Today is a somewhat sad day for all of us who worked on the D23 Expo. The Expo is an event we have had circled on our collective calendars for so long, something we all had looked forward to with such anticipation, that has slowly then quite suddenly come to an end. It feels strange. This year we have spent so much time thinking about the Expo — and it was all so much fun to plan for — that now we can’t help but feel a tad deflated. Can’t we extend it one more day? I’m sure I’m not the only one on the team with that feeling.
But we can’t. So I choose to look back and think of all the great memories I will carry with me into the future. I’ll never forget Tuesday morning, for example, when Matt, one of the principal planners of Expo logistics and a really funny and great guy, drove me around on one of those cool little golf carts and we cruised though the vast halls of the Convention Center, half not believing that in a day and half the doors would open and the Expo would be officially opened. Or the time I first saw the “Treasures of the Walt Disney Archives” exhibit — thinking to myself with a smile, “Disney fans are going to love this.
And Thursday morning, when I arrived before 5 a.m. and saw the spotlights, the TV media and lots of fans lined up in front of the Convention Center. Just seeing the smiles fortified all of us for the week ahead. Seeing the Disney Legends Ceremony was a stirring experience, as was watching the animators from The Princess and the Frog show a rapt audience how they draw characters. Watching John Lasseter, so refreshingly honest, passionate and off-the-cuff, a man responsible, like Walt Disney himself, for some of the greatest family movies of all time, introduce to the world for the first time the trailer for Toy Story 3 sent the hair on the back of my neck straight up. There are so, so many great memories that I hope I will remember some day when I’m sitting on a park bench trying not to think of much at all. I hope those remebrances nudge their way into my consciousness.
I’ll also always remember the team that I am fortunate enough to count myself a member of, every one of which thought nothing of him or herself during this week and only of wanting to put on the best fan experience we could. If at any point we underperformed, please know we tried as hard as we could not to. Each of you and everyone at The Walt Disney Company who worked so hard over these past four days and in all the days spent planning for this event are very special people.
Mostly I’ll remember you, the best and most devoted Disney fans in the world. We thank you so much for spending your valuable time here with us, and we hope you had half as much fun attending the Expo as we did putting it on.
Keep wishing upon a star because dreams come true. Everyone on the D23 team can tell you so.
By D23′s Max Lark