Someone must have wished upon a star, because Mouse-Con managed to bring a nice amount of Disney magic to its first year. This first-time convention was held for one day at the Concord Hilton, where fans of all things Disney could meet, mingle, and of course, trade pins.
Anime and comic-themed conventions are not scarce in the Northern California area, but cons dedicated to Disney are a bit harder to find. For those seeking a pure Disney fix, the only option is the expensive but impressive D23, located in Southern California, so there was a need to be filled, and Mouse-Con attempted to do just that. How did it go? Quite well, actually.
In fact, the convention had a larger turnout than anticipated, with large crowds in the halls and waiting to meet the guests. The ages of attendees ranged from the young children in store-bought Frozen costumes to elderly attendees reminiscing on the early days of Disneyland, and everything in-between, all united by their love of Disney.
While the con itself may have been new, the staff was more than experienced. Convention veterans could notice several familiar faces in the blue staff shirts, and they managed to keep things running smoothly.
There were a few guests of honor, including animator and storyboard artist Floyd Norman, actor Tommy Kirk, illustrator Bill Morrison, and C. Andrew Nelson, visual effects artist and the man behind the helmet of Darth Vader. A few of the guests were authors of books about Disneyland, and could be found selling their books in the guest room or dealer’s hall. But the guest of honor with the most consistently long line throughout the day was Margaret Kerry, who was the reference model for Tinker Bell in Peter Pan.
Inside the dealer’s hall were multiple vendors, mostly selling Disney toys, hats, memorabilia, and pins. Lots and lots of Disneyland pins. There was even a pin trading station set up just for pin collectors. It’s quite a big hobby among Disneyland enthusiasts. The selections available were somewhat different from the usual assortment of vendors at conventions, but it was nice for hunting down hard to find Disney goods.
Aside from the guest room and dealer’s hall, there was a panel room and the main event room. The panels were mostly hosted by the guests of honor, where they discussed their experiences and spoke with the audience. However, there were also the occasional fan-run panel, such as a Big Hero 6 “ask a character” panel.
And of course, there was the masquerade. There were some fantastic cosplayers at Mouse-Con of all ages, covering the Disney classics, as well as Star Wars, Marvel, and some great mash-ups. The masquerade judges were all experienced cosplayers, so they knew what to look for in the contestants, although there were also “audience favorite” prizes for the youth and adult competitors. As it is a new con, it was relatively quick, with all walk-on entries, though hopefully it will eventually expand to allow skits in the future. Still, it went smoothly and was entertaining for all.
All in all, the first Mouse-Con was a success. It was well-organized, well-run, and was fun for all the attendees. We look forward to seeing how the con grows in the years to come.