A Truly Marvel-ous Time: Day Two at D23 Expo 2017 – A Sorcerer’s Journey Part 5

The greatest assembly of heroes ever!

And they weren’t just on the big screen but appeared in real life also.  Coming away from the morning’s big event in Hall 23 – the live action presentation – was jaw-dropping to say the least.  But first, I started my day with a little shopping.  Again, it was tough to choose.  Disney Store, Mickey’s of Glendale (MOG), or an Avengers wristband?  While waiting in line outside, I heard they were only giving away 100 wristbands for the Avengers: Infinity War signing.  Already there were more than 100 Sorcerers in line ahead of me and diverting time away from getting in line was a risk (albeit not TOO great of one).  No one knew who would be signing.  In my heart of hearts, I was hoping for Scarlet Johansson or Elizabeth Olsen (my new fav) but it was anybody’s guess who would show up.  On the other hand, we were told that MOG would switch out their entire line of pins each day and who wouldn’t want to be there for that?  Since the day before they had sold the “Disney Cats” everyone I talked to was hoping for a “Disney Dogs” line up.  And then of course, we knew that Disney Store would be releasing limited edition Oswald the Lucky Rabbit items.  How to choose?

I darted toward the Marvel Studios area as soon as I got onto the Show Floor, but I could tell there were already about 100 people in line.  It wasn’t worth the risk of missing out on everything else.  So instead I headed to Disney Store.  My daughter Emma loves Oswald and I didn’t want to miss out on getting her something.  What was I going to say?  “Sorry, honey.  I decided to be selfish and grab some pins.”  I could always head to MOG afterward, right? So I waited in line at Disney Store (yes, even then there was a line) and got in pretty quickly.  I made a beeline straight for the Oswald stuff and a frantic cast member was woefully trying to put more Oswald plush up on the shelf.  She never got the chance.  Everyone was just waiting for her to hand one over including me.  Again, it was a limit of one limited edition item per person which was fine with me.  I grabbed the doll and an Oswald pin set, saw these BEAUTIFUL Snow White dolls and grabbed one of those, had to get the daily Tsum Tsum set of Pixar Animation Shorts, and then headed to the checkout.  Even though they were super fast, the line for MOG was already over two and a half hours long, and I really wanted to see the live action presentation.  So I left.

Oprah tells the audience “YOU get a poster! And YOU get a poster!” to rousing cheers (Disney/Image Group LA)

I dropped off my stuff at the Sorcerer Bag Check (so super nice), made an appointment for a massage the next day (yes! one of the Sorcerer perks is a free 30-minute chair massage!), grabbed a free donut from the Sorcerer Lounge and sat down for a bit before going to the show.  I made it back to the Show Floor at 9:30 and after seeing my Sorcerer credentials let me through to the Sorcerer line where we were let in almost immediately.  Had even better seats this time since I wasn’t straggling in and got about 4th row center.  It was AMAZING!  Honestly, I wasn’t all that interested in A Wrinkle in Time but after seeing the teaser and hearing about it from director Ava DuVernay, Reese Witherspoon (who is just beautiful), Mindy Kaling, and THE Oprah not to mention Chris Pine – I HAVE to see this film.  They even created a teaser poster for the film and Oprah came forward and said, “You know what? Everybody in here is getting a poster! YOU get a poster! And YOU get a poster! And YOU get a poster!”  The entire audience cheered as did her co-stars.  But that was only the beginning.  Reveals for Mary Poppins Returns, The Lion King, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, and Avengers: Infinity War kept the ball rolling.  It all summed up with a surprise trailer for Infinity War where it was revealed how the Guardians of the Galaxy make their way into the rest of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.  Wow.  But more on that in a future post.

Leaving the Parks and Resorts panel everyone was given a special preview pass for Fantasmic! and a pin from the parks around the world

After that, I met some friends for lunch at the food trucks and walked around for a while before heading to the Parks and Resorts panel.  Again, I flashed my badge and walked in without any problem and headed to another great seat.  This has always been my favorite panel because the parks hold such a special place in my heart.  My first job, my first girlfriend, buying a promise ring for my wife, our 5th anniversary, our 15th anniversary, and so many other special moments all revolve around the parks.  So it’s no wonder I cried twice during the panel.  And typically I don’t cry.  But Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Chairman, Bob Chapek shared two heartwarming moments that really define what it means to work for the Walt Disney Company.  One was about a little girl who could speak only in sign language – to find out that Minnie Mouse could too!  Wow.  And then a story about a little boy with autism and his mother who simply wanted to find a green Mickey balloon and the love and care cast members showed to that family.  At the end, about a dozen cast members came out with scores of green balloons and passed them out randomly to the crowd.  I couldn’t help but feel a swell of joy and blessing that I was once a part of that magic.  There were tons of announcements about different attractions coming to the parks, new designs, new overlays, the opening of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge (the revealed name of the new land), a seventh ship to the Disney Cruise Line fleet, and some nearly Broadway-level musical performances (which I will cover in a future post).  Overall there were both cheers and tears, and it was “magical.”  What was even more magical was the gift at the end of the panel – a special pass for a preview of Fantasmic!, scheduled to open on Monday but early performances with reserved seating for panel attendees.  AND to celebrate the many different achievements of the parks since the last expo, pins from each of the parks around the world were randomly given to everyone.  I got one celebrating the 25th anniversary of Disneyland Paris, but there were also pins for Shanghai Disneyland’s first birthday and the opening of Pandora.

After the panel, I walked around the show floor with my friend John and hung out until the Expo ended for the day.  I was so tired, I ended up not taking advantage of the awesome Fantasmic invitation, but spent the time instead with my family which was more than worth it.

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