On the last day of D23 Expo, we woke up and checked out of our mildewed room at the Disneyland Hotel, taking pictures as we went.
We did have the opportunity to go swimming in the Neverland Pool the previous day but didn’t take pictures. Every other time we’d stayed there, the slide had been closed, so that day I finally got to go down it—eight times!
All this is gone now, of course. To see a photo tour of the new pool area at the Disneyland Hotel, click HERE!
For breakfast, we met Patrick’s aunt and uncle at their favorite Anaheim dive, Tiffy’s, which has been there since dirt, apparently (dirt also figures heavily in the décor!). It’s not horrible—just your standard diner food, plus unremarkable ice cream. The prices are low and the staff is friendly.
I don’t think I need to label breakfast, do I?
Back to the convention center!
The snoozerific-sounding Disney Corporate Responsibility booth actually had a pretty neat program going on whereby attendees could donate just a few minutes of their time to perform a small task that was part of a larger charitable effort. And they were giving out special un-eBay-resellable ear hats to those who completed the task!
And then we saw this…
Patrick thought it would be funny to mimic the expressions in the “Christmas Carol” promo portraits, with varying degrees of success.
We really really really wanted to get good seats for The Muppets presentation in the third-floor theater (capacity: 750), so we got there 2 1/2 hours early to wait in line. This also meant we had to miss John Lasseter’s keynote presentation, “The Future of Walt Disney & Pixar Animation.” I guess it’s good we did, because even with 30 minutes in between, people who sprinted out of the keynote ended up getting shut out of the Muppets presentation.
Waiting paid off—we got seats in the front row, off to the side. I was especially excited about this panel because I got to break a bunch of Muppets news (if you can call product announcements “news”) on Twitter before anyone else. Never mind that half of it never ended up happening. In fact, most of it was just a recap of what Disney had done with The Muppets since the acquisition, while the new news was almost all about merchandise.
Interesting story here: “The Cheapest Muppet Movie Ever Made” was the name of a script developed by Jerry Juhl, Jim Henson & Frank Oz in reaction to the spiraling budgets of the first three movies. The idea was that Gonzo was going to be directing the movie but would blow half his budget on the opening credits, and then the production values of the movie would get lower and lower until the very end, which would be something like a slide presentation. The idea kicked around for years and was briefly resurrected around the time of D23 Expo in 2009. But when Oz pitched it at Pixar, they realized the script had tons of dated references that would need updating, plus it really wouldn’t be cheap to shoot.
So by the time of the Expo, they were just clinging to the title and were going to have Jason Segel and Nick Stoller write a whole new script. The genesis of their script came from a trip to Jim Henson Studios when they were working on Forgetting Sarah Marshall, during which they first learned that the Muppets had been sold off to Disney. You’ll have to go see The Muppets in November to see what they did with the idea, though!
We were also kinda bummed out that Sam the Eagle was the only Muppet who made a live appearance. Fozzie, Gonzo, and Pepe the Prawn appeared onscreen and later did a meet ‘n’ greet/photo op out in the queue area.
The line for the meet ‘n’ greet was 90 minutes, so we took off for “Imagineering Pixar for the Disney Parks” presentation instead.
Shockingly, and despite the presence of John Lasseter, this panel turned out to be really boring. They basically just listed the various Pixar-based attractions in all the parks and told one or two mildly amusing stories.
After that presentations, we ran to the arena to see the Toy Story 3 presentation (which I had a strongly negative reaction to—Andy grows UP? And the toys get FORGOTTEN?! No thanks, I said to myself…) and the double feature of Toy Story and Toy Story 2 in 3-D. Except by this time Patrick was starving, so after the first movie we bailed and headed for a nice dinner at Catal on Downtown Disney.
We hadn’t even planned it, but right in the middle of our meal, Disneyland’s fireworks went off above the rooftops!
It was so nice to sit down to a civilized meal after all that ghastly convention food on the run! And the fireworks pretty much made it the perfect ending to our trip.
To wrap up, I’ll show you all the loot we got, some of it freebies from the show floor booths, some of it stuff we wasted our own money on. That Treasures of the Disney Archives Exhibition Catalog was the biggest waste of money—it looked like it had been printed on Shutterfly, and I haven’t cracked it once. Actually, I take that back: The spare copy I bought and sold on eBay for $75 was not a waste of money…