#23 on the list is attending a D23 Event. You might be wondering what D23 is. It’s the name of the “official” Disney fan club (the 23 refers to 1923, the year the Company was founded by Walt). I’ve been a member of D23 for a few years now, and for me it’s well worth the membership fee, which includes a slick, oversize magazine and offer some exclusive events. Most of these gatherings are at the theme parks in California and Florida, but this year D23 is going “on the road” with a series of events dubbed “Fanniversary.” I haven’t had the chance to attend an event at WDW or Disneyland yet, so when D23 announced one of the events would take place in Chicago, it was an easy sell, being just five hours away in Motown. I contacted my friend Jonathan, a fellow D23 member and all-around Disney Geek, and we made plans to go.
The event was held at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, and basically consisted of a 90-minute show/presentation in which various Disney entities that had a milestone anniversary were commemorated. For example, 2012 marks the 75th anniversary of Snow White and The Seven Dwarves, the 85th for Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, the 45th for the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction at Disneyland, and the 20th anniversary for Disneyland Paris, among many others. Sometimes this was done with a simple acknowledgement, but more often it was accompanied by some rarely seen behind-the-scenes artwork, video, or even a recollection by one of the artists or Imagineers who helped produce the honoree. As an example, for Pirates the video included a pre-opening ride-through, plus some unintentionally hilarious footage of the 1967 media day preview events. The narration by the D23 hosts, Steve and Billy, was also fun.
In addition to the well-known, a few anniversaries were for items that were completely unknown to me, like the 1967 musical The Happiest Millionaire. It was the last film that Walt himself was involved with, and he passed away during its production. It’s available for rental via Amazon Instant Video, so it might be worth checking out.
It’s the 30th anniversary of both Tron (which I fondly recall being wowed by during a vacation to Cali in 1982) and Epcot itself. Actually, the brief glimpse of a behind-the-scenes video we watched about Epcot was a just tantalizing tease for a much larger event, a day-long 30th Anniversary event to be held on site at the park on September 30th. I’m still contemplating if I can make it to that one or not. It certainly looks like an Epcot geek’s dream come true.