On Friday morning, doors opened at the Anaheim Convention Center, as Cast Members began welcoming thousands upon thousands of elated, diehard Disney fans–some of whom had waited since 5:00 a.m. to be among the first to step foot into the 1.8-million square foot complex for the 2022 D23 Expo. And the opening ceremony kicked off with a warning from the visionary, the creative genius, the one-and-only, Walt Disney.
Conventions of all kinds often tout their “epic” opening ceremonies, as did those responsible for promoting the 2022 D23 Expo–the first D23 Expo to be held since 2019. But the opening ceremony for the Expo, which began at 10:30 inside Hall D23 at the Anaheim Convention Center, was true to its description.
Droves of diehard Disney fans–some costumed as villains, some as heroes, and some as princesses–made their way into the convention center, expecting the unexpected, the magical, the impossible–and D23 delivered. The opening ceremony saw The Walt Disney Company CEO Bob Chapek share some teasers about upcoming reveals during the Expo, as well as bold news about the expansion of Avengers Campus at Disneyland Resort.
Mr. Chapek headlined the event on Friday morning, which preceded the Disney Legends Ceremony and a special surprise performance by the cast of Disney’s Encanto for the entire audience.
But before any of the magic was revealed, before any of the news was shared, and before a single Disney Legend was crowned on Friday morning, the lucky audience members who gathered to take their seats among 7,000 fellow fans were first greeted by the man behind it all, Walt Disney, whose words–though recorded decades ago–were ever timely, yet prophetic.
In a clip shown to the audience from the massive screens that lined one end of Hall D23, Walt prepared the audience for what was to come, warning audience members that the need for tissues might arise.
Walt explained that “if you’re like me,” laughter and tears–happy ones, of course–could often be in the same vein. It goes without saying that the clip and the quote are both from a long-bygone era, one on which Walt Disney left his mark in more ways than his gifted, imaginative genius mind could have believed.
But the storyweavers, videographers, and digital editors at Disney were able to use that quote (which clearly had nothing to do with a huge Disney fan event in California) to let fans in the audience know that things revealed during the ceremony, as well as the D23 Expo, would surely bring both laughter and tears–those of the very happiest kind–to diehard fans gathered to learn all about what’s on the horizon for the next 100 years of Disney.
We may or may not have experienced some misty eyes, followed by belly laughs, followed by even more happy tears. But it was well worth the experience!