Disney D23

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Disney D23
Industry Entertainment
Founded 2009
Headquarters Burbank, California, U.S.
Key people
Bob Iger
Adam Sanderson[1][2]
Owner The Walt Disney Company
Website www.d23.com

Disney D23 is the official fan club for The Walt Disney Company. Founded in 2009, the organization is known mainly for its biennial exposition event, D23 Expo.


D23 was introduced on March 10, 2009 by Robert Iger during the company's annual meeting in Oakland, California. The name D23 refers to D for Disney and 23 for 1923 — the year a jobless Walt Disney headed to California and founded the company.[3] To quote Walt: “I came to Hollywood and arrived here in August 1923 with forty dollars in my pocket and a coat and a pair of trousers that didn’t match. And one half of my suitcase had my shirts and underwear and things and the other half had my drawing materials..."[4] The goal of D23 is to communicate with Disney fans by "placing them in the middle of the magic."[5]

The web site D23.com aims to be a focal point for fans, featuring comic strips, breaking Disney news stories, event information, "This Day in Disney", a "Walt Disney Archives" section, and offering visitors the chance to becoming paying members.

Perks of D23 membership include Disney twenty-three (a quarterly publication), yearly gifts, events, exclusive merchandise, and access to the D23 Expo — a Disney fan convention "Bringing all things Disney under one roof."[6] D23 also occasionally offers member exclusive tours of the Walt Disney Studios in Burbank — one of the two major film studios that does not otherwise offer tours to the general public.

During the first year, D23 featured one level of Charter Membership for $74.99. In 2010, D23 introduced two levels of membership featuring different prices and benefits. Charter Memberships became Gold Memberships, and a $34.99 Silver Membership was introduced which included all the benefits of Gold with the exception of the quarterly publications "Disney twenty-three". On June 17, 2013, a free membership level was introduced which offers limited discounts and locked content access.

Starting August 2, 2010, D23's website added a new page called "D23's Disney Geek", a weekly video news magazine hosted by Jeffrey Epstein of D23 about the latest news from the Disney universe. That day also saw the site's slightly new overhaul, with a new slogan—The Official Disney Fan Club—and mascots Chip 'n' Dale. On November 9, 2010 a new weekly sister web show titled "Armchair Archivists" premiered. Hosted by Steve Czarnecki & Josh Turchetta, 2 Disney employees (and D23 members) who showcase assorted treasures such as props, costumes and lost film clips from the Walt Disney Archives to the viewers. After the Second Season, Steve Czarnecki left the web show leaving Josh Turchetta as the lone host, the series was renamed "Armchair Archivist" (Singular). In January 2012, Melody Dale joined the show as co-host. Disney Geek's current host since February 2013 is Ty Ervin from the Walt Disney Studios.

D23 Expo[edit]

2009: The Ultimate Disney Fan Experience[edit]

The first D23 Expo was held at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, California on September 10–13, 2009.[7] It featured pavilions from Walt Disney Imagineering, showcasing models and tests for future attractions, Corporate Responsibility, which feature a photo op, as well as projects for overseas troops and homeless shelters, Disney Consumer Products, showing the many products being sold by Disney within the next few years, a Disney Dream Store, costumes and props from the Walt Disney Archives, a Collectors Forum, where people from all over the country showcased and sold memorabilia.

Events were held in the D23 Arena, Stage 23, Storytellers Theatre, and Walt Disney Studios Theatre. Many future projects were announced, including an expansion of Fantasyland at the Magic Kingdom, an extensive re-hauling of Star Tours for Disneyland and Disney's Hollywood Studios,[8] a film based on the Beatles' Yellow Submarine, a fourth film in the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, a new Muppet film,[9] as well as clips and sneak previews promoting projects such as Prep & Landing, Tangled, Beauty and the Beast in 3-D, a set of viral Muppet videos, and a film series with Guillermo del Toro.

Celebrity appearances included John Travolta, Nicolas Cage, Patricia Heaton, Kelsey Grammer, Tim Burton, Selena Gomez, Donny Osmond, Tom Bergeron, Kym Johnson, Betty White, Robin Williams, Joseph Fiennes, Johnny Depp (as Captain Jack Sparrow), as well as live performances by Miley Cyrus,[10] Honor Society, and the Muppets.

As announced at the annual shareholders meeting in 2010, the D23 Expo did not return in 2010, but appeared to the Anaheim Convention Center through August 19–21, 2011. A then-new event called "Destination D" was held at the Disneyland Hotel ballroom in Anaheim, California on September 24–25, 2010. Each year Destination D will have a new theme, with the 2010 event's theme being "Disneyland '55." It is likely that these events will alternate each year.[11] The following Destination D was held from May 14–15, 2011 in honor of Walt Disney World's 40th anniversary.

2011: The Ultimate Disney Fan Event[edit]

The Hidden Mickey booth in the Collectors Forum of D23 Expo 2011.

The D23 Expo returned for its second time at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, California on August 19–21, 2011.[12] Closely resembling the Inaugural D23 Expo on 2009, the Show Floor has expanded its pavilions with Disney Channel and Radio Disney, the Collector's Forum, Walt Disney Studios, Disney Living, Disney Corporate Citizenship, and Disney Interactive Media Group. The Treasures of the Walt Disney Archives has expanded by 12,000 square feet (1,100 m2) since the Inaugural D23 Expo.[13] The Show Floor also featured a new pavilion, similar to the Walt Disney Imagineering pavilion from the D23 Expo 2009, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts's Carousel of Projects which shows the highlights of the developing projects coming soon in Disney Parks around the world.[14]

Shopping opportunities include the D23 Expo Dream Store returning from the Inaugural Expo. Other D23 Expo-exclusive stores include Mickey's of Glendale from Walt Disney Imagineering Headquarters in Glendale, California and the Walt Disney Archives Treasure Trove from the Walt Disney Archives in Burbank, California. Other stores include A Small World Village and a Disney Store in the Disney Living Pavilion. Another popular area was the Collectors Forum,[15] where guests could buy Disney Collectibles and connect with the Disneyana Fan Club,[16] Mouse Planet,[17] Mice Chat,[18] Hidden Mickey author Nancy Temple Rodrigue, and artist Brian Rood with his one-of-a-kind The Rocketeer.[15][19]

Events took place at the D23 Arena, Stage 23, Stage 28, the "red carpet" at the Talent Round-Up area, Storytellers Stage at the Disney Living pavilion, and at the Disney Channel/Radio Disney stage. The Disney Channel stage held performances from Coco Jones, China Anne McClain, a first look for Radio Disney's N.B.T. (Next Big Thing), and a karate exhibition from Leo Howard. Guests also had the chance to meet and greet the cast of Good Luck Charlie, Jake and the Never Land Pirates and The Never Land Band, Lemonade Mouth (film), So Random!, Phineas and Ferb, Kickin' It, Fish Hooks, A.N.T. Farm, Handy Manny, Special Agent Oso, Pair of Kings, and Shake it Up.

Robert Downey, Jr. at the 2011 Expo promoting Marvel's The Avengers.[20]

Stage 23 hosted many events involving sneak peeks to projects from The Walt Disney Studios and ABC Studios including Marvel's The Avengers, The Muppets, Brave, Monsters University, Once Upon a Time and Prep and Landing: Naughty vs. Nice, and the celebration for the 25th Anniversary of Pixar.[21][22] Stage 28 hosted Walt Disney Imagineering panels for the Disney Cruise Line, Cars Land, Buena Vista Street, Star Tours: The Adventures Continue, The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Undersea Adventure, "The Voices of the Parks", and vintage photos and videos of Disneyland and Walt Disney World.[21][23][24]

The first rounds of the UDTT were held on August 18, 2011 (one day before the D23 Expo) which narrowed from thousands to one hundred and from one hundred to 20. It was hosted by Dan Roebuck (guest starred in LOST and Wizards of Waverly Place) who narrowed down the final round from 20 people to 3. After two full days of trivia questions, John Kurowski is the winner of the inaugural Ultimate Disney Fan Trivia Tournament. His name will be engraved in a Ludwig von Drake (cartoon character) trophy which will be preserved in the Walt Disney Archives and John Kurowski will also win a preview cruise on the Disney Fantasy ship which will set sail to the public, part of the Disney Cruise Line, in 2012.[25]

The D23 Arena hosted many milestone events only at the D23 Expo. This is the second time that the Disney Legends Ceremony has taken place in front of guests at the D23 Expo (originally taken place at the Walt Disney Studios). This tradition started in 1987 and since then, 287 people have been awarded. In the Expo, the Company honored 12 people who contributed to the The Walt Disney Company. this includes Jodi Benson, Barton Boyd, Jim Henson, Linda Larkin, Paige O'Hara, Regis Philbin, Anika Noni Rose, Lea Salonga, Ray Watson, Guy Williams, and Jack and Bonita Wrather.[26]


Entrance to the D23 Expo 2013 at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, California.

The D23 Expo returned for a third time August 9–11, 2013 at the Anaheim Convention Center. The Walt Disney Studios presented exclusive looks at live-action films including Saving Mr. Banks, Maleficent, Muppets Most Wanted, Tomorrowland, and Thor: The Dark World, as well as animated productions from such as The Good Dinosaur, Frozen, Party Central, and Get A Horse!.[27][28] Lucasfilm had its first appearance at D23.[29] Media outlets had speculated that casting information for Star Wars Episode VII (Star Wars: The Force Awakens) would be announced at the event,[30] but no such announcement was made.[31] Walt Disney Parks and Resorts showcased pavilions relating to Avatar Land, future Star Wars attractions, Marvel’s Avengers Academy on the Disney Magic, Disney Springs, and Shanghai Disneyland.[32][33]


The fourth D23 Expo was held on August 14–16, 2015 at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, California.[34] Walt Disney and Pixar Animation Studios presented first looks of The Good Dinosaur, Finding Dory, Zootopia, Moana, Toy Story 4, and Coco. Marvel Studios presented footage from Captain America: Civil War and stills from Doctor Strange, while Lucasfilm presented Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Walt Disney Pictures showcased Alice Through the Looking Glass, The Jungle Book, Beauty and the Beast, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, Pete's Dragon, The Finest Hours, and The Queen of Katwe.[35][36] In addition, the logo for the sequel to The Incredibles was revealed.[37] Disney Interactive held presentations on several video games, namely Star Wars: Battlefront, Disney Infinity 3.0, and Kingdom Hearts III. The presentations featured new in-game footage, trailers, and reveals.[38] The presentations also included surprise announcements and special guests.[39] At the conclusion of the Walt Disney Studios presentation, Iger made a surprise announcement that Disney was developing a new Star Wars themed land for both Disneyland and Disney's Hollywood Studios.[40]


D23 has had its fair share of criticism from its members. The D23 Expo in 2011 was considered horribly managed by many fans, who waited in line for hours to see a single presentation. Common complaints about the Expo were venue size, crowd control, quality of presentations, and mismanaged lines.[41] D23 has also been criticized for heavily focusing on events in Anaheim, CA (Disneyland), rather than than Orlando, FL (Walt Disney World), with international events being nonexistent. In 2012, a special event called Fanniversary was announced for six cities, making it appear as though Disney was reaching out to the fan community beyond their main local parks, but three of the six cities were within California and Florida (Orlando, San Francisco, and Los Angeles).[42] Later in 2012, Disney did expand Fanniversary to other cities. Other complaints have included the prices of events (sometimes above $250/person after membership dues) and how quickly events have sold out or have been limited to a very select number of members. For the 2013 Expo, D23 increased accessibility by expanding capacity of the show floor and venues and offering the new "Stagepass" ticket system.[43][44]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Hill, Jim (January 7, 2014). "Adam Sanderson is named as the new head of D23: The Official Disney Fan Club". Jimhillmedia.com. Retrieved January 20, 2014. 
  2. ^ "Adam Sanderson Named Head of D23 and Walt Disney Archives". D23.com. January 7, 2014. Retrieved January 20, 2014. 
  3. ^ "Help | D23.com". D23.disney.go.com. Retrieved August 29, 2013. 
  4. ^ "Home | The Walt Disney Family Museum". Disney.go.com. Retrieved August 29, 2013. 
  5. ^ "DISNEY ANNOUNCES "D23: THE OFFICIAL COMMUNITY FOR DISNEY FANS" | With Video". Prnewswire.com. March 10, 2009. Retrieved August 29, 2013. 
  6. ^ "D23.com | The Official Disney Fan Club". D23.disney.go.com. Retrieved August 29, 2013. 
  7. ^ "Disney’s D23 Expo in Anaheim may be the start of something special | Hero Complex – movies, comics, pop culture – Los Angeles Times". Latimesblogs.latimes.com. August 24, 2009. Retrieved August 29, 2013. 
  8. ^ [1][dead link]
  9. ^ "Johnny Depp (in Jack Sparrow costume) surprises Disney D23 Expo audience | Hero Complex – movies, comics, pop culture – Los Angeles Times". Latimesblogs.latimes.com. September 11, 2009. Retrieved August 29, 2013. 
  10. ^ "Miley Takes The Stage At The D23 Expo — Miley Cyrus — Photos & Pics". X17online.com. September 12, 2009. Retrieved August 29, 2013. 
  11. ^ "D23.com | The Official Disney Fan Club". D23.disney.go.com. Retrieved August 29, 2013. 
  12. ^ "Features Archives | D23.com". D23.disney.go.com. August 22, 2013. Retrieved August 29, 2013. 
  13. ^ "Features Archives | D23.com". D23.disney.go.com. August 22, 2013. Retrieved August 29, 2013. 
  14. ^ "Features Archives | D23.com". D23.disney.go.com. August 22, 2013. Retrieved August 29, 2013. 
  15. ^ a b "Features Archives | D23.com". D23.disney.go.com. August 22, 2013. Retrieved August 29, 2013. 
  16. ^ "Disneyana Fan Club". Disneyana Fan Club. Retrieved August 29, 2013. 
  17. ^ "MousePlanet - your resource for all things Disney". mouseplanet.com. Retrieved August 16, 2015. 
  18. ^ "is Disney and Theme park news, tips, planning and more". Micechat.com. Retrieved August 29, 2013. 
  19. ^ "The Art of Brian Rood". brianrood.com. Retrieved August 16, 2015. 
  20. ^ Kit, Borys (August 20, 2011). "'Avengers': Robert Downey, Jr., New Footage Wow D23 Expo". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved March 21, 2014. 
  21. ^ a b "Features Archives | D23.com". D23.disney.go.com. August 22, 2013. Retrieved August 29, 2013. 
  22. ^ "Features Archives | D23.com". D23.disney.go.com. August 22, 2013. Retrieved August 29, 2013. 
  23. ^ "Features Archives | D23.com". D23.disney.go.com. August 22, 2013. Retrieved August 29, 2013. 
  24. ^ "Features Archives | D23.com". D23.disney.go.com. August 22, 2013. Retrieved August 29, 2013. 
  25. ^ "Features Archives | D23.com". D23.disney.go.com. August 22, 2013. Retrieved August 29, 2013. 
  26. ^ 2011 Disney Legends Awards Honorees at D23 Expo to include Regis Philbin, Jim Henson, Disney Princess voices Retrieved August 17, 2015
  27. ^ Brooks Barnes, “Disney Fans Get a Sneak Peek at Coming Films,” The New York Times, August 11, 2013.
  28. ^ Brigante, Ricky (August 10, 2013). "Walt Disney Studios reveal live-action films at 2013 D23 Expo: Marvel, Maleficent, Tomorrowland, Muppets, Saving Mr Banks". Inside the Magic. Retrieved August 17, 2015. 
  29. ^ "‘Star Wars’ Set To Make Disney Debut At D23 Expo". Deadline. July 9, 2013. Retrieved July 27, 2013. 
  30. ^ Ng, Philiana (July 9, 2013). "Disney, Lucasfilm Bringing 'Star Wars' to D23 Expo". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved July 27, 2013. 
  31. ^ Rosen, Christopher (August 10, 2013). "Lack Of 'Star Wars' News At Disney's D23 Expo Disappoints Fans". Huffington Post. Retrieved August 10, 2013. 
  32. ^ Vejvoda, Jim. "Disney D23 Expo to Include Previews of Star Wars, Avatar Theme Park Attractions". 24 July 2013. IGN.com. Retrieved July 27, 2013. 
  33. ^ "60 YEARS OF IMAGINEERING THE IMPOSSIBLE". Disney Insider. July 24, 2013. Retrieved July 27, 2013. 
  34. ^ "The Ultimate Disney Fan Event Returns to Anaheim August 14-16, 2015". D23.com. March 18, 2014. Retrieved March 19, 2014. 
  35. ^ Sollosi, Mary (August 16, 2015). "Disney enchants with live-action movies at D23 expo". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved August 17, 2015. 
  36. ^ Couch, Aaron; Kit, Borys (August 16, 2015). "Disney Shows off 'Pirates 5,' 'Beauty and the Beast' at D23". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved August 15, 2015. 
  37. ^ ""The Incredibles 2" Updates: Disney Unveils Official Logo At The D23 Expo; Edna Mode Another Superhero?". Venture Capital Post. 30 August 2015. Retrieved 8 September 2015. 
  38. ^ "Disney Interactive Is Bringing “Infinite” Gaming Possibilities to D23 EXPO 2015". D23. Retrieved August 16, 2015. 
  39. ^ "D23 EXPO: Disney Animation Announces Panels, Exhibits and More". Stitch Kingdom. June 15, 2015. Retrieved June 17, 2015. 
  40. ^ "'Star Wars’ Themed Lands Coming to Disney Parks, Says Bob Iger". Variety. August 15, 2015. Retrieved August 15, 2015. 
  41. ^ "Can D23 Expo Be Fixed?". Disneytravelbabble.com. August 25, 2011. Retrieved August 29, 2013. 
  42. ^ "D23.com | Events". D23.disney.go.com. June 1, 2013. Retrieved August 29, 2013. 
  43. ^ "About the Expo". D23.com. December 31, 2012. Retrieved August 29, 2013. 
  44. ^ D23.com (June 27, 2013). "Make the Most of the Expo with StagePass | D23 Expo News". D23.com. Retrieved August 29, 2013. 

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