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: