D23: The BIGGEST Disney Fan Club

Hey Guys, Kellz here! The other day I was talking to Tae, my buddy from the Disney College Program, about my plans for the summer. Tae worked with me as a safari guide at Disney’s Animal Kingdom in 2011, but he returned to his native Georgia after the program to finish school. He called one afternoon when I was at the beach- I know, sounds classic, right- and after we exchanged greetings we went directly into subject matter that ALL our talks gravitate around: Disney and other theme parks.

I told him my plans for the summer included to visit the local southern California attractions including: San Diego Zoo, Sea World San Diego, Universal Studios Hollywood, and, of course, Disneyland Resort. I told him how upset I was that I couldn’t attend Comic Con (every summer in July at the San Diego Convention Center), but I was very excited because I would be attending the D23 Expo this year.

Tae is a great guy, a fantastic guy. He loves Disney and is a dork like us all, but to my astonishment he had no clue what the D23 Expo was, or what D23 was for that matter.

At the time I found this incredulous that a Disney fan had never heard of D23, but now I realize that it may be a little too DORKY that I know such information. So we at The 2econd Star decided to give you the low-down on D23 and the D23 Expo.

D23 is, in a nutshell, the official Disney fan club.  The name came from the year Walt Disney left Kansas City on a train headed for Hollywood to open the Disney Studios (1923). Prior to this year (2013), D23 had two membership levels: silver and gold. Both memberships in the D23 fan club required a membership fee. Now, however, there is a free membership option, but it does not include the extra features present in the paid option (i.e. gifts, magazine subscription, etc.).

In D23 members have the opportunity to participate in exclusive activities (such as shopping at Mickey’s at Glendale at the Disney Imagineering HQ; member-only mixers; guided tours of the Walt Disney studios, etc.), have access to exclusive content via the d23 website, and receive special discounts on events and activities (such as hotel discounts, resort discounts, and discounted tickets for the expo). In addition to all this, D23 members get the “bragging rights” of being members in the OFFICIAL Disney fan club.

Now, what is the D23 Expo? Well that is the ultimate Disney fan event, of course!

The Expo is held every two years in the summer at the Anaheim Convention Center a block away from the Disneyland Resort in California. The first expo in 2011 hosted 40,000 attendees and showcased stars including Robert Downey, Jr. (Iron Man), Anika Noni Rose (The Princess and the Frog), Kermit the Frog, and Tony Baxter (Imagineering) to name a few. This year marks the second official convention, and Disney promises it will be bigger and better!

What can you expect at the D23 Expo?  How about an exhibition of buying, selling, and trading Disney collectibles; participating in a silent auction to bid on rare Disney memorabilia (such as a Matterhorn bobsled train car); viewing special presentations with panels of Disney artists, executives, animators, and Imagineers; or how about meeting and getting a photo/autograph with the stars from the Marvel Universe, Disney Channel, and Disney XD? With this many Disney fans around, it’s bound to be one awesome ride!

Special highlights this year include: Celebration of 60 years of Disney Imagineering, Sneak Peek at Disney’s new animated feature Planes, and the Treasures of the Walt Disney Archive pavilion.

We at The 2econd Star are definitely excited to attend, as it will be our first D23 Expo! We promise to bring back our impressions, our photos, and provide a recap for all our dreamers who couldn’t make it. For more information on D23 and the D23 Expo, visit the website at www.D23.com.

If you are attending, what are you most excited to see/do there? Please leave a comment below and let us know!

Some Imagination, huh?” – Mickey Mouse, Fantasmic finale.

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