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My (Not So Secret) Disney Obsession

My name is Trey and I am a Disney geek. A real, true Disney geek. What does that have to do with Applied Flow Technology and pipe flow simulation? Well, a lot actually. Read on if you want to know more…

This year is AFT's 25th anniversary and I have been doing a lot of reminiscing. About many things. I have been a Disney geek since I rode Dumbo at Disneyland right after my third birthday in 1966 - with my uncle sitting behind me and my grandfather down below watching.

Does that qualify me as a Disney geek? Maybe. What really qualifies me though is a place I will be in a little over three weeks. It is not really a place though. It is an event. An event that happens every two years called the D23 Expo.

The D23 ultimate Disney fan event will be held in Anaheim August 23-25.

What is the D23 Expo? The D23 Expo is an event that happens every two years in Anaheim, California, USA. It is held at the Anaheim Convention Center across the street from the Disneyland Resort. This event brings together all elements of the Disney company under one roof for three action-packed days. Parks. Movies (both live action and animated). Television. Music. Characters. Animators. Actors. Vocalists. Celebrities. Products. Merchandise. The Past. The Present. The Future. And more…

The D23 Expo is billed as the "Ultimate Disney Fan Event". This year it takes place on August 23-25. I will be there all three days. This will be my fifth Expo and the only one I missed was the first one in 2009 –when I did not know what it was and had a schedule conflict anyways.

Here are some personal highlights for me from past Expos:

  • In 2011 – being in the room for a Dick Van Dyke concert where he sang songs from Mary Poppins.
  • In 2017 – being in the room and hearing the original "Lion King" animated movie producer and the Imagineer who animated Simba discuss how the film came together – and then hearing a rendition of "Circle of Life" sung by the original movie vocalist Carmen Twillie. Her performance and the full panel session I attended can be found in the links here: D23 EXPO 2017: "The Lion King" panel.
  • In 2017 – being in the room and hearing an intimate concert my Alan Mencken, the composer of numerous Disney songs including songs from Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin and Pocahontas. Here is a link to the whole concert.
  • In 2013 – being in the room and hearing the very first public rendition outside the Disney company of the song "Let it Go" from the not-yet-released but soon-to-be hit animated movie "Frozen" – sung my Idina Menzel, the voice actress for Elsa. Here is a link to the event I was at: "LET IT GO", D23 Expo 2013
  • In 2015 – being in the room for a Disney animated movie session and hearing, among other things, Randy Newman perform "You've Got a Friend in Me" from the Toy Story movies.

Why is it called D23? Of course the "D" is for Disney. The 23 represents the year (1923) when 21-year-old Walt Disney arrived in Los Angeles to see if he could make a living as an animator.

Real quick, here are some of my favorite Disney things:

  • Ride: Pirates of Caribbean at Disneyland in California and Expedition Everest at Disney World in Florida
  • Animated Movie: Aladdin
  • Character: Mickey Mouse, of course
  • Sweet Treat: Trigger Tails at Disneyland's Pooh Corner

I am excited to be going this Friday (with a new friend I met last week who loves Disney as much as I do) to see the new, live-action version of my favorite movie, Aladdin. And earlier this year (in March and April) I took a course at a local university on Walt Disney.

Am I ever going to talk about AFT here? Yes, but I want to first make sure you know for certain that I am a real, true Disney geek. Are you convinced?

So, where does Disney fit into AFT? Disney – the parks, movies, TV shows (when I was a kid), songs and characters – inspired me to dream big. To think about things that do not exist. To be creative and fun. To go outside the box. To be unconventional.

When I started AFT 25 years ago, I saw something in my head that did not exist. Part of the reason I was able to do that was because of Walt Disney and what he created and represented. Walt Disney was a great American and will always be one of my heroes.

What's next for me? A pirate's life maybe…Yes, I like that! Yo-ho, a pirate's life for me!

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Friday, 22 November 2019