The second day of D23′s Destination D started just as early as the day before, but we were a lot more mellow about racing over to the Disneyland Hotel to wait in line.  In fact, coffee and croissant in hand, we ended up in just about the same point in the giant line as we had been the day before.

The intro screen for Disneyland: Through the Eyes of Television

The intro screen for Disneyland: Through the Eyes of Television

The first session of the day, Disneyland Through the Eye of Television, was led by Tim O’Day and Rob Klein, who throughout the convention proved to be two very entertaining guys!  This session in particular, however, was especially wonderful… O’Day led the crowd in reciting Walt’s Opening Day Speech – yes, the room full of Disney geeks knew it all by heart – and it gave me chills.  Honestly, that and singing the Mickey Mouse Club Alma Mater with the Mousketeers the day before were two of the most inspiring moments of the convention.  I think it is times like that, when Disney fans come together to celebrate the magic and wonder of Disney, that define who we are as Disney fans and remind us why we fell in love with the Disney in the first place.  Aside from that awe-inspring moment, the entire presentation was really spectacular, with loads of rare TV footage of Disneyland, including some hilarious segments like Sandy in Disneyland.

Dave Smith

Dave Smith

Another major highlight of Day 2 was Disneyland: The Way We Were led by, now-retired, Chief Archivist Dave Smith.  I’ve long been a fan of Smith and was thrilled to see him in one of his last appearances before his retirement.  Smith was noticably nostalgic when he spoke about the park in its early years, as well as Walt’s love and even his own love for the park.  He had lots of vintage photographs from park construction, to park opening, and more.

When we got back from lunch, we were, again, given a Tim O’Day treat with his Disneyland: The Happiest Place in Pop Culture presentation.  As I mentioned before, we even got to here a snippet of one of my favorite Disney-related songs by Five for Fighting during the presentation.

The Disney Dance Crew

The Disney Dance Crew

Last, but certainly not least, in the afternoon program was a message from Disneyland’s President, George Kalogridis.  Joined by ABC News’ Garth Kemp, Kalogridis talked about his history with the Disney company and his vision for the future of Disneyland.  While Kalogridis didn’t share any earth-shattering new news, he did give us all a sneak-peek of ElecTRONica and the Disney Dance Crew, both of which were entertaining, and he even hinted at a possible third theme park in Anaheim, as, “…we already own the land.”  Kalogridis seemed to have a genuine love for Disneyland and I was pleased to leave my happy place in his hands. :-)

"Follow Me, Boys"

"Follow Me, Boys"

That evening, after a couple of hours for dinner, Tony Baxter and Ed Hobelman presented an encore of last year’s Wonderful World of Vintage Disneyland – In Color! and the Disneyland, U.S.A. screening panel.  Admittedly, we didn’t stay for the screening, just the first session, for a number of reasons, perhaps the most compelling being the gentleman sitting next to us who BELCHED about every 8 seconds and took his shoes off and scratched his sweaty, smelly feet in my mom’s face… trust me, I couldn’t make that up!  But, a particuarly wonderful part of this session came at the very end when Baxter and Hobelman introduced the last television appearance by Walt Disney before his death, which was recently discovered in the archives and hadn’t been shown publically since the premier screening of Follow Me, Boys.  The footage was very touching, especially followed by a few minutes of Follow Me, Boys that seemed to mimic the love and respect. we all hold for Walt.

D23′s Destination D proved to be everything I had hoped for and more.  It was a wonderful, nostalgic, touching look back into the history of Disneyland and the place it holds in our hearts now as “Walt’s Original.”

Next Tuesday… The D23 Great Disney Scavenger Hunt and saying our goodbyes to Disneyland.

© 2010, Rays of Disneyland. All rights reserved.

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