Tickets go on sale for next year’s D23 Expo this week, but after the mad dash for pricey, Sorcerer passes settles down, they’ll likely be little to excite fans until information about the program begins to trickle out next spring.
In the meantime, it can fun to imagine what exactly the thousands of people who will attend the event are in for. I think it can be even more fun to consider what probably won’t be there. So, until the official schedule of events is released, here are some of the experiences that I would put in my fantasy Expo lineup for your consideration:
Ducktales – Then and Now
It’s surprising how little love there has been for The Disney Afternoon at the D23 Expo, especially since the fan base remains so strong. The popularity of 2015’s A Goofy Movie reunion panel is a good sign that The Disney Afternoon may finally get some attention in 2017. With Ducktales celebrating its 30th birthday and a reboot premiering next year, the time is ripe for an event exploring Uncle Scrooge and his nephews. There’s no doubt a ton of anecdotes, conceptual artwork and other artifacts that detail how the characters developed from comics to television show, movies, and video games. As well as explore what the future holds for the franchise.
It wasn’t that long ago that Long-Lost Friend week provided guests the chance to meet characters like Prince John, Esmerelda, and Horace Horsecollar at Disneyland. Who would enjoy opportunities like this more than Expo attendees? Some friends who previously appeared at Disney Parks and are celebrating birthdays in 2017 include Bernard, Bianca, and Orville; Colonel Hathi and Mowgli; Hercules, Megara, and Pain and Panic; and Gyro Gearloose, Launchpad McQuack and Darkwing Duck (whose 25th birthday is actually this year).
The Archive Store and a Disney Store Revamp
The Archives Store was the only official shopping experience at the Expo where you could buy truly unique items. I don’t just mean exclusive, there are lots of exclusives, but the swag from The Archives Store was different from anything else you could buy. It featured replicas of props, home accents with rarely merchandised characters, and lots of Ludwig von Drake. What else could you ask for? It needs to come back.
Speaking of shopping, in 2015, The Disney Store team demonstrated that it had not learned any lessons from their disastrous 2013 showing. The store needs to be twice as big and utilize a system whereby people can purchased the five or so most coveted items without waiting in the line to get into the store. Taking over a bigger space and investing in some mobile checkout units and wristbands will solve most of their problems.
Pushing Daisies Reunion
So, technically, even though Pushing Daisies aired on ABC, it is not actually a Disney property. But this is a fantasy list and so I’m including it. The story of a pie maker with the mysterious power to wake the dead and the girl he loves but can never touch was smart, fun, and campy. Its talented cast included Lee Pace, Anna Friel, Kristin Chenoweth, Swoosie Kurtz, Ellen Greene and Chi McBride, who all played delightfully eccentric characters, and would make a fantastically fun panel. In fact, they did when such a panel happened at Comic-Con in 2008 (when the show was still airing). Since then, the show was abruptly cancelled and promises of comic book and theatrical adaptations seem to have stalled or been scrapped all together. With a cult-following of devoted fans anxious for more, and the show celebrating the 10-year anniversary of its premiere, it’s the perfect time to briefly bring Ned and Chuck back from the dead.
The Adventurers Club
Disney has brought back elements of the famed night spot before at special events, but can it ever be enough? Imagine if the Adventurers took over Stage 23 for the Radio Broadcast (“We Love ‘em!”), followed by a Hoopla (“Hoopla!”). What if attendees could compete for the Balderdash cup? Of course, the Colonel would have to be there as well as the whole gang of madcap members. Since the space that was such an important part of the club is gone, why not play up the fact that the adventurers are displaced? What happened to the building? Why are the Adventurers in California? Could Fletcher be in pursuit of some new artifacts? Is Hathaway pursuing a damsel in distress? The possibilities to expand the shtick that made the club such an amazing and unique experience are endless. And the chance to experience these long-lost characters with other Disney geeks would be amazing.
So, what do you think of my list of unlikely Expo happenings? I would love to hear your thoughts on my ideas as well as what you would love to see next July.