The young-at-heart Chinese blogger Li Song (center) joins the young at the D23 Expo in Disneyland, Los Angeles. Photos by Liu Wei
Disney doesn't Mickey Mouse around when it comes to self-promotion.
And its inaugural expo promoting the company's philosophy and products to an enthusiastic public is just one more sign of that.
About 20,000 people from all over the world visited the D23 Expo - the number paying tribute to the year Walt Disney set up the company - in Anaheim, Los Angeles, from Sept 10 to Sept 13.
The expo is an extension of the D23 club, a fan community established in March.
For $37 a day, visitors could catch exclusive previews of upcoming films and new theme park attractions, while also viewing the company's latest technological innovations and consumer products.
But there were few Chinese - or even Asians - in attendance, mostly because the schedule tacked two weekdays on to a weekend and was too expensive for them.
This made the presence of Chinese bloggers Li Song and Edmond Poon, who came at the company's invitation, all the more special.
"It is really a dream journey I would never have imagined," says Li, who works as a public relations manager in Beijing.
The 26-year-old has been a huge Disney buff since childhood. At age 18, he set up an unofficial online fan community, which has grown to be the largest of its kind in China.
Li had lunch with Disney International's chairman Andy Bird and Disney Studios Motion Picture Production president Oren Aviv. He previewed new footage from The Princess and the Frog and Toy Story 3, and screamed with tens of thousands of fans over the unexpected appearance of Johnny Depp at a presentation about Disney films.