Today in Disney history in 1992, the first ever Disneyana convention took place at Walt Disney World Resort.
Major Disney fans may remember this date! September 24th, 1992 was the day that Disney World hosted its first ever Disneyana Convention in 1992, which took place at Disney’s Contemporary Resort Convention Center at Walt Disney World from September 24th to 27th, 1992. At the convention, attendees could purchase Disney memorabilia and merchandise and, as well as attend various entertainment events. This first convention welcomed 750 guests attended, a number that doubled for the second Disneyana Convention held a year later at Disneyland.
The First Disneyana Convention
Prior to 1992, Disneyana Conventions were held by the NFFC (National Fantasy Fan Club) and the Mouse Club, but this changed that fall when the Walt Disney Company hosted its own fan-focused event. The first Disneyana Convention took place at the convention center at Disney’s Contemporary Resort just steps from the Magic Kingdom from September 24th to 27th, 1992. At the event, Disney fans could stop by the resort’s convention center to purchase Disney memorabilia, including limited-edition pieces and collectibles.
The event also featured a speaker series on Disney history, auctions for some of the rarest items, and exclusive tours and entertainment along with meals for attendees. In total, the first Disneyana Convention included 750 conventioneers and plenty of ways for Disney fans to come together in a unique setting, all in celebration of their fandom. Several displays from various areas of the company were also showcased at the first Disneyana Convention, including pieces from Disney Vacation Club, Disney Publishing, the Disney Store, and Disney Channel, to name a few.
Later Disneyana Conventions
The Disneyana Convention returned in 1993 at Disneyland Resort. The second year featured speakers like Marty Sklar, then President of Walt Disney Imagineering, and Dave Smith, then Director of the Walt Disney Archives.
The second year’s convention was double the size of the Contemporary’s event, and with its popularity only continuing to grow another convention was planned for Walt Disney World in 1994. During the following year, 1995, the Walt Disney Company hosted conventions on both coasts. From 1996 to 2000, Disneyana Conventions continued at Walt Disney World, with the West Coast events wrapping up in 2001 in Disneyland.
Disneyana Events Today
The final Disneyana Convention sadly took place all the way back in 2002 at EPCOT, but thankfully there are still plenty of ways to shop for limited edition and hard-to-find Disney memorabilia today, it just might take a little more effort. In true treasure-hunting fashion, you never know what you’ll find at places like yard sales, thrift stores, and flea markets. eBay and other online auction websites are also good go-to’s, especially if you are looking for something specific.
If you are able to get off Disney property and go for a bit of a drive during a trip to the Walt Disney World Resort, the Lakeland Antiques Mall is often packed with Disney merchandise, including many rare items from the theme parks and resorts. It’s about a 40-minute drive out to Lakeland, Florida, but the trip could be well worth it to do some shopping. Closer to Walt Disney World, the Disney Character Warehouse has locations at the Orlando Vineland Premium Outlets and the Orlando International Premium Outlets. While these locations won’t feature as many limited edition or collectible pieces, you never know what you might find in terms of marked-down merchandise from Disney parks, resorts, and even Disney Cruise Line.
D23 Disney Fan Club
While the official Disneyana Conventions are no more, unofficial conventions occasionally take place. We’ve seen some pop up in Facebook events, so it never hurts to check social media to see what might be happening in a city near you. In place of the merchandise element of past Disneyana conventions, today Disney fans can take advantage of D23 Expos, Destination D23, and various other events hosted by the official Disney Fan Club throughout the year. In addition to the expos, D23 hosts movie nights, tours, and more while offering members quarterly magazine publications, exclusive merchandise, and more.
And, we would be remiss to leave out DisneyBounding events, and unofficial fan events that take place in Disney parks today like Bats Day in the Park at Disneyland and Dapper Day events at both Walt Disney World and Disneyland.