Disney fans head to D23 Expo

Expo takes place this weekend in Anaheim

Disney devotees from across the globe will flock to Anaheim, Calif., this weekend for the company’s second D23 Expo, dubbed by the Mouse as “The Ultimate Disney Fan Event.”

The bi-annual confab premiered in 2009 with tens of thousands of Disney fans in attendance and returns this year after skipping 2010. D23, the official Disney fan club, was created after Mouse topper Bob Iger received emails from shareholders (who double as Disney fans)asking why it had never had an official fan club during its 80-plus years. Steven Clark, head of D23, and others conceived D23 (23 being a reference to Disney’s founding in 1923) and wanted to create a fan convention to complement the org.

“When we started looking into what the expo might be, it grew and grew and really became something that filled … not just a ballroom at one of our resort hotels … but the Anaheim Convention Center,” Clark said.

This year’s features events, talks and sneak peeks for fans. Rich Ross, chair of Walt Disney Studios, will host a presentation along with an arsenal of execs, including Disney’s Sean Bailey, Pixar’s John Lasseter and Marvel’s Kevin Feige. Joe Quesada will host “Marvel: The House of Ideas.”

Sneak peeks — many exclusive premieres — of upcoming Disney pics include “The Muppets,” “John Carter,” “Brave,” “Frankenweenie,” “Oz: The Great and Powerful,” and a buzzed about “The Avengers.” Disney will hold a special screening of “The Lion King” in 3D as well.

Event overall caters to specialty Mouse fans: Imagineers will interact with park fans, unveiling elements of Walt Disney World and California Adventure; “Treasures of Walt Disney Archives” will be on display, including props and set pieces from such pics as “Zorro,” “Tron,” and the “Pirates” franchise; and finally, Disney Channel will host meet-and-greets with cast members. “For kids who watch Disney Channel, it’s going to be nirvana,” Clark said.

D23 may not just be for Disney buffs, though. Clark said for investor relations, the press or general biz insiders, there is nothing better than the D23 Expo when it comes to “getting a real look at all things Disney under one roof.””What we’ve done is open the doors of Disney to our best consumers — there’s no better way to foster that relationship,” he said.

Expo runs Friday-Sunday at the Anaheim Convention Center. More info can be found at D23Expo.com.

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