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D23 Celebrates Three Decades of Epcot

posted on June 12th, 2012 by Jeffrey Epstein, Manager, Marketing

It was the “Dawn of a New Disney Era” back on October 1, 1982, when EPCOT Center opened to the world amidst great fanfare. Now, D23: The Official Disney Fan Club is honoring that landmark occasion — and the many that have occurred since – at D23’s Epcot 30th Anniversary Celebration, being held at the Walt Disney World Resort on September 30, 2012.

The one-day event will be full of fascinating panels and presentations, including “We Can Do It!” looking at the immense challenges that loomed before Disney’s creative team in constructing the resort’s second theme park; “Looking Back at Tomorrow,” unveiling recently discovered materials from the Walt Disney Archives highlighting many of the park’s original attractions including Horizons, Kitchen Kabaret and World of Motion; and “The EPCOT Center that Never Was” which will use rare concept artwork to give guests a glimpse at some of the pavilions and attractions that never made it off the drawing board.

Along with historians from the Walt Disney Archives, Imagineers and Disney Legends such as Tony Baxter, Marty Sklar, Jason Surrell, Jason Grandt, Alex Wright, Ron Logan, and Bob Garner are also slated to participate in this landmark event, which will take place inside Epcot’s World ShowPlace.

Tickets, available exclusively to members of D23, go on sale Thursday, June 21.

Read more news about Epcot in the posts below:

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D23’s Destination D Returns to the Disneyland Resort, Celebrating 75 Years of Disney Animated Features

posted on April 5th, 2012 by Jeffrey Epstein, Manager, Marketing

D23’s Destination D Celebrates 75 Years of Disney Animated Features

Third time’s the charm—or Prince Charming, as the case may be. D23: The Official Disney Fan Club is bringing Destination D: 75 Years of Disney Animated Features to the Disneyland Resort August 11-12.

The two-day event inside the newly re-Imagineered Disneyland Hotel will celebrate Disney’s feature animation legacy of heart-tugging emotion, dazzling artistry and unforgettable songs and music that began with the “fairest of them all”—”Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs”—and continues to this day with such upcoming fare as “Brave” and “Wreck-It Ralph.” Some of the top Disney animation historians, authors and legendary animators of today will host this trip through the magic of Disney feature animation.

’Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs’ Poster

Highlights include a panel on how Disney animated features have influenced Disney Parks around the world, rare and never-before-seen artwork and film footage, plus a special salute to ”Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” (the film that started it all) along with numerous surprises.

Dick Van Dyke and the Vantastix Will Perform at This Year’s D23 Destination D Disney Legend Alan Menken Will Perform at This Year’s D23 Destination D

Each evening will end “happily ever after” with a concert that guests are sure to remember for years to come. On Saturday, August 11, the incomparable Dick Van Dyke and the Vantastix will perform, and on Sunday, August 12, Disney Legend Alan Menken will perform some of his most memorable songs from many modern-day Disney film classics.

Tickets for this D23 Member-exclusive event will be available April 18, at 10 a.m. PST. For complete details, click here.

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D23 Brings Magic and Merriment to Walt Disney World Resort

posted on December 12th, 2011 by Jeffrey Epstein, Manager, Marketing

This past weekend members of D23: The Official Disney Fan Club enjoyed two full days of holiday happenings at Walt Disney World Resort during the club’s annual Magic and Merriment event. In fact, the event was so popular in past years that D23 doubled the capacity this year by offering the event two times. And the excitement was capped with a royal engagement.

D23 Brings Magic and Merriment to Walt Disney World Resort

The merriment kicked off inside World Showplace at Epcot where guests were treated to presentations that offered an insider’s look at the holidays around the resort. Imagineer Alex Caruthers and Holiday Services manager Lisa Borotkanics revealed some of the secrets to transforming Walt Disney World Resort, Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, and the Disney Cruise Line fleet into wintery wonderlands. Walt Disney Archivist Steven Vagnini looked at the history of the Candlelight Processional at Disney Parks (later that day, guests enjoyed reserved seating to see the spectacle for themselves). And Disney Legend Kathryn Beaumont (who gave voice to Wendy in “Peter Pan” and Alice in “Alice in Wonderland”) talked about her history with Walt Disney working with Walt on 1951’s Walt Disney Christmas Show.

D23 Brings Magic and Merriment to Walt Disney World Resort

Imagineer Gary Landrum explored the creation of the Cinderella Castle Dream Suite – and the following day, guests all received a tour of the rarely seen accommodations. It was inside this regal room that D23 Member Amanda Richards received a royal proposal from her now-fiancé, Ben Doughan. Congratulations!

“The Dream Suite was more magical than I expected,” said D23 Member Debbie Bingham who had traveled from New Jersey to attend the event. “It was even more impressive after hearing the presentation the day before where the Imagineer described all the details.” Guests also got a glimpse backstage, visiting the Holiday and Scenic Services buildings as well as the Parade Barn. “It doesn’t ruin the magic,” added Debbie’s husband Gary. “It makes it even more impressive.”

Goofy with D23 Members at Walt Disney World Resort

Also included during the weekend were Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party and a spectacular holiday feast at Disney’s Animal Kingdom after the park had closed to guests. While Magic and Merriment marks the end of another year of extraordinary experiences, D23 has unveiled an impressive slate of events for 2012 that will bring Disney delights to D23 Members across the country. Stay tuned for even more exciting announcements coming soon from D23: The Official Disney Fan Club regarding exclusive events, opportunities and benefits just for D23 Members.

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D23 Events Go Coast to Coast—and Park to Park

posted on November 18th, 2011 by Jeffrey Epstein, Manager, Marketing

From Walt’s boyhood hometown to an animation celebration, D23Disney’s official fan club—is making 2012 a fan-tastic year with more unique immersive experiences than ever before – events we know passionate Disney enthusiasts will enjoy.

D23 Events Go Coast to Coast

We’re sure many of you have seen the famed “Partners” statue with Walt and Mickey at one of the Disney parks. If you look closely at Walt’s tie you will see the letters “STR”—that stands for Smoke Tree Ranch, an exclusive Palm Springs resort Walt called “my own laughing place.” And January 23 – 25, D23 Members will have a chance to experience this retreat the way Walt did during the “Smoke Tree Ranch Roundup” with three days of screenings, presentations, activities and delectable meals, all while staying in a Smoke Tree Ranch cottage.

If you have ever visited the “One Man’s Dream” attraction at Disney’s Hollywood Studios (Presented by D23) then perhaps you enjoyed learning about Walt’s early years in Marceline, Missouri? This March, D23 will take members on a Journey to Marceline for full-day experience seeing the town that partially inspired Walt’s creative vision for Main Street, U.S.A.

D23 Events Go Coast to Coast

This spring will see the debut of a new event called D23 Fanniversary Celebration, a series of cross-country events marking over 40 magical milestones in Disney’s rich history from attractions and theme park openings to live-action and animated films and beyond. Disney fans will be able to join the “celebration” in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Boston, New York and Orlando.

D23 Events Go Coast to Coast

Speaking of anniversaries, in March D23 will celebrate its third anniversary with a special event at Disneyland park followed by Destination D: 75 Years of Disney Animation which will be held at the Disneyland Resort this August honoring the diamond anniversary of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and Disney feature animation. At Walt Disney World Resort, D23 will celebrate Epcot’s 30th anniversary and fan favorites like the holiday tradition Magic & Merriment will return along with Sip & Stroll, which in 2012 will get a Halloween twist and become Sip & Scream!

Want more? Well, there’s the new screening series From the Vaults at the Walt Disney Studios, which brings beloved live-action films from the past back to the big screen, like Newsies, Sister Act and Treasure Island. The 50 and Fabulous screening series returns, as do D23’s signature tours of the Studio and Walt Disney Archives—which will double in capacity!

And that’s just the beginning! Look for even more events to be announced in the upcoming months as D23 continues to create one-of-a-kind events for Disney fans.

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Some of Hollywood’s Biggest Names Bring Walt Disney World Attractions to Life

posted on August 9th, 2011 by Jeffrey Epstein, Manager, Marketing

How many times have you been on a Disney Parks attraction and said, “Hey, that guy looks familiar!” or “I recognize her voice”? We love how Imagineers seamlessly work celebrities into some of our favorite attractions. It can add additional layers to the storytelling as well as the enjoyment a guest experiences when they have the “Ah ha!” moment of, “Hey, that’s Jamie Lee Curtis playing against Ellen DeGeneres on ‘Jeopardy!’”

Ellen's Energy Adventure at Walt Disney World Resort

To celebrate the new issue of Disney twenty-three magazine in honor of Walt Disney World Resort’s 40th anniversary, D23 chatted with some of the incredible talent who appear on and in attractions around the Orlando resort. Currently featured on the D23 website is Illeana Douglas (Ghost World, Goodfellas, Cape Fear), who plays the hilarious rock band manager on Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith. She told us she was shocked when she was asked to be a part of the high-speed attraction. “At first I thought it was a joke,” she said. “Growing up, Aerosmith was my favorite band ever!”

Journey Into Imagination with Figment at Walt Disney World Resort

We also chatted with Eric Idle who contributed his talents to two Epcot attractions (Journey into Imagination With Figment and Honey I Shrunk the Audience), who is thrilled to a part of Disney history. “I love being able to appear fifteen times a day without having to turn up!” he joked.

Coming up this week we have exclusive interviews with two other big-name talents, including an actress who experienced an Alien Encounter and an actor who sent guests careening into space by giving voice to a lovable robot. We’ll finish up the series with a round up of stories and quotes from a dozen other stars (including a mischievous pirate, a chief flight attendant and lovable bug)! You’ll be able to find them all on the D23 website.

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Are You A Disney Genius? Prove It!

posted on July 28th, 2011 by Jeffrey Epstein, Manager, Marketing

Disney Trivia Tournament at D23 Expo

Can you recall the first three E-Ticket attractions at Disneyland Resort that premiered in 1959? Do you know how many Academy Awards were personally awarded to Walt Disney? Which was the first animated Disney film that Alan Menken composed music for? If you know even some of these answers, you may want to head to the Anaheim Convention Center on Thursday, Aug. 18, for the Ultimate Disney Trivia Tournament presented by Hasbro Trivial Pursuit: Disney for All Edition!

The final rounds will be held as part of the D23 Expo — the ultimate Disney event for fans and families! — on Friday, Aug. 19, and the winner of the Tournament receives a special preview cruise on the Disney Fantasy! Here are five sample Disney Parks-related questions to whet your appetite for the fun (answers at the bottom, so don’t cheat!):

  1. The Matterhorn Bobsleds attraction at Disneyland park is based on what Disney live-action film?
  2. What is the name of the attraction that closely resembles The Haunted Mansion at Disneyland Paris?
  3. What Epcot attraction narrator makes a cameo appearance in the 2011 film “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides?”
  4. What Hong Kong Disneyland attraction features a thrilling finale where fire and water gods battle one another?
  5. Name the pet store once featured at Lake Buena Vista Village (today known as Downtown Disney Marketplace) in which guests could purchase hamsters, parrots, and … albino skunks?!

The first round starts at 7:30 a.m. on Thursday, so rise and shine and remember what you learned in your “Disney A to Z!” Because you can’t win if you don’t play!

Read the rest of this entry »

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It’s a ‘Carousel of Projects’ from Disney Parks at the D23 Expo

posted on July 20th, 2011 by Jeffrey Epstein, Manager, Marketing

We’re busy putting the finishing touches on all of the incredible experiences guests will immerse themselves in at D23 Expo 2011, and Walt Disney Parks and Resorts just announced an out-of-this-(Disney)-world line-up!

Attendees to the Expo, from August 19–21 at the Anaheim Convention Center, just across the street from Disneyland Resort, will be able to visit the “Carousel of Projects,” a pavilion that pays loving homage to a favorite classic Disney Parks attraction: “Carousel of Progress.” Inside, guests will get a sneak peek at what’s in store for Disney’s five resorts around the world, as well as what’s next from Disney Cruise Line, Disney Vacation Club and more. There will be figures, props and ride vehicles from Radiator Springs Racers – plus a look behind the scenes and the creation of Cars Land, as well as concepts, models and plans for the tremendous expansion of Fantasyland at the Magic Kingdom park at Walt Disney World Resort.

D23 Expo at Disneyland Resort

Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Chairman Tom Staggs will offer guests a glimpse at some of the biggest projects currently in development at Disney Parks (along with a few surprises!) during his presentation on Friday, Aug. 19. And there will be a slew of other must-see presentations and panels throughout the weekend that park enthusiasts of all ages are sure to enjoy, including Radiator Springs Reality: Imagineering Cars Land for Disney California Adventure with John Lasseter, The Making of Star Tours – The Adventures Continue hosted by Imagineer Tom Fitzgerald, A Good Look at Buena Vista Street (giving guests a closer look at the new entrance to Disney California Adventure park), Imagineering the Dream and the Fantasy, and Legends of Walt Disney Imagineering (a spectacular gathering of talent including Alice Davis, Orlando Ferrante, Bob Gurr and Don Iwerks, with special guest and current Imagineer Kim Irvine, daughter of Disney Legend Leota Toombs – hosted by Disney Legend Marty Sklar).

There’s much more magic in store for guests at the Expo, including the previously announced Disney Legends Ceremony, Treasures of the Walt Disney Archives 12,000-square-foot exhibit, an advance exclusive screening of “The Lion King” in 3D, the D23 Expo Dream Store, the Ultimate Disney Trivia Tournament, the D23 Expo Live Auction – plus Disney and ABC stars and much more. To learn more about all the excitement coming to Anaheim this August, visit

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Disney Legends Award Honorees to be Celebrated at D23 Expo

posted on June 17th, 2011 by Jeffrey Epstein, Manager, Marketing

Hi everyone! We are thrilled that the prestigious Disney Legends ceremony will be returning to the D23 Expo this year. Taking place on Friday, August 19, at the Anaheim Convention Center, Disney Legends honors those who have made significant contributions to the Disney legacy.

Disneyland Hotel creators Jack and Bonita Wrather

Among this year’s honorees are many creative and inspiring individuals who have helped shape Disney Parks around the world. For example, this year’s group of worthy recipients include television icon Regis Philbin, previously featured in the “Who Wants to Be A Millionaire: Play It!” attraction at Disney’s Hollywood Studios; Jim Henson, whose masterful work can be seen at that park’s Muppet•Vision 3D; Disneyland Hotel creators Jack and Bonita Wrather; Ray Watson, whose vision helped lead the expansion of Walt Disney World including the opening of Epcot; and Jodi Benson, the voice of Ariel, who recently attended the opening of The Little Mermaid ~ Ariel’s Undersea Adventure at Disney California Adventure park.

Other soon-to-be Legends include former Disney Consumer Products Chairman Bo Boyd, Guy Williams who embodied Zorro, and Disney Princesses Paige O’Hara, Linda Larkin, Lea Salonga and Anika Noni Rose.

The ceremony will be hosted by Tom Bergeron of “Dancing with the Stars” and will take place in the Convention Center Arena. For more details about the “Ultimate Disney Event for Fans and Families”— including an exclusive advance screening of “The Lion King” in 3D, visit

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Ready to Race at ‘D23’s Great Disney Scavenger Hunt: Walt Disney World’

posted on February 17th, 2011 by Jeffrey Epstein, Manager, Marketing

D23's Great Disney Scavenger Hunt: Walt Disney World

Hundreds of teams. Four theme parks. Two days. One amazing hunt.

Think you know Walt Disney World Resort like the back of your hand? Now is the time to put it to the test! Following on the heels of last year’s incredible hunt at Disneyland Resort, we are thrilled to announce “D23’s Great Disney Scavenger Hunt: Walt Disney World!” The hunt – set to be the largest in Walt Disney World’s history – is a two-day, four-park event sure to be a blast for serious fans as well as families. Questions will range from the more simple “Miner League” puzzlers to the fairly challenging “Major Domo” clues to the “Super-Difficult-idocious” stumpers! While we know everyone will have fun exploring the parks in new ways, there are also some incredible prizes to be won coming from virtually every corner of Disney!

The hunt is open to both D23 Members and non-members – D23 Members get a specially discounted price. For a complete list of rules and guidelines, click here. Time to lace up your sneakers and get ready to race! Or walk at a safe pace. Hope to see ya there!

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D23 Announces Line-Up for ‘Destination D: Walt Disney World 40th’

posted on February 12th, 2011 by Jeffrey Epstein, Manager, Marketing

I can’t tell you how excited we are here at D23, Disney’s Official Fan Club! Last fall during our “Destination D” event celebrating Disneyland’s 55th anniversary, D23 head Steven Clark announced we’d be holding an all-new event this year to celebration four decades of Walt Disney World Resort magic.

D23 Announces Line-Up for ‘Destination D: Walt Disney World 40th’

Well, we have secured some incredible talent and put together some outstanding presentations and exciting panels for “Destination D: Walt Disney World 40th,” which will be held May 14 and 15 in the Fantasia Ballroom of Disney’s Contemporary Resort. The roster of names boasts a cavalcade of Disney Legends, luminaries and Imagineers including Marty Sklar, Dave Smith, Tony Baxter, Bob Gurr, Jack Lindquist, Eric Jacobson, Charlie Ridgway and Ron Logan as well as Debra Browne, the 1971 Walt Disney World Ambassador.

The unique presentations will cover topics such as bizarre and wacky moments in Walt Disney World’s past, Walt’s vision for Epcot, a peek at the Walt Disney World that never was and even a glimpse into the Resort’s future! The event’s grand finale will be “Magic Journeys: Flights of Fancy through 40 Years of Walt Disney World Musical Memories” featuring Disney Legend and Academy Award-winner Richard Sherman. The event is open exclusively to members of D23, and you see the entire line-up and schedule by clicking here. Hope to see ya there!

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Filed: Epcot, Walt Disney World Resort