By Nolan Patrick Smith
High Desert Daily
(Victor Valley)-This weekend, the Anaheim Convention Center was transformed into a showcase extension of the happiest place on Earth with Disney’s D23 Expo.
The D23 Expo started in 2009 as a way to show what’s new with the house of mouse. From the Disney Channel, to the theme parks, to films and more, D23 is the ultimate experience for fans of the company’s legendary history. Open to the public, thousands flocked to Katella Avenue to get their hands on a piece of imagination. Having covered many conventions in my time, I was unsure what to expect from this event.
What I found was a very well thought out, family fun filled expo. Massive booths adorned the exhibitor hall, including the actual costumes from the latest Pirates of the Caribbean film, props from the movie, including the mermaid holding cell, as well as a smaller scale but still impressively sized version of the famous Black Pearl Ship. Disney Radio had a full on stage show, with talent and dancing contests, as well as performances from some of the Disney Channel’s rising stars.
Disney also welcomed more names into it’s Disney Legends, a way of honoring Disney’s best and brightest. This year’s legends included TV personality Regis Philbin, Jody Benson (Ariel from The Little Mermaid), Paige O’ Hara (Belle from Beauty and the Beast), Linda Larkin (Jasmine from Aladdin) and the master of puppetry and imagination himself, Jim Henson.
The El Capitan Theater was on hand as well, as they will be gearing up for the next big Disney 3D events, Beauty and the Beast 3D and The Lion King in 3D. The El Capitan is known for its elaborate set up and legendary theater, as the surroundings are always adorned with prop and costumes from the featured film.
The expo really embodied what Disney is all about. Entire families could come to the show and everyone would find something enjoyable to do. I found myself looking in awe at the balloon work, at the life sized Cars Lightning McQueen, as well as a life sized LEGO version of the car as well. Disney put on a top-notch show, and I am excited to see how they outshine themselves when D23 2012 rolls around. For more information, visit their website at http://d23.disney.go.com/expo/.