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A Spring in My Step: My D23 Sleeping Beauty Adventure at Disney Springs

This weekend I had the pleasure and privilege of attending the D23 Magical Screening Series: Sleeping Beauty event at Walt Disney World (WDW), Disney Springs. The event commemorated the 60th Anniversary of Disney’s Sleeping Beauty, originally released on January 29, 1959.

I booked my ticket some months ago and was bursting at the seams with excitement. I wondered if I would ever leave WDW, or if the Mouse would consume me at my silent behest. Snapping out of my reverie, the beverage stand man asked, “Can I help you?” I was staring blankly at his stand, so the crazed part of my Disney fandom was in full swing. I asked if I could buy some water with my debit card. “Of course – Mickey takes your money in all forms.” An important reminder. Alas, I would be leaving WDW, otherwise the Mouse would render me broke in no time.

My empty wallet was no match for my beat-skipping heart on this particular day. I rounded the corner to AMC Disney Springs 24 and saw a crowd already forming at the entry. Doors opened at 9:15am with the event scheduled to start at 10:00am. It was about 8:40am when I arrived, and I eagerly jumped in line with my fellow Maleficients and Merriweathers.

My ear-to-ear smile thankfully did not scare off the D23 members as they scanned me in and gave me my popcorn and drink tickets. Yes, a buttery, Coke-y breakfast was in store for me and I could not have been happier. The D23 photographer snapped pics of attendees before they entered the theater. I beamed, armed with treats and merriment.

People slowly but surely trickled in to the sounds of those famous Tchaikovsky tunes, as well as screencaps and Sleeping Beauty trivia. I missed my ultimate Sleeping Beauty companion, my best friend Bec, but snapped this trivia photo to let her know I was (and always am) skumpsing to her.

The event kicked off with a Walt Disney Archives Special Presentation. A charming gentleman whose name I did not catch in my spellbound state ushered in the event with brief animation tidbits and results of internal contests the Disney staff had when voting on topics like “favorite Disney couple” and “best Disney kiss.” Tears welled up in my eyes when he showed a side-by-side clip of the mirrored waltzes in Beauty and the Beast and Sleeping Beauty. For the life of me I could not tell you why I became so emotional, but I blinked in quick succession to fight off this teary fuddy-duddy moment. (I also attended this event on my own, so that would have looked even sadder. Ha!)

Although I would have loved to see and hear more about the making of Sleeping Beauty, the trivia and results of D23’s favorites contest was perhaps a little more kid-friendly and a little less dry than a purely informational presentation.

The film screening followed the presentation and it all was indeed magical. When the film ended, D23 staff farewelled guests with a special event-exclusive gift: a coaster set based on the art and concept design of Sleeping Beauty. I scooped up not one but two coaster sets. “I know I only bought one ticket, but I would love to give a second coaster set to my best friend who lives in Australia and could not make the event,” I said, unabashedly. “May I please have a second set?” “Well,” started the staffer, “for you, we can make some magic happen.” Off I skipped with my two coaster sets and breakfast popcorn in my belly. An event to remember.

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