Leading into this year’s D23 Expo, there were already a lot of questions about what to expect and what the big announcements would be. However, when the schedule was released there was a “secret project” panel on Saturday, that had the entire Disney fan world abuzz. As the days leading up to the event drew fewer and fewer, the guesses grew grander and grander. But, thankfully, during the media preview on the Thursday night prior to the Expo kick-off, we were given our answer. It wasn’t a new theme park or new CEO announcement but it was one of the most company-wide projects to date.
After the big reveal, for me, the anticipation grew for the Saturday panel, when I would learn more about the One Day at Disney project. Being a former Cast Member myself, I loved getting a chance to learn about other positions in the company and about what they did. So this book/Disney+ docu-series was definitely for me.
The panel moderated by Corporate Communications director Jeffrey Epstein and Disney Editions director Wendy Lefkon — each of which were some of the driving forces behind the project. The two introduced attendees to 6 (well 6 1/2 counting BB-8) of the 76 worldwide Cast Members showcased in the One Day at Disney. This massive undertaking stretched around the globe, from where it all started in Burbank to the latest addition to the Disney Parks line-up in Shanghai Disneyland. It focuses on 76 out of 200,000 Cast Members and what they do in a 24 hour period, February 21st, 2019. As we found out during the panel, selecting the date may have been one of the most difficult jobs because every day has a challenge. However, February 21st was selected because that was the media junket day for Captain Marvel, which allowed Brie Larson to be the focus that particular segment.
The entire panel was very informative about the upcoming project and how it came to be, but by far the part I am looking forward to the most has to be Este Meza, Lucasfilm’s senior events manager, who looks like he has one of the best jobs in the world. During the presentation, it seemed like every clip of his day was walking around with BB-8 and interacting with people. While I am sure there is much more to his day (I mean he does help put on Star Wars Celebrations and things like that), just the joy shown in the clip of his One Day at Disney segment made me smile from ear to ear.
The other stand-out story (which is hard to say when you have a Radio Disney DJ, a Disney Legacy Animator, and Walt Disney Imagineering construction manager over Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge sharing stories) had to be what should be billed as the big crossover moment during the 50-episode series of documentary shorts. When Chris Cristi was out flying and got a call about what sounded to be a fire at the Golden Oak Ranch, Disney’s offsite filming location, he flew over to see what was going on. This is where another One Day at Disney crew was filming Steve Sligh’s segment as the manager of the ranch. That fire was included and, as Jeffrey pointed out, he got a call indirectly connecting him to both of those segments, which sounded very much like an MCU “it’s all connected” moment.
The One Day at Disney book is available to pre-order on shopDisney now and will be ready on December 3rd — the same day Disney+ series with the feature-length documentary.
Our main correspondent for Walt Disney World and the Orlando area and a heck of a paleontologist if he does say so himself.