Friday, December 6, 2013

EnchantaCon Day 2 recap

For the second day, I prepped my Enchanted Forest Belle look- the same one I wore to D23 a few months ago.  Marie had wanted to leave some of her things in my room, so I waited around while Terri went to get some photo ops with the actors.  It took a while for the bus to drop her off, but she finally made it.  On the way to meet her in the lobby, I was ambushed by Teresa and Lori of Once Upon a Fan who had recognized me from my pictures.  They were delightful to meet and I wanted to talk more, but I didn't want to leave Marie hanging.

Marie was dressed as Neverland Emma with a grey shirt, a sword, a blonde wig, and even a homemade Neverland map.  She looked adorable!  We had some time so we decided to have a very sugary breakfast of pastries.  Marie had an apple turnover of the non-poisoned variety.

Our first panel was at noon with Raphael Sbarge, Keegan Conner Tracy, and Tony Amendola- the Pinocchio characters. Unlike the panel at Paleyfest, there was no real moderator, so the Q&A was a bit of a free for all.  People could raise their hands to ask a question, then the actors could call on them, and someone would try to get to them with the mic.  It didn't always reach the speaker on time though!

I don't recall a lot of the specifics of the questions and answers, but all 3 were lovely to hear from.  Keegan especially has quite the sense of humor, and Raphael is a super sweet guy.  It was fun to hear Tony's normal voice when he always speaks with an Italian accent on the show, and I've never seen his other roles.  He was very engaging with the audience as well.  Someone always asks OuaT actors who their favorite fairytale characters are- one day I need to come up with some creative questions to ask.

Our second guest was the very handsome Gil McKinney- Once's own Prince Eric.  I wasn't familiar with his other work, and he has only been in one episode so far, so I didn't know too much about him, but he was so great with us over the weekend that I think I've become a Prince Eric fan.  A group of us saw him walking around the hotel the day before, and we'd waved, and we'd fangirled a bit.  His Q&A was fun!  It was sweet that this was his first con, and he wasn't really sure what to do.  He talked about the Progressive commercial he shot with "Flo" and his background in musical theater. 

Then something mind-boggling happened: Gil looked right at me and said, "Are you Angela?"

I nodded in shock.

"I recognize you from Twitter!  Do you have a question?"

All I could do was put my hand over my mouth, giggle, and shake my head.  I was speechless! I asked Brooke if I had turned bright red. She said I had.  Marie gave me a hard time for not asking anything when I had the chance, but he'd put me on the spot!

Our host, Josh, told us to return to the main room at 4 after the autograph session for a special surprise.  At first, we were all curious what he meant, but soon it occurred to us that the surprised was likely the hinted at Skype session with the actors who couldn't make it.

My ticket package included one autograph ticket.  I decided on Raphael Sbarge.  There was a table out front with a huge collection of photos you could purchase for $5 each.  I chose one that had 4 of the characters played by actors at the convention standing up front- a shot from the episode "We Are Both" I believe.

They brought us into the room a few rows at a time and wrote our names on Post-it notes so the actors wouldn't have to worry about spelling.  Each actor sat behind a table along with an assistant.  I got in line for Raphael, and as usual, my hands got clammy and my heart fluttered- no matter how much I reminded myself that he is just a person, and I'd spoken to him the night before.

I have a knack for hiding my nerves, though, as I was able to speak just fine.  It was probably pretty silly for me to comment on loving the show though- just call me Captain Obvious!  I mentioned that I was the one who had performed the song paraody video he had commented about on Twitter- he remembered! He was just as sweet and fan friendly as I'd heard.  He left room on the picture for the others to sign.  Too bad I wasn't getting other autographs!

I didn't have any more autograph tickets, so I just hung around and chatted with new friends while internally fangirling.  We noticed that Ethan Embroy's line had cleared out so we decided to go up and say hello.  He asked if we were having a good time, and we said we were.  Then I felt shy again and didn't really know what else to say.

We waited for Gil's line to clear so we could say hi to him as well,  He jokingly gave me a hard time about not asking any questions.  I'll have to come up with something next time- I'm never good at thinking of things to ask.

We returned to the main room and sat in anticipation of out 4pm surprise.  As it turned out, we were completely correct!  They darkened the room, and everyone cheered when two familiar faces popped up on the overhead screen- Beverley Elliott (Granny) and Michael Coleman (Happy)! Unfortunately, Skype was in a fickle mood and kept cutting out on us as we attempted to do a Q&A!  We finally resorted to using a phone in order to understand what they were saying.  We were so thrilled to see them though!  You could tell they were having a blast and really wished they were here with us in person.

We had a couple more surprises as more actors joined the first two.  We got to talk with Faustino Bauda (Sleepy), Gabe Khouth (Sneezy) and Lee Arenberg (Grumpy).  What fun!

Terri went on to get ready for the Diamond package banquet, and I headed to another room for the Once Upon a Fan panel.  I knew some of them from Twitter, so it was nice to meet them in person and learn about the history of the fansite.  They told the story of how Robert Carlyle himself had sent a special signed prop from Skin Deep to be auctioned off for charity.  My friend Zach was there- we'd met at D23.  He was wearing Emma's signature red jacket and calling himself "Emmett Swan"  Ha ha!

We then got into a discussion of the most recent episode.  I have a habit of turning to the person next to me when I have something to say rather than speaking to the whole group.  Teresa overheard me, though, and called on me to address everyone.  Turns out she is a teacher- figures! 

I mingled for a bit after the panel until Brooke pulled me aside, saying she wanted to ask me something away from the others.  I had no clue what was going on.  She then asked in a hushed voice, "Have you had dinner yet?" I told her the plan was to get pizza in my room with Marie.  I'm so glad we hadn't eaten yet, because the next thing I knew Josh was whisking Brooke, Marie, and I to the banquet like a fairy godmother!  They had a few extra seats, and we happened to be in the right place at the right time.

We entered the banquet room.  Most everyone was already seated- the actors dispersed among each table.  We quietly fangirled, not believing we were getting to go to this!  Marie and I noticed Keegan had an empty seat on either side of her.  I felt shy and giddy and lightheaded, but Marie was all excited, "C'mon! Let's go sit with her!"  Brooke wandered off to another table.

We finished getting our food and took the seats by Keegan- felt a bit as if we were ambushing her, but we kept our cool.  Initially, I felt the bubbling inside of "OMG, I'm having dinner with the Blue Fairy!" but it didn't take long for me to relax and talk to her like anyone else.  In fact, I think I may have talked too much!  Keegan probably thought I was odd...  At one point, I was going on about the funny goof ups in Beauty and the Beast.  I also told her about my Belle gown for that night's ball that I hadn't changed into yet.  She floored me by saying "Oh, you're the one!"  Apparently word had gotten around!

I promised my young friend Ivy that I'd do her hair to go along with her Tinker Bell gown for the ball.  She came to my room with her mom shortly after dinner.  I was all set with my curling iron.  What fun not to have any rules to conform to- I could just use my imagination!  I gave her a ponytail of curls piled onto her head- she and her mother were thrilled!  In the meantime, I spent a while working the curling iron on my own hair.

It was time to don the gown I was so proud of.  With help from Marie and Terri, I used stick on Velcro and an extra patch of fabric to hide the fact that the dress would no longer zip all the way.  It took some finagling, but in the end, it worked.  Marie wasn't originally supposed to be going to the ball because it was so expensive, but some amazingly sweet "Evil Regals" bought her a ticket- yay!

Everyone looked so fantastic at the ball- I saw many characters represented.  The room was decorated like a prom with a long dessert buffet table and fairytale themed stand ups to pose in front of.  A couple of cash bars stood positioned around the room.  Unfortunately, even water was $3- would have been nice to have a watercooler or something. I got pretty dehydrated at one point.  The MC announced each actor as he or she entered along with an escort, very much like the bridal party at a wedding. 

My dress was a hit!  I got compliments on it all night.  Someone asked me if I was still married though- ha! It turns out Keegan was not the only one who already knew about it.  Gil told me that she had told him, and Raphael mentioned seeing it in my tweet!  My mind was blown.  Does Emilie know too?

I loved having the actors just mingling with us- so much better than the two second greetings you'd get at a signing or stage door encounter.  We were having actual conversations!  I wasn't sure what the rules were on photos, but Raphael insisted it was his call, so I got a picture with him taken with my own camera.  He even showed us pictures from the set on his phone- including one with Emilie! I mentioned that I was a big fan of hers, and he indicated that I was dressed as her so he could tell.  Yeah, okay- true!  But I was a huge Belle fan long before Once Upon a Time!

I got to talk to Gil about musical theater.  It turns out he's played Will Parker in Oklahoma, and he knows someone who went to my university in TN and has been there himself!  I also chatted with Tony who was so nice and asked me about where I was from and everything.

I often hear people saying that they don't care about meeting the actors, that they are just people.  Sure, that's true enough, but is it a crime to be excited to meet them? They are doing what I always dreamed of doing myself- acting for a living.

The ball held a costume contest later that evening.  Each contestant got to twirl around in the center of the dance floor, fashion model style.  Most of the actors had left at this point, but I did catch Gil on his knees getting pictures- so fun to see him get into it like that!

There were a few different categories- princesses, villains, fairies, and common folk.  I won in the princess category!  Granted there were only 3 of us...Belle #1, Belle #2, and Belle #3!  I wasn't the most screen accurate Belle, but I was the only one who created her own dress and didn't need a wig.  Ivy won for fairies, Ashley won for her awesome Granny costume, and villain went to Jacky who had found the actual screen accurate fabric for one of Regina's looks.

We partied the night away, even though most of the music was not my style.  I stayed until they kicked us out, then I had to walk to my room barefoot because the sole had finally peeled off my ancient golden slippers.

I'll end this with some random cosplay:

Thursday, November 28, 2013

EnchantaCon 2013 Day 1

       Holy and cow- what an absolutely amazing experience I had this past weekend!  I'd been waiting since spring to attend the very first Once Upon a Time convention, EnchantaCon!  At first, I didn't think I'd be able to go, but when I realized it was going to happen in Orlando right before Thanksgiving and we had already planned to be in Florida for that anyway, I just extended the trip- it worked perfectly!

Anyway, here's how it went.  My local friend Alex picked me up at the airport.  After we dropped my stuff off at the hotel and met up with Terri, my roommate for the weekend, we headed to Downtown Disney for dinner and an attempt to meet up with a couple of Oncer Twitter friends, Marie and Ashley!

With Marie not being able to text, however, we had quite the game getting everyone together!  We got in touch with Ashley, whom Marie had just introduced me to that day on Twitter.  She was waiting in front of Planet Hollywood.  I didn't even know what she looked like, but there was a young woman sitting alone fiddling with her phone.  Terri asked her if she was Ashley, and she was!  We still couldn't find Marie, so we went to Wolfgang Puck for a yummy dinner.  I felt bad for Alex as the 3 of us Oncers dived heads first into discussing our favorite show- which he doesn't watch!

Eventually, we were able to get a hold of Marie- she was back in her hotel room near DTD and contacted us through Twitter. She joined us after we ate.  I was so excited to meet her- she came all the way from Argentina, and we'd been speaking online for months- such a sweetheart!

This was my very first time getting to hang out in person with a group of Oncers (not counting Paleyfest as I didn't really talk to anyone there), and I could already tell the weekend was going to be a blast!  How fun to get to have all these discussions out loud!  Terri and I continued to chat late into the night once we got back to the hotel.

Friday was the first day of the convention itself.  Unfortunately, nearly half of the actors expected to come had been called to film- the dwarfs and Granny.  I'm thrilled they will be on the show but very sad that they couldn't make it.  That did leave Friday fairly sparse as far as planned activities went.  I had some cereal in the room and went to the conference center to register.

Hardly anyone was around, so I wasn't comfortable putting on my costume just yet.  It was so quiet!  The vendor room wasn't yet open.  I planned a whole series of costumes- Red for the first day- I used the costume I created for my birthday party last year- Enchanted Forest Belle for the 2nd day, Storybrooke Belle for the 3rd day, and Belle's golden gown for the fairytale ball.  I am so proud of that gown!  I spent hours stitching gold fabric to my wedding dress along with the accents on the front.  My wedding dress has now been transformed into a costume, and I get to wear it again!  It's been hanging in my closet for 2 yrs.

After registration, I figured I may as well put the costume on.  I donned the red hood, bodice, blouse and skirt.  Later on, I realized I had completely forgotten to put on the red gloves- bummer!  Oh well..
I wandered briefly into the vendor rooms.  There were only a couple of tables.  What a vast difference from the endless rows I was used to from other cons!  We met a guy randomly dressed as Darth Vader- complete with voice changer.  It was quite amusing to hear him request a photo with us in that voice! 

Friday felt slow at first.  It was alright though- we were able to grab lunch, and it was really fun to gab with other fans.  Not a ton of folks dressed up, but enough that I didn't feel silly. 

Which tier of ticket package you bought determined where you could sit.  I only had one level above general admission, but to my delight, my seat was only about 4 rows back.  Our first official event on the schedule was welcome along with a trivia contest.  It was during this time that I found my Twitter friend Brooke.  We always had fun chats online, and we hit it off immediately in person.  It was funny having the chance to meet people in person- many of whom I didn't really know what they looked like!  I had a handful of people recognize me from my Twitter pic.  That was pretty neat if a tad unnerving!

Trivia was true or false with the volunteers up on stage instructed to hold up signs with their answers then step down when they were wrong. As usual, I was too embarrassed to go up there, but it was fun watching others.  Most of the questions were fairly easy for us diehards.  There were a few that you really had to pay attention to wording though! They played a few rounds, and the winners each got to choose an actor of their choice to escort them to the fairytale ball the following night.

At 5pm, there was an impromptu cosplay photoshoot set up on a balcony.  That was really a hoot!  We had several characters represented, and oddly enough- no repeats!  I was Red, Ashley was an amazing Granny, then we had the Wraith (?!), purple dress Snow, Young Cora, a wolf woman, Emma, Belle, and Henry.  My favorite of the shots we did was Cora taking out people's hearts.  If you took the pic from the right angle, it worked really well.

It was a bit strange for me to be Red instead of Belle since Belle is the one I've always identified with.  Identity crisis! But I did have a ball swishing around the red cape!  I also loved getting to pose with Granny- we were photobombed by the wraith- ha!

Next on the agenda was a fan panel with the hosts of a couple OuaT podcasts- The Other Side of the Mirror and Hope of All Trades- both of which I've listened to before.  They decided to have an open forum, and it was really fun hearing the banter and debate bounce around the room.  What a riot to be among a group of people who watch the show as intently as I do- people can joke around and make references to the show, and everyone gets it!  I didn't always agree with what was being said- I'm rather go with the flow when it comes to tv shows and can tire of hearing a lot of criticism after a while, but I'm willing to listen to everyone's thoughts.

I enjoyed meeting the podcast hosts- totally recognized their voices but had no idea what they looked like.  Bri of Other Side of the Mirror has had many conversations with me on Twitter, and we enjoyed talking about old school My Little Pony together.  One day, I will go to a Pony Con!

Everyone sort of dispersed after the panel.  The people with Diamond package tickets had a cocktail party to go to.  I ended up having dinner at the Denny's type place across the street with Loki, the guy dressed as Henry.  At first, I was a bit self conscious about leaving the hotel in costume, but Loki convinced me to do it.  The waiters actually got a big kick out of it.

At some point, there was a group of us hanging out by the pool where a mermaid performer was supposed to be putting on a show.  They seemed to be unable to get the music going, though, so she just swam around looking beautiful.  Just over our heads on the balcony, the Diamond package fans were having their cocktail party with the actors.  I saw people waving to us from a distance.  I walked over to get a closer look, and Terri waved at me from above.

Then she said, "You want me to get Raphael (Sabarge) to come say hi to you?"  Umm....yeah!  Okay!

My heart started to pound- omigod, my first actor interaction!  It took a moment, but then a very familiar face smiled down at me.  "Hi!"  he said.  I said hello back. "You look beautiful!" (I was still dressed as Red.)

"Thanks!"  I called back.  Then I sort of stared for a moment not sure what to say. "I'm so excited to be here!" I blurted.

"Are you going to be here tomorrow?" he said.

"Yeah, the whole weekend!"

"Great!  Seeya then!"

It was a very brief exchange, but I was over the moon! "Archie Hopper" had just told me I was beautiful!

Underneath the balcony, a small group had gathered for karaoke.  It was just a guy with a computer filled with tons of songs.  I decided to check for some Broadway- they had a whole slew of stuff from Wicked so I chose "Popular" and just went with it.  Such a fun song!  I messed up a little but still got wild applause.

The best part about singing with a bunch of Oncers is that Oncers tend to be Disney fans.  We ended up going through a whole medley of Disney songs.  Everyone could really sing too!  I don't think there was a truly bad voice in the bunch!  I ended up bonding over Broadway with a 13 yr old fan named Ivy.  We got up and sang "Kiss the Girl" together which was great fun.  After the guy with the computer left, someone pulled out a cellphone, and we kept going- standing in a circle, huddled over the speaker on the phone while singing along to Disney songs!  It was surreal- and awesome!

Later, I followed a small contingent of the group to a giant human chess game on the grounds.  I didn't want to play the game myself, but I watched for a while.  They named all the pieces and teams after OuaT characters.  I took to prancing around in my red cape until bedtime when Terri and I chatted into the night again.  I couldn't wait for Saturday!

Monday, October 21, 2013

A few Disney doll reviews!

I just bought some new Disney dolls, and I thought- well here is a good idea for a blog entry: doll review!  I took several pictures for your enjoyment.

First up is my French It's a Small World doll from the Disney Animator's series.  I saw these dolls during the D23 Expo when they were only available to pre-order the entire set, and I really loved them.  I promised myself the French girl once she was available, and this past week, I found her!

These dolls are a really sweet set!  Each one is 14 inches tall and sings "It's a Small World" both in her native language as well as English.  What I love about these dolls is they are the first I've seen that really resemble the figures on the theme park ride itself- which was my favorite Disneyland attraction as a little girl.  Look at these big eyes with the realistic lashes!  She has such a sweet smile.
French girl has light pink bloomers with black lace, black fishnet stockings, and Mary Jane shoes.  Her dress has an attached frilly petticoat underneath.  The top layer of her dress actually has elastic to go around her wrists so that she can lift her skirt up for a can-can dance.  What a shame her legs don't actually kick outward! Her hair is rooted, thick, and soft- no weird bald spots.
Her speaker and voice button are on her chest and tummy respectively, and the button is VERY sensitive!  I think I triggered the song about 4 times trying to get her out of the box.  Thankfully, she has an on-off switch on her side in case you don't feel like listening to "It's a Small World" over and over.
These dolls sell for $30 at the Disney Store.  I don't plan on letting myself get the whole set, but I'm really happy with the one I bought!

Next, we have the Disney Store versions of Anna and Elsa from the new yet-to-be-released Disney film, Frozen.

Here's Elsa on the left and Anna on the right.  These are beautiful dolls!  They were available as a set at the D23 Expo, but I bought these at the Disney Store.  Now some people are claiming that the D23 set is different, but I've seen both in person, and they look very much identical to me.  My friend who bought the set can't figure out any differences either, so if you missed out, just go to the Disney Store and pick up these girls. 

As all Disney Barbie-type dolls seem to be now, Anna and Elsa are fully articulated including ankles and wrists!  They feel so nice and sturdy in your hands.  It used to be that the Disney Store brand dolls didn't look that great, but in recent years, they have really improved.  In fact, they've improved so much that for Tiana, Rapunzel, Merida, and now Anna and Elsa, I have opted for the Disney Store version over the Mattel dolls!  They just seem to do a much better job at capturing the faces of the characters.

For my birthday, I got the Mattel version of the Anna doll.  She wears the green coronation day dress with a design that magically appears on the front of her dress when you get it wet. 
Here are the before and after pics. 

Here are the two Anna dolls side by side.  As you can see, there is a lot more character in the face of the Disney Store doll on the right.  Their hair colors are slightly different shades of strawberry blonde. The Mattel version has longer braids. Both dolls have bangs and a mysterious streak of white hair than I think will be explained in the film.
Here is a comparison pic of their bodies.  The Mattel doll is slightly shorter and does not have moveable joint. The Disney store doll has painted on panties while the Mattel doll has molded panties. Also, the Mattel doll has the standard pointed feel, and her shoes do not like to stay on.

Finally, here's my last new Disney doll treasure.  I stayed up until midnight so I could order these when they first posted on the website:
This is the Belle and Beast doll set from the Disney Designer Fairytale series, and they are gorgeous.  I did open the box- I am a chronic doll de-boxer.  I just cannot fully enjoy them if they are untouchable.  It took quite a bit of work to get them out.  I finally had to recruit my husband who figured out how to bend the tabs at the bottom in order to pull of the acrylic box without damaging it.

There is one bizarre thing about the Beast doll.  The bulk of his body is the cotton sewn into his he looks really weird if you pull down his collar!

But on the whole, these dolls are some of the loveliest in my collection.  And yes- like the Anna and Elsa dolls from the Disney Store- this Belle is fully articulated.  She also, oddly enough, wears painted on'd think with a doll this expensive they would have given her real underclothes!

Monday, September 30, 2013

Heart of the Truest Believer Review

Since ABC is owned by Disney and Once Upon a Time, my favorite tv show, is on ABC- that makes it fair game for this blog!  Therefore, I've decided to share my thoughts on the season 3 premiere.

First a warning- Do not read this unless you have seen the episode!  It will contain spoilers!

Ready?  Good.

I thought this episode was a really great opening for the season.  Although I doubt it will be my favorite in the long run, it did really well at setting things up.  We got our first real taste of Neverland.  I'm loving the whole running on belief thing already.  I do think I ODed on the spoilers, and I'm glad the press doesn't get advanced screenings every time because I have trouble resisting what they write!  I already knew a lot of the twists and turns in advance, although I still enjoyed watching.  I'm more excited for next week's, though, when we really get to delve into how Neverland works.

The banter among those on the ship was great- I've been wanting to see them address more of those issues since the curse broke.

I've seen stories in which emotions affected the weather before, so it wasn't completely unexpected.  I'm still trying to decide if Emma jumping in the water was incredibly brave or foolhardy!  At any rate, it worked- everyone banded together, and the storm stopped.  I like how Emma is going to be the leader- she is the one who gets along the best with the greatest number of fellow travelers.  For the most part, Regina was surprisingly cooperative- snarky, but still trying to help in the only way she knows how. And I almost liked Hook here- although I still want Emma to end up with Neal. I love how Neal meant something to Hook too- I'm hoping that once they both learn Neal survived, Hook is glad as well.  I really don't want to see a huge catfight love triangle.

It was funny to hear Emma actually state that Snow and Charming are the same age as her! I did think saying everything was their fault was a little harsh though.

Why did no one administer CPR after they rescued Emma?  They just stared at her!

There is a lot of disagreement about Neal among fans, but I like him.  I might have a weakness for love stories.  I loved the interaction between Mulan and Neal- the reference to Mulan's movie was great and how he explained that their stories are legends in our world.  I've been waiting for someone to point that out! I loved Mulan calling Neal out on his issues and helping him to use the crystal ball.  I loved that Neal wants desperately to get back to Emma.

How did Neal know his father had a castle? They were still in a house when he left.

It's funny- several of us were trying to figure out what it was that Neal was holding in the behind the scenes pics from the castle scene...Rumple's cane or a magical item...turns out we were both right! :D
Robin Hood squatting in Rumple's castle was great- but what happened to Marian? And why did he say he owed *Rumple*?  How'd he know he let him go?  Shouldn't he say he owes *Belle*?  I was disappointed they didn't take advantage of a chance to bring her up.  Since she was not in the premiere, I was really hoping she would at least be referenced.  As much as I loved the ep, I missed Belle greatly- but I'm biased.

Rumple was quite intense this ep.  Robert was right- yet another version of the character.  He's colder, darker, more angry.  I was initially worried when I heard he was going to abandon the JR crew pretty fast, but I found that while I didn't think it was the best decision, I appreciated the way he explained it.  He absolutely had a point about Emma, and he didn't taunt her or snark at her. I have to say, I love the combination Gold/Rumple look he is sporting now.  He may be 20 years older than me, but he looks smoking in the leather!

I'm still not fully on board with the Rumple was a Lost Boy or Pan's brother theories.  I'm not keen on the idea of Rumple having been to Neverland as a kid.  However the question remains- is the little doll a reminder of Bae or a reminder of Rumple's childhood? I could see it being either at this point.
I have a hunch Pan is going to be a fascinating villain.  The creepiest, most dangerous villains are those who play manipulative mind games.  That's how most cruel people operate in real life. The casting was perfect.  I have to admit, though, that I'm still not sure how I feel about a villainous Peter...part of me thinks it's an awesome twist on his story and can't wait to learn more, but because I have a soft spot for the stage musical version, there is another part of me that misses the heroic Peter...the one who crows and exclaims, "I am youth!  I am joy! I am freedom!"

I was surprised they killed off Greg and Tamara so quickly, but I never cared much for the characters.  I think they came across as strictly plot devices to get Henry to Neverland.  You still have to wonder how on earth Pan and the Lost Boys created all of the workings of The Home Office and convinced two adults to follow through.  I loved how Henry snarked to Greg and Tamara about how foolish they were.

Overall, the episode is a great introduction to what I think may just be the best season yet!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

D23 Day 3 Recap

We had spent so much time waiting for panels and such the first two days that the lack of time to just explore was bumming me out. For the 3rd day, we decided to skip the presentations entirely. After two days of dressing like Belle, I decided this time I'd wear the Vanellope von Schweetz costume I had just finished creating. Lisa wore a gorgeous hand sewn recreation of Sofia the First- she is quite talented. Oddly enough, Vanellope seemed to be a popular choice that day- I spotted two immediately during the morning line up, and there were at least 5 I spotted roaming around throughout the day of varying degree of screen accuracy. Some had every detail from a black wig with candy pieces to custom made striped stocking. Others just suggested the look with a mint green hoodie and brown skirt.

Lisa and I both had costume twins right near us in line, so we decided to do a picture of all 4 of us- it turned out to be a great shot and there were lots of laughs. One woman was even carrying around a little portable sticker printer and was able to instantly give each of us a little copy- how neat!

Once we got in the convention center, we decided to visit the animation pavilion for a little bit. They had a wand you could wave to create patterns of snow on the screen like using what they used to create the same effect for Elsa in Frozen. Some of the guys working the area got a huge kick out of my costume- I got called President Vanellope a few times throughout the day! Wearing a costume is definitely the best way to go to these events. It just adds an extra element to your experience.

Lisa wanted to go back to the Disney Store for the Anna and Elsa dolls they were selling that day, but as much as I wanted them, I was not about to get back in that ridiculous line! We decided to separate for the morning since I wasn't interested in the Sophia the First event either, and she had already experienced the Jolly Roger at Comic Con.

For now, I headed straight for that ship- something I had been dying to do since day one! I knew to expect a long wait as the line was wrapped all the way around, but chatting with the people around me made it not so bad. There were tv screens on one side of the ship that repeatedly looped the promo for the 3rd season which didn't have any new footage. I kept hearing the dialogue clips over and over- “Where did they take him?” “Neverland!” “Someone we all should fear!” etc. Finally, it was my turn to enter. I knew the experience didn't have that much to it, but I was positively giddy! The room was quite dark and quite small. We were led in by character walk arounds portraying Charming, Emma, and Regina. Charming shook my hand as I entered. A lite display case held items from the show- the chipped cup, Regina's spellbook, Hook's hook, and the golden egg that held the true love magic. A few other items were in front of the screen at the end- Gold's cane, Emma's red jacket and Charming's sword. I kept trying to get a few shots on my camera and my phone for my Oncer friends online, but it was hard to get a good shot since I didn't want to blind everyone with the flash.

Charming explained to all of us that they needed daring recruits for a dangerous mission and asked if we would help. Emma said that we were going to rescue her son, and Regina cut in with “He's my son!” It was perfect! They then directed us to the screen in the back of the ship, and we watched another promo for the 3rd season. One wall in the cabin was filled with little glowing heart boxes- Regina's wall of hearts right out of the series. Emma told us that Regina had removed a heart from one of the boxes and put a treasure in it. She asked if anyone wanted to unlock the box. I was still trying to grab pics. She handed the key to a man in the group. He unlocked it to reveal a velvet bag full of trinkets, and Emma told us to take one piece on our way out and be sure to join them Sundays on ABC. We each got a pin- I got the magic globe this time.

Lisa hadn't been terribly interested in exploring the Collector's Forum, so I headed there next. That's a very enjoyable part of a convention for me- I call it treasure hunting for all the booths filled with random fan collections for sale. You never know what you might find! I didn't find anything I wanted to add to my personal collection, but there was plenty of interesting things to look at- board upon board filled with Disney pins, beautiful artwork, comics, film press kits, etc. I collect dolls but didn't see a whole lot of interest in that category. I saw a number of dolls in boxes autographed by the voice artists, but that doesn't work well for me since I'm a total de-boxer and can't truly enjoy a doll that is trapped behind cellophane.

I recognized booths for several different Disney fansites that I frequent like MiceChat and MousePlanet. I had my hair styled in a high pony tail with side tendrils and little colored stickers for my Vanellope look. Someone asked me if I had gone to get my hair styled that day. I said no, I did it myself! She was very impressed, but I laughed that I used to do princess hairstyles for a living over at the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique in Cinderella Castle! Walt's boyhood home, Marceline, had a booth in which you could write your dream on a paper leaf that would be sent back to Marceline. I decided to quote Kermit the Frog, “Singing and dancing and making people happy- the sort of dream that gets better the more people you share it with.”

I decided to wander back over to the consumer products area. I found it very nice to not be tied to anything in particular, to be able to just roam. The program had indicated puppet activities at the Muppet pavilion so I was disappointed that it just featured a chalkboard to sketch on rather than actual puppets to play with. However, since I had time, I grabbed a “How to Draw Miss Piggy” sheet and some colored chalk and gave it a shot. 

Meanwhile, I kept gravitating back towards that ship! When I had visited, Hook and Snow were missing, and now they were back and the others were gone- I guess they switched out. I wanted a picture with them, but they didn't hang around outside long enough when they popped out between “shows.” I stood and watched for a bit. A man asked me if Hook was the real actor from the show- I had to laugh. Can you imagine the insane fangirling that would be going on had he actually been Colin O'donoghue?! Methinks someone underestimated the show's popularity!

When Lisa and I finally met back up, she exclaimed to me that it was the “Best. Day. Ever!” She ended up hanging out with our new friend Sarah- the other Sofia the First who was in line with us- along with her husband. She bought the Frozen doll set and had a great time meeting Sofia and the voice actors as well as getting interviewed by the press for her costume! The 4 of us headed to the Imagineering Open House pavilion. I'm glad I packed granola in my bag because we still hadn't eaten at this point and I was starving.

The wait to get in was more manageable than I expected. I have to say this exhibit was very cool, and I wish I taken the time to explore more and ask questions. For anyone who's ever dreamed of becoming an imagineer, this place was a gold mine! There were actual imagineers in every area eager to discuss what they do and how they do it. Models of current attractions, former attractions, upcoming attractions, and never-to-be attractions filled each section. Actual audio-animatronic figures were on display. One table had a sign that is always great fun to see in an exhibit, “Please touch.” It held examples of all sorts of different plastics they use. Another corner held a testing area for a new streetmosphere performance to be located in Adventureland.

A short line led into some really fascinating original early sketches of Disneyland. Some of it was pretty close to the final product, and some parts were quite different. The coolest one had been painted with blacklight sensitive paint. When our host turned the lights out, it became an image of Disneyland at night with all the streets lite up- such a brilliant effect! Our host told us she never got tired of looking at it and wouldn't blame us if we wanted to get back in line and go through it again. Another really neat experience there was a demonstration of a virtual reality ride through- it's the way imagineers test the ride before it's built to make sure everything is going to work properly: sight lines, etc. We got to virtually ride the new attraction being built for Hong Kong Disneyland, Mystic Manor, as well as Radiator Springs Racers. We finished with another line- for the store. Thankfully, this was a much shorter wait than for the Disney Store, only about 25 minutes. None of us found anything we wanted though.

This was followed by yet another line, this time for the Walt Disney Treasures exhibit. I had seen the one at the Reagan Library recently, but according to the description, there were different things on display this time including props and costumes from Once Upon a Time. The line for this one was over an hour long and stretched all the way down the hall, but we kept ourselves entertained by chatting with the Disney fans around us. Lisa and Sarah got a lot of photo requests, but my Vanellope costume just couldn't compete with two huge lavender dresses!

The last stretch of the line was in a room with these unusual designer dresses inspired by the Disney princesses. Some of them were pretty easy to guess. Others didn't really remind me of that particular princess at all. The Cinderella dress looked more like Belle. A screen in the background played clips from Disney films. We couldn't resist singing along with “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious”- good thing we were surrounded by Disney fans!

Finally, we entered the museum! I had no interest in the Teen Beach Movie costumes that flanked the entryway, but I made a beeline for the next display. I think I actually squealed with joy when I spotted Rumpelstiltskin's dagger in the case (“It's the dagger!!”) along with Emma's blanket, Anton's magic bean necklace, Regina's apple, and Henry's book. One of my friends joked that I couldn't take it home with me- ha ha. The gorgeous costumes stood nearby- Red's dress and cape, Charming and Snow's wedding attire, the Huntsman's outfit, Jefferson's ensemble, and the Queen of Hearts gown and mask. I could barely get myself to move on to the next area.

After plenty of ogling, I did eventually keep going. The second room held costumes from various Oz related items from Disney productions over the years, right up through the new one. The last section was quite a treat- a celebration of the 50th anniversary of Mary Poppins. Some of the items like Mary's nanny and Jolly Holiday dresses I'd seen before, but plenty of the rest was new such as Mrs. Bank's “Votes for Women” ensemble and one of Jane's dresses. There were original storyboards and merchandise, costumes from Saving Mr. Banks, and props like the famous carpetbag and two of the carousel horses. We exited through a room filled with rarely seen behind the scenes photos and very impressive fanart from a contest Disney held.

At this point we parted ways with our new friends and decided to check out the Disney Dream Store. Lisa told me that last time, there hadn't been anything of interest in there, but for once, there was no line! We browsed for a while, and I actually thought they had some cool selections- although the D23 specific merchandise didn't do anything for me. I ended up taking home a limited edition sparkly version of the Precious Moments Belle doll. I had been talking myself out of the version they sell at the Disney parks for years, but this time I caved. The doll designer Linda Rick was actually there signing dolls, but I already had 2 signed dolls of hers from a Doll and Teddybear weekend event at Epcot a while back so I didn't bother.

Lisa had her heart set on participating in the raffle at the animation pavilion, so I reluctantly agreed to tag along. I really didn't want to waste time on the slight chance we might win something. She told me I was welcome to wonder off if I didn't want to do it, but as per usual, I was afraid if I left I'd regret it. We all waited in line until they moved us into one big crowd with the instructions to step away from everyone and hold the ticket up if our number is called. It took quite a while for them to get through everything due to many numbers being called out that no one claimed. Some prizes were really cool like autographed artwork, while others were trinkets I had no interest in. I was beginning to get impatient when low and behold, Lisa heard her number! She jumped up to get her prize and game back with a basket of mostly Wreck it Ralph goodies. It turned out most of it didn't interest her and she gave away a good chunk of it to other guests nearby- I got to keep the “Art of” book! I was very pleased- I have a whole collection of those great behind the scenes coffee table books.

By this point, things were winding down. There wasn't much left to do or time to do it in. I couldn't resist stopping at the Jolly Roger one more time. They had already closed off the line, but I heard someone working it mention that Snow and Hook would come out for pictures after the last group. My patience was rewarded, and I got a great photo with them. As I approached them, I mentioned that I absolutely love the show. Snow White said something like, “That's what we love to hear!” After the picture as I was leaving, Snow said, much to my amusement, “Seeya on Sundays!” 
Before everything closed for good, I requested one last quick loop through the Collector's Forum in case I missed something. I stopped at a table when I spotted an interesting book called Seen, Unseen, Disneyland filled with photos of many of the subtle details one might find in the park. The author was there to sign, so I thought- what the hey- and bought a last souvenir for the trip.
That about wraps it up. We left the building and strolled to the hotel to grab a quick dinner before the drive back to Lisa's place in LA. I took my time leaving. I didn't want it to end, and I could feel the post-event blues starting to tug at my heart already. Thank goodness for the Disney cruise my husband and I are going on in a couple weeks!