Hannah N. (NDT#23) (27 Posts)

With only one year to her name, Hannah made her first trip to Disneyland with her family. She has loved Disney and being in Disney Parks ever since. As a little girl, her fascination primarily manifested as Cinderella and Aladdin movie-watching marathons. These days her obsession expresses itself more in the way of collecting Disney Pins and Vinylmation. So while her heart no longer pounds at the sight of her favorite childhood princess, Jasmine, her Disney obsession is still as strong (if not stronger). As a teen, she avidly shares her love of Disney with others who always laugh when she explains her addiction. Fond memories are what keeps Hannah's Disney Spirit alive. She remembers walking down Disneyland Main Street and seeing Sleeping Beauty castle for the first time, and it is one of her favorite things to recall.

I was very privileged to be able to go to the D23 Expo a few weeks ago. They did very well with having things for people of all age groups to participate in. The whole experience was just a dream come true for me, so I want to recommend the expo to all NDTs (all NDPs, for that matter!). I also want to share some of the wonderful opportunities attendees had that I think NDTs would really like.

1. The Disney Archives Exhibit– It was amazing to see memorabilia and props and costumes from beloved movies. I started tearing up when I saw the book at the beginning of Sleeping Beauty in person.

2. Preview of ABC’s Once Upon A Time– We were able to see the pilot of the show and absolutely fell in love with it. It’s from the creators of Lost and takes fairytales to a unique, and yet reasonable, level. It switches back and forth from the fairy-tale world to our world. While it’s not for children, it will be a great show for families to watch. The story is a bit more adult, but it’s not filled with sex and gory violence, which is very refreshing to me. If America gives the show a chance, I think that it will do very well. It premieres on October 23rd; don’t miss it!

3. TOMS Design Your Sole Contest– It was really fun to sit and design a shoe based on one of my favorite Disney attractions, it’s a small world, and the art of Mary Blair. Disney artists painted the designs of the top designs in each age group and the winners got to take home the shoes that they designed.

4. Vintage Disneyland Presentation– We were able to get in to this presentation along with the screening of Once Upon A Time. Cast members stumbled across the footage and were ready to ship it to the archives when someone had the brilliant idea to share it with D23 attendees. It was amazing to see footage of Disneyland being built, some of it was even in color! We were also able to see concept art, presented in real time, for an attraction that was supposed to go in Walt Disney World called Western River Expedition that was a brainchild of Marc Davis. It’s been compared to a western version of Pirates of the Caribbean. Guests were so upset that Pirates wasn’t going to be built in Walt Disney World that Imagineers scrapped their plans. I’m really sad that this attraction wasn’t built because it would have been incredible.

5. Pirates of the Caribbean Exhibit– In addition to props and costumes in the Archives exhibit, the Pirates exhibit was on the show floor. It was amazing to see so many items from the movies. We even saw Johnny Depp there! Ok, he was just a look-a-like, but he was the best look-a-like I’ve ever seen!

6. Surprises– D23 was full of magical surprises. We were able to bump into some dear friends that we’d never met in person. We also got the chance to meet historian extraordinaire Dave Smith, song-writing genius Richard Sherman, and spectacular creator of Disney miniatures, Pokit Pals, Heirloom Boxes, and the Gallery of Light Collection: Bob Olszewski. They are three of the nicest, most wonderful people I have ever met and I wasn’t disappointed in meeting any of them at all.

Don’t be disappointed if you weren’t able to go, because I don’t see these conventions going anywhere anytime soon at all. It was great for all age groups, especially teens, which can be very tricky to coordinate. The D23 Expo was an amazing experience. It truly was an NDT’s dream come true.

 Contributed by: Hannah N. (NDT#23) Hannah is the DDL Teens’ Viewpoint Blogger.

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