Oh my, it’s been awhile, hasn’t it? Well, for several reasons, I was really stressed out over something, which I hope to share soon, and my summer cold has been dragging on and on. But I still managed to get myself to the Anaheim Convention Center this weekend for D23 Expo.

So, what is D23, you ask? D23 is hailed as “The Ultimate Disney Fan Event”. It is an event hosted by Disney to celebrate Disney, the old and the new, and all forms, such as films, parks, and products. In a way, it’s basically like ComicCon, but strictly Disney (which of course now includes Lucasfilm and Marvel). There are booths to shop at, actors and artists doing signings, exhibits to explore, and of course panels to sit in on – most of which did not allow photos.

This was my first D23 (and only the fourth that the Company has hosted) and I was super excited, especially with the newly added Walt Disney Archives Stage, a platform for the Archives to present unique looks back at Disney’s past. Another panel that offered a peek into Disneyland’s history was hosted by Charles Phoenix. I have been a fan of Phoenix’s work for a long time, but it was the first time I heard him speak, and it was a delight to see old images of Disneyland and hear him tell stories. We also attended a panel on the shortly lived Don DeFore’s Silver Banjo Barbecue, which was hosted by DeFore’s sons, and a panel, similar to Phoenix’s, but hosted by Disney archivists, sharing images and information about long since gone Disneyland attractions. But by far the highlight of the entire event was Disneyland: The Exhibit, presented by the Archives. So read on if you’re a Disneyland fan, and would like a peek at some of Disneyland’s most unique artifacts! 

Above is the first ever Disneyland ticket, which was purchased by than Roy O. Disney, Walt Disney’s brother. While Walt is often given all of the credit for Disneyland, and there is no arguing that he was the creative force behind the park, but Disneyland would  not have happened without Roy, as he was the man that held the purse strings. Often Walt would come up with an idea, and go to Roy to make it happen.

Another important first, the first employee badge. Originally employees, later to be called Cast Members, were issued numbers. Walt was of course Number One.

The image above really touched me. I know it’s a tad bit hard to read, so I encourage clicking it to enlarge the image, it is the draft for the plaques that hang above the tunnels that go under the railroad as you enter into Disneyland. Walt personally altered the text here, and drew images for where the plaques were to go. I loved seeing his personal touch on something that I love reading when visiting the park.

In 1963, the Haunted Mansion’s facade was completed. And it would stand for six years until it was opened in the public in 1969. To celebrate its opening, Disney made a special, offering a glimpse into its construction with host Kurt Russell, and later he would visit the attraction with The Osmonds, and this sweater was worn by one of the brothers.

But my favorite bit of the exhibit was the Fantasmic area. Fantasmic continues to be my favorite show at Disneyland, and to see the original Maleficent dragon head up close was a so cool!

Other highlights of D23, which happened at panels I did not attend, were that of Disney Parks and Resorts announcing the addition of Star Wars Land at both Disneyland and Walt Disney World, as well as WDW expanding to include Toy Story Land.

We did quite a bit of shopping as well, purchasing with several shirts and pins, most of which came from the booth full of exclusive Imagineering merchandise. I’m sure each item will be showcased eventually over the course of our visits to Disneyland.

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