D23 is the biggest Disney fan convention in the world, and I was lucky enough to be a part of it this past weekend. Disney uses the biennial event to announce new films, shows, and theme park attractions. While I was denied access to certain events, I was still able to gain enough information to share most of it with you. I will also include some personal accounts to help advise those looking to attend two years from now.

Friday: The unexpected

The first major event was the "Disney Legends" Awards ceremony, an honor given to those who have made significant contributions to the Walt Disney Company and its associated properties. The ceremony was a grand celebration—but also an emotional tribute. There were musical numbers, dance routines, and heartfelt speeches. Carrie Fisher's award, accepted by her daughter, was a particularly emotional experience, what with having so many dedicated fans in attendance (including fellow recipient Mark Hamill.)

Later that morning there was a panel called "Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios: the Upcoming Films." Knowing this was going to be a major event, I patiently waited in line for about three hours.

However, the staff was disorganized and had little control over the tremendous crowds. They had more people waiting in line than there were seats available, yet claimed for about an hour and a half there was plenty of room.

Chaos erupted when they told the thousands of people still waiting that they would not be let in. I think this is the first time I've experienced an angry mob, or at least something close to it.

Due to the excessive cursing, shouting, and swarms of people surrounding the employees, I decided to leave immediately and not let the negative energy ruin my day (though I did post a pic of the mob on my Instagram account). My only regret is that I missed the sneak peek for "The Incredibles 2."

Saturday: Magically organized

Overnight the staff and security were doubled, there were miles of tape on the grounds, and the employees were carrying counters.

It’s clear they took the incident to heart and tried everything in their power to prevent a similar outcome.

At the wonderful panel "Power of the Princess," we got to see an exclusive clip from "Wreck it Ralph 2" that we had missed the day prior. Unfortunately, no recording was allowed and describing the long clip in full would take up an entirely different article (maybe later this week). But in short, the princesses have reprised their roles in a scene where Vanellope befriends the group after they attempt to kill her for breaking into their dressing room.

What follows is an extremely meta, borderline fan fiction scene that is mostly Disney poking fun at itself. It's surreal to say the least, but the ball room roared with laughter.

In the live-action department, the first trailer for "A Wrinkle in Time" was released to the public and can now be found on YouTube. There were some updates given on upcoming films such as "Mulan," "Jungle Cruise," "Aladdin," and "Mary Poppins Returns." Guests in attendance were also given an exclusive sneak peek at the upcoming "Lion King" remake.

Later, they were shown the first trailer for "Avengers: Infinity War." The ending of the upcoming film "Thor: Ragnarok" will directly tie into the third "Avengers" installment. Meanwhile, at the video game showcase, the long awaited "Kingdom Hearts 3" trailer revealed a Toy Story-themed world and promised a 2018 release of the game.

At the "Parks and Resorts" panel, we received a huge amount of news, including a ride through attraction starring Mickey Mouse in Disney's Hollywood Studios, Florida. Mickey and Minnie's "Runaway Railroad" is said to have more Hidden Mickeys than any other ride in history. Unfortunately, this ride is replacing a personal favorite, The Great Movie Ride. In EPCOT they are adding the highly requested "Ratatouille" ride from Disneyland Paris to the France Pavilion at World Showcase. It is said to be a copy of the one in Paris, which is available to view on YouTube.

In addition to a refurbishment of the EPCOT park itself, they are also adding a "Guardians of the Galaxy" ride in place of the severely outdated Ellen's Energy Adventure. Many were confused as to why so much focus is given to this one Marvel movie, especially considering the recent Tower of Terror takeover about a month ago. But when it comes to theme parks, Universal still has rights to many of Marvel's most famous characters (like the Spiderman ride at Universal Orlando). But as "Guardians" didn't receive widespread recognition until recently, it was not included in the deal. There was also a lack of news on the rumored "Marvel Land" except for a mention of a stronger "Marvel Presence" in California Adventure. Most likely this was because they're waiting for Universal to hand over the rights or waiting until their contract to expires.

Furthermore, the famous Tron Lightcycle coaster from the Shanghai park will be built in Florida next to Space Mountain. The Sky Buckets, a mode of transportation long since gone from the California park, will be built in Florida as a means to connect parks. The popular Paint the Night parade will be returning to Anaheim, but this time in California Adventure, while the Pixar parade is moved to Disneyland, accompanied by a Pixar themed fireworks show. However, due to the Food and Wine Festival and other similar events, the parade route could be blocked for a month or so. The struggling Paradise Pier will be renamed Pixar Pier, and "Toy Story" land is set to open sometime in 2018.

In conclusion

Walt Disney Studios is at the top of their game and show no signs of slowing down. Whether it be animation, live-action, or parks, the innovation train refuses to stop. It's apparent that fans can't get enough of it either. I sorely underestimated the sheer power and magnitude of the Disney fandom, particularly when they're all squeezed into a cold basement. I caution anyone looking into attending the 2019 convention, that the popularity will likely double by then, resulting in even more avid fans camping out and waiting in line.

Despite the chaos, we felt it was worth it to be able to hear from the creative minds behind our favorite films. Though I am still unsure if I would go again, I will say it's something a Disney fan should try to do at least once in their lifetime. To sum it up, on the last day (Sunday), there was a panel featuring Alan Menken, the composer behind almost every Disney song since the 90's. We spent an hour and a half with fellow Disney fans indulging in the heartfelt melodies we all know and love. That unity is what I took from my weekend at D23. It's extremely cliche to say this, and I don't use the term often, but that moment was truly magical, and encompassed what being a Disney fan is all about.

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