D23 Expo 2015. It’s like something out of a dream…
While our world rocked with Disney, Star Wars, Pixar and Marvel news during the 2015 D23 Expo Weekend August 14-16 at the Anaheim Convention Center, everyone attending created their own personal memories. Though sleep-deprived and thoroughly exhausted towards the end of the weekend, I managed to have some amazing experiences. We all know the big news. Time to delve into some personal stories. Here are my Top 5.
This is a bit of a no-brainer. Every Star Wars fan that has had an opportunity to meet, shake hands with or see George Lucas in person has that moment indelibly locked in their brain. I’ve seen plenty of pictures of George Lucas and been in the same building with him, but never in the same room. He is so iconic, and to see him in person, hear him talk about the Star Wars saga, and then hear him talk about his love for the Disney Parks was a treat. What a moment!
It’s one of those things – the right place, the right time. Because Richard and I produce and host a Star Wars/Disney podcast, Skywalking Through Neverland, each week, we’ve talked with Ashley Eckstein before. She is the voice of Ahsoka Tano from STAR WARS: THE CLONE WARS and STAR WARS REBELS, as well as the creator of Her Universe – a fangirl fashion line.
But it was so nice to see Ashley at D23 Expo and get a little extra time with our fangirl friend because she’s not as well-known in Disney circles.
BONUS: I was wearing the Her Universe Lightsaber skirt for the first time, and had just bought the adorable crocheted Ewok bag. I love supporting Her Universe and I could tell it meant a lot to Ashley to see me wearing her clothing line. #fangirlflail!
Listen to her interview on the next episode of Skywalking Through Neverland, coming out later this week.
The more conventions you attend, the more you start seeing the same people. I have always reached out, talked to people in lines, and made sure to connect on Facebook or Twitter before leaving the Convention. Due to this, it seemed that every 10 minutes we were meeting friends and listeners of Skywalking Through Neverland. It was such a feeling of camaraderie in a sea of 70,000 people.
Now, when you’re obsessed with something, it pays to glean as much information as you can about your obsession. In this case, because Disney Infinity 3.0 is introducing Star Wars to the mix on August 30th, I am utterly obsessed. I was extremely jealous when I heard Disney Infinity would have a Pop-Up shop near San Diego Comic-Con where you could take an interactive picture in the Toy Box and get a free 3.0 figure for your trouble. When I heard they were offering the same deal at D23 Expo, I made sure to make this a top priority on the show floor.
I took advantage of the fact that I had a couple people with me on Friday that had no interest in Disney Infinity. I stood in line while they bombed around the Show Floor. But when it came time to take the photo, I had them both join me and thus got three figures at once!
I did this a couple more times throughout the weekend, using my time wisely, and ended up with 7 Disney Infinity figures for my trouble. That’s about half of my entrance fee for the Expo, paid!
My favorite booth of the weekend! I’m a film music lover, and Kevin Kiner, composer for STAR WARS: THE CLONE WARS and STAR WARS REBELS was going to be signing on Saturday for one hour. On Friday we made a few friends at the booth and they mentioned they might be able to set up an interview with Kevin Kiner. Mind. Blown.
Fast forward to Saturday and we were granted an interview with not only Kevin Kiner, but Disney Music Historian, Randy Thornton. He works at Walt Disney Studios, but he is a HUGE Star Wars fan so we jived right away. I was so excited to meet Kevin Kiner who, as far as I’m concerned, is one step away from John Williams, my absolute idol.
For the first time I’ve seen in person, Harrison Ford is actually HAPPY to be in a Star Wars film! He was smiling and gracious. Seeing this man that I’ve idolized for so long in the same room just brought tears to my eyes. Let’s face it, I was crying way before he came on stage, but Harrison Ford just took the cake.
And before his arrival, Johnny Depp appeared as Captain Jack Sparrow. The sleep-deprived audience roared to their feet.
And before that, Chris Pine made an appearance for THE FINEST HOURS. The audience screamed.
There’s a 1-2-3 punch if ever their was one for a fangirl like me. Oh, and did I mention Chris Evans also appeared? In movie shape? In a nice blue shirt?
Because Captain America really cannot be seen without a blue, peck-hugging shirt. It just isn’t done 😉 It is here I should mention one of the funniest moments of the panel. At one point, Bob Iger was just starting the Lucasfilm portion of the presentation, and literally every other word he said the audience would break into cheers and applause. At one point Iger exclaimed, “Please let me finish just one sentence!” It was no use. We were hyped up on coffee and adrenaline. And really cute movie stars.
My husband, Richard and I had gotten up at 3 AM Saturday morning intending to make the Live-Action Movie panel at 10:30 AM. Because of our interview with Kevin Kiner scheduled to happen at 2 PM that day, we knew we were probably not going to make it to the Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Panel that afternoon. So the fact that the announcement of STAR WARS LAND happened at the LIVE-ACTION Panel really blew our minds. Not to mention that we were there for that crazy news! AND we happen to host a Star Wars / Disney Podcast!! All those worlds came together in that moment, and Richard and I grabbed each others’ hands.
There were still some unanswered questions here. WHERE would Star Wars Land be?? We live in Long Beach, CA, 20 minutes from Disneyland, so of course we were hoping it would be on the West Coast. However, knowing how land-locked the area is, we knew it was just a hope. Then came the 2nd announcement. Star Wars Land would be at BOTH PARKS – Walt Disney World and Disneyland. The whole room erupted. Our heads exploded like the Death Star. Could this day get any better??
NEW STAR WARS LAND. IN BOTH #DISNEY PARKS!!! #D23Expo #Disneyland #DHS A photo posted by Sarah Woloski (@jeditink) on