D23 Expo Preview: 10 Things to See and Do at Disney's 'Ultimate Fan Event'
The three-day confab, which kicks off Friday in Anaheim, will feature sneak peeks at upcoming Disney and Marvel movies along with a slew of talent appearances and musical performances.
Disney's D23 Expo, which runs Friday-Sunday at the Anaheim Convention Center, has a jam-packed schedule that aims to keep kids -- and kids at heart -- entertained.
While the entire lineup can be found at the official website, here are 10 things to see and do -- for attendees of all ages and interests -- while at what Disney bills as its "ultimate fan event."
Preview Upcoming Blockbusters
Walt Disney Studios chairman Alan Horn, Disney live-action production president Sean Bailey and Marvel Studios president and producer Kevin Feige will host a session centered on the roster of upcoming live-action movies from Disney, Marvel and Lucasfilm. Among the films spotlighted will be Marvel's Thor: The Dark World and Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Disney's Maleficent, Saving Mr. Banks, Tomorrowland and Muppets Most Wanted, with exclusive video clips, filmmaker discussions and star appearances expected. (10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Saturday, D23 Arena) Meanwhile, Walt Disney and Pixar Animation Studios chief creative officer John Lasseter will be joined by the filmmakers and stars of upcoming animated movies including Frozen and The Good Dinosaur. The session will include exclusive film debuts, announcements and live performances. (10 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Friday, D23 Arena)
Take a Planes Ride
Disney's Planes hits theaters Friday, the same day D23 Expo attendees will be treated to a special 3D presentation of the animated comedy adventure, which centers on a plan who wants to be a high-flying racer -- but happens to be afraid of heights. And for those interested in learning how to draw the Planes characters, Disney art director Stephane Kardos will be on hand earlier in the day to give a brief lesson. (3-5 p.m. Friday, D23 Arena)
Master the Force
Think you know everything there is to know about the Star Wars universe? "Crash Course in the Force: Star Wars Saga 101" claims there are "many secrets of the Force to discover." Lucasfilm’s resident authority, Pablo Hidalgo, will talk about where Star Wars has been and its impact around the world. (5-6 p.m. Saturday, Stage 23)
Get an Early Look at Marvel's Agents of SHIELD
Marvel and ABC have kept the pilot of their forthcoming drama series under wraps. It's had showings at Comic-Con and TCA, but screeners were not sent out to critics or the press. At D23, the entire pilot will be screened for attendees, with Marvel head of television and series executive producer Jeph Loeb introducing the event. The series, which premieres Sept. 24 on ABC, picks up where Marvel and Joss Whedon's feature film The Avengers left off and features Clark Gregg's Agent Phil Coulson's mysterious return after having been killed off in Whedon's film. (3 p.m. Sunday, D23 Expo Arena)
"Once Upon a Time: Behind the Fairy Tale" will give a sneak peek at the upcoming season of ABC’s Once Upon a Time and as well as the spinoff, Once Upon a Time in Wonderland, followed by a Q&A with show creators and executive producers Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz. (1-2 p.m. Saturday, Stage 23)
Head to Broadway, via Anaheim
Thomas Schumacher,president and producer of Disney Theatrical Productions, heads up a "one-night-only" performance of popular songs performed by the stars of the Broadway productions, including Heidi Blickenstaff (The Little Mermaid), Ashley Brown (Mary Poppins, Beauty and the Beast), Merle Dandridge (Tarzan and Aida), Josh Strickland (Tarzan) and Alton Fitzgerald White (The Lion King). (6:30-8 p.m. Friday, Stage 23) Separately, Oscar-winning songwriter-composers Richard M. Sherman and Alan Menken -- who have composed music and songs for more than three dozen Disney feature films, two dozen Disney Park attractions and half a dozen Disney musicals on Broadway -- will take to the stage for another "one night only" performance. (6:30-8 p.m. Saturday, D23 Arena)
Honor Disney Legends
The 2013 Disney Legends Awards, hosted by Disney CEO Bob Iger and Tom Bergeron, will pay tribute "to the talented people who have made indelible contributions to the Disney legacy." This year, Monsters, Inc. and Monsters University stars Billy Crystal and John Goodman, technology visionary Steve Jobs and television icon Dick Clark are among those who will be named and honored as official Disney Legends. (2-4 p.m. Saturday, D23 Arena)
Go Behind the Scenes at Disneyland
Various panels are aimed at giving attendees an inside look at the Disney parks. One panel features the men and women who provides voices for the parks (Bill Rogers, the "voice of Disneyland," also will record a voicemail greeting on your mobile phone), while another features Disney Parks ambassadors. "Mayhem, Mischief and Monkeys: The Magic of Mystic Manor" will offer a behind-the-scenes look at a new Hong Kong Disneyland attraction, while pop culture humorist Charles Phoenix will share stories about "gone but not forgotten" Disneyland attractions, Anaheim's midcentury motels and the "ill-fated Disneyland wannabe theme park, Freedomland, U.S.A." Several other panels will celebrate the 60th anniversary of Walt Disney Imagineering, focusing on such topics as what it was like to work with Walt Disney, what it's like to work as an Imagineer and how humor plays a big role in Disney parks around the world. Elsewhere, Disneyland Hotel historian and author Don Ballard discuses the resort's past and shows rare footage and photographs. (Various times and locations)
Meet the Stars of Your Favorite Disney Shows
Talent will be on hand representing such series as Phineas and Ferb, Sofia the First, Marvel Universe, Teen Beach Movie, Crash & Bernstein, Gravity Falls, Lab Rats, Shake It Up, Dog With a Blog, Liv and Maddie, Kickin' It, Jessie, Wander Over Yonder and others. Additionally, Characters from such shows as Sofia the First, Doc McStuffins, and Jake and the Never Land Pirates along with Spider-Man, Iron Man, Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse, Snow White and Prince Charming and Ariel and Prince Eric. (Various times and locations)
Try Your Luck at the 'Waffle-inator'
The latest of Dr. Doofenshmirtz's (Phineas and Ferb) inventions, this 40-foot-tall interactive game combines the physical and digital worlds -- and simulated waffles -- in an epic showdown to free Agent P from the clutches of the evil scientist. Kids, tweens and families can hop aboard and wield the life-size invention to play "The Phineas and Ferb Waffle-inator Challenge." The Waffle-inator also will be depicted in the TV specialPhineas and Ferb: Mission Marvel, debuting at 8 p.m. Aug. 16 on Disney Channel, which finds the young inventors teaming up with the Marvel superheroes to defeat Doofenshmirtz and the Marvel supervillains.(9 a.m.-5 p.m. Friday-Sunday, Disney Channel Pavilion)
Go to Infinity -- and Beyond
Disney Interactive co-presidents Jimmy Pitaro and John Pleasants will preview the division's upcoming slate of digital projects, including the world premiere of Blank: A Vinylmation Love Story, the upcoming web series based on the Vinylmation franchise, and a demo of the just-announced video game Fantasia: Music Evolved. In addition, Disney Infinity also will "take center stage with several new surprises." (Noon Sunday, D23 Arena)
And more ...
Take part in puppet activities, makeovers, manicures, karaoke and yo-yo performances, get dolled up at the Disney Princess Hair Salon, or learn how to draw Mickey, the Muppets and other characters. Meanwhile, the schedule also includes musical performances by Fifth Harmony, Radio Disney's newest "N.B.T" (Next Big Thing) artist; Bridgit Mendler; and the band R5, featuring Teen Beach Movie and Austin & Ally star Ross Lynch. Meanwhile, five fans will be chosen at Friday's à la Mode Costume Contest to win a collectible Edna Mode bronze trophy; only five were made.(Various times and locations)