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 copy...one 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!