D23 Really Knows How to Light Up the Season! (event review)

Standing in front of the Christmas tree with Jeffrey Epstein on the studio grounds
Standing in front of the Christmas tree with Jeffrey Epstein on the studio grounds

If you’ve been to a D23 event, you already know how great they are.  Light Up the Season at the Walt Disney Studios was no exception.  Christmas carols, the lighting of the studio Christmas tree, free hot cocoa and cookies, and souvenir photos were only the tip of the iceberg when it came time for this experience.  For the first time, D23 members were given the opportunity to experience a celebration of the holidays usually reserved for Cast Members and their families.  According to the D23 site, the festivities were extended an extra day for us to enjoy and by the smiles on people’s faces enjoyment was bubbling over.

Location: The Walt Disney Studios at 500 S Buena Vista Street, Burbank, CA
Type of Event: Complete fan event – film flashback, food, and shopping at MOG pop-up
Cost: $20 per person
Craig’s Favorite: Meeting some amazing Disney folk!

There were so many things to do that it was hard to experience it all.  In the studio’s theater they were playing holiday animated shorts.  You could just walk in, plop yourself down, and watch some truly animated classics (and how appropriate is that for an event on the Walt Disney Studios lot?).  There were also carnival-like games spread out around the lot that you could try your skill at to win cute little prizes.  Even if you lost, you received a nice D23 button.  And they offered train rides for the whole family, but we didn’t get a chance to take one since like I said, there were so many things to do.

Getting my book signed by Eric Goldberg and David Bossert at the Disney Studio Store
Getting my book signed by Eric Goldberg and David Bossert at the Disney Studio Store

If you like shopping, there were plenty of opportunities for that also.  Mickey’s of Glendale, the WDI Cast Member store, offered special t-shirts and sweatshirts just for the event, but also had a pop-up store with lots of shirts and sweatshirts at 40%-50% off.  Sadly, no new pins for you pin collectors out there.  The Disney Studio Store was open, too.  Not only could you buy exclusive studio merchandise, but they had a very special author signing.  Such Disney luminaries like Marty Sklar and Eric Goldberg were on hand to autograph books and talk with fans and they weren’t the only ones.  Authors David Bossert, Tracey Miller-Zarneke, and Don Hahn were there as well!  If you walked down the street, you could find a bunch of different vendors sharing their wares.  From Disney-operated pop us stores like Marceline’s Confectionery and Vault 28 to private vendors who offered great homemade crafts, there were tons of options.  Picture of the Walt Disney Archives had a booth and even though they don’t officially open until December 5th they had a special print of Walt on his train for sale with a special collector’s mark.

A small bowl of Walt's Chili from the studio commissary
A small bowl of Walt’s Chili from the studio commissary

Want to eat a bowl of Walt’s Chili (recipe available on the D23 site)?  That was available in the commissary which was open to D23 guests.  A limited menu was available but it was fun to be able to eat in the same place the studio Cast Members ate at.  Walt’s Chili was delicious and hearty at the same time.  If you didn’t want something filling, there were lots of great free food, too.  Big cookies, hot cocoa with plenty of marshmallows, popcorn, and cotton candy were available for everyone.

What an incredible experience for Disney fans of all ages.  A terrific event for both kids and adults, the family atmosphere, the incredible decorations, the holiday music, and the warm in your tummy food really made this an event to remember.  If you get the chance to attend a D23 event, by all means go for it!

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