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Rare ‘Behind-the-Magic’ Look at Walt Disney Imagineering Set for D23 Expo

Thomas Smith

by , Editorial Content Director, Disney Parks

If you’re one of the many readers who love our peeks at Walt Disney Imagineering, then you won’t believe what’s planned for this year’s D23 Expo. In honor of their 60th anniversary, Walt Disney Imagineering is hosting an “open house” that’ll offer fans an unprecedented look at its creative processes and a rare opportunity to see just how the magic is created.

Mystic Point at Hong Kong Disneyland The 2013 D23 Expo at the Anaheim Convention Center Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa in Ko Olina, Hawai`i

D23 Expo guests will get an up-close look at an eclectic array of Imagineering’s creative minds – ride engineers, model builders, pre-visualization artists, special effects designers, inventors, and show animators. You’ll also have the chance to glimpse the “workspaces” of several project teams from around Disney’s global portfolio of parks and resorts.

And for the first time at the D23 Expo, Walt Disney Imagineering will be showcasing some of its most historical and revered concept art from its Art Library, including Herb Ryman’s original drawing of Disneyland park.

In the Disney Parks pavilion, D23 Expo guests will have the chance to explore Mickey’s of Glendale, an outlet of Walt Disney Imagineering’s employee-only store, to shop for unique souvenirs and collectibles and Walt Disney Imagineering merchandise not available anywhere else.

D23 Expo attendees will also be able to attend 12 unique presentations and panel discussions that will take fans on the incredible journey behind the latest Disney resorts, attractions, and entertainment including:

  • The Art and Artistry of Aulani – Imagineers Joe Rohde and Jeanette Lomboy will share the authentic tapestry of art and stories found at Aulani, A Disney Resort and Spa.
  • Mayhem, Mischief, and Monkeys: The Magic of Mystic Manor – Join Imagineers Joe Lanzisero and others for the strange stories behind Hong Kong Disneyland’s Mystic Manor, the newest and one of the most sophisticated attractions ever built.
  • Undiscovered Disneyland – Legendary Imagineer Tony Baxter shares rare and never-before-seen footage of the early days of Disneyland park, from design and construction through opening day.
  • Broadcasts from Buena Vista Street – Enjoy the latest “soundtrack” from Buena Vista Street, featuring a live performance of Scary Symphony from radio station KBVS and a panel discussion led by Imagineers.
  • Disney Ambassadors – Join current Disney Parks Ambassadors from around the world as they discuss this renowned program and share insights about its rich heritage, current outreach efforts, and the importance of sharing Disney goodwill.
  • Voices of the Disney Parks – Back by popular demand, this panel of famous Disney voices will gather for an encore panel discussion, including recreations of some unforgettable Disney Parks sayings.
  • Charles Phoenix Presents – Noted humorist and self-proclaimed “retro daddy” Charles Phoenix shares some of his favorite images from around Disney, featuring classic kitsch, clashing color schemes, and hairdos that truly defy gravity.

Disney’s D23 Expo is August 9-11 in Anaheim and tickets are now on sale. On Sunday, August 11, there will be a full day dedicated to the celebration of Walt Disney Imagineering’s 60th anniversary. The presentations in the 2,000-seat Stage 23 Theater with current and former Imagineers will explore a wide range of topics from working with Walt Disney himself, to the exploration of creativity, innovation, and humor in the parks, to a lively discussion of what it’s like to lead one of the world’s most creative organizations.

Let us know what you’re looking forward to in the comments below.


  • There are reports from JeffreyEpstein on twitter that there will be no Parks and Resorts arena presentation this year. That seems like an odd choice considering how high the demand was for that in 2011. Can you elaborate on that decision?

  • Just bought tickets for me and hubby’s first D23 Expo. I can’t wait. After reading this to him, he is much more excited than he was last night. 🙂

  • wow! growing more and more excited with every passing day. this is my first D23 expo and with this, and all the announcements, I’m so super-happy that I bought the 3-day pass. I definitely don’t want to miss any of the special, magical surprises. 🙂

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