|Rick Loretz and DisneyGal Lori|
Posters began popping up around the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim and the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando in 2009 asking the question “Are you 23?” having Disney Guests question what they meant.
That March, we learned that the D part of the “D23” stands for Disney and the 23 refers to 1923, the year when Walt Disney arrived in Hollywood and the company was founded. D23: The Official Disney Fan Club has held wildly popular expos, publishes a magazine and communicates with Disney fans in the weekly D23 FanFare e-newsletter with breaking news and special offers.
D23 has hit the road with a 10- city tour of D23′s Disney Fanniversary Celebration, commemorating dozens of unforgettable Disney milestones celebrating landmark anniversaries in 2013!
I was up front and center this week as more than 200 Disney fans got a behind-the-scenes experience of 90 years of theme parks, films and secrets at the “Fanniversary” presentation held in downtown Phoenix and the beautiful Orpheum theatre. With Disneyland Resort being a 6 hour drive and Walt Disney World being across the country, I was thrilled at the opportunity to experience a bit of “Home” close by.
Each show is hosted by a Disney archivist and D23 Team member. Our hosts for the event were Rick Loretz from the Disney archives and Cynthia Momdjian, a D23 social media professional. Hosts Lorentz and Momdjian spent two magical hours sharing clips from some of the most beloved Disney movies and parks, celebrating milestone anniversaries in 2013. Guests were treated to rarely seen or never-before-seen film footage, and exclusive interviews with Disney Legends .
I loved watching clips of such classics as Mickey Mouse’s debut 85 years ago in “Steamboat Willie”. I enjoyed seeing a young Tim Burton but I loved seeing “Uncle Walt” expressing a disappointed face as he asked about footage missing of ducks landing on an ice covered pond crashing into each other like bowling pins. The camera stopped rolling right when the duck slid into the other ducks. Walt asked Roy repeatedly where the video recording was, so Roy and a team went to where it was cold and threw a duck into others to recreate it. “True-Life Adventures” nature movies have been a Disney passion ever since.
D23 Fanniversary hosts spotlighted other treasured milestones such as Disney’s Animal Kingdom opening 15 Years ago. In 1988, moviegoers asked “Who Framed Roger Rabbit?”
Tokyo Disneyland turns 30 this spring and this DisneyGal will be going! 50 years ago “The Sword in the Stone” made its big screen debut, and it has been 60 Years since “Peter Pan “opened (He looks great doesn’t he? Must be the Never Grow up theory!).
As part of taking the Walt Disney Archives on the road, a white-gloved Rick Lortz unveiled a Walt Disney caricature gaucho doll given to Walt during the making of the film “Saludos Amigos”. This year marks the 70th Anniversary of the film.
After the presentation it was on display here in Phoenix. I was hoping for more items on display but was happy to see the doll and get the chance to take pictures with the gaucho “Uncle Walt”.
Here is a picture of Ron and Bob Delucia as they pose with Disney archivist Rick Lorentz, who’s holding a model of Walt Disney as a gaucho from the 1940s.
Cynthia Momdjian said the studio hopes the show can make an annual appearance and expand on the places it is visiting this year. “We had such great responses and had so many fans that we hope it will return,” said Momdjian.
If Fanniversary comes to a location near you, I recommend that you dust off your mouse ears and go.
Tickets are $21 for D23 Members (and their guest). Tickets are $35 for general admission