Today was an absolutely wonderful start to this weekend's D23 celebration, Destination D: 75 Years of Disney Animation.
The event is being held in the Grand Ballroom at the Disneyland Hotel here in Anaheim, California.
The day was filled with five panel presentations, a concert, and -- for those who chose to stay late into the evening -- a movie!
Among the day's highlights:
...A discussion of the "Nine Old Men" and Disney's First Golden Age of Animation with Disney Legend Burny Mattinson and artist-producer Joe Hale, joined by Ted Thomas, son of Disney Legend Frank Thomas:
It was quite a thrill listening to men whose history with the Disney company goes back nearly six decades.
...A tribute to Roy E. Disney and the Second Golden Age of Disney Animation, featuring his son Roy Patrick Disney and Don Hahn, John Musker, Ron Clements, and Dave Bossert.
...A preview of next year's animated musical FROZEN (2013), a telling of THE SNOW QUEEN. It looks gorgeous, with some of the artwork reminiscent of Mary Blair's style. Idina Menzel of Broadway's WICKED and Disney's ENCHANTED (2007) voices the title role, with Kristen Bell costarring.
...A complete screening of the exquisite new short PAPERMAN (2012):
...A preview of WRECK-IT RALPH (2012).
...Drawings from a bizarre "Pomp and Circumstance" sequence cut from FANTASIA 2000 (1999), in which Dumbo and storks deliver babies to all the Disney princesses and their husbands.
...The "Zip a Dee Doo Dah" sequence from SONG OF THE SOUTH (1946) screened to loud applause at the conclusion of a panel titled "The Greatest Disney Animation You Never Saw." Alas, no word on a DVD release. Disney's fear of making the film available to the public has become absurd.
...Great free Disney swag including a sketchbook with a Mary Blair cover, a reproduction of a "How to Draw" booklet sold in Disneyland decades ago, and a lithograph of new Disney productions.
I also purchased this gorgeous memento of my favorite Disney cartoon, SLEEPING BEAUTY (1959):
There are photos of the actual storybook used in the film in my post from last year's visit to the Disney Archives exhibit at the D23 Expo.
...Storyboards for Disney's never-completed HIAWATHA cartoon in the '40s. These will be available on a new Blu-ray release of POCAHONTAS (1995) due out this month.
...A wonderful panel with Imagineer Tony Baxter and others paying tribute to animator-Imagineers Claude Coats, Herb Ryman, Marc Davis, and John Hench, who played significant roles in the creation of Disneyland and later Disney theme parks.
...An evening concert with 86-years-young Dick Van Dyke and his a cappella backup group, the Vantastix:
Van Dyke and Company sang a mix of tunes from Disney, CHITTY CHITTY BANG BANG (1968), BYE BYE BIRDIE (1963), gospel, standards like "Straighten Up and Fly Right," and even the theme from THE DICK VAN DYKE SHOW.
Dick stooped over and hilariously reenacted his MARY POPPINS (1964) role as Mr. Dawes Sr., singing "Fidelity Fiduciary Bank," saying he no longer needed old age makeup!
He sang many other songs from MARY POPPINS, and although decades have passed, the timber of his voice was still much the same when he sang "Chim-Chim-Cheeree." His encore, with the audience singing along to "Let's Go Fly a Kite," was enough to bring tears to the eyes of any child of the '60s, this writer included.
Dick also paid tribute to the late director-choreographer-dancer Gower Champion, saying he'd been a great help to his career, and recognized Marge Champion, who was sitting in the front row. Marge will be participating in a SNOW WHITE panel on Sunday, as she was the live-action model for SNOW WHITE when she was a teenager. Marge will soon be 93 and looks fantastic.
The Van Dyke concert was followed by a screening of the very interesting documentary WALT AND EL GRUPO (2008), but since we saw it on a big screen last year at USC we decided to head home at that point to recharge (literally and figuratively!) for Sunday. There's another great day ahead including appearances by Kathryn Beaumont (the voice of Alice and Wendy), Dick Jones (the voice of Pinocchio), Chris Sanders (the voice of Stitch), and a concert by the great Disney composer Alan Menken.
Destination D is the place to be for those who are serious Disney fans. The entire experience is, well...supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!
Update: Here's a report on Day 2.
Previously: Destination D, Here We Come! (July 12, 2010); Today at Destination D: Disneyland '55 (September 24, 2010); Today at Destination D: Disneyland '55 (Day Two) (September 25, 2010); Dick Van Dyke Show 50th Anniversary at the Egyptian Theatre (October 2, 2011).