Heading back over to Disneyland for an exclusive from D23 Member since first day, Leigh Canzoneri, who was lucky enough to attend a D23 event out at the California Park on Wednesday night. She's taken some time from her busy schedule to sit down with Royalty and tell the readers of DF'82 what it was like!
So Leigh, what was the event and how did you find out about it?
The event was the 1st anniversary of club D23. The D23 website informed all members when and where this event would be held for both the ‘Land and ‘World. I attended as a guest of Bill Farmer – the voice of "Goofy/Pluto/Practical Pig". It was available for a charge for D23 Members.
Ah so they were having it in both American parks? Excellent! What was the party going to consist of, for Disneyland?
Fantasyland was to be operational after regular park hours, and there would be rare characters seen in and around the ‘land. Celebrity and "Disney Legends" guests, desert bars, a commemorative pin and the ability for D23 members to get to know one another. The park would be open until midnight for D23 members.
That’s good – like a large social gathering for those fans. So, what happened when you arrived?
We were driven to the park from Grand Californian. There was myself, Bill Farmer, his wife Jenn and Kathryn Beaumont (the voice of "Alice/Wendy"). Bill would be meeting and greeting with the Disney fans, so we drove in through a back gate and were walked in from the cast members’ area behind Fantasyland, accompanied by a Guest Relations Cast Member.
Were there decorations or any D23 touches around Fantasyland?
Minimal. Just on the castle as you entered and the decorative tables where the deserts were
What was happening in the park once you entered?
The party was in full swing. Rides were going, music was playing, characters were in their spots doing meet and greets. There was a bar, and tables of cupcakes, Mickey rice crispy treats, cookies all around the back area in front of Casey Jr. train – there to help yourself! All rides were operating! And I highly recommend the story book canal boats at night! It could be considered better at night than during the day. It was gorgeous!
I can imagine – it is a beautiful attraction. What characters were there?
All 3 little pigs, Maleficent, Cinderella, Clara Cluck, Clarabelle, Alice, Mad Hatter, Mickey in his Band Leader outfit, The Country Bears, and I believe Peter Pan was there somewhere as well.
How did you spend your evening?
Bill signed many, many autographs and took photos with fans – it was a great experience for both him and the members. While Jenn and I went to some attractions, Peter Pan and Storybook Land, leaving Bill to meet the fans. We would check back on him to make sure he was given sufficient breaks in the ‘green room’. We chatted to Imagineer Bob Gurr for a while.
Then as the night progressed we all sat around and chatted with the original Bobby from the Mickey Mouse Club, Tony Baxter, Bob Olzweski, Margaret Kerry (“Tinkerbell”) and Bill Rogers "The VOICE of Disneyland". We also experienced a lot of the atmosphere, simply walking around and feeling involved with everything. And managed to grab some cookies too!
Would you say it was worth it for what you got to experience? And what were your overall opinions on the night.
I would say it was worth it. It was a great night for the D23 members. Not such a great night for the talent. But it isn't about the actors and the Imagineers, It’s about the Disney fans, community and D23 members so, I am guessing it went wonderfully for them and that the feedback will be positive. I haven't read anything on websites or what not, but I'm sure it was enjoyable for some and others, may not feel it was worth it. I think it was.
Pictures from D23 website - to read more about the event please visit D23.