Imagineers Help Mickey Go Green: D23 Expo Shows Disney’s Progress

In the heart of Anaheim, next door to Disney’s California Adventure and Disneyland, the inaugural D23 Expo opened its doors to adoring Disney fans. Early this month, this four-day spectacular featured exclusive presentations from Disney visionaries, sneak peeks at unreleased movies and ABC television shows, first glimpses of changes coming to Disney parks around the world, and so much more.

Expo guests were privileged to get a glimpse of the upcoming addition to the California Adventure Park, Cars Land, inspired by the Disney/Pixar movie, “Cars.” This land will be located in the space of what is currently A Bug’s Land and the Timon Parking Lot, behind the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror and, will include dining and shopping locations, as well as three new rides.

The D23 Expo showcased several small-scale models of Cars Land for the public to get an idea of what is in store for them. Rhine Meyering, a Disney Imagineer and UCI graduate, was stationed in the Cars Land exhibit. He graduated in 1986 with a degree in electrical engineering and has been working with Disney since 2000. “Study hard and maybe you can work here too!” Meyering says to fellow UCI students.

The Disney Consumer Products Pavilion was filled with fun interactive activities and gave guests a chance to look at the latest Disney products and meet the artists and designers who created them. Featured in this pavilion was the first-ever Disney Dream Home, filled with Disney furniture, rugs, carpeting, lights, paint, and other home décor.

The Corporate Responsibility pavilion at the expo allowed fans to learn more about how to conserve energy and resources to keep the planet clean.

“I have the privilege of helping Disney to continue to be an environmentally responsible company. We look for all the ways that we can reduce our environmental footprint and all the ways that we can inspire our many fans to do the same thing,” said Beth Stevens, the Senior Vice President of Environmental Affairs for the Walt Disney Company.

The environmental effort Disney’s Friends for Change, also called “Project Green,” was created to help kids help the planet. There was also a Disney VoluntEARS section where guests could make a lunch for hungry children, write a letter to a soldier, or help make a blanket for children’s homes.

The first annual D23 Expo was a resounding success, and while it fell significantly short of the anticipated 40,000 attendees, those who did go were not disappointed. To fans’ delight, stars like Johnny Depp, Miley Cyrus, Tim Burton, producer Jerry Bruckheimer, Nicholas Cage, and John Travolta were spotted at the expo. It was great to see Meyering, our fellow UC Irvine Anteater, proudly working for a company whose environmental goals match and even exceed its goal to entertain people of all ages. His success shows that UCI students can go on to hold jobs that they love, working for companies like Disney who care about the planet that we all love.