Guest Author: Sherry Ford
Hi all and welcome to my recap of D23’s Disney Fanniversary 2013 hosted at the historical Orpheum Theatre in Phoenix, Arizona on March 6th. This year’s theme is Magical Milestones. A 90 minute journey through many of Disney’s milestones/anniversaries celebrated this year. The most notable milestone being; 90 years (1923) of Disney magic.
If you aren’t familiar with what D23 is I’ll give you a simple summation. It’s Disney’s official fan club. Throughout the year they host many members only events with the pièce de résistance of all those being the ultimate Disney fan experience, the D23 Expo. Check out d23.disney.go.com/ for more information.
Since California and Florida are the most common places for these events, it’s nice that the Fanniversary travels to several cities throughout the US giving members that aren’t able to do a lot of traveling a chance to attend a wonderful show in their hometown. If you aren’t a member, you should seriously reconsider. I’ve been a D23 member for 3 years and with my passion for Disney, it’s been a REAL blessing being one.
Now, as Mickey would say, “On with the show”….
In my typical over the top fanatic style, my husband and I arrived at the event well before the “please do not arrive more than 30 minutes prior to the show”. After all, I’ve attended these types of events in the past and I know that die-hard Disney fans always get there early. That same day, fortunately for me, the Disney Shareholders were hosting their meeting at the Orpheum Theatre as well. Getting there when we did allowed us a chance to see many of the ‘suits’ (a common catch phrase used when referring to the big wheels of the Disney Company) leaving that meeting. Being the big dork that I am I had hoped to catch a glimpse of Bob Iger or some Disney Legend, but no such luck. But that was okay, my heart was still beating a mile a minute in anticipation of viewing the presentation that was soon to come.
Once we arrived inside the theater we checked in and were given a program and commemorative D23 Fanniversary button. They were very cute with Chip and Dale (the mascots of D23) pictured on both. After check in we were given 3 books. They were promotional glossies of Brave, Wreck-It Ralph, and Frankenweenie and were very stunning. I was told that these had been given to members of the Academy during the voting period of the Oscars. Yeah…I was beyond happy with this gift!!! Have I mentioned yet how much I loooove being a member of D23??!!!
Taking my treasures with me, I rushed my husband to the front of the theater in hopes to get front row seats. The middle aisles were quickly filling so we made ourselves comfy 2nd row stage right. Pleasantly, no one sat in front of us so we were right in front of where the curators of the show were to host the presentation. Yay!! The mood in the auditorium was joyful. I enjoyed listening to the giddy crowd sharing their random stories of Disney. It was nice to be amongst my people!!
When the show began we were told to put our cell phones and cameras away. With the nature of what we were about to view they asked that we not take any pics. So as not to get kicked out of the event, I obliged. Then without further ado we were introduced to our presenters of the event, Rick Lorentz an archivist from the Disney Archives and Cynthia (couldn’t remember her last name) from D23. They were fun to listen to and had a great repoire while leading us through a journey of videos and pictures of the many anniversaries celebrating this year. We were encouraged to clap and sing along to tunes that we were familiar with, and of course to enthusiastically enjoy the clips and features that were shown. I had no problem with that because I gasped, sighed, and laughed aloud at many different moments. Garnering many smiles made by Rick from the stage. I robustly enjoy anything and everything Disney!!! No shame here!
The milestones were categorized every five years starting with the Disney Company’s 90th anniversary, Mickey and Minnie’s 85th anniversary, all the way to the 15th anniversary of Mulan. Each one was represented with facts, pictures, the occasional audio, and rare film or TV clips. The moments that always took my breath away were the ones of Walt. Other notable anniversaries were that of Peter Pan, The Enchanted Tiki Room, and Tokyo Disney. With all that we viewed that day it’s safe to say, Disney has a lot to be proud of this year with all the magical milestones that are being achieved in 2013.
After this wondrous journey ended the show didn’t stop there. Remember that share holders meeting I mentioned before? Welp, much to my astonishment, Steven Clark the head of D23 AND Roy P. Disney (grandson of Roy O. Disney, son of Roy E. Disney) were both there. And YES I got to chat with them and take pics. Ooooohhh happy day!!! I was seriously geeked out beyond belief. I mean, c’mon…Roy is Disney blood. That’s royalty in my eyes!!! He was very humble and was Steven. I was livin’ a dream I tell ya. Then after talking with them I stood in line to see up close the one Disney artifact that D23 brought with them. It was a gaucho doll given to Walt Disney by the Argentinean press members while he was researching in South America. I think they said for the movie Saludos Amigos and other South American Disney movies. According to the D23 website, “The doll is handcrafted and has a label wrapped around the right arm with a handwritten note, “To: Walt Disney.” The underside of the label displays the name, loosely translated as “Syndicate Press of Argentina.” The doll is a caricature of Walt, including his wide smile and trademark moustache”. Just looking at it you can tell it was intricately made and I thought the moustache was a really cute touch.
On a side note, while standing in line to see the doll, Roy and Steven walked out of the theater’s auditorium only to be surrounded by those of us still in the lobby waiting to see the doll. Not to appear over zealous, I remained in line, even though I was dying to go get an autograph (I didn’t have a pen earlier so I missed out on that moment). They were standing practically beside me and when there was a moment when they still had a pen in hand, I handed my program to Steven for his autograph who then graciously hand both pen and my program for Roy to sign. Oh yeah…SCORE!!! I love my Disney life!!!
All in all I thought this was a great tribute to Disney. I loved being there amongst others that also shared my love for Walt and the company he established. I felt the cost to get in was priceless compared to all the awesome history shared. Would I go again? Most definitely. Would pay to see it elsewhere? Probably not (except maybe to see it at the Walt Disney Studios in Burbank, CA). To this day I’m still on cloud 9 from the experience and I’m honored I get to share the pictures of my day with you. After all, I have a feeling, that if you’ve made it this far, you love Disney like I do. Oh, and by the way if you live in Seattle or Boston, as of 3/9/13 there are still tickets available for their shows. Fortunately, you don’t have to be a member of D23 to see the Fanniversary event. It just costs a little more as a non-member. Also, please keep in mind that the D23 members have priority seating.
Date: Sunday, March 24
Location: Boston Theatre 1 at the Revere Hotel (200 Stuart St., Boston, Massachusetts)
Time: 2 and 5 p.m.
Date: Friday, April 5
Location: Seattle Public Library in the Microsoft Auditorium on level 1 (1000 Fourth Ave, Seattle, WA; Access to the building for the event will be through the 4th Avenue entrance.)
Time: 7 p.m.
The Relocated Tourist is sponsored by “Magical Mouse Plans Travel“