Sunday, September 13, 2009
And so ends the Walt Disney Company's first D23 Expo...
It was a rather nice start to what will hopefully become a yearly tradition. It wasn't Comic-Con numbers, but that shouldn't be a desire anyway. This is the first year and it wouldn't be fair to compare it to the first year of Nerdvana. But it had quite a few people and quite long lines for many events. One of the biggest differences between this and San Diego is you actually had room to breath and the ability to move around without stepping on someones toes.
I wish I could have attended all four days, particularly Friday with all the Walt Disney Pictures announcements, but Saturday was my first day there. I arrived almost an hour before Jay's speech and the lines were already very long. By the time I got in, the room was probably 80% full already. There were many people who showed up and waited in line only to be told the arena was full.
When Jay Rasulo took the stage yesterday to a loud ovation, the crowd was anxious to here some surprising news and the Chairman (as Darth Vader called him) delivered. Jay seemed to be in a rush and many of his remarks appeared to be delivered as if he was in a hurry to get through them. Perhaps this explains why the Star Tours announcement came so quickly and felt rushed. It was almost an afterthought as he made his spiel with Vader, showed the clip and then essentially said: "Goodnight."
But there were a few nice expected/unexpected surprises. First off, he announced the expansion of the Magic Kingdom's Fantasyland that we broke here over a year ago. The Star Tours news was brief, but had a nice humorous back and forth between an evil Sith Lord and Darth Vader... wait, I mean Chairman Jay Rasulo and Darth Vader. They showed one tour where you were participating in Pod Racing. Jay conveniently left out the details of the attraction which are actually still being finalized. As I mentioned in an earlier post, perhaps they're waiting for next year's D23 Expo to shine the light on more details. But the entire interior and design of the queue area is supposed to receive an overhaul that will give the ride a much snazzier new feel. Another thing the Chairman didn't mention was that there will be a few familiar Star Wars characters in ST II never seen in the old version. One of them, I believe is an 800 year old, wrinkly guy from Dagobah. This, along with multiple adventures will actually make Star Tour(s) finally become Star Tours.
Anyone that got to take a peek inside the Parks and Resorts Pavilion (check out Disney and More for great pictures of it) got a peek into the many models of WDI that wouldn't fit into DCA's Blue Sky Cellar. The area holding all the Carsland models actually wouldn't fit into the building, truthfully. Those that saw the three different scaled models of the park's new land will understand why this attraction is costing as much as two-thirds of the price of the entire theme park.
There were two parts of the keynote that didn't actually make it in the presentation. One was Paris and the other was Tokyo. For reasons not discussed here, those parts were left to be explained at a later date. And then, there were all the Walt Disney Pictures announcements, but we'll talk a bit about that in our second part.
There will also be a couple small articles I'm going to try and post this week about individual Imagineering projects on display as well...