When Walt Disney Imagineering was asked to prepare another extravagant pavilion for the 2013 D23 Expo, they faced a challenge twofold. Though big projects are most definitely on the way for Disney’s theme parks and resorts worldwide, they simply weren’t ready to make any big announcements in time for this year’s biennial Anaheim event. Yet, they had to present something. Moreover, fans expected something big to come out of their presence at the show. Opting out simply wasn’t an option.
So putting an emphasis on the past while simply teasing the future was what they decided to go for – and in doing so, Walt Disney Imagineering succeeded tremendously at producing a captivating and inspiring set of exhibits that consumed hours of attention for each attendee of the Expo, even without any real sneak peeks of what’s to come.
Take a quick overview tour of the pavilion in the video below, then read on for a closer look at the fantastic pieces pulled from Imagineering’s archives to show off at the Expo – along with a few surprises.
Video: Disney Parks & Resorts “Journey Into Imagineering” pavilion tour at the 2013 D23 Expo
Walt Disney Imagineering is always shrouded in secrecy. Unless you have an appointment or an Imagineer friend, gaining entry to 1401 Flower Street in Glendale, California (WDI home base) is nearly impossible. But all Disney fans wish they could explore those historic halls, so Imagineering this year decided to open them up to everyone by transporting some of their most prized possessions to the D23 Expo, recreating the experience of visiting the real location.
They called it: “Journey Into Imagineering.”
I’ve been to 1401 Flower Street and when I first walked up to the large pavilion on the Expo show floor, I certainly recognized it, highly stylized as it was.
Just like visiting the real location, all who stepped foot into this pavilion were given an Imagineering guest pass, offering access inside.
In true Disney fashion, everyone was made to feel like a welcome guest.
From the grey exterior complete with street address to the lobby behind its swinging doors, it felt like Walt Disney Imagineering.
(I wish I could offer photos of the real offices for comparison, but photography there is strictly prohibited within, for obvious reasons.)
A colorful video with plenty of Imagineering flair introduced visitors to the pavilion, spanning two sides of the “lobby” with a history lesson of what Imagineering is and what guests should expect to see inside, even including a special appearance by The Haunted Mansion’s famed Hatbox Ghost. More on his important appearance below.