Orlando hosted it’s second major pop culture convention in back to back weekends when Fanboy Expo came to town this weekend. Last week, I enjoyed attending MegaCon Orlando at the Orange County Convention Center. This week, I was excited for all of the major celebs coming to town to celebrate Fanboy Expo Orlando.
Fanboy Expo Orlando took place in the convention center rooms at the Wyndham Orlando Resort on International Drive August 20-22. Ashley Eckstein (voice of Ahsoka Tano), Matt Lanter (voice of Anakin Skywalker), and Bret Iwan (voice of Mickey Mouse) were a couple of guests to headlines the expo. The lines to meet them at celebrity row were definitely the longest. Overall Fanboy Expo had over 30 celebrities. You can see the entire list of celebrities here.
Ripley’s Believe It or Not Orlando had a booth on the vendors show floor that included one of Luke Skywalker’s lightsabers that was used in Star Wars: A New Hope and Star Wars: Empire Strikes Back and a sea creature inspired Captain Jack Sparrow statue. Jack Sparrow was so detailed and real looking that I thought it could easily be a street performer that was going to try to move and scare me.
I usually spend a lot of my convention time on the vendors show floor. I decided that for Fanboy Expo Orlando, I would spend the majority of my time attending the excellent panels scheduled for this expo.
On Saturday August 21st, I went to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Reunion Panel starring the voice talents of Rob Paulsen (Raphael), Barry Gordon (Donatello), Townsend Coleman Michelangelo ( Michelangelo), Cam Clarke (Leonardo) and Ranae Jacobs (April O’ Neal) from the original 1987 animated series. It was epic to see the cast in the same place at the same time. I don’t know how rare that is for them, but this was something that I didn’t know that I needed to experience that I am so thankful I did not miss. t has been almost 35 years since they started their turtles journey, and they still had that family team chemistry. As an 80s kid, it felt like I was seeing classmates from my childhood grade school years. Hearing Towsend Coleman yell out Cowabunga gave me goosebumps. Don’t tell Jason at Turtle Recall how much I geeked out at this panel.
The next panel on Saturday was the Pirates of the Caribbean panel starring Kevin McNally (Joshamee Gibbs) and Lee Arenberg (Pintel). The Pirates of the Franchise franchise is seriously up there for me with Marvel and Star Wars for favorite live action movie franchises. It was great hearing the two pirates talk about their tales of the behind the scenes making of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies. I would love to see a whole convention featuring actors from these pirates movies.
Bret Iwan (Mickey Mouse) and Ashley Eckstein (Ahsoka Tano) hosted the Voice Your Dreams Panel where they told the stories of how they became the voices of their iconic characters. This panel was full of Disney and Star Wars fans. Bret Iwan has been doing the voice of Mickey Mouse since 2009, and his previous job was an illustrator for Hallmark. Fanboy Expo Orlando was a homecoming for Ashley as she graduated from Dr. Philips High School which is only 10 mins away from the Wyndham. Ashley had a role on That’s So Raven before landing the role of Ahsoka Tano in the Star Wars: The Clone Wars movie. That movie would be followed by the popular Star Wars: The Clone Wars series and Star Wars Rebels which both featured Ahsoka Tano. Bret and Ashley also talked about important lessons they learned along the way and how to hand failures and how important it is to not give up on your dreams. This was a fun panel to attend as Bret and Ashley are great hype friends for each other.
Twisted Toonz was an event that was advertised as not to be missed. It featured legendary voice actors Jim Cummings, Jess Harnell, and Rob Paulsen reading a script for Back to the Future scenes as our favorite cartoon characters as well as some over the top real life personalities. This panel was absolutely hilarious from start to finish. As an added bonus, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles voice cast took the stage as surprise guests to lend their voices to Back to the Future. Talk about an all star packed panel. If you ever attend a con or expo that has Twisted Toonz on the schedule, circle that event and make it a priority to attend.
At the end of Saturday, I decided to cap off an already memorable day at Fanexpo Orlando by visiting Jim Cummings at celebrity row. I paid for an autograph and had Jim sign a replica of Darkwing Duck’s gas gun that I ordered on etsy. It was a perfect memento for the event.
On Sunday, I returned to Fanboy Expo to attend Jim Cummings Q & A panel. Jim talked about stories from his career which includes many people’s childhood favorite characters. Jim took several questions from the audience.
One of my favorite Disney Villains songs is “Be Prepared” from The Lion King. I am always fascinated when I hear Jim talk about how he sang that song for Jeremy Irons.
Jim did get asked a few times on his thoughts about the Darkwing Duck reboot rumor, but of course he couldn’t say anything about it even if he might currently be working on the show. His go to answer is that if a Darkwing Duck reboot is that he would definitely love a new Darkwing Duck show, and if that is something that would interest you then contact Disney and let them know. Excuse me while I contact Disney and let them know.
Don’t miss a Fanboy Expo when it comes near to your town. Fanboy Expo will be making stops in Indianapolis (September 10-12), Knoxville (October 29-31), and Columbus (November 5-7) this year. You can follow Fanboy Expo on their Website, Facebook, and Twitter for their latest news.
A big thank you to Fanboy Expo for letting DuckTalks media cover this event. It feels great to attend conventions again, and Fanboy Expo Orlando delivered on the entertainment with a well organized fun event. The celebrity guest list and panels were all amazing. I look forward to returning to Fanboy Expo Orlando this year.