What do I like most about the new Disney twenty-three?
That it is, in fact, twenty-three.
It is not D71, nor D55, nor even the most obvious D28. It is D23. It properly acknowledges that the long held mantra, "it all started with a mouse," is not necessarily canon when applied to the life of Walt Disney and the history of the Walt Disney Company.
In 1923, Walt and Roy opened the Disney Brothers Studio in the back of a real estate office on Kingswell Avenue in Los Angeles, just west of Hollywood. It is refreshing and extremely satisfying that the creators of D23 chose this particular moment in time to be the icon of their initiative. They could have easily chosen any one of the many Disney-associated buzzwords such as magic, fantasy, dreams, wonder, or something incorporating the ever popular mouse. But by selecting a somewhat more obscure, but still incredibly significant reference, they demonstrated an appreciation of a heritage that extends far beyond theme parks, teenage pop stars and cross-platform branding. Whether all the various aspects of D23 will live up to this historical legacy is yet to be seen. On a recent conference call with the press, Steven Clark, Dave Smith and Marty Sklar, each claimed that D23 is not just another marketing ploy. Based on those statements, and a very attractive, professionally produced, and content-rich magazine, the signs are very, very encouraging.
Disney fan communities, at least in my very subjective opinion, tend to be be far too compartmentalized. There is an often especially distinct disconnect between theme park enthusiasts and studio and animation students and scholars. Here's hoping that Disney twenty-three will continue to build that much needed bridge of connectivity, and do it with the entertaining flare and educational undercurrent that we have long enjoyed from the Walt Disney Company.