By Tyler Slater
On Wednesday, April 26, D23 Gold and Gold Family Members headed to the “Big Apple” to experience a fun-filled day of Disney magic in Manhattan and more! We had some members paying their very first visit to New York City, and some visiting from as far as Hawai’i and Japan!
Our day began on a “sweet” note as we gathered at ABC Studios near Central Park for a taping of the Emmy®-award winning show The Chew. Some members of the group were lucky enough to be selected for the tasting table and had the chance to sample some savory sweets during a special “Simply Perfect Sweets” episode. At the conclusion of the taping, the show hosts joined us in the audience for a special photo opportunity!
We then boarded a bus and enjoyed a D23 Snack Pack (complete with a fresh New York bagel) and headed out to Flushing Meadows—the site of the historic 1964–65 New York World’s Fair! Once there, D23 Members were given a historic walking tour that included stories behind the four iconic Disney attractions that premiered there: Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln for the State of Illinois, Carousel of Progress for General Electric, Magic Skyway for Ford, and it’s a small world for Pepsi-Cola to salute and benefit UNICEF.
Highlights included sitting on the original benches from the World’s Fair, seeing the lamp post where the “Tower of the Four Winds” was located, and of course, gathering at the Unisphere, the welcoming symbol of the Fair.
As a D23 surprise, Mitchell Silverstein and the volunteer team of the New York State Pavilion Paint Project joined us along the tour route and unlocked the doors of the New York State Pavilion! This pavilion is not open to the public, so attendees put on hard hats and headed inside for a tour of the historic space!
After the tour, we headed back into Manhattan and enjoyed a three-course meal in a private dining space at Trattoria Dell’Arte. The Italian meal provided a great opportunity for us to continue getting to know different members of the group, as well as enjoy an exceptionally large (and delicious) dish of chicken parmesan!
Adorned with “I Love NY” Mickey Ear hats, D23 Members headed down to Times Square to take a brief break and enjoy some shopping at Disney Store with an event-exclusive discount.
The day concluded just a few blocks down 42nd Street, where attendees experienced a private tour of the historic New Amsterdam Theatre. D23 Members were surprised by not only getting to go on the stage, but were also able to try on costumes from past Disney shows including The Lion King, Mary Poppins, Aida, and more! After the tour, we headed into the lower section of the theater for a delicious cocktail reception where the group reminisced about their favorite moments from the day.
Some attendees upgraded to a Premium Ticket that not only included tickets to see Aladdin that evening, but also a D23-exclusive cast meet-and-greet! These attendees were escorted to a private creative space of the New Amsterdam Theatre called “The Loft” and were greeted by Courtney Reed and Don Darryl Rivera—the original cast members playing Jasmine and Iago! The group enjoyed learning about how they were cast in Aladdin, as well as how the show has evolved since its debut in Seattle a few years ago! The incredible day concluded with the group enjoying a musical journey into “A Whole New World”… Orchestra Center.
Be sure to keep an eye out for more of D23’s Behind-the-Scenes Experience events and we hope to see you real soon!