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Among the archival riches found for the site upgrade were old, never-before-seen pictures taken by Walt Disney himself with his family at Griffith Park. Old images and storyboards, hand-drawn artwork and vintage film clips are among the items to be added in the archival section of the website.
The process of D23 has been almost a year in the making for Billy Stanek, web editor, and the team at Disney. “There is so much material,” he said.
The new content will include interviews with stars such as Ginnifer Goodwin of Once Upon a Time and characters such as Dr. Heinz Doofenschmirtz from Phineas and Ferb.
But it is the vintage material that will amaze visitors to D23. With over 7,000 entries, Disney A to Z is a definitive encyclopedia to find information on a specific person or movie. The D’scovered section will feature a special memento by artist Salvador Dali for Walt Disney, an illustrated story script for a 1929 short entitled The Karnival Kid and a concept for a “Mickey Mouse Park” that eventually became Disneyland.
Other categories include Characters with biographies for Disney characters from film, television and comics, Disney Geek showcasing behind-the-scenes videos of events such as Disney on Ice, and Weird Disney featuring some of the most unusual pieces from Disney’s past. First Look will preview new films and television shows such as Monsters University with items like how to “Expand Your Scare-cabulary.”
Muppetology explores the world of The Muppets and there are plans to feature more Disney properties going forward, like Star Wars and Pixar films.
“Now we have a forum to display these archive materials,” said Kevin Kern, member of the D23 archive material team. The material will not only come from the offices at Disney but also Parks & Resorts. Stanek added, “It’s a pretty big deal to get everybody to contribute all this content.”
The best part is free membership to access all this extensive content. In addition to all the exclusive material, fans will be able to buy limited-edition merchandise and collectibles, subscribe to the weekly D23 FanFare newsletter, and get discounted tickets to many events, including D23 Expo 2013: The Ultimate Disney Fan Event taking place at the Anaheim Convention Center August 9-11 (see below).
There are also benefits to upgrading to silver and gold membership for a small fee. The silver membership also includes an annual gift, this year a silver D23 pen with Walt Disney’s signature, a membership card and certificate, and the opportunity to attend special member events throughout the year. The gold membership adds the prestigious quarterly Disney Twenty-Three magazine that is no longer available in stores.
The D23 Expo 2013 in August is jam-packed with events with stars from a variety of films and shows such as Jessie, Phineas and Ferb, Gravity Falls, Teen Beach and Good Luck Charlie, a “Surf Crazy” fan dance, an all-new Mickey Mouse cartoon short and an exhibit with images, costumes, props and set pieces from the classic movie Mary Poppins, the hit show Once Upon a Time and a tribute to L. Frank Baum’s Oz books.
Music performances will include Academy-Award winning composers Richard M. Sherman and Alan Merken in an exclusive concert The Disney Songbook as well as Bridgit Mendler and R5 featuring Ross Lynch.
- Mario Boucher