Last night, Disney’s D23 held a private after-hours event for members who attended its (slightly early) first anniversary party in which most of the existing Fantasyland was turned into a bounty of attractions, unique character meet and greet experiences and dessert party.
Aside from the party, there were two key events. The first of which was a buffet style dinner inside the Diamond Horseshoe in which D23 head Steven Clark offered a presentation concerning the first anniversary of the first official community for Disney fans.
Introduced by Walt Disney World ambassador Clay Shoemaker, Clark talked about his own personal experience as a fan prior to joining the company, attending an event in the early 90s in which many Disney legends (past, present and future) were in attendance and presented upcoming projects from The Walt Disney Company. He spoke of meeting Walt Disney Studios archivist Dave Smith whom he had recognized from Dave’s column in Disney Channel magazine. He spoke fondly of Smith’s warmth and how Smith had offered him a private tour of the Studios in Burbank. Clark recalled how he had encountered a custodian with a fanny pack at the Studios and watched as a squirrel ran up the custodian’s leg, took food out of the fanny pack and ran off, appearing to gesture a thank you along the way. It was then, Clark notes, he knew he ‘was at Disney.’ Clark then led the room in a toast saluting D23 and its members and both of their successes. He introduced several key members of the D23 group that were in attendance (and a couple that were not) and spoke of their contributions to the success of the club and the expo.