Oh dear. With just two weeks or so left to go, the information on the 2011 Disney D23 Expo is pouring in so fast, I’m afraid that come the weekend, the update would be a novel, so I’m forced to make a mid-week update post to keep you informed on all the latest and greatest news emerging on the Disney D23 Expo that you’ll be hard-pressed to find most anywhere else. Heck, I’m not even sure where to begin.
First, if you haven’t caught it yet, be sure to check out our schedule additions from our friends at Disney Consumer Products that we prevealed yesterday. There are some phenomenal things going on at the Disney Living Pavilion including new, never-before-seen Disney Store merchandise, artist and designer signings and more, including details on the United States Postal Service ceremony for the Disney/Pixar postage stamps. The official press release is set to go out later today so there should be even more information soon.
Next, a bit of shameless self promotion, but in case you missed the banner above, our D23 Expo coverage is being sponsored by the Red Lion Hotel Anaheim, which I’m personally excited about, having wanting to stay there since the 2009 D23 Expo, but more information on that soon.
Although the schedule has really filled out this past week (with more to come!), there has been one significant change made that has somewhat gone under the radar (well, not our radar) and that is that the Walt Disney Studios presentation in the Arena on Saturday, August 20, has been extended by a full hour, with a half-hour on each side. Originally scheduled for 11 am – 12:30 pm, the presentation now runs from 10:30 am – 1:00 pm. Note there will be an electronics check for this presentation, presumably due to panic over leaked film footage, but according to Disney D23’s Jeffrey Epstein, this is the only presentation so far that will make attendees check their electronics at the door and it should be well worth it.
On the topic of the Studios presentation, one of the presenters will be Kevin Feige, President of Marvel Studios. Although we can and are expecting many great future projects from Marvel, the film of the hour is the A-List ensemble of The Avengers, with many wondering if talent from the film will show up at the presentation. According to this post from someone who claims to be in the know, while Marvel is preparing to ‘blow some major doors off,’ the prospect of any film talent showing up is unknown (there’s likely to be some, but who is another question), mostly due to current commitments — i.e., would Disney/Marvel hold up production for an appearance halfway across the country?
On the mobile front, we hear that Disney D23 will be releasing a mobile app for the Expo, but that’s all we know. A new @D23Expo account has been created which is designed to provide support for attendees during the event with @DisneyD23 providing more long-term announcements, but it’s advised to follow both since you never know what will come up. And of course, there’s always @StitchKingdom to bring you the latest in goings on.
Disney D23 has also been very active with updating the exhibitors list, which now includes major Disney licensees such as Ridemakerz and Build-A-Bear Workshop. In addition, as we previously noted when announcing the Disney Interactive Media Group presence, the highly anticipated ‘Disneyland Adventures’ for Xbox Kinect will be present, but at Microsoft’s own booth, which promises new levels that have not yet been explored elsewhere.
In addition to the major licensees, there are of course, many smaller, but no-less-impressive exhibitors, amongst which are the very talented artists who have worked on Disney and Disney/Pixar titles for BOOM! Kids, James Silvani, Amy Mebberson and Allen Gladfelter, who will be doing commissioned art for attendees (generally runs between $10-$20 per image for a 5×7 card). Silvani recently posted some sample art on his tumblr account and Mebberson notes that they will be accepting pre-orders from attendees very soon, which can save a lot of time on line while waiting for others’ to be done. Of course, there’s something to be said for watching the artist create your personalized art for you before your eyes too.
Check out the details on the Collectors Forum page for more details as well as how you can meet Disney icons such as Margaret Kerry, Paige O’Hara, Susan Egan and more, throughout the Expo.
Some additional details on the shopping experience have been added as well, including what types of items will be available at the Mickey’s of Glendale pop-up shop in the Disney Parks and Resorts Pavilion. Merchandise, all of which is generally exclusive to Cast Members (and limited access to boot), includes items for Aulani as well as items apparently referencing the New Fantasyland at Magic Kingdom.
We have also learned that Walt Disney Animation Studios will have a booth, or some kind of set up, and will be offering demos, such as the one on Friday, August 19, mentioned by Disney animator Chad Sellers on his blog.
Lastly (for now), several questions have been answered by Jeffrey Epstein over at MiceChat. Most of it isn’t really that revealing and much of it has nothing to do with the Expo, but worth noting is that the reported occupancy levels are 4,000 for the Arena, 750 for Stage 23 and 500 for Stage 28. Jeffrey also notes that Walt Disney World annual pass discounts will be honored at the Disney D23 Dream Store. If I recall correctly, in 2009, only Disneyland Premium APs were honored, so the WDW is a welcome addition, although there’s no mention of levels specifically, so it’s unclear if all passes will be honored with their respective discounts or if they still need to be premium.