Disneyana Convention 1999 Report
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Wednesday was the day most people picked up their limited editions. This year it seemed to move along quite well. We spent lots of time visiting with the artists of the Disney Design Group. Over the years we have gotten to know many of them. Wednesday was also filled with more discoveries, some author and artist signings and concluded with a great party. For the evenings after hours private theme park party, where else would a convention called Safari Adventure go except Animal Kingdom? The insect costumed characters already had the place buzzing (sorry) when we arrived. There was a pasta table, a taco table, dessert tables, lots of drinks and photo opportunities with many characters from The Lion King and A Bugs Life. There were opportunities to buy a special event watch limited to 200 pieces and sketches developed just for the event. We rode the Kali River Rapids and got soaking wet despite the Convention Logo Ponchos we were given to wear. Then came the evenings entertainment - performances of a juggler, a fire-eater, acrobats and a special performance of the new show, Tarzan Rocks. Rock music, in-line skaters, singers, dancers and Terk, Jane & Tarzan from Tarzan made a very loud, but enjoyable evening. At the end of the performance Cruella made an appearance with Disneyana Smith making a rather feeble attempt to nab her. As we left the theater to the sounds of Trashin the Camp, we were given kazoos and noisemakers. We were a very rowdy group.
Thursday morning began with the seminars. ConventionEars could choose from David Mumford, Bruce Gordon and Richard Sherman talking about the book Walts Time (this presentation got rave reviews) or the Walkabout Workshops with a group of Disney artists (Mark Seppala and Don Willliams, Dave Smith, insect control personnel, cosmetologists, photographers, and costumers) giving intimate group talks on their specialties. We could even have our pictures taken with a macaw from the Animal Kingdoms Conservation Station. Some other seminars included the WDAC talking about Fantasia 2000 pieces, Paul Comstock talking about his plant collecting adventures from all over the world for the Animal Kingdom (4.1 million plants of various kinds were planted for that park alone), scrapbooking and photography, and one entitled "Remembering Walt" by Howard and Amy Green just to name a few (again rave reviews).
The auction items were available to preview until 7:00 that evening. From noon to 5:00 bidding was taken for the silent auction. The pieces were original works of art created by the artists of the Disney Design Group. The bidding started at $800.00 and the proceeds would be donated to a childrens advocacy charity. If you had collected the trading cards from last years convention, you would have had a good idea of the paintings to be offered. Linda had her eye on a couple of pieces, but she would wait until the last 15 minutes when the real bidding began. At 5:00 she was putting down her name and bid, but she would have to wait until later that evening to find out if she won.
The auction began with dancers straight out of The Arabian Nights. Next came Aladdin and Jasmine on beautiful horses, with the climax being the arrival of the great sultan of the auction being carried in on a litter by 4 large and very buff men. It was none other than David Redden of Sothebys. David has been the auctioneer for all of the Official Disneyana Conventions. His son and daughter were highly amused by the sight of their father in a turban and robes! As usual, the auction was as much entertainment as anything else. Some people attending the event had dressed in burnooses and fez. Some of the interesting bidding included $13,000 for a one of a kind Jessica Rabbit doll. Other items were ride vehicles and pieces from Mr. Toads Wild Ride. Linda finally got to talk to some of the people who won bids for the animated Main Street window displays. She had to ask what they planned to do with them. She was happy to report that they dont know!! Several pieces in the auction did not meet their reserve bids, but most went well over their estimated value.