It’s always a treat when there is a D23 event scheduled in my geographic area. So, needless to say, when I learned that there would be two events in one fun packed weekend, I was quick to sign up! The first event was Breakfast on Broadway. This event was located in New York City and featured special early bird shopping at The Disney Store located in Times Square and light brunch at the New Amsterdam Theatre with discussion by Ken Cerniglia, dramaturge for Disney Theatrical.
The event officially began at 8am, but given the cold and rainy weather, we (the D23 early risers) were invited into the warm Times Square Disney Store as soon as we arrived which was around 7:30am in my case. I was greeted by a friendly cast member who not only gave me a bag for my wet umbrella, but also directed me to the check-in table and coat check. Check in was quick, easy, and organized! At 8am, the event officially began with the store opening ceremony. There was singing, dancing, stage props, and magic…after all, it is New York.
Overall, we were given about an hour and a half to explore and shop. But, of course there were a few surprises along the way. Jeffery Epstein from D23 held a rousing (and rather challenging) game of Disney trivia complete with sought after prizes – a limited edition D23 Professor Von Drake pin. After the trivia game, a Disney Store cast member invited us to test our creative skills and learn how to draw everyone’s favorite robotic caregiver, Baymax. This presentation was very neat as it included an interactive video demonstration with Baymax.
There was more than enough time to shop and pay for treasures as well as enjoy the various forms of entertainment. The cast members were plentiful and very helpful. Considering there was close to 100 of us shopping the store’s two floors, there cast member did a wonderful job keeping the lines at the register manageable. For the little wait that did exist, another smiling cast member hosted (easier) Disney trivia to help make the wait more fun.
At the appointed time all D23ers followed Jeffery Epstein to New Amsterdam theatre on 42nd street where we were welcomed to the Ziegfeld Room. Due to the nature of the room, there was not enough seats for all 100 of us to sit down, but that was ok considering the few of us standing had a much better view of the speaker as well as free room to explore the detailed surroundings. Given the space constraints, the brunch was very nicely set up and included; fresh muffins, bagels, scones, a delicious fruit tray (cantaloupe, honey dew melon, pineapple, grapes, and strawberries), and items to make a parfait (yogurt, granola, and mixed berries). There was also a juice bar that served (lots) of hot coffee, tea, water, orange juice, and grapefruit juice. There was plenty of time to eat and during this time both Jeffery Epstein and our speaker, Ken Cerniglia, walked around speaking to the different tables.
Ken Cerniglia spoke to the group for about one hour sharing behind-the-scenes tidbits and rather long history of Disney Theatrics. Cerniglia was an eloquent and engaging speaker welcoming questions and handling some of the audience members more caustic critiques with grace. I could have easily listened to Cerniglia expound further on the evolution of Disney Theatrics, however, the event was all too quickly over. As a parting gift, each D23er was given a goodie bag featuring a few fun promotional items.
This was a wonderful and free D23 event! It was enjoyable to mingle with fellow Disney fans, see some familiar faces, and meet some new friends. I hope D23 continues to look for ways to bring Disney fans together in these fun, free events.