Mouse Monthly took part in the D23 Expo this past weekend at the Anaheim Convention Center. At booth number 1217 in Hall B, we started showing the Disney community our original designs in collectible pins, tank tops and t-shirts, as well as our newest product, Head Holders (stands for displaying all your collectible antenna balls). What an incredible experience!
Perfect Booth Location
The D23 Expo had over 60,000 attendees, and it honestly feels like we talked to most of them! Disney fans are such wonderful people and we had so many great conversations with guests as well as people who were working at the Expo.
We couldn’t have picked a better site for our booth. None of us had been to the Anaheim Convention Center before, and when we picked our spot, half of it was planning, but the other half was just hoping. We ended up right at the end of Mickey Avenue, across from our friends at MiceChat.com and beside some incredible art.
Costumes, Costumes Everywhere!
People were walking around in costumes and wearing their favorite t-shirts, which made the days all the more entertaining while we spotted our favorite characters and got to see all the inspirational designs. Check out @MouseMonthly on Twitter for more great cosplay pictures from the Expo!
Amazing Disney Talent On Display
Behind us signing autographs was Ed Asner (voice of Carl Fredricksen in Disney Pixar’s UP) who was such a trooper! He signed autographs and took pictures with fans all three days of the Expo!
There were also many other notable Disney artists and Imagineers, like Terri Hardin, who was working on her own carving all weekend while signing copies of her collectible castle pin.
I was over the moon to meet Jim Cummings and have him autograph a photo of Pooh and Tigger for my son.
We talked about one of Alex’s favorite characters, Ray (from The Princess and the Frog) and he easily dropped into character, quoting one of the lines from the film, “Women like a man with a big back porch!”
Speaking of The Princess and the Frog, Michael Leon-Wooley was across from us at MiceChat.com signing autographs and hearing his booming laugh was such a treat throughout the day. How fun to meet “Louis”!
We also got to hear other familiar voices, like Bill Farmer the voice of Goofy and Pluto. And on the last day of the Expo the voice of Mickey Mouse himself, Bret Iwan was across from us at one of the art booths!
There was the most amazing booth two rows over from us called Legends Events, hosting celebrities like Dick Van Dyke, Lesley Ann Warren, Sean Astin, as well as the girl who does the voice of young Anna from Frozen, Livvy Stubenrauch! They were all so nice and happy to be meeting their fans.
Getting Around The Expo
It was neat being able to sneak away from the booth for a moment here and there to check out everything else at the Expo, all the while wearing my yellow exhibitor badge with pride! It felt so good to be a part of this community and to work alongside the Disney greats as well as the other small businesses who are trying to make a living while doing what they love.
Hall C was full of eye candy with Star Wars displays, movie memorabilia, a huge Shanghai Disneyland display and store, as well as my favorite, Disney Pixar, who did giveaways the first two days of the Expo of their iconic Luxo balls.
Even the Pizza Planet truck was there! Marco from PizzaPlanetTruck.com showed me all the details that they have included to make it authentic, including Buzz buckled in to the front seat and Woody in the back where ‘there are no safety harnesses in the storage compartment’!
It All Started With A Baby…
We met so many wonderful people and got to share the story of how we started as a little blog ‘that thought we could’. For those of you who don’t know our history, when we were pregnant Alex and I would go to the Disneyland Resort every month or so, and as I became more pregnant I got bigger, more swollen, and a whole lot slower!
When we went to the park, we would sit quite a bit and would talk about what we noticed as well as what we loved about Disney. So we decided to share our thoughts through our blog and Mouse Monthly started growing, along with our son, Jack who was born in April of 2013.
We continued along blogging here and there, writing about our trips and posting articles about things that interested us. Then Disney discontinued selling the SoCal pass, and being Southern California passholders we had questions, and started looking for answers…and asking more questions, and finding more answers. Thus our Ultimate Guide for Disneyland Annual Passholders came about. Traffic to our website increased a bit, and a bit more, and soon we were getting over a thousand visits a day!
The Big Idea: Get A Booth At The 2015 D23 Expo
In the spring Alex told me his idea to get a booth at this year’s D23 Expo. My response? “…and do what?” Lol! So we talked about the designs that we liked and what we had always wanted to see on merchandise and what made us ‘feel Disney’. Then we contracted designers from all over the world to put those ideas together into a seasonal theme, and got so many wonderful designs that we had to narrow it down to a few Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter inspired designs.
We sourced out quality tank tops and tees, and got them screen printed just in time for the Expo, and received our pins the day before we headed down to Anaheim to set up. With Alex’s mom’s help we set up our booth and displayed our new wares, including the Head Holders, our innovative new product for displaying all those wonderful, collectible antenna balls!
It was a bit terrifying for me as a stay at home mom to put ourselves out there and make the transition from a little family blog into a small family business offering great information on Disneyland as well as originally designed products, but I couldn’t have asked for a warmer environment to do it in.
I received wonderful support from other exhibitors in attendance, especially other moms, like Mary Morales, a Disney Travel Specialist who was at the Legends Events booth. And I cannot finish this article without mentioning the overwhelming praise and kindness we received from all our new customers and the Disney fans in attendance at the Expo. It is you who make it possible for us to try to live our dream.
I made new friends, and have memories I will cherish from this experience. Wish us luck as we push into the future, and thank you again for your loyalty and your support.