I can guarantee that I’ve got an exclusive on this magic at #d23expo this past weekend.
I didn’t have to line up outside at 5am for it, didn’t need a special colored wristband or a SpeedPass or insanely nimble typing fingers to get it out first.
After my third #d23Expo, I can tell you that the magic of the event is only slightly attributed to what goes on in the big Arena, or our on the show floor, or up in Stage 23 or Stage 28. The rest of it is all around you, all the time.
It’s standing in line for the first Arena presentation, and meeting someone whose amazing Mary Poppins painting was part of the Fan Art Contest, and then sharing fun stories of Disney experiences with them.
It’s randomly standing next to one of your favorite Disney artists, who you met/sat with at the previous expo and starting up a conversation as any friend would for the next hour in line.
Or meeting up with a bunch of other RunDisney runners who ALSO started running long distances just because they wanted to run through Disney Parks.
It’s having an honest conversation with a cast member about MyMagic+ and having it turn into the start of an online friendship.
@kim_michelle I found you! It was so nice meeting you today! You are such a sweetheart and your family was so nice! I can’t wait to run! ✨
— Linz Stanley (@LinzStanley) August 10, 2013
Or meeting one of the “I’m with Tex!” contingents known simply as “Disney Mike” and hearing stories about how he loves to spread Disney magic by giving away balcony passes for Fantasmic! to random people standing on the shores of the Rivers of America.
It’s having the lead of the Disney Interactive “Disney Infinity” team give your whole family a giant hug, after he’s talked with you and met you 3 days straight (and spent 2+ hours in line) because he’s so happy that you love and care about what they’ve been presenting.
It’s standing in the giant expo hall, surrounded by all things Disney, and knowing that everyone around you shares the joy that you do. And no one is a bit embarrassed by it, but instead they’re just really happy to show it! Where 18 y/o’s can dress like Sophia the First and get their picture taken with the real Sophia AND Tim Gunn and Wayne Brady with pride.
[photo from hayleythehatter]
It’s having no fear in singing along off-key to a song you know and love in your bones, because the other 3,999 people are doing the exact same thing.
It’s waving and smiling and saying, “Hi!!” with enthusiasm, when you see any of those people you’ve met in the past few days again in the halls, the hotels or out in the park.
And it’s the tears shed on Sunday at 2pm when you surprise a stranger in line to pay $52 for just a couple of hours inside that convention hall, and hand over an extra ticket you have. Even though she said, “You have no idea what this means… and how much it took me to get here today” … I did know.
Richard Sherman summed it well, when he said that Disney fans, “share a love for positivism, for good things, for happy endings, for nice people, for triumph for good over evil.” So when you turn around to talk to someone next to you, you know they’re that kind of “people.”
Regardless of whether it’s 2009, 2011 or 2013, the actual magic of #D23Expo is just being there…. with everyone else.