D23 Gathers in Newark for Disney 'Fanniversary' Show
A centerpiece of the show is a sketch from an unproduced 1938 cartoon called "Mickey's Toothache," plucked this year from the Disney Archives to mark Mickey Mouse's 85th birthday. The scene has the famous mouse looking quite distressed in a head bandage, trying to escape the grasp of an anthropomorphic examination chair while a peg-legged dentist chases him with a saw and pliers. That kind of exaggerated terror is mostly lost in today's children's cartoons — along with the dangerous implements.
A traveling program, it's no stage show, no "Disney on Ice." There are no monorails, trams, snaking lines or screaming children. The Fanniversary, a string of behind-the-scenes retrospectives, is as much a lecture about company history as it is a celebration of Disney characters and movies.
Most attending are members of D23, the official Disney fan club, which takes its name from 1923, the year that brothers Walt and Roy Disney came to Hollywood and started their Disney studio. Such trivia is precisely the kind of information being celebrated.
"Anyone going can expect a really fully magical Disney experience," says Vasilo, who has toured the Holy Grail — Cinderella's castle — more than once. And there's more to the show than Mickey's usual crew, Vasilo says. "Characters you wouldn't normally see."
The event will also focus on the 20th anniversary of Tim Burton's stop-motion musical "The Nightmare Before Christmas," the 30th anniversary of Epcot's futuristic Horizons attraction and the 70th anniversary of "Saludos Amigos," an animated feature that had its debut in the 1940s. They're all what Jeffrey Epstein, using a frequent Disney descriptor, calls "magical milestones."
This summer brings the next big Disney mecca, the biennial Disney Expo, organized near Disneyland in Anaheim, Calif. About 40,000 people attended in 2011, and the next affair starts Aug. 9.
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