02 Feb Starstruck at the D23 Expo 2013
The D23 Expo 2013 was incredible! It was all Disney, all the time. Seriously, it was my Mecca. Exclusive access to Disney merchandise, sneak peaks of upcoming Disney movies, and insight into what is next for the Disney Parks. What Disney lover wouldn’t want to be there? There were quite a few movie and tv stars on hand at the at the presentations, which was really fun, but it wasn’t the movie stars that left this Disney nut starstruck.
The second day of the Expo, I found myself on the floor early. I wanted to be sure that I hit the Journey Into Imagineering exhibit nice and early, before all the crowds got in line. I got in there and started wandering around between displays with everything from Avatar and Star Wars project hints to a Magic band showcase.I then wandered into a room with pictures of cars. I was too busy looking at everything on the walls at first to realize who was in the room. When I finally did see him, I was in awe. I had to stare for a minute to be sure I was seeing who I thought I was seeing. Right there in front of me was Disney Imagineering legend, Bob Gurr.
A nice lady in there leaned over and whispered, “you know who that is?” Ummmm YES! He is only the imagineer behind iconic Disney attractions such as Autopia, the Monorail, and the Matterhorn bobsleds. He also helped to develop the audio-animatronic figure of Abraham Lincoln in Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln. This man had an almost 40 year long career at Disney and has his own window on Main Street USA for heaven’s sake! Of course this Disney nerd knows who that is! He was having his picture taken around the room, so I immediately asked if I could take his picture, too and was given the go ahead. So I picked up my camera and started taking pictures.
Ahhh! What an incredible opportunity! Seriously I was just snapping away waiting for someone to tell me to quit. Nobody else was in the room except for me and two people working at the Expo. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity and everyone else there was missing it! Then it got really crazy. Out of nowhere, John Lasseter walked in the room. No. I am not kidding. THAT John Lasseter: the Chief Creative Officer of Walt Disney and Pixar Animation Studios and Principal Creative Advisor of Walt Disney Imagineering. A security type had gotten behind me and asked me to put the camera down, but not before I snapped this one picture.
I know it is blurry, but it is reflective of how quickly he was in and out of there, He came in, shook hands with Bob Gurr, took a quick photo and was gone as quickly as he came. I was absolutely frozen solid the whole time he was in there. I mean, what does one say when they are this close to John Lasseter? “Hey John, love the shirt” or maybe something deeper like “what ever happened to Andy’s dad in Toy Story?” I don’t know, but even if I could come up with something to say in that moment, it would have come out like “glerrrrg blummm” I’m sure. But hey, if I ever get the opportunity to see him again, I’m sure I could come up with at least a “hi.” I hope.
After Mr. Lasseter left, I did manage to get the courage to talk to Mr. Gurr and thank him for the role he played in creating so many of my dearest Disney memories. He was incredibly sweet and even picked out the perfect photo spot for us to take a picture in front of.
If all I had the chance to do at the D23 Expo 2013 was meet Bob Gurr and see John Lasseter’s blurry image brush by me, I would have left a happy lady. It was a magical day and one of my most treasured Disney experiences. Oh, and Mr. Lasseter, if you happen across this blog post and are unhappy with the picture I have of you, I would be more than happy to meet with you and take a less blurry shot to replace it with. If you promise to wear one of your awesome signature shirts, I promise I will work on being able to speak if that day ever comes!