D23 Expo - Day 4 Thoughts and Observations (9/13/09):
Day 4 marked the 4th and final day of the Expo. The keynote of the day was John Lasseter and the Future of Walt Disney and Pixar Animation. Also a great panel on Imagineering Pixar for the Disney Parks. The Expo was brought to a close with a presentation on Toy Story 3 as well as a 3D screening of Toy Story 1 and 2. The crowd seemed slightly heavier early in the day than Thursday and Friday, but according to several people I spoke to it was lighter than Saturday.
Nuts and Bolts: The D23 Expo ran from 9/10-13. One day tickets were $37 for adults and $27 for children. All four days were $111 for adults and $81 for children. For D23 members the price was $30/$22 and $90/$66. The main floor was open from 9am - 5pm (opening at 8am for D23 members). Presentations and movies were scheduled all day and into the late evening (midnight 3 of the nights and 11pm one night).
Upon entering the convention center they were passing out flyers with updates for the Day. It seems the Expo organizers got the message about the interests of a large number of guests and they made some changes to accomodate this. The first was swapping the Pixar panel to the larger room and the Annette to Miley presentation to a smaller room. They also moved the Toy Story 3 presentation to the arena so more people could attend. The queue for the small Storytellers Theater was moved to the first floor in an effort to clear the walkways on the 2nd floor. These were all positive moves and great to see they saw the problem and tried to make better accomodations.
I started off with a quick tour of the floor to see if there was anything new then I headed upstairs to check in and then all the way up the third floor to see the Home Entertainment room (which did not make the maps). In this room there were displays showcasing Blu-ray vs. DVD, the Disney Movie Rewards, the Disney Movie Club, some interactive features then a showcase room demonstrating Blu-ray 3D. I spoke to several cast members working the room and they said their foot traffic had come in waves really due to the out of the way location. I was not impressed with the 3D TV set, seems it still has some work to do. The 3D films in the arena looked much better to me.
I think headed back down to the main floor and spent a little time walking through the Collectors Forum. I spoke to several of the vendors there and they all said the convention was a success and they were connected with an expanded audience than the regular Disneyana conventions/events.
Next up it was time to head for the areana and the John Lasseter presentation. Again no cameras were allowed in so the security lines were long to get in. People seemed to know the drill by now so it seemed to go smoother than the other days.
Here is a run down of the presentation:
Started off with a look at Toy Story 2 in 3D (which by the way looked GREAT!)
Toy Story 3 - He said all of our favorites are back then went on to list some other voices - Ned Beatty, John Morris (reprises his role as Andy), Jeff Garlin, Bonnie Hunt, Whoopi Goldberg (but he refused to say what toys they would be playing).
He did announce that Ken would be voiced by Michael Keaton then played a short clip/interview with Ken
Also introduced us to Mr. Pricklepants who would be voiced by Timothy Dalton
A trailer was then played for Toy Story 3
The announcement that Winnie the Pooh will be in a new film in Spring 2011 and it will be hand drawn just like the original.
Next was a confirmation that there would be more Car Toons, three new ones this year. We saw the first one, Unidentified Flying Mater
This launched into a discussion on Cars 2 which is slated for a Summer 2011 release. Showed a picture of Fin McMissile then detailed some of the plot. Lightening and the gang are going International and will be visiting Japan, Germany, Italy, France and London. Along the way Mater is mistaken for a secret agent.
Next a mention of Princess and the Frog with the playing of a clip (most of which was already seen in the first days presentation). He joked if you went to every presentation you would have seen most of the film already.
The Tinkerbell films were next on the agenda. They will be releasing four more. The Lost Treasure, Great Fairy Rescue, Mysterious Winter Woods, Race through the Seasons (2012 for the Olympics)
The last new film was the Holiday 2010 release, Rapunzel. This will be Disney's 50th animated film and it will be computer animation. He confirmed that Alan Menkin will be involved and that Mandy Moore will be voicing Rapunzel. Prince Flynn will be Zachary Levi (from Chuck) then he showed a brief clip from the film.
He also spoke about the desire to do more shorts, and to put them in front of Disney films, not just the Pixar ones. He talked about one concept that was pitched as a short but grew into an ABC Holiday special called Prep and Landing. He showed the opening of the film and it looks like it could be very entertaining. The concept is an elite team of elves prepare the house for Santas arrivial. They have all sorts of gadgets and tools to help them.
The finale was another Car Toon - Heavy Metal Mater, but I had to get going to get up to the Press Conference location, so I did not get to see it.
Chief Creative Officer John Lasseter at the Walt Disney Animation Studios/Pixar Animation Studios presentation at Disney's D23 Expo on September 13, 2009 at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Eric Charbonneau/Le Studio/Wireimage)
The Lasseter Press Conference started late due to the animation presentation running long then it ran long so by the time I made it out of that and over to the Muppets it had already started and they would not allow us in. (On youtube someone posted the press conference in a couple parts starting here)
On the way to lunch I stopped by the encore presentation of the Science of Imagineering which was a fairly full room, maybe a couple dozen seats available. In this presentation they brought out Imagineers to talk about the science that goes into the parks. Ranging from Biology with someone form Animal Kingdom to chemistry for the fireworks. I thought this was a great presentation and fun to watch.
Grabbed a quick lunch on the run, another $7.50 for a burger...
Then headed up to the second floor to get in line for the Imagineering Pixar in the parks presentation. The line had already filled one room and the second room was almost full so I hopped in line and had over an hour to wait. After filling the two rooms with the line they started a standby line and also announced a couple overflow locations to watch a live feed from the presentation. So it looks like they really tried to accomodate the masses. I talked to people in the overflow room and they said it was ok. No one seemed to know if there were still people who were shut out.. anyone know?? I really enjoyed the panel. They started off introducing themselves and those that had worked in teh parks (which were most of the panel) talked about their first jobs. Also there was a bounty put out. If anyone can find a picture of John Lasseter as a Jungle Boat skipper from the 70s they will get a tour of Pixar.
They then proceeded to go through all most of the Pixar attractions in the Disney Parks (and cruise ship) around the world.
Its Tough to Be a Bug (which came out before the film)
The story behind Space Ranger Spin in Florida and Astroblasters everywhere else in the world (which boils down to that is the feature people liked, the shooting, over the spinning)
Turtle Talk (including new one in Tokyo)
Nemo at the Living Seas, Musical at Animal Kingdom and the subs at Disneyland
Afterwards I attended the press conference, the most interesting tidbits that came out of that all had to do with details of the Radiator Springs Racer attraction:
The ride vehicles will be the same basic car as Test Track, 6 passenger cars
There will be a 40" Height requirement (shorter ones for other two rides in Cars Land but did not have precise)
The ride will be just over 4 minutes long
Quick Run through of sequence
(if anyone finds a video clip of this let me know and I will link to it, this is off my quick notes):
Starts off in Pine Trees/Waterfall scene
Encounters Mac the Truck / swirves (sounds like testtrack scene)
Next up comes across the Shierf hiding behind billboard and you talk with him briefly and he encourages you to enter the race
Mater comes on the scene and takes you to Radiator Springs (he travels backwards of course)
Once in town, prepare to race.. either gets new tires or new a new paint job (this is done to line two cars up side by side)
You are now side by side with another racer as you come out of your store
You encounter Doc who gives your some words of inspiration
Then the race is on and you burst outside and race around
Each time is a random race so you never know who will win
Finale is Taillight Caverns
Other Cars Land info: Fillmore, CozyCone, Flo's all food, then two shops (Ramon's and I missed the other)
There is video of the press conference on Youtube, here is a link to part I, the end of part II and beginning of part III have the cars description.
After the press conference headed back to the arena and the final presentations of the Expo. As we headed for the arena much of the floor was a bee hive of activity as the booths and exhibits were being broken down already. The floor closed at 5pm and the presentation did not start till 6:30. Cameras and cell phones were once again taken.
Lee Unkrich (director) and Darla Anderson (producer) from Toy Story 3 were on hand for the presentation. First up was a replaying of the trailer for Toy Story 1 and 2 in 3D Then they showed the trailer for Toy Story 3 and the Ken interview/clip again. Finally a new clip from the movie was shown. Overall I was a bit disappointed with the presentation as much of the material had been seen already and nothing new seemed to be announced.
After the presentation the double feature of Toy Story 1 and 2 in 3D started. I thought the film looked great. It has been completely re-rendered in 3D.
I ducked out about 1/3 the way into Toy Story 1, grabbed a bite ($4 for a hot dog) and headed home since I had a 70 mile drive ahead of me and work bright and early Monday morning.
Below is an interesting video released for the day on the Lego display on the floor: