Sunday, August 23, 2015

Finding Snow White at D23 Expo 2015

Last weekend I was lucky enough to spend three days at the 2015 D23 expo!  I had a wonderful time (I can say that now that I have caught up on sleep and my feet are functioning) and can't wait until 2017!

There were many announcements and excitement during the expo that you can read all about all over the web.  Rather than repeat the same news that's been flying around the blog-o-sphere - I want to share everything I found related to Snow White at the Expo.
I was pleased to see Snow in the castle logo for the expo

Snow also appeared on many of the banners around the outside of the expo.
 Many of the panels I attended did not allow the use of cameras - so I apologize in advance.  I tried to go to any panels where I thought there might be a Snow White connection.  On Friday I went to the Walt Disney Archives stage to hear Don Hahn talk about his upcoming book - Before Ever After.  After attending this panel, I am looking forward to the book even more!  He described the premise of the book as examining how the Disney Studio went from the early cartoons in the late twenties to a full length film in 1937 - as he put it - how did they make that leap in only ten years?  He shared how the art education program got started at the studio and how it helped train the animators that we know as the nine old men today.  We heard some fun stories about some of the lecturers (like Frank Llyod Wright and his brutally honest opinions) and how grueling the work was for the animators.

On Saturday I went the the panel on The Making of American Experience: Walt Disney.  This panel again featured Don Hahn as well as Neal Gabler (historian), Rebecca Cline (Archives), and Sarah Colt (Producer).  I can't wait for this documentary!  (PBS September 14 and 15).  At about one hour into the show audiences will see clips from the premiere from Snow White.  I've seen lots of stills of this, but not too much video.  We got a preview and I was thrilled to see it.  The producer was able to obtain unseen footage from the archives and from animator Art Babbit - so the whole special should be amazing to watch.

On Sunday I returned to the Archives stage for In Conversation: Wilma Baker and Ginny Mack.  These ladies were ink and paint girls for the Walt Disney Studios.  The amazing part?  Wilma Baker started working for the studios in July of 1937.  That's right, she worked on Snow White!

Wilma Baker on the left and Ginny Mack on the right.
 This may have been my favorite panel of the three.  Just to be in the room with someone who worked on the film was pretty amazing!  I learned so much and am looking forward to the upcoming book by Mindy Johnson.

Before Wilma was hired she went into the studio every evening from 6 to 10 pm for two weeks where she practiced (without pay).  After the two weeks, she was hired at $16 a week.  There were overtime hours for the ladies as they got closer to the premier.  One interesting thing she said was that she didn't see herself as an artist but as someone who can keep to a line.  I completely disagree!  These ladies had a tough job!  Mindy showed us a close up picture of Snow White's eyelashes - done by an inker - wow!  The detail!  We also learned that the girls didn't have light boxes in those days, just lamps.  Can you believe it? The other thing I learned that I found fascinating was that after Snow White was so successful and Walt was able to build his new studio, the inking girls were moved into the second story.  The inkers discovered that the floor moved when the other girls walked by so the girls had to shuffle to not disturb each other.

I spent a lot of time on the show floor because one of the great things about the Expo is the free swag!  I only found one Snow White related freebie on the show floor.  Disney Consumer pavilion had a wishing wall where you could write a wish and tie it to a wishing gate.

 Ok Snow White fans - bad news - you need to move visiting Shanghai Disneyland up higher on your to-do list!  Walt Disney Imgineering had a fantastic booth showcasing the upcoming park.  Not only will the new park have a Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, but it will also feature a massive castle that will have princess statues (Snow White is naturally one), a dinning room with princess rooms (including a Snow White inspired room - check out the vase below), and a Snow White walk through experience!  I asked an imgaineer for details about the walk through and she told me it was something like the Dinseyland's Sleeping Beauty walk through but this one will allow guests to interact with the environments from the film and feature CGI technology.  What's more is that Snow White will speak in Mandarin.
The details for the castle.  Amazing!

Close up on the Snow White vase - amazing artistry!

Here is the castle - it looks so tiny - but it will be anything but!

See!  Snow White attraction!
The display showing the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
They showed a ride video (one assumes from Florida) and played the ride music - it was strange to hear some differences in Heigh Ho.

The Walt Disney Archives had a Disneyland display that was full of amazing things including this piece from the Emporium on Main Street:

The one place I never went into (the lines were just too long!) was the Disney Store itself - but I did find the dwarfs outside it

Walking around the show floor, there was a small nod to Snow White in the Walt Disney Animation Studios booth.

Eric Goldberg had a booth featuring his art in his upcoming book.  He had Snow White and all the dwarfs on display.

 I was disappointed to find that there was no Snow White exclusive D23 expo merchandise (at least that I could find).  However, there were lots of things for sale.

The Expo Dream Store...

The $300 Snow White Master Score
 There was lots of art available...

This came as a set of four, but a print could be bought

 At Mickey;s of Glendale (Imagineering) you can see Snow in front of the castle on this great bag.

 Hallmark had a display of different items - including this Snow Globe

One of the emporium vendors was selling these cuties - but they were in blind bags - I hate those!

Precious Moments were showing off lots of Snow White products:

New Zealand Mint had just released their Snow White coin.

This was the box for the Gold coin
 Theme Park Connection had some Snow White related items for sale.  I actually brought home a treasure from this booth.

 These little cutties will be showing up in Target sometime soon - Snow White is a nail polish.

A few of my favorite purchases came from Enesco and the Disney Archives collection:
A box set of cards!

This stationary is a set of 8 designs - but how can you beat Snow?

Isn't this picture awesome!  It looks like they are rolling out a new line of archive photographs that you can get as art - very cool idea.

Another piece of art available at the show

I have to admit I thought about getting the Master Score.  After all it is a limited edition Snow White book.  The Music Emporium actually had one out you could read.  After looking at it, I decided it wasn't for me.  It is very cool, but doesn't have enough for me to justify the price.  The book has four pages of background and then all the pages are copies of the original music sheets.  I thought that it would include the music or something else, but it is the book only.

Inside cover

Info page 1 and 2

A little more info
I am a terrible reporter because I completely neglected to take a picture of the Uniqlo Snow White shirts being sold at the expo.  There were two designs for women and by the time I remembered to snap a picture (on Sunday afternoon) they had sold out of the tees.  I did bring one home though!

So after three days in a Disney Fan's heaven - what did I bring home?  Lots!  But here a few of my favorites:
Bookmark of one of the pieces made for expo - I liked the Snow and Queen featured on the bookmark

A Walt Disney Imigneering Pin from Mickey's of Glendale

Bought this hair clip from a ETSY crafter in the Emporium section

Of course I had to have this!

Here are the other prints featured

Notecard box

The Uniqlo shirt I brought home

The expo shirt I picked - not sure why Snow White is the biggest character on the shirt - but it made me happy!
 And that's it!  I'm sure this was not every Snow White reference in the whole expo.  I had a great time at the expo.  With proper expectations (lots of waiting in lines and realizing you won't get into all you want) and some good friends to be your line buddies - the expo is a blast!


  1. Wonderful! Great coverage of SW at the expo! Thanks for sharing.

  2. Returned for another look at all the great new items. Were they selling the New Zealand coin at the expo?

    1. Yes they were - it was the first time they were available I believe.