6
    YouTube - D23: Welcome to Magic and Merriment Part 6
    Jaxum- Disneyland Aficionado!
    Disneyland, WDW, and DLPR Annual Passholder
    D23 1st Day Charter Member
    My Disneyland and WDW videos and photos!
    http://youtube.com/tkfore21 .... http://www.flickr.com/photos/jaxum_readis/sets/


    Disney days for 2009:
    Disneyland:(27) / Tokyo Parks:(4) / WDW:(19)
    Total Days in the parks for 2009: 50!
    Disney Days for 2010:
    Disneyland: (27) / WDW:(31) / DLRP: (6)
    Total Days in the parks for 2010: 63!
    Disney Days for 2011:
    Disneyland: (0) / WDW:(17)
    Total Days so far in the parks for 2010: 17!

    D23 and Other events:
    Expo '09, Candlelight Spectacular '09, Magic and Merriment '09, D23 Anniversary DL/WDW, Studio Tour April '10, Disney Archives 40th Anniversary, Destination D: Disneyland 55, Disneyland Scavenger Hunt, Sip and Stroll '10, Tangled Screening, TRON Pop-up Shop, Magic & Merriment '10, Everest Challenge '09, Adventurer's Club Weekend '09, DL Candlelight '09, Gumball Rally '10, WDW Radio 24 Hour Live Show '10, Disneyland's 55th Anniversary, Pacific Northwest Mouse Meet '10, Mickey's Halloween 5k '10,WDW Radio Walkabout '10, ConGaloosh '10, DL Candlelight '10

  5. #5
    williams is offline C-Ticket Holder
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    Re: D23's Magic and Merriment trip report...

    What an incredible occasion! I hope in the future D23 broadcasts the events a wee bit earlier, as this one was broadcasts just after we had made plans to be there the week before. We definitely would have not wanted to miss this if we could have planned it!


    Best Regards,

  6. #6
    Jaxum's Avatar
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    Re: D23's Magic and Merriment trip report...

    So, it's been a bit since the event, but I still have video to share! So here is John Phelan, the Show Director, sharing with us how the Osbourne Lights came to the Disney Parks.
    Enjoy!

    Part 1:
    YouTube - D23: The story behind the Osbourne Lights Part 1

    Part 2:
    YouTube - D23: The story behind the Osbourne Lights Part 2

    Part 3:
    YouTube - D23: The story behind the Osbourne Lights Part 3

    Part 4:
    YouTube - D23: The story behind the Osbourne Lights Part 4
    Jaxum- Disneyland Aficionado!
    Disneyland, WDW, and DLPR Annual Passholder
    D23 1st Day Charter Member
    My Disneyland and WDW videos and photos!
    http://youtube.com/tkfore21 .... http://www.flickr.com/photos/jaxum_readis/sets/


    Disney days for 2009:
    Disneyland:(27) / Tokyo Parks:(4) / WDW:(19)
    Total Days in the parks for 2009: 50!
    Disney Days for 2010:
    Disneyland: (27) / WDW:(31) / DLRP: (6)
    Total Days in the parks for 2010: 63!
    Disney Days for 2011:
    Disneyland: (0) / WDW:(17)
    Total Days so far in the parks for 2010: 17!

    D23 and Other events:
    Expo '09, Candlelight Spectacular '09, Magic and Merriment '09, D23 Anniversary DL/WDW, Studio Tour April '10, Disney Archives 40th Anniversary, Destination D: Disneyland 55, Disneyland Scavenger Hunt, Sip and Stroll '10, Tangled Screening, TRON Pop-up Shop, Magic & Merriment '10, Everest Challenge '09, Adventurer's Club Weekend '09, DL Candlelight '09, Gumball Rally '10, WDW Radio 24 Hour Live Show '10, Disneyland's 55th Anniversary, Pacific Northwest Mouse Meet '10, Mickey's Halloween 5k '10,WDW Radio Walkabout '10, ConGaloosh '10, DL Candlelight '10

  7. #7
    pranker51502's Avatar
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    Re: D23's Magic and Merriment trip report...

    So cool! Thanks for sharing the pictures and the videos!


    Annual Passholder: '06,'07,'08,'09,'10,'11




  8. #8
    Mary jo's Avatar
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    Re: D23's Magic and Merriment trip report...

    Jaxum and Disneymystic, Thank you so much for sharing the detail on this once-in-a-lifetime event. This event sounded so much like an Adventures By Disney trip report. They thought of all the details! The little extra touches (santa hat, fast passes, ornament, etc) really make you feel special. I know if I had been there it would have been hard to have gone home.
    I'm glad that you all were able to get tickets for this as well. I have heard other friends say that they were unable to get them and they had tried immediately as they were released.
    I am hoping to attend the D23 Anniversary Event on March 5th. I'm crossing my fingers on the tickets. The good news is supposedly there will be more tickets available for this event.
    Mary Jo
    Listen for Storytime with MoJo

  9. #9
    drmom23 is offline A-Ticket holder
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    Re: D23's Magic and Merriment trip report...

    Loved the report! Thanks!

    A couple of questions...
    Was it difficult to get tickets to this event? When did they go on sale? I see they will do this again in 2010 and it's during a time we had already planned to be there. Are kids allowed to participate?

  10. #10
    drmom23 is offline A-Ticket holder
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    Re: D23's Magic and Merriment trip report...

    One more question...
    I saw that the park passes expired relatively quickly. Do you know if any concessions were made for people with annual passes?

    Thanks!

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