D23 EXPO – Part 2

Howdy, folks. Golly, so much has happened since Part 1! I’ve gone to Europe for two weeks of teaching, and then an anniversary trip to Vegas, and then a nap or two. So exciting!

So where was I?  Oh, yeah.  Pre-show. So we panelists and the dancers were taken down a back corridor to Stage 23 to scope out the venue. Unfortunately, the venue wasn’t ready for us, so we milled about for a couple minutes – and I got to take some candids. (You can see several of them in Part 1.) Here’s Tevin Campbell, chatting with a staff member.

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Bill Farmer’s wife, Jenny, had a special Goofy arrangement of flowers for the event.

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Smile, durn ya!

Then we filed into the auditorium. It was big and impressive. It held 900 seats! And behind the stage was a huge screen on which amazing images would soon be projected. It was all very exciting, and I couldn’t wait for the show to start. This event has been 20 years in the making, ya know! However, we soon had to vacate the premises so that the audience could enter – and off we went again to the “green room.”

After some more waiting, we were all finally summoned to the auditorium for the panel. Show time. The excitement was palpable, especially when we entered backstage and got a glimpse of the full auditorium. Packed! Noisy! I couldn’t stop grinning. You have to understand, there’s no such adulation and joy when you’re sitting alone in an office typing your umpteenth draft of a script. And even watching A GOOFY MOVIE in a general theater doesn’t have the same impact as nearly a thousand bubbling fans. I knew this was going to be once-in-a-lifetime event.

We panelists stood in a circle and put our hands in the middle like a sports team. “One – two – three – GOOFY!”

Then the moderator, DON HAHN took the stage. Now Don is no slouch. He produced Beauty & the Beast, The Lion King, Hunchback, and Atlantis to name a few. So to have him moderate this event is a testament to how much he enjoys AGM. He did a terrific job and was very funny, to boot, mentioning both the joy and pathos of the film. Note this very sad scene from the film.

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Since the script is the beginning of the production food chain, Don introduced me first. I climbed onto the stage, and the crowd applauded wildly. Writers don’t usually get this treatment! I looked up, and there was my face was plastered on the big screen – a shock I must tell you. Check out this photo. Yeeek!

Gad. Is that what Titanic ran into?

Gad. Is that what Titanic ran into?

I took my seat, and one by one the other panelists were introduced. Jenna Von Oy (who I had never met before), Rob Paulsen, Jim Cummings, Jason Marden, and Bill Farmer all came onstage to thunderous applause.

I don’t have to actually describe the proceedings, because you can watch the full-hour panel on YouTube.  But I will show you what it looked like from my point of view on stage.

A bank of monitors, a timer, and a sea of faces.

A bank of monitors, a timer, and a sea of faces.

Here’s Don introducing Rob Paulsen.

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And, of course, the obligatory selfie… with Jenna and Rob.

2015-08-14 18.19.19-1 Stage selfie

So that’s all for today.  Part 3 soon!!!



D23 EXPO – Part 1

It’s going to take me days to write about this event, and I was only there less than 48 hours! Anyway, the Disney folks have a fan club called D23, and they hold an Expo every two years at the Anaheim Convention Center. This year is was from August 13-16, and the place was packed with Dizzy fans. The event is turning into a regular San Diego ComiCon, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the Expo starts turning up EVERY year.


Anyway, this was my first Expo, and I was delighted to attend – as a Guest, no less! Yes, D23 decided to celebrate the 20th Anniversary of A GOOFY MOVIE with a panel presentation in “Stage 28” on Friday night. The other guests were Bill “Goofy” Farmer, Jason “Max” Marsden, Jim “Pete” Cummings, Rob “P.J.” Paulsen, and Jenna “Stacy” Von Oy — and the host was Don Hahn (producer of The Lion King, Beauty & the Beast, and so many other classics).

My call time was 4pm, which was tight for a school day. So Jennie and I yanked our boy Spencer out of class early and raced down to Anaheim. (When I say “raced,” I mean “fought traffic.”) I figured I was going to be late, but we persevered and checked into the Grand Californian at 3:30pm. (I’d never stayed in this beautiful hotel before… so thanks, D23!) I hopped a VIP shuttle and checked in at the Convention Center.

It's good to be the King.
It’s good to be the King.

I legged it upstairs and discovered that I’d arrived at exactly 4pm. WHEW! But I discovered that none of the other guests had shown up yet. There were, however, numerous dancers preparing for a flash mob that would perform that evening at the Panel. These were all talented Disneyland volunteers, and I had the opportunity to video record their rehearsal – Powerline T-shirts and all! Enjoy!


Eventually, the other guests turned up, and it was a crazy reunion, since I hadn’t seen some of these folks in two decades! Here are some photos:

Jason & Bill chat with a dancer.
My best buddy, Tevin Campbell – who I’d never met before!
FLOWERS & FOOD! (l-to-r) Jim Cummings, Don Hahn (behind flowers), Jennifer Farmer (Bill’s wife), Mrs. and Mr. Steve Vagnini.
Jason and his cheese whiz.
The dapper Rob Paulsen – the only one who wore a coat and tie! (That’s Don Hahn in the b.g.)
Jim Cummings tells Don Hahn, “Y’know, I was in the Lion King, too.”
Pre-show. The calm before the storm. Rob, Jim, Jason & Bill.

More tomorrow!!!