This past weekend, I had the privilege of attending three full days of the Disney Company’s past, present, and, most importantly, future at the Anaheim Convention Center. There was so much to see and do that, just like Walt Disney World and Disneyland, I couldn’t possibly fit it all in. But I sure did try! So, pull up a chair, grab a snack, and follow me on A Photo Tour of the D23 Expo.
When walking up to the Expo on Friday, I was greeted by the enormous Buzz Lightyear balloon from Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City. There were also food trucks lined up along the outside of the entrance with things like burgers, burritos, hot dogs, and ice cream. It was hot all weekend but the lines were still long. I skipped the outside food and walked quickly each day straight to…
The main entrance. Nice signage but other than that not much to see here, so I moved along.
And then I found these two guys, rolling around. I wanted to spend a little more time with them, but something told me that these weren’t the droids I was looking for…
Next, I found a fun display with the ridiculously evil but also often misunderstood Darth Vader, his Crimson Guards, and a whole lot of Stormtroopers. These guys were only the size of action figures!
Sticking with the toys for a minute, here’s a complete set of Radiator Springs toys from the Movie Cars. People were buying a ton of these! I’m a total Disney nerd so I had to walk away from this before I handed over my credit card!
One of the big things on my list that I knew I had to see was the Disneyland Archives Exhibit. These next several photos are going to be kind of a tour within the tour. Like the Matrix. “You take the red pill—you stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes.” This makes sense, right? If you don’t have an interest in the archives or these photos, take the blue pill…and skip down a bit to the photo with the lady making a Yoda painting out of…well, I’ll get back to that in a bit!
Here are some survey markers and other survey equipment from the construction of Disneyland in 1954. The markers are similar to the one that is located on the ground in Disneyland near the back of Sleeping Beauty Castle.
Here’s the first ticket ever issued for Disneyland. As you can read from the placard, it was issued to Walt Disney’s brother and business partner, Roy O. Disney.
Next up was Walt Disney’s original Disneyland badge, with employee #1 engraved into it.
These were the costumes worn by two of the Mickey Mouse Club’s original members, Cubby O’Brien and Annette Funicello.
Here are some awesome props and an old sticker machine from Disneyland’s Pirates of the Caribbean attraction. That Captain Jack Sparrow head would look great in my Disney themed home office!
And here’s an Alice audio animatronic figure from Disneyland’s Alice in Wonderland attraction. Her eyes creeped me out a little bit. They seemed to follow me when I walked by. Moving on…
Next up were some props from Disneyland’s Country Bear Jamboree. I especially loved the “Thin Bears Only” tire!
The original Jungle Cruise boats later went on to look just like this scale model from Disney’s Imagineers from 1955. The condition of the items from the 50’s was incredible.
Here’s an original popcorn cart from 1955. It still has the 15¢ sign hanging from it! Then, it was time for every true Disney park nerd’s favorite part of the exhibit, the old attraction vehicles! If there was an entire museum made up of just these old vehicles, I’d be an annual passholder!
There was the Disneyland Autopia Mark VII car,
The pirate ship ride vehicle and old audio animatronics from Peter Pan’s Flight from 1973,
The Abominable Snowman and Matterhorn ride vehicle from 1978,
An original 1955 version of the attraction vehicle from Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride (WDW fans are in mourning again as they’re reading this),
And, even though this isn’t technically a ride vehicle, it was lined up right next to the rest of them. The original Star Tours attraction sign and Rex, the absent-minded robotic pilot from the original Star Tours attraction. These were all so well-preserved and really, really cool to see in person. Especially for someone like me who didn’t first get out to Disneyland until 2008.
Next up were some costumes from Disneyland’s past parades. From left to right: a costume from the 1998 Mulan parade, Benjamin Franklin from the Bicentennial America on Parade of 1975-1976, a Disneyland Band costume (1988, I think), a reindeer costume from 1994, and a snowflake costume from 1971.
Here’s the Cheshire Cat from Disneyland’s Main Street Electrical Parade (that’s now playing over at WDW’s Magic Kingdom).
And, really awesome-in-person, the Maleficent Dragon from Disneyland’s Fantasmic.
Closing out the Archives Exhibit were some old school Disneyland cast member costumes. I especially like the Bear Country belt on the right!
And…we’re back from the rabbit hole. For those of you who joined us and made it back, thank you for your patience. Now on with the photo tour!
Here is an artist making a huge Yoda mural out of Jelly Belly jelly beans. Yep, jelly beans! I did try to talk to her but concentrating, she was. (Okay, horrible joke there. But, I couldn’t resist. It’s like I was FORCED into making it.)
Sticking with the Star Wars theme (because let’s face it, this year’s Expo had lots of it) here are some costumes from the newest Star Wars film, The Force Awakens.
Thank you for reading! This brings us to the end of Part 1. I will be posting Part 2 of the Photo Tour of the D23 Expo tomorrow!