A fan attends Disney's D23 Expo 2011 at the Anaheim Convention Center. The 2013 D23 Expo runs from Friday, Aug. 9 through Sunday, Aug. 11. (Photo by Michael Buckner/Getty Images)
What might a Disney fan gathering have been like in the very earliest days of the company?
Well, there might have been a table with some Steamboat Willie cels or souvenirs depicting Silly Symphonies or The Old Mill. And perhaps a panel talking about the upcoming films "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" and "Fantasia."
But Belle and Ariel and Mary Poppins and The Rescuers and Space Mountain and Flynn Rider and Mr. Toad's Wild Ride and the Monorail and Tinkerbell and the thousands of distinct parts that comprise today's Disney were still a few years in the future.
And those thousands of quintessential Disney parts means this: The fan convention of the modern era is big. Very big. It's name is D23 Expo, and it is very much filling out the Anaheim Convention Center from Friday, Aug. 9 through Sunday, Aug. 11.
The schedule is as wide as the Matterhorn is tall. Three intriguing highlights? The cast of "Marvel Universe" is set to show. There's an Imagineering peek at never-before-seen color footage. And Pixar filmmakers will talk stories and such.
There will also be much to see on the convention floor, from collectors' booths to art to peeks at Disney's resorts, games, theme parks, and all the A to Smee.
One note to make: Organizers announced that Saturday, Aug. 10 is now sold out. Yep. It's popular.
Which leads us to ask this: What will D23 Expo look like eighty or ninety years in the future? Imagine the films and parks and places and people who will join Belle and Flynn Rider and Mr. Toad and all of the characters we know so well now.