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D23 Chicago Fanniversary Event

Guest Author: Jamie Robbins

I was super excited to attend this event on Sunday March 10, 2013! This was my 1st ever “official” Disney event! I had been unable to attend last year’s premier Fanniversary event, and was determined not to miss the next one that was offered, so when tickets became available for the general public to purchase, I grabbed my ticket!


I arrived in downtown Chicago about an hour and half before the event check in was to begin, so…where better to waste some time than the FABULOUS Michigan Avenue Disney Store! I LOVE this store because it has the “classic” 90s Disney store feel to it! I always just love to wander around the store, see all the new merchandise, and soak up some Disney magic! About 4:15pm, I made my way down 2 blocks to The Museum of Contemporary Art! The presentation was to be held in the Edlis Neeson Theater at 5pm.

I arrived just before the 4:30pm check in time, and was greeted by 2 smiling faces wearing the familiar Disney nametags (someday I WILL wear one of those!) I was welcomed, and handed some AWESOME swag…a D23 Fanniversary button, a flip book of Frankenweenie, and 2 glossy books of Brave and Wreck It Ralph! I was told by one of my fellow TRT guest bloggers, Sherry, that these books were promotional give-aways to those who vote for the Oscars! How amazing was that! These books are beautiful too, high quality gloss books filled with beautiful pictures from the films!Jamie4

As the doors opened and we entered the theater, we were greeted by smiling faces of the staff from D23 and some familiar background music playing…as I entered and sat down “Hi Ho, Hi Ho” from Snow White and the 7 Dwarfs was playing, and it brought a smile to my face!

I sat down about 10 rows up from the front and in the center, it was not a full audience, probably a good 150 people total! There was a large screen above the center of the stage that was showing “previews” of the new and upcoming Disney projects including: Monsters University, Iron Man 3, Oz the Great and Powerful, Planes, The Lone Ranger, Disney Infinity, and of course, D23 Official Fan Club. Also on the stage were 2 tall chairs, 2 podiums, and a table that had something on it but was covered by a black cloth. Hmm…I had heard there were going to be a few “surprises” from the Archives at this Fanniversary event…I had an idea what they may be from a hint on the D23 official website.


Right before the presentation started, another song that is near and dear to my heart played and I smiled and caught myself tearing up…”Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow” from Carousel of Progress, written by the Sherman Brothers! Every time I hear that song, I just smile and have so much hope and optimism for my future and my passion for Disney!

I sat waiting with a smile on my face, I was surrounded by fellow Disney enthusiasts! I noticed that there was a high level of excitement and “magic” as we waited for the presentation to start! It was that same feeling you get when you are at your favorite Disney Park, or watching your favorite Disney movie! I remember thinking, ‘this is the same type of happiness I have when I am on Walt Disney property in Florida, just a sense of belonging and peace and pleasure!’. I made some small talk with the woman in front of me, as she was sporting the same “Buttons” Dooney and Burke crossbody purse as I was! There were MANY Dooneys in the room, I counted at least 6!

At 5 minutes before 5pm, Laura Sanchez of D23 special events greeted us and invited us to “take a trip down memory lane” as this Fanniversary celebration would about celebrating anniversaries! We applauded and an announcement was made over the speakers “we encourage you to applaud, laugh out loud, even sing along”! We were also asked to turn off our cell phones and any other type of recording device, as many of the images and videos that were going to be shared had either rarely or never been seen before! I, of course, doing anything that someone from Disney asks me to do, turned off my phone and put it in my pocket. Our hosts were then introduced as Rick Lorentz from the Disney Archives, and Cynthia from D23′s social media!


We were then told that 2013 marks the 90th Anniversary of the Walt Disney Company, and we were going to take a trip back in time back to 1923, and an announcement came on that “your theater is currently rotating backwards” (hmm, sounds awfully familiar….Spaceship Earth?) but it was actually to “transport” us back in time!

During the 90 minute presentation, we were shown many rare video clips, photographs, drawings, and sound clips! Some of my favorites were of “Uncle Walt” himself! I love any chance to see photographs of Walt, but I especially love to see any type of video of him, as he is one of my idols and I admire him so much! There was a video we were shown of him explaining the movie making process, and I jotted down in my notes that I “LOVE his voice!” It has this gentle, soothing quality about it, full of self confidence and certainty and determination!


We were told that the official birthday/anniversary of Mickey Mouse is November 18, 1928 with the debut of Steamboat Willie. This was determined by none other than Dave Smith of the Walt Disney Archives in 1978! 2013 marks the 85th year of our favorite Mouse!!!!

There was an interesting video that was shown, called “The Collector” that MANY of us, I am sure, can relate to!                         Not that ANY of us decorate with Disney in our homes, wear Disney clothing, or drive a car with Mickey ears on it! We all laughed throughout!

2013 marks the 30th anniversary of a beloved EPCOT attraction…Horizons! I don’t remember going on this ride much growing up, I know I did, I just don’t have much vivid memories of it. Then again, I spent a LOT more time on Future World East growing up! Rick told us that he had a surprise for us, he uncovered the black cloth on the table and revealed that they had brought a collection of medals, patches, pins, and rings that were worn on the Audio-Animatronic figures throughout the attraction!

We had a surprise for us, Rick also brought along the goucho doll that was given to Walt Disney that was on display at the past 2 Fanniversary events, but was an “extra surprise” for us! Unfortunately they could not bring that out for us to see afterwards, but it was still very neat to see it there on stage, knowing that Walt Disney himself had once held that doll!

Many other anniversaries were celebrated, including the 15th anniversary of Disney’s Animal Kingdom, 30 years of The Disney Channel, 50 years of Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room at Disneyland, 60 years of Peter Pan, and 80 years of the Mickey Mouse Ingersall watch! I felt REALLY old learning some of these anniversaries! It just proves though, how timeless this company is with everything it does, from theme parks and movies and music!

After 90 minutes, we were shown a montage of videos of how the Walt Disney Company has entertained the world for 90 years!! This was shown with one of my favorite songs playing along with it….”We Go On & Illuminations“! I teared up during this video, mostly because of the mix of emotions I was feeling. I was so proud to be a Disney FANATIC, to be able to appreciate this awesome presentation and learn so much more history and trivia! Also, I was proud to of been able to get to be involved in the online community 3 years ago, and how I want to focus more on that and learn as much more as I can about the Walt Disney Company and its rich and full history! There are so many interesting stories and history to learn about, and so many in some form or other, relate back to me in a small way!

At the end of the presentation, we were thanked for coming and were invited into the lobby to see the HORIZONS pin collection and take pictures! I was super excited about this! I waited about halfway back in line, and then took a few pictures with Rick and of the pins themselves! I then asked Cynthia and Laura if they would take a picture with me and they graciously did! I chatted with Cynthia afterwards some and told her that someday I want to work for Disney and she wished me good luck! Everyone was so friendly!! I walked out of the venue with a HUGE smile on my face!

From the official D23 website:

I would strongly recommend attending a D23 Fanniversary event the next time they come to your town! It is definitely worth the price of admission, as you learn so much about the history of the company and it also connects you for 90 minutes to the Disney magic we all know and love!

The Relocated Tourist is sponsored by “Magical Mouse Plans Travel”

1 Comment »

  1. I can’t wait it go! We’re going to the Boston 2pm show (hubby and I). Can I bring my actual camera or would I be safer just using the not so good camera on my cell?


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