When they first announced this D23 event I thought it sounded very interesting, I ran it past Gary and he didn't seem to show much interest. I followed the various announcements and still thought it sounded like something that I would like to go to. My friend Susan also showed interest so when they announced the registration date, and Gary still did not want to go, it only made sense that Susan and I go and share the expense.


Registration opened at 1:00 p.m. PST April 18, 2014 and I was online waiting for the link to activate. I got our tickets and then checked out the special event room rates that we offered. We decided to stay at Port Orleans Riverside, $139 a night. The Contemporary was also offered at a fantastic rate and in hind sight that might have been a better choice since the event was held in the Ballroom at the Contemporary.


Our original plan was to fly down Thursday and home on Monday, but for some reason the flight down was very expensive and in the long run it was cheaper to fly down the day before, even with the extra night resort cost! The date the event started was November 21st.

Tuesday November 18th:


The weather was starting to look nasty, a major winter storm was coming through and I was starting to worry about the drive to Syracuse. As I was watching TV that night there were travel warnings going across the bottom of the screen. I sent a text to Susan asking her is she planned on getting away early. She was flying out of Buffalo and I was flying out of Syracuse. Our flights were the same time and we were scheduled to arrive at the same time. I had a car rented and the plan was that we would get to the resort, check in and have dinner at Earls.


Susan thought she would get away early but at that time it wasn't too bad in the Toronto area. About an hour later I get a text from her that her flight had been cancelled. She was trying to find an alternative but the only thing showing was Friday so she grabbed that just in case. We talked on the phone and the plan was that if I couldn't get through to Syracuse I would call her and we would try and get a flight out of Toronto.


I set the alarm for 4:00 a.m., tried to sleep but mostly tossed and turned and fretted.

Wednesday November 19th:


We were up and leaving the house by 4:30 a.m., dropped the dogs off and we were crossing the Thousand Island Bridge by 5:30 a.m. The sky was clear and the stars were out. We drove into Watertown to gas up and get a coffee. Gary said he really didn't think he would be driving 60 mph on bare pavement that morning. I replied, we aren't there yet and the snow-belt is between Watertown and Syracuse. We only drove a few miles and it started, there was a 5 - 10 mile stretch where I thought we were going to perish. You could not see anything! I was glad Gary was driving as I know I would have passed out from holding my breath. Then we drove out of it, and it was like a different world. The sun was shining, the grass was green and it was a beautiful day the rest of the drive to the airport. I sent a text to Susan to let her know that all flights were on schedule. She immediately got busy and found a flight out of Syracuse that would get her into Orlando that night. It would mean a long drive for her to the airport but at least she wouldn't miss the event.


Gary dropped me off at 7:00 a.m. and I had lots of time to relax before my 11:30 a.m. flight. The flight was uneventful, I had a short stop over at JFK and landed in Orlando on time. I picked up the rental car, drove to Port Orleans Riverside, checked in, dropped my luggage off and headed over to Fort Wilderness. I wanted to get the Fort's Christmas pin and I had some pins to pick up from a friend who was staying there.


The next stop was for food, I wanted to go to Earl's but I didn't have a lot of time and I knew parking was an issue so I stopped at Port Orleans French Quarter and had a hotdog. It gave me a chance to check out the resort's Christmas decorations too. From there I headed back to the airport to wait for Susan to arrive. Her flight was a little late but she was one happy camper when she got in the car. We later found out that if she had waited until Friday to fly she would have been cancelled again. The Buffalo airport was closed for several days while they shovelled out from a record snowfall.


We got back to the resort, Susan had a quick bite in the food court and then we crashed. It had been a very stressful couple of days.

Thursday November 20th:







Surprisingly we were awake early and excited to begin our adventure. We got ready and decided that since we had missed dinner at Earl's we would have breakfast there instead.

We also wanted to be at Downtown Disney for the release of the monthly pin that will be part of the EPCOT Trade Celebration 2015 collection.  We had our sandwiches then went out to get in the pin line. We were able to have a nice visit with Kelly and Dawn and a few other pin trader friends.

The line took over an hour but we got what we wanted and then decided to drive over to the Contemporary to check things out. We saw the Ginger Bread House and bought a few pins at the store. Then we took the monorail over to the Magic Kingdom and checked out the pin store there.

We stopped at the Sunshine Terrace for a Citrus Swirl and casually walked back to the monorail. We went back to the resort for a bit of a rest and to unload our parcels.

After getting refreshed we went back to the Magic Kingdom for Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party. Everything looked so pretty and festive and I was glad that I was able to see the decorations. We got our special Sorcerers card, checked out the party pins and rode the Jungle Cruise since it had the holiday overlay.

We watched the "A Frozen Holiday Wish" the "Mickey's Once Upon a Christmastime Parade" then the "Celebrate the Magic" show and the special "Holiday Wishes - Celebrate the Spirit of the Season"

It was a very cold night, I had never

seen the Ice Cream Parlor empty before!


After we had seen all the entertainment we wandered around just enjoying being there. We also got to see the rare appearance of Jack Skellington as Sandy Claws. It had been a long day so we left before the crowd and got back to the resort by midnight.

Friday November 21st:


We were up, dressed and out the door by 9:00 a.m. and heading to the Contemporary Resort. Registration opened at 10:00 a.m., the line wasn't too long. I got to see several good friends who were also attending the event so there were lots of hugs and excitement.

We were each given our credentials, a welcome bag with gifts from the sponsors, a special limited edition pin, and a black plastic Mickey Stamp - none of us knew what it was. It turns out this magic stamp can be placed on your smart phone or tablet when you go into the D23 site and it opens a portal that has film clips from the event. Very cool.

After we finished checking-in we went to get in the line for the Mickey's of Glendale store that had been set up for event attendees only. It didn't open until 1:00 p.m. but we decided that we would wait and avoid the huge line that would eventually materialize. It was actually fun since we met lots of friends and made some new ones while we waited. Once we got into the store we headed directly to the pins. It was such a treat to be able to buy the Walt Disney Imagineer pins, they are very limited and only available in this one store in California and only for cast members.

When we had seen everything there was to see and bought more than we intended we realized that we hadn't eaten and it was almost 3:00 p.m. so we went upstairs and had a quick bite.

Horse and Blacksmith Tools from EPCOT's World of Motion

Pig Figure from EPCOT's World of Motion

Marquee Figure from Magic Kingdom's

Mr. Toad's Wild Ride


Figment Figure from EPCOT's Centorium

We then took the monorail over to the Grand Floridian to see their gingerbread house. It is the best one of them all in my opinion. We then took the monorail back to the Contemporary and went back to the D23 rooms to go through the "Treasures of the Walt Disney Archives" exhibit. It was interesting but there wasn't a lot of stuff there, I thought there would be more.

We had one more thing left to do on our already busy day so we got in the car and drove over to Hollywood Studios to check out the Osborne Spectacle of Lights.

As always we were not disappointed. The music and the lights are so beautiful, every year there are rumours that it will be the last. I hope that that never happens. After we finished taking all of that in we decided to call it a night.

Saturday November 22nd:





Up and running once again; the doors opened at 8:30 a.m. and we were there and in our seats waiting for the 9:00 a.m. start. There were strict rules against taking picture so we just sat and listened. It was so interesting that you just didn't even know that time was flying by. We broke for lunch at 12:00 p.m. so Susan and I walked down to the dock and took the boat over to Fort Wilderness to have lunch at the Trails End.

Before we went back to our seats we did another walk through Mickey's of Glendale and bought some more pins. They seem to be bringing out new stuff every few hours. We were back in the convention centre by 2:00 p.m. for the second half of the day’s presentations.


At the end of the presentations we decided to go to Downtown Disney and had pizza at Wolfgang Pucks. After we finished our pizza we wandered through the shops and walked over to DStreet. We finished off the evening with ice cream.

Sunday November 23rd:




The program started at 9:30 a.m. so we had a little bit longer to sleep in. When we got to the Contemporary Susan went to get a coffee and muffin but I decided to do one more walk through the store. Susan said she had already bought more than she planned and didn't want to be tempted so she wouldn't go in. I on the other hand did buy a few more pins and a couple of gifts for Gary.

At 9:30 a.m. we were in our seats and listening to the various speakers. Everything was interesting and I didn't want to miss a single word. We had breaks through out the day and I would wander through the crowd and visit with many of my friends that were there. When the lunch break came we decided to take the monorail over to the Polynesian and have lunch at Captain Cooks, it was very good but very crowded so we had to eat outside. After lunch we got back on the monorail and back to the afternoon session. We finished up about 5:30 p.m. and had 3 hours before the evening finale "That Was Entertainment" began.


We decided to go to the Magic Kingdom so back on the monorail we went. We wandered along Main Street and over to Liberty Square and settled on eating at The Columbia Harbor House. I had the chicken pot pie and it was very good. After dinner we checked out the pin store and slowly made our way back down Main Street.

We got back to the Contemporary with lots of time to spare so we found a comfy chair in the lobby outside the ballroom and just relaxed.

The nights entertainment started at 8:30 p.m., when we entered the room it was set up with tables of pastries, a bar, lots of decorations and a stage where the performers would be doing their acts. The theme was the recreation of Pleasure Island. The two big acts were the Adventurers Club and The Comedy Warehouse.

Both were received with huge rounds of applause and yelling. They recreated the fun times that many of us have had at Pleasure Island and the cast were the original actors. It was very clear to all that they are really missed.


The inside party ended at 10:00 p.m. and everyone was ushered outside to the porte-cochère for a viewing with music of Wishes. Susan and I decided to pass on the fireworks and beat the traffic out so that we could get back to the resort and pack.

I was sorry that the event was over, I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it. The speakers were amazing and the topics so interesting. I got to meet Bob Gurr, saw lots of friends, had fun shopping and racing around from one place to the other. I would do it again in a heartbeat and based on the content I think it is something that Gary would really enjoy too. I was told they do this every two years so I will be watching for it.

Monday November 24th:


We got up and ready to leave. We took our luggage over to the luggage station and checked in for our flight. Then we went to Earl's for one last sandwich. Our direct flight out of Orlando left on time at 2:45 and was a smooth flight into Syracuse. Since Susan had her car there Gary didn't have to pick me up. We got to our house by 8:00 p.m. and had something to eat. It had been a long day so Susan decided to spend the night and headed home early the next morning.