My First D23 – A Star Wars Fan in the Mouse’s House

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Let me tell you about D23.

It’s nuts.

What is D23? Well, after attending my first one in Anaheim this past weekend I can best describe it as the Mecca for Disney fanatics around the world. This is ground zero for families crazy about the parks – groups of girlfriends cosplaying as Disney princesses – the dad and his son in their matching captain America costumes, and of course Star Wars fans.

Granted Star Wars fans totally outnumbered by the previously mentioned.

Being used to Star Wars Celebration as my more or less home convention, it was odd seeing Star Wars put into a larger context of the whole host of other Disney properties. More on that later.

I arrived late Friday night just in time to join up with some of the most hard-core fans waiting overnight to get wristbands for the Live action upcoming Marvel and of course Lucasfilm releases. I ran into Steele Saunders and Jason Ward, and got to hang out with Chris Seekell and Dominic Jones while we waited overnight.

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The crowd waiting in line overnight for the Future Films Panel
Chris Seekell from the Star Wars Underworld loves his Mountain Dew at 6am :)
Chris Seekell from the Star Wars Underworld loves his Mountain Dew at 6am :)

Ahhh the cold hard concrete constantly serving as a reminder that yes – you are insane for doing this… only in the best of ways of course. (ehhh kind of)

After an amazing panel on the live action action releases (read more about it here) I made my way to the Galaxy of Stories exhibit to get a look at the scale model of ‘Star Wars Land’ which of course we now know as Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge.

Quite a line for Galaxy of stories.
Quite a line for Galaxy of stories.

There was quite a crowd but it was well manages and the wait time was only about 25 minutes – not bad for the middle of Sat. Be sure to see our full gallery and my reaction here.

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Pretty…

Also imagine my surprise when right as I was about to leave and I nearly bumped rightist Star Wars Artists and designer extraordinaire Doug Chiang who had just stopped by to see people take in the exhibit. He was really nice and was even willing to take a quick picture – I was taken aback enough that he had to suggest taking a 2nd picture with the model in the background.

Doug Chiang!
Doug Chiang!
Riley approves.
Riley approves.

Shortly after wrapping this up I had a chance to run into Fangirl and Her Universe’s Savanna Kiefer. And then meet up with Stephen Stanton, Rick Fitts and Dutch and Kathy and walk the floor. We even stopped by the Starlight Foundation/Disney Charity booth to volunteer and help fill gift bags for the Starlight Children’s Foundation.

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The gang with the Starlight Children’s foundation
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Superhero pose!

Then we headed back to the Galaxy of Stories just to say hi and I got to run into Richard and Sarah from Skywalking Through Neverland and record a quick reaction podcast.

It was finally time to call it a day. But not before heading out to the courtyard/main entrance to the Anaheim Convention Center to catch some of the cosplay and then cap off the night with a visit to Downtown Disney.

Hey there...
Hey there…
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Together at last
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Downtown Disney at sunset

Overall I have to say D23 was a blast. The organization was spot on and there were so many things to do. I will say this. If you’re there just for the Star Wars stuff, it’s probably a 1-day kind of event. However, if you’re like me and slowing being sucked into the Kraken-like maw of pure Disney Magic – it’s a great time.

D23 is a combination of trade show with a heavy official presence showing off the latest and greatest in the Disney Properties, and actual fan presence. My one wish for the main programming would be to institute overflow screens for fans – who would want to see the big panels like the Live Action Films presentation and the Parks panel – but aren’t willing to wait for hours in line just to see it.

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So many people…

So quick summary (And in no particular order)

Also this is the point of the blog where Riley drops all pretenses of professionalism.

  • Vibe: Passionate but more subdued than something like a Star Wars Celebration
  • Also OMG INFINITY WAR. It was Amazeballs
  • I loved seeing the footage of Mary Poppins Returns – saw the original countless times as a kid
  • Also did I mention THANOS HOLY COW – Explosions! Awesomeness!
  • Great seeing friends and that was what made the trip out totally worth it.
  • Also… THE IRON SPIDER SUIT + Black Panther + The Avengers + the Guardians :) :) :)
  • Oh and the Parks announcements were cool but I think the real potential is found in the Star Wars immersive hotel – It’s like Star Wars Westworld!
  • Also…. MANTIS HAD TO WAKE THOR UP HE WAS ALMOST DEAD YIKES

ok I’ll stop.

Infinity War pretty much ate everyone else’s lunch. Let’s be honest.

Cheers!

-Riley

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