Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Events: D23 Expo 2015 (Part 2)

My D23 Expo 2015 trip continues! If you missed yesterday's write-up on the first day of the trip, be sure to check it out HERE.

After a good nights sleep, we were up and out the door early on Friday morning [August 14th]- eager to get a decent place in that tremendously long line of Disney fans outside of the convention center.

One of the very first sights walking up to the expo was that of a GIANT Buzz Lightyear balloon! This was a very cool surprise. I had seen this on TV (which made its debut during the 2008 Thanksgiving Day Macy's Parade), but it was so cool to actually see in person.

Luckily, our group had connections with someone near the front of the line! That helped a ton. You can see in the pic below that we were pretty close to the front doors. The line behind us went on and on and on and on...We literally couldn't find the end! We were very grateful with where we ended up.

The crew! Man, these guys are great. Here we have "Pirate" Steven (Disney Infinity Toy Box Master Artist), Steve C. (of Media Meltdown Mousecast), Steve's fantastic daughter Lyla, Will (of Disney Infinity TV) and myself. I'm so grateful for this group! Such good friends.

Lyla's backpack all decked out in Disney·Pixar! She's ready.

One of my favorite parts of the D23 Expo was meeting so many people that I had been familiar with on social media, but hadn't actually met in person. Standing just a few people behind us was the ever so awesome Jason Sasak of! Jason is a lifestyle blogger and Disney mega fan. Be sure to check out his site and follow him on Instagram and Twitter. Cheers Jason (P.S. So jealous of that Reyn Spooner Monsters University shirt)!

After waiting in line for a few hours, the time to go in had finally come. On our way through the door, we were given a free D23 bag for "swag", lanyards and an event guidebook. From there, the place was ours! But what to do first?

The first thing I did was hit the main show floor. I wandered around for a bit and soaked in all the magical things going on around me. For me, it was just nice to start things off easy and get acclimated to where everything was.

One of the first things that caught my eye was a D23 exclusive Cars character that I had no idea would be there! I was just aimlessly walking around when I stumbled across it there at the Mattel booth. Being a big Cars collector, I was totally thrilled. Be sure to check out my full post on that HERE!

Also at the Mattel booth was the debut of their brand new Cars "Precision Series"! This is a fantastic collection of new, highly detailed 1:55 scale cars and Radiator Springs playsets. Everything on the table in the pictures below will be released sometime within the next five years (starting with Flo's V8 Cafe this fall, Fillmore's Hut in the Spring of 2016 and Mater's Junkyard in the Fall of 2016- according the Mattel representative I talked to). Beyond those three sets, there were no additional release dates announced.

Man I wish I had the room (and the money) for something like this!

Across from the Mattel booth was the Pixar themed Disney Consumer Products area! I absolutely love how the walls were designed leading into that pavilion.

And here's a look at some of the great upcoming products that were featured in there-

I then, of course, made my way over to the Pixar Studios pavilion! This area was something I was really looking froward to. I was in Pixar heaven!

One of the outer walls was completely made up of Luxo Balls- what a sight to behold! Note: Be sure to visit my post HERE for more on the D23 exclusive Pixar ball that was given out to select attendees.

In the center was a big screen featuring a slideshow of countless The Good Dinosaur concept art images (set to calming instrumental music). It was really beautiful and tranquil! I spent a long time just being there and soaking it all in.

Note: On the next day of the expo, I took pictures of just about all the concept art featured in the look for that in tomorrow's update!

Finding Dory was also represented there with the film's logo and teaser images.

While I was just hanging out there, I hear "Hey Dan!" I turned around to find none other than Disney artist Dave Perillo! I had the privilege of meeting Dave at the Philadelphia Comic-Con this past May (see post HERE) and it was fantastic to meet up again. What a cool surprise...and what are the chances we were there in that spot at the same time? That place is huge!

You're the man Dave- great seeing you!

It was then time to start waiting in line for the Disney Animation panel. Again, the group I was with had some sort of connections and got us near the front of the line! Hey, I'll take it...that was awesome!

We got to our seats (which ended up being pretty good) and then another funny story happened...

While I was sitting there waiting for the presentation to start, I got a tap on the shoulder. I turned around and someone asked "Are you Dan the Pixar Fan?" A dedicated blog reader of mine, Paulina, was just a little ways back and had gotten that someone to get my attention. Though I only met her from afar, Paulina was incredibly nice as she generously passed up a few small Pixar items to me for my collection! Check out my posts on those HERE, HERE and HERE.

Thank you again! That was super thoughtful and it made my time there that much more magical.

The Disney Animation panel ended up being the crown jewel of the convention for me. Not only was it incredible that John Lassester was there in front of me hosting the panel, but what they showed was spectacular. As for Pixar, they showed us clips from/talked in detail about The Good Dinosaur, Finding Dory, Toy Story 4 and Coco (their previously untitled Dia de los Muertos film)!

Something that was very special for me was witnessing [live] the Toy Story 20th Anniversary celebration that the panel concluded with. Randy Newman came out and did a live piano/vocal performance of You've Got a Friend in Me and then Toy Story characters gathered on stage for a little reunion. And what's a celebration without confetti?

It's hard to describe, but during the tribute, I felt like I had come full circle in those 20 years since Toy Story was released in theaters. As a five year old watching the film when it came out, I was in awe. I couldn't get enough of it; and here I was 20 years later celebrating the film in the same room as the director and composer- still in awe. It was definitely emotional for me! Nostalgia hit me hard. 

After the panel, I was able to meet up with another couple Pixar fans that I knew from social media but had never bet before...Marco (along with his famed Pizza Planet truck) and Luis Saguar (of Pixar Brasil Blog)! It was so awesome meeting both of these guys. Good times!

Me and Marco
Me and Luis

I was so happy that I finally got the chance to check out the Pizza Planet Truck in person. Consider that crossed off my Pixar bucket list!

I absolutely loved all the truck's movie accurate details. It's like it literally jumped off the screen and into real life. Check out more pics below-

For more details on the Pizza Planet Truck, visit my post HERE.

Well, I'd say that day one of the expo was a huge success. I had an absolutely blast! I was able to see so many cool things and meet so many great people. I couldn't have asked for a better time, and yet this was only the beginning. Be sure to check back tomorrow for the exciting continuation of my D23 Expo trip...stay tuned!

No comments:

Post a Comment