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|Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix, editor|
|2001 Official Disneyana Convention, Part 2 - 9/21/01|
ONE | TWO
Last week, Sue Kruse and I bought you the opening days of the 2001 Official Disneyana convention. Between the pre-convention events, the opening day shopping opportunities and the "Welcome" picnic, the first special event of the week, ConventionEars had a busy schedule. But there were still three more convention days to come, plus Public Day.
Today, Sue and I want to bring you coverage of Wednesday and Thursday's events, including the New Orleans Square party, the blind auction, some of Walt's Workshops and Lillian's Library Seminars, even more merchandise, plus we have a teaser about the upcoming Haunted Mansion Holiday
All of the venues were open again on Wednesday, with the exception of the Animation Showcase. At 7 am, ConventionEars learned which of the Limited Edition items they had been awarded via the Random Selection Process. They had until 5 PM to pick up and inspect their items, and arrange for delivery to their homes if they wished. The day's new offering was the logo store, where ConventionEars could purchase additional quantities of the logo merchandise they had pre-ordered before the convention.
Logo merchandise included T-shirts and polo shirts, sweatshirts and a leather jacket, a framed pin set and several event pins, a plush toy, "luggage tag" stickers, a watch, a mug, and more, all with the Disneyana convention logo.
Throughout the week, various Disney Artists and Imagineers were on hand to sign new products or personal items. ConventionEars were able to meet notables like Alice Davis, Sam McKim, Tim Delaney, Virginia Davis, Dave Smith, X Atencio, Leslie Iwerks and many more. Several original Mouseketeers were present at a signing on Thursday, after their morning seminar.
We had one last stop before the Wednesday night theme party - a trip through the Disneyana Auction preview room. This was where prospective bidders could examine the auction lots up close and personal before the auction.
Disneyana staffers were on hand to answer any questions ConventionEars might have about the items, and there was a notable security presence around one particular item - the Million Dollar Mickey.
After a sleepy start, day two of the Disneyana Convention ended with a blast - a New Orleans-style fÆte, held after park hours in Disneyland. And Sue Kruse, who can make any event sound magical, was right there in the thick of it all:
Of course, the most fitting place to hold that kind of party at Disneyland is in New Orleans Square and that's exactly where it was staged. ConventionEars, corralled in Frontierland by the Mark Twain dock, waited anxiously for the party to start. As they streamed past the rope barrier, they were handed festive hang-tag lanyards and greeted by the big cheese and his favorite gal, Minnie and Mickey. Minnie and Mickey were all dolled up in grand Mardi Gras style for the occasion with Minnie wearing a smashing red sparkly number that would be just perfect on any Mardi Gras Krewe float. And Mickey, well, he was as dashing as ever.
Near the Rivers of America long tables decorated festively awaited guests, filled with all kinds of tasty-looking Cajun-style food. There was spicy chicken and beef on skewers and Bourbon Street Bruschetta with Pan Fried onion Dip.
Costumed performers roamed the crowd, posing for pictures and trying to entice guests over to the Blue Bayou for a little Karaoke. Imagine yourself serenading the passing boats on their way to pirate treasure. One guest, who shall remain nameless, (you know who you are Norm), spent nearly the entire evening singing away in true heartthrob crooner style and reported to me the next day how much fun he had. Who knew he could sing so well?
A certain MousePlanet columnist was "persuaded" (read that as, dragged into the Blue Bayou practically kicking and screaming) to try her hand err, voice at this (much to her dismay). The Carpenter's Top of the World never sounded so bad.
If singing was not to your liking, then you could try a game or two. The streets of New Orleans Square were lined with fun games of chance. A bottle toss was set up in front of the Arribas Brothers crystal shop, which we were certain would cause a broken window. A high-strike game in front of the Christmas shop did exactly that, when a spring broke and sent the mechanism through a window. ConventionEars could take a spin at Laissez Les Bon Temps Roulette, or try their luck with the King of the Mardi Gras Cajun Crown Toss.
The prize? A glorious strand of colorful Mardi Gras beads. It was so festive, by the end of the evening it seemed every guest was knee deep in beads. And while all this was going, that great jazz music New Orleans is famous for, filled the air (supplied nicely by the fine Disneyland musicians). Throughout the night, guests were entertained by the Dead Trio Ghoul Band, the Gloryland Brass Orleans Street Band and the Lost Archeologist Band.
You would think that was enough activity to keep anyone amused, wouldn't you? Just to make sure no one was bored, there were also several attractions operating. You could venture into Indiana Jones Adventure, ride the Pirates of the Caribbean, or explore the Haunted Mansion. My personal choice? The Haunted Mansion, and who better to greet you than that most spirited of spirits, Madam Leota. Yes, Leota stood at the gates of the mansion and posed for pictures.
Inside the mansion another surprise awaited. It may sound wrong, but somehow it worked. Steamboat Willie invaded the Haunted Mansion. Hidden in every nook and cranny were over 100 plush Steamboat Willie figures so you could play spot the hidden Mickeys. It wasn't easy though, they were hard to see with only the whites of Mickey's eyes standing out against the black-light.
As we exited the ride, one last treat was in store. I climbed out of my Doom Buggy and knew something was up. The exit tunnel was unusually dark. I'm a squeamish sort and don't enjoy things popping out at me. In this case though, it was worth the scare. Perched in the darkness, waiting to do what it is ghosts do, were the Three Hitchhiking Ghosts, in the flesh (so to speak).
As the dinners were devoured, and the desserts disappeared (beautifully presented boxes of sweets), the evening wound down with a special presentation of Fantasmic!, leaving the guests full, happy, and ready to rest up for another full day of ConventionEaring.
Thursday certainly proved to be a full day, starting with the first of the seminars and workshops. There isn't enough room in one little column to tell you about all of the fascinating seminars we attended at the convention. Look for more special reports in the weeks to come, as we bring you tales from Costuming, Foods, and the Disneyland that Never Was. But we made room to tell you about one of them - a sneak peek at the new Haunted Mansion Holiday attraction.
Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix is the super-shopper behind MouseShoppe, your personal and unofficial shopping service for the Disneyland Resort, and the owner of CharmingShoppe, a Disney collectibles store located in Anaheim.
In addition to scouring the park to find you the latest and greatest merchandise, she keeps you updated on all of the merchandise events happening in the parks.
If you want to talk to her about this column, merchandise, or events, contact her here.
Visit our other shopping service, MouseMemories.com.
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