Back in August, The Walt Disney Company announced that it would be launching its very first Broadway-style musical in India, the epic tale of unconditional love – Beauty and the Beast. (And as every loyal MissMalini reader will know, I LOVE stage musicals, especially if they’re inspired by some of my favourite Disney characters!) As part of the announcement, I was invited for a special behind-the-scenes tour in Los Angeles and New York to get a peek at all of the different moving pieces that come together to make the magic of Disney possible (um… have I mentioned how much I love my job?!) #Winning
Soooooo, here’s a look at all of the things I loved from my wonderful, magical, fantastical trip to Disneyland! Truly the happiest place on the planet. :)
Didja know that Disney has its own massive fan convention that takes place every year in Anaheim? It’s kinda like Comic Con, but exclusively for Disney. From costumed fans, themed stage shows, and special merchandise, to a whole lotta fellow Disney geeks, D23 is three full days packed into three giant convention halls that draw Mickey and Minnie fans from all around the world!
D23 is also where Disney makes some of its biggest announcements, and this year they got the crowd on their feet by announcing a new 11 acre Toy Story Land AND a 14 acre Star Wars Land to be opened in Disneyland and Disney World! Woohoo!
Yes. That’s right. Selfie time with the muppets, all day errday!
The best part of D23 by far was the D23 Stage, where Disney’s top executives gave the lucky few a sneak peek of the upcoming movies in production, including never-before-seen clips from Gigantic (a remake of Jack & The Beanstalk), The Jungle Book, Captain America: Civil War, Moana, Finding Dory, Zootopia, The Good Dinosaur and the crowd favourite Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
As if being the first fans IN THE WORLD to see early footage wasn’t enough, Disney pulled out all the stops and also brought some major A-list celebrities on stage, including Harrison Ford, George Lucas, Johnny Depp, Dwayne Johnson, Jon Favreau, Ben Kingsley, Ellen DeGeneres and Lupita Nyong’o. The award for the most quotable quote definitely goes to Johnny Depp, who declared that he hates the word “fan” because “technically, you are all my employers!” Harrison Ford was a close second when he thanked his fans saying simply, “you guys have made my life.”
I mean, it’s not everyday that you run into a human version of everybody’s favorite Piva! (That’s Pig + Diva and yup, I just made that up!)
We often think of Disney as being for kids, but there’s no doubting its appeal with adults too. In fact, Disney has entire fashion lines inspired by their characters and themes. Designers from Marc Jacobs to brands like Uniqlo have created unique Disney collections, and now Disney is opening a whole new range of stores called D-Style dedicated to young adult fashion shoppers. All I know is that I MUST HAVE THIS T-SHIRT!
While I was busy browsing Disney fashion, Nowshad was happily demo-ing the next generation of interactive toys that allow kids with active imaginations to enter the world of their favourite superheroes.
While I’m not sure how parents will feel about their kids shooting even more fake guns around the house, Nowshad didn’t seem to mind one bit, diving around imaginary enemies and hiding behind fictional force fields that activated out of his arm piece. Now who’s gonna tell him it’s only for kids? (Or is it?!)
Part of our tour took us to Disney’s TV Broadcast offices, where we were given a sneak peek of their various TV formats. I was super excited about Dr. McStuffin – a show that teaches kids about the importance of good health and hygiene using animated stuffed animals, and Descendents – a made-for-TV movie that follows the children of Disney’s most famous villains. How cute to see the son of Cruella de Vil conspiring with the daughter of the Evil Queen!
Meanwhile, as you would expect, this is what Nowshad got giddy about:
Yes, I’ll admit. All I really wanted from this trip was a cute pair of Minnie ears – and nothing was going to stop me. What do you think? I chose a pair that were extra bling!
Check it out! What’s not to love?
If you like roller coasters only to get splashed, raise your hand!
On Day 2, we were taken behind-the-scenes to Disney Imagineering, which was AWESOME. But it was also strictly under wraps, so if I tell you they’ll have to kill me. But this is an entire division at Disney that basically dreams up, tests, and then builds all their amazing theme park experiences around the world. The coolest part of this tour was the 360 degrees 3D simulator that allows you to feel like you’re on a ride before it’s even been made! (Oh. And. That. Live-Action. Dinosaur. OMG!)
That moment when George Lucas reveals that Jar Jar Binks from Star Wars is based on… Goofy! Oh. Em. Gee! I see it now, I see it!
Believe it or not, despite all the fun we had in LA & Anaheim, the absolute cherry-on-top of our trip was the last two days in New York, where we were treated to Broadway viewings of both The Lion King and the recently launched Aladdin and boy oh boy was I swept away by the magic of Disney on stage! The Lion King was a dizzying array of ingenious costumes and sets, taking me right back to the first time I watched the movie. Meanwhile, Aladdin was a riot of beautiful costumes and intricately choreographed musical numbers that were at once new and familiar.
It never ceases to amaze me just how much work goes into producing a show that transports you to a whole new world for two hours, so it was particularly fun to meet Tom Schumacher before the show, who is the brains behind Disney’s success on stage. Not only is he the cutest little man, but he’s also a fabulous storyteller and very fond of India – which gives me high hopes for India’s Beauty and the Beast! This one’s an all-Indian production that promises to bring the magic of Disney right to our city!
Thank you, Disney, for that epic adventure, you know I’ll be back :) xoxo