Written by: Abel S. Pinedo
The D23 Expo happening in Anaheim this weekend. This show, held
every two years, is a celebration of all things related to the Disney Corporation. Think of it as San Diego Comic Con, but
featuring only Disney related properties. There are, just to name a few, the theme parks, the cruise line, the animated feature
films including Pixar, live actions films, all things Marvel related and all things Star Wars related. If it's anything like
the previous Expo, it's going to go above and beyond my expectations. So with that in mind, here's a few highlights:
The Star Wars presentation at D23. Disney isn't one to scrimp
and after seeing what was presented at San Diego Comic Con last month (link) I'm sure Disney has something awesome planned. We already know, per Kathleen Kennedy, that there will be no new footage
shown. Will we, the audience, be treated to another freebie concert or at least another viewing of the new cast along with
the old cast? Perhaps we'll get some more details about Rogue One which has just begun filming or maybe a tiny trickle of
information about Episode VIII?
Captain America: Civil War. We've been told that we'll get our
first trailer for one of the most anticipated films due next May. Will Robert Downey Jr. and Chris Evans be on hand to woo
the crowd? Will we get our first public appearance of Tom Holland, the latest actor to portray Spiderman? Will we get
to see the suit and will Stan Lee be present to gush about it?
On Sunday, a series of selected animated classic Disney shorts
will be shown, accompanied by a live 32 piece orchestra. If you've never seen animation performed like this, you are missing
out. Featuring music from such classics as The Old Mill, The Three Little Pigs and Flowers & Trees, this is sure to be
a highlight of the Expo. There are two performances scheduled as this is sure to be a fan favorite.
At the panel dedicated to the Disney Parks and Resorts, I'm hoping
we get news about a long standing rumor regarding the future of the Star Wars property inside the Disney parks. Will we finally
get confirmation about a forthcoming Star Wars Land? In recent weeks, Disney has purchased a large parcel of land adjacent
to main park in Anaheim. Speculation has run rampant that this could be the long awaited/rumored 'third park'. I'll go even
further. I swear I'm making this up on my own and you heard it here first...what about a joint Marvel/Star Wars theme park?
Can you even fathom the awesomeness of battling Ultron and Darth Vader in the same day?
Saturday evening will feature a reunion of the behind the scenes
team and the vocal talents to discuss the making of the animated classic Aladdin. I'm sure there will be numerous stories
to tell but how do I sit through this and not tear up at every mention of the late Robin Williams? Even just typing those
last three words is still unsettling for me and seeing as how Aladdin is one of my all time favorites, I'm in for an emotional
time. If there's any kind of tribute to Robin, I'm going to lose it.
If you're into the animated features, then you won't want to miss
the Pixar/Walt Disney Animation Studios presentation. This will be our first look at the upcoming animated features, Zootopia
and Finding Dory. Best part is that they are promising surprise appearances by vocal talent, surprise announcements and best
of all, surprise musical performances. I'm already on pins and needles as to how they can top the live musical performance
from Mary Poppins at the previous Expo. I can't wait!
On a similar topic, Pixar will feature a look back at the original
Toy Story. Can you believe it's been twenty years? This is another panel I'm itching to see. To be in the same room as the
creative team and hear them talk about the trials and tribulations they went through to make this seminal classic. Can you
imagine what our world would be like if the original movie was a massive box office bomb? I shudder at the thought.
For those of you who love exclusive merchandise, get ready for
a plethora. We'll be getting our first look at the new Star Wars Elite series (die cast articulated action figures!), an exclusive
R5-D23 droid (oh yes, he's coming home with me) an all new line of toys and clothing commemorating Toy Story's 20th(!) anniversary.
There will be a new limited line of dolls from Once Upon A Time and a limited number of exclusive new Disney Tsum Tsum plushies.
Tsum Tsum's are basically, small stackable, yet adorable, plushies featuring many of your favorite Disney characters.
Our friends at Hallmark will have two of what are sure to be the
most popular exclusives. First up is an ornament commemorating the 80th anniversary of the animated classic 'The Band Concert'.
The other is an Itty Bitty 2-pack of Cinderella and Prince Charming in their wedding attire. There will be many different
shirts, hats, and hoodies with the official D23 logo to choose from as well as many exclusive pins. This is also a rare opportunity
to purchase merchandise that is exclusive to the Burbank Studios and the Imagineering team. My bank account is going to hate
me in the weeks to come.
With all the Disney magic I'm about to experience, how can I not
be excited? I will be back next week with my first hand report. As of this writing, 3-day tickets and Friday and Sunday
tickets are still available. Individual Saturday tickets are sold out.
Further information can be found here: https://d23.com/d23-expo/
About the Author: Abel S. Pinedo a.k.a.
"Honest Abe" has written reviews for Dark Horizons, JoBlo and MusicTap. He has worked in the entertainment
industry for over a decade. He can usually be found at his keyboard ranting and rambling about the human condition or watching
Beavis & Butthead.