We got invited to a preview of the D23 expo and here’s a look at show floor from the first night! Photo tour includes the Disney Archives Exhibit, Walt Disney’s plane and more!
The D23 Expo is the biggest Disney fan convention in the world and is held at the Anaheim Convention Center right near Disneyland. The show floor is always filled with an abundance of items dedicated to Disney history and we’re excited to share it with you first!
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Mickey Mouse One: Walt’s Plane
The 2022 D23 Expo features a brand-new exhibit of Disney history hosted by D23 and the Walt Disney Archives. Walt Disney’s Grumman Gulfstream I company airplane has been restored and transported to Anaheim!
The plane was on display for years as a part of the Studio Backlot Tour at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and is part of the exhibit called Mickey Mouse One: Walt’s Plane presented by Amazon.
Take a look at this amazing piece of Disney history in our photo tour!
The miniature from the Pirates movie Black Pearl was previously the biggest piece in the archives but now the plane is the biggest piece ever to join the Disney Archives! Walt’s plane will become part of a public exhibit at Palm Springs Air Museum, which is near the Smoke Tree Ranch where Walt once had a home, after the D23 Expo so more people can have the opportunity to experience it up close.
Walt Disney’s Grumman Gulfstream History
- In 1963, Walt, members of his family, and company executives took off on a demonstration Gulfstream aircraft to explore potential locations, including Central Florida, for a proposed development often referred to as “Project X.” After Walt received his own Gulfstream in early 1964, he made several trips to Florida that ultimately laid the foundation to bring the magic of Walt Disney World to life.
- Walt’s plane flew a total of 277,282 miles back and forth between Burbank and New York to oversee preparations before and during the 1964–1965 New York World’s Fair, an event that brought iconic attractions such as “it’s a small world” to an East Coast audience and, later, to Disneyland.
- The plane also took Disneyland to new heights as Walt found inspiration for the look of the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction as he flew over the El Moro fortress in San Juan, Puerto Rico, while conducting research for the now fan favorite.
- “The Mouse” has a star-studded past, having been used for promotional tours for Disneyland as well as for classic movies such as The Jungle Book (1967), as well as making appearances in The Walt Disney Studios films The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes (1969) and Now You See Him, Now You Don’t (1972), both of which starred Disney Legend Kurt Russell. The aircraft has also transported notable guests including Disney Legends Julie Andrews and Annette Funicello, as well as former U.S. Presidents Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan.
- Painted blue and white in 1985, Walt’s plane embarked on goodwill tours and character visits to children’s hospitals, adding to the company’s history of giving back to the community.
Step in Time: Disney100 Years of Wonder
Walt Disney Archives presents the exhibit Step in Time: Disney100 Years of Wonder this year at the D23 Expo. This chronological exhibit showcases immersive, themed environments from animated shorts, films, television products, Disney Parks favorites including Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Mary Poppins, Tron and the Haunted Mansion.
The gallery is divided into nine themed areas with great opportunities for photo ops! Included in the gallery is Steamboat Willie, the blue carpet at the premiere of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, the carousel horses from Mary Poppins, Breathless Mahoney at Club Ritz (Dick Tracy), visiting Flynn’s Arcade (Tron), and the bride in the attic of the Haunted Mansion.
Check out our photo tour from the D23 preview night… the details of this exhibit are amazing!
Take a photo steering the Steamboat Willy boat with this unique photo op celebrating the iconic 1928 cartoon.
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs Portrait Series
“Walt Disney’s first animated feature film, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, premiered at the Carthay Circle Theatre in Los Angeles on
December 21, 1937. This creative watershed for the Company was met with lavish fanfare as Hollywood’s biggest stars walked the blue carpet alongside the likes of Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, and Snow White herself. The promotional standees displayed here are believed to hearken to an early European theatrical release, and reflect the film’s worldwide popularity. And as a testament to Snow White’s timeless appeal, the featured costume, designed by Martin Izquierdo for actor Rachel Weis, was featured some 70 years after the film’s original release as part of the Disney Dream Portrait Series by photographer Annie Leibovitz.” -Gallery Description
Mary Poppins 1964
“Grauman’s Chinese Theatre was the site of a “Jolly Holiday” when Mary Poppins made its world premiere at the famed Hollywood movie palace on August 27, 1964. Heralded as one of Walt Disney’s crowning achievements, the musical fantasy was shot entirely on soundstages at The Walt Disney Studios in Burbank, California. As Walt once explained, the film employed “about every trick we had learned in the making of films,” although bringing its chalk-illustrated world to life was no easy feat for Disney Studios artists. Similar to today’s green-screen technology, an innovative sodium vapor process was developed to combine live-action and animation for the acclaimed Jolly Holiday sequence. Actors were filmed in front of a screen, which was illuminated from behind with sodium vapor lights, casting a yellow hue. A prism inside the camera filtered out the sodium light, leaving only the main image, to give filmmakers and animators the ability to later fill in the surroundings with fanciful creations. Add in extraordinary props (like these intricate carousel horses) and costumes (like this creation designed by Tony Walton and worn by Disney Legend Julie Andrews), and no wonder that it’s Mary that we love!”- Gallery Description
“Disneyland, Walt’s brand-new concept in family entertainment, opened to an invitational audience on July 17, 1955, and to an eager public the following day. Constructed on a site originally spanning 160 acres, Disneyland has continued to grow and evolve over the years. The well-known attraction posters that now populate the tunnels of the Main Street Station originally greeted visitors at the park’s main entrance, in front of the famous floral depiction of Mickey Mouse. These whimsical posters were introduced within the first year of the park’s operation to provide Guests with a taste of what they would see inside the park and in which themed land they could experience it. The posters displayed here are all original to Disneyland-each screen-printed by hand and representing such opening day attractions as the Santa Fe and Disneyland Railroad, Peter Pan’s Flight, Jungle Cruise, Autopia, and Mark Twain Riverboat.” -Gallery Description
Get a close up look of the bride in the Haunted Mansion attic in this gallery exhibit celebrating everyone’s favorite attraction.
Disney Channel Wand Id
“Some of Disney’s most popular stars first delivered the iconic catchphrase “…and you’re watching Disney Channel,” when the first Wand ID segments aired on June 7, 2003- some 20 years after the cable network’s historic launch. Among the first talent to “wave the wand” were actors from Even Stevens (2000), That’s So Raven (2001), The Proud Family (2001), and Lizzie McGuire (2003). With the popularity of these filmed clips, over 350 have aired to date, and they’re still being created with the newest class of Disney Channel talent. Today, that includes you! It’s now your turn to step into the TV and join the Disney Channel circle of stars by creating your very own Wand ID, surrounded by costumes worn by stars of past Disney Channel original series and movies.” -Gallery Description
“On December 21, 2012, The Walt Disney Company completed its acquisition of Lucasfilm Ltd. Included in the deal were the special effects powerhouse Industrial Light & Magic (ILM) and Skywalker Sound, along with the rights to the Star Wars and Indiana Jones franchises. In 2021, the Walt Disney Archives welcomed Star Wars film props, costumes, and other artifacts into the collection, beginning with historical pieces from Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015). The collection now includes an array of droids, including the ones seen here (BB-8, C-3PO, D-0, and R2-D2), as well as elaborate interior components of the Millennium Falcon.” -Gallery Description
D23 Expo Film & Television Exhibits
An area of the D23 Expo show floor is dedicated to the film and television exhibits featuring artifacts from the sets.
Keep this page bookmarked as we’re posting LIVE UPDATES from the D23 Expo Preview!
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