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  1. #1

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    Smile D23 Event Report - Princess and The Frog - Wednesday, November 25, 2009



    D23 Event Report
    Jeff in Orange County


    Note: I do include a major spoiler from the film at the end, ye be warned

    I had planned this back in September when I purchased tickets at the expo. There are several "it was not worth the money" opinions out there and I wonder if they were at the same event that I was. Albeit that I may have been so geeked at just being at the studios that I missed all the negative stuff.

    Since we live in OC and the heavy travel day before Thanksgiving we left OC about 2:30 and had a couple of hours extra in the Burbank area. So we did something I have wanted to do for a long time. Visit ...


    Walt's Grave



    The light was fading near Sunset when we found the Private garden off to the left of the huge mausoleum building at Forest Lawn, Glendale. It is small dignified and private, very much like Walt's private life. It was somber but a fitting overture to the evening, as we moved on to the studios that is such a tribute to Walt's life work.

    The D23 Event

    We arrived at the event, parked in the Zorro building and checked in. Got our popcorn and soda and lined up to march over to the theater. The wait was about a half hour in what was evidently the Prop House.

    There were several props in the room to gaze at.




    We were marched over to the new theater to see The Film (We had to check our Cameras and Cell phones similar to the D23 event). I had a ball chatting with those seated near us. The lack of children would have been unusual for a Disney film in a Cineplex. In fact the theater seemed full of us Adult Disney Geeks! It was cool being with my peeps.


    The Film and Musker and Clement

    As a treat for us D23'rs Melinda (from Archives) introduced John Musker and Ron Clements the directors of the Film. (plus Great Mouse Detective, Little Mermaid, Aladdin, Treasure Planet) The duo were quite gracious and revealed a couple insider factoids about the film. (Look for Aladdin's Carpet being shaken from a balcony seconds before the title frame). They also reminisced about mixing the sound of the little Mermaid in this stage about where row L is now.

    Then came the film. (I was surprised that they ran NO trailers beforehand, but went directly to the film.). I feel F&G is VERY GOOD and ranks among Disney's hits. The character of Tiana plays perfectly and the story flows smoothly around her and is powered by her. Great storytelling. In fact the ability to suspend belief and leap into the story was immediate. The film's animation was beautiful and eye popping at times, but seldom were you sucked out of the story by the "oooh that's cool" moments. I do tend to tire quickly of Randy Newman's work and I miss Alan Menken's grandiose yet catchy style, but after seeing the film the soundtrack is much more lovable. Yet the film may lack a parade/show anthem that people come into Disneyland or the play humming. Just a thought (Plus ...Ummm , just put the single from-the-next-big-pop-teen-artist .. last on the soundtrack like you used to do. Some traditions are worth keeping) The films villain, Dr. Facilier, is a pretty bad voodoo sorcerer , evil and greedy, although he does have one of the best songs of the film.. The film does have an emotional punch that was a bit of a surprise, hence the spoiler and my exchange with John Musker. Ye be warned again..


    The Tour
    After the Film we were shuffled off to the attraction bldg and to line up for the Tour of The Walt Disney Studios. I would have paid the 50 bucks just for the tour. Perhaps it means more to me when this holy grail has been out of reach for most of my 49 years.


    Our tour began with Emily (the guides were from Disneyland)She took us as quickly as she could thru the lot, pointing out Stage One and the water tower as we went.



    The Old Animation building highlight for me was pointing out Frank and Ollie's office. Of course the wall displays were to die for and concluded with P&F display. The original artwork in the very building where it once was created was chill bump worthy.


    Next came the courtyard of The Team Disney Building and The Disney Legends Plaza .What a thrill.



    Its the only place where you can actually press the brass with a couple of legendary statues.


    And walk amongst the legends.


    We got so excited here that we were left by our 1st tour and got absorbed into the next one.

    Next came the Frank Wells building. (He was key to Eisner's early success in my opinion)


    Inside, to the right of the Starbucks is the Holy ground of the Walt Disney Archives. (Just let me have about a couple years here please..)



    The displays are top-notch. (I especially like the Hats off to Disney display)




    The original multi-plane camera was a jaw dropper too.




    As we were wrapping up, our guide pointed out the window of Walt's old working office on the walk back. it was mentioned that although Walt's office is replicated in WDW, the original at WDS has been used and reused many times since his death. Now it is just one of many production offices on the lot. Walt would have wanted it such as he was very practical in most ways one of the guides said.


    My conclusion on the tour was that yes it was in the dark, also it was too short and lacked the hours of depth that I would have liked. but I wouldn't have missed it for anything. To be in the same space were history is made is remarkable and doesn't come that often in life. Places of historical personal significance are fairly rare for me, Gettysburg battlefield, The Roman Forum and My Family's old home Farm and Cemetery are on the short list. The Walt Disney Studios ranks among them for me.

    The Attraction


    The Attraction has been commented on elsewhere and it appears to be similar to what is in New York's engagement with a few carnival like games, Archive displays , and a Princess Palooza.


    The Princesses were nice and remained in character. I did have to confess my undying devotion to Aurora. (It was the whole barefoot in the woods, thing when I was 5.. sigh)She aptly pointed me back to my wife of 25 years, who is very tolerant of her Disney Boy.


    We got one of Kodak's free Green Screen Photos'

    Did I mention it was free? Well done Disney..
    Some Archival displays here







    John Musker
    SPOILER BELOW

    One of the gifts from the evening was a commemorative lithograph, which most everyone lined up to have signed by John Musker. He patiently greeted each guest and posed for photos.
    We were towards the end of the line at the end of the line, in fact they had turned off the soundtrack and sent the princesses on break by the time we made it to him.

    I had had a brief exchange with him earlier as we had exited the theater after the film. He and John Clements stood in the lobby afterwards and received a lot of kudos and well wishes for the film. I did have to say "I can't believe you killed Ray!". Ray, the Cajun fire-fly , is one of the more sympathetic characters off the film and he does get squashed by Dr. Facilier and dies in one of the most touching scenes of animated history. John Musker grinned and said that they really had to talk John Lasseter into it and it almost didn't happen. We agreed that it lent gravitas to the story and is key to the heart of the storyline.


    When it was our turn for the signing and photo we had the "Oh you were the guy that said.." moments.
    He signed my lithograph "To Jeff, All the best (& yes we did kill Ray) .


    Now that's a collectible.

    ""I think that you're nuts to build a park next to Disneyland that's half the size and charge the same amount of money."" Marty Sklar

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    Re: D23 Event Report - Princess and The Frog - Wednesday, November 25, 2009

    Disney has a great site up for the Disney Legends
    About Disney Legends


    Also to find Walt's grave visit;
    Walter Elias Disney (1901 - 1966) - Find A Grave Memorial


    • Finding the Cemetery

    The first thing you want to do is make sure you're in the right cemetery! Disney's burial site can be found at Forest Lawn Glendale, not Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills. The Forest Lawn you can see from the Ventura Freeway -- near the intersection of the 5 and the 134, adjacent to the Los Angeles Zoo -- is the wrong one! Do not exit at Forest Lawn Drive! The cemetery you seek can be found at 1712 S. Glendale Avenue in Glendale (see adjacent map). If you should inadvertently end up at Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills, just stop at the information booth and ask them how to get to the other Forest Lawn. (They'll know what you mean -- the two parks are only a few miles apart.)

    • Finding the Burial Site

    As you drive through the entrance of Forest Lawn Glendale, you will be on a road called Cathedral Drive. Stay on this road until you reach eastern edge of the park, where Cathedral Drive intersects Freedom Way. When you reach this intersection, turn right onto Freedom Way. You should quickly see a large court with trees and fountains and statues off to your left. This is Freedom Court. Keep driving until you reach the far end of Freedom Court, where a large mausoleum stands. Pull over to the right-hand side of the street and park. If you are in the right place you should see a '33' painted on the curb opposite your car, indicating that you are at 33 Freedom Way.
    ""I think that you're nuts to build a park next to Disneyland that's half the size and charge the same amount of money."" Marty Sklar

  3. #3

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    Re: D23 Event Report - Princess and The Frog - Wednesday, November 25, 2009

    ***SPOILER ALERT, IN CASE YOU DID NOT READ THE TRIP REPORT***

    Pleased to meet you, as well. I enjoyed your report, and I must make a pilgrimage to Walt's grave (I sat at the McDonalds for a couple of hours when I got to Burbank). I can't believe you gave away the tear-jerking shock, but since it is open for discussion now on this thread, I have to agree that it gave the movie an emotional depth I was not expecting (similar to the opening of UP). Have they ever killed a major supporting character that late in a movie before? I immediately thought of Mufasa and Bambi's Mother, but they died earlier on in the movies. And, their deaths seemed more relevant to the plot of the story. Not so with Ray. He turned out to be so much more likeable and was not at all the bumbling sidekick and token comic relief that I thought he would be.

    I, too, had initial concerns about the music, but the score really works. Sure, there are no "Under the Sea's" or "Whole New World's," but I have found "Down in New Orleans" and "Ma Belle Evangeline" catchy enough to get stuck in my head when I least want them to. The music complimented the settings, and the whole movie overflowed with the charm of the Deep South. I was extremely satisfied with the movie and the direction its hopeful success will take the Company.

    Perhaps we'll meet again at future D23 or other Disney-related events.
    Ludwig von Baroketch

    Kapellmeister, Gracey Estate

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    Re: D23 Event Report - Princess and The Frog - Wednesday, November 25, 2009

    Quote Originally Posted by VonBaroketch View Post
    I can't believe you gave away the tear-jerking shock, but since it is open for discussion now on this thread, I have to agree that it gave the movie an emotional depth I was not expecting (similar to the opening of UP). Have they ever killed a major supporting character that late in a movie before?
    Hmm well i was hoping someone would kill off a gargoyle or two in HoND.
    But seriously.. Excepting the two you mention and the Villains demise, the list gets real short, real fast. Looking through my library I can think of Gurgi in Black Cauldron, but he gets unexpectedly resurrected at the finale, so this is disqualified. In fact most "dead' characters get revived in the long history from Trusty (L&T), Baloo, too Snow White herself. So , it seems as if Princess and The Frog pulls off a first, one that even Pixar hasn't accomplished yet.


    Quote Originally Posted by VonBaroketch View Post
    I, too, had initial concerns about the music, but the score really works. Sure, there are no "Under the Sea's" or "Whole New World's," but I have found "Down in New Orleans" and "Ma Belle Evangeline" catchy enough to get stuck in my head when I least want them to. The music complimented the settings, and the whole movie overflowed with the charm of the Deep South. I was extremely satisfied with the movie and the direction its hopeful success will take the Company.
    I too hope for the film's fanancial success. And The music is definitely complimentary to the theme and helps drive the story. I find "Gonna Take You There (Goin down the Bayou)' to be my ear-worm. (Ray again) Zydeco is contagious.

    Quote Originally Posted by VonBaroketch View Post
    Perhaps we'll meet again at future D23 or other Disney-related events.
    Hopefully so! Safe Travels.. and my apologies for misreading your handle and calling you "Baron".[ Of course the bow-tie does give you a whiff of royalty, lol.]
    See you real soon .. hopefully.
    Jeff
    ""I think that you're nuts to build a park next to Disneyland that's half the size and charge the same amount of money."" Marty Sklar

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    Re: D23 Event Report - Princess and The Frog - Wednesday, November 25, 2009

    Great report, thanks for all the info! I was in LA until Thanksgiving and contemplated changing my flight to catch the event that night but it was all a little too expensive to pull off. I'm glad I got to get a feeling of what it was like and (most importantly) see some cool photos from the studio tour!

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    Re: D23 Event Report - Princess and The Frog - Wednesday, November 25, 2009

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff In Orange County View Post
    Hopefully so! Safe Travels.. and my apologies for misreading your handle and calling you "Baron".[ Of course the bow-tie does give you a whiff of royalty, lol.]
    See you real soon .. hopefully.
    Jeff

    The bow-ties began during my undergraduate years in Nashville. A few friends and I, all proud sons of the South, wanted to bring the look back. Another reason I have been enthusiastic about this film is its beautiful and positive, if not romanticized, portrayal of home.

    "Ludwig von Baroketch" has been my avatar since I was a butler at WDW's Haunted Mansion (the name comes from the castmember story of the ghost pianist). However, I don't mind being the Baron. We were in the Southland for the night; it was only appropriate that some Sugar Barons and Cotton Kings were present!

    I'm planning to be at Candlelight next Sunday, but not for the D23 event. Given the sacred and festive nature of the evening, I may don another bow-tie if the weather is cool enough to wear a coat.

    See you then?
    Ludwig von Baroketch

    Kapellmeister, Gracey Estate

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    Re: D23 Event Report - Princess and The Frog - Wednesday, November 25, 2009

    Are they going the tours for all the screenings? As in, is that part of the Disney Experience at the studio shows?

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    Re: D23 Event Report - Princess and The Frog - Wednesday, November 25, 2009

    So glad those who attended had a great time!

    We actually attended the event in NYC, and it was almost a carbon copy of what you all saw in LA. Just without the directors being there. The event was at the Roseland Ballroom and was 2 floors. There were the Walt Disney Archives exhibits (Different of course) and all the games and activities that were mentioned here. Same lithograph and Mardi Gras beads.

    The really cool thing is we were there at the last show of the evening and was at the Disney Experience around 1am and ran into John Lasseter! We were able to speak with him about the movie and he was very interested in what we thought and what we liked. What a nice guy! We missed his talk at the Expo (was already full) so meeting him was a pleasure.

    Would post the picture of us, but new here and unsure of how to do that! lol

    But to answer the last question, I think the Disney Experience is only in LA and NYC.

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