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Disney’s D23 EXPO, dental surgery & The Taco Stand

Talk about a whirlwind of activity, this month I’ve already driven 500 miles to cover a mega Disney event, endured dental surgery, and discovered a restaurant that serves delicious Mexican takeout food, after my long-time favorite Mexican restaurant shut its doors forever.

D23 EXPO 2022:

Last Friday, Saturday and Sunday I drove (for a total of 500 miles!), back and forth each day, from my home in San Diego to the Anaheim Convention Center, to cover D23 EXPO 2022 ­– “The Ultimate Disney Fan Event.”

D23 EXPO is (pandemics notwithstanding) a once-every-two-years, fantastic celebration of all things Disney, which now encompasses not only Disney but also Pixar, MARVEL, STAR WARS (Lucasfilm), National Geographic and more.

This year’s event was even more special because we are approaching “Disney 100” — Disney’s 100th anniversary, in 2023.

I have now reviewed all of my approximately 3,000 photos of D23 EXPO 2022, and have individually edited nearly 200 of them. A few appear with this column, and I look forward to sharing many more of them with you in an upcoming “AutoMatters & More” column dedicated solely to D23 EXPO.

Dental Surgery:

The most recent event of this trifecta was my dental surgery, which barely left me with enough time to write the first draft of this column and edit a handful of photos for it, in order to meet my first publication deadline.

The surgery was performed on Tuesday morning. A cracked molar was extracted, and then replaced with a dental implant and a bone graft. While all of that was being done, I enjoyed a medically-induced sleep, blissfully unaware of what was taking place in my mouth. All I remember after the IV was inserted in my arm, was being asked for my help sliding me onto the recovery bed.

My fundamentally flawed plan for afterwards was to return home (driven, since I was told I would not be allowed to drive myself), and then write this week’s column. Well, things did not work out that way.

When I got home I was feeling no pain, and was still somewhat loopy from the sleep medication. Also, I was quite hungry, having been under doctor’s orders to eat nothing within eight hours of my surgery. Compounding this situation was my failure to consume sufficient nourishment, while adopting a new, soft-foods-only diet for the next six weeks or so, to protect the tissue that is forming around the dental implant — in preparation for getting a new crown installed on top of the implant.

Tired and growing increasingly weak from hunger, I lay down on my comfy couch, turned on the T.V. and started to play one of the car races (Formula One, NASCAR — Xfinity and Cup, and the IndyCar season finale) that I had set my DVR to record the previous weekend, while I was away covering D23 EXPO.

By mid-afternoon, the pain medication had worn off and my mouth was really starting to hurt. At first, I tried toughing it out, but eventually I relented— despite my aversion to self-medicating — and took two Advil tablets. They helped a lot.

In the hours that followed I drifted in and out of sleep, only eating a single serving of yogurt, and having nothing to drink. I repeatedly failed to stay awake long enough to watch the end of the races, each time returning to where I’d last fallen asleep, playing them from there, and falling asleep yet again. Pretty much the only times I woke up were when people phoned me to see how I was.

I am especially appreciative that my kids phoned me to see how I was doing, and that my dental surgeon phoned me at home that first evening, to make sure that I was okay and to answer any questions that I might have.

I next woke up at about 4:30 a.m. on Wednesday. Thankfully I had virtually no pain in my mouth, but by then I was VERY hungry, having not eaten anything in well over 24 hours. My first draft of this column was due at the first publication by 9:00 a.m., but first I prepared and ate a meal consisting of soft foods (oatmeal and gold Kiwi fruit), water, apple juice, a multivitamin and an antibiotic capsule (one of three per day), before heading upstairs to my office. If I worked quickly, I had just enough time to write this week’s column and send it via email, with the edited photos (five color and five black-and-white), to the first newspaper. I accomplished that. I had no idea that supposedly minor surgery would take so much out of me, when all I was doing during my surgery was lying there asleep under anesthesia for a couple of hours.

A Great Mexican Restaurant:

The new-to-me Mexican restaurant that I referred to earlier is called “The Taco Stand,” in Encinitas.

Nearby, artist Robb Daly was adding to the Encinitas car culture vibe

The Taco Stand is one location in a chain, but with a family-run vibe.

Their food, which is available to eat-in or for takeout, is delicioso — so much so that there is often a line of people outside, waiting to place their orders!

Copyright © 2022 by Jan Wagner – AutoMatters & More #759r2

Jan Wagner


  1. David Sperry on September 21, 2022 at 10:01 am

    Jan, my front tooth broke off in normal eating…I wasn’t biting on a T-bone steak!

    • Jan Wagner on September 21, 2022 at 10:23 am

      As we get old, we all start to break down. So sad…

  2. Alberto on September 20, 2022 at 10:59 pm

    Jan, you have done it again. Great work. Wish I’ve your energy. I’ve to try The Taco Stand next time when I come to Encinitas.

    Looking forward to your future coverage of the rodeo and the air show. I’ve been to both before but with the rough past few months for my family I have to miss them.

    • Jan Wagner on September 21, 2022 at 12:43 am

      Thanks Alberto,

      I’m sorry to learn that your family is going through some tough times. Hopefully things will get better soon.

      I will not be covering the rodeo that you mentioned. I have not covered rodeo since I covered the Calgary Stampede many years ago.

      However, I will be covering the MCAS Miramar Air Show later this week.

      I sometimes wonder where I continue to get the energy to keep doing this. At 68 years old, my body is starting to slow down.


  3. David Sperry on September 18, 2022 at 11:27 pm

    Jan, I can’t imagine three more diverse subjects than a Disney event, a tooth implant and a Mexican restaurant. I don’t know how to compose a coherent comment that will cover all three.

    I wonder if Walt Disney, with his vast imagination, could have visualized his creations 100 years on? With the exponential growth of technology, I’m sure he would be stunned by what he sees today.

    Coincidentally with your implant, I’m having a new front crown installed later today. My tooth broke off at the gum line, but after a root canal, the dentist is able to secure a crown to the broken tooth. Not nearly as complicated as your procedure.

    We have 4 or 5 Mexican restaurants within a 10 minute drive and try a few of them on a regular basis.

    I’ll wait for your full column on D23 EXPO. What I’ve seen looks impressive. David.

    • Jan Wagner on September 19, 2022 at 10:43 am

      Thank you for the comments, David.

      The only thing more difficult than writing a column about three such diverse subjects, was limiting the first version to just 750 words for delivery last Wednesday to a newspaper. This version is a little bit longer than that.
      It took me days to edit the photos.

      Having your front tooth break off must have been very disturbing. How did that happen? I’m glad your dentist is still able to attach a crown to it, despite it being broken off at the gum line. At least with my dental surgery I can chew (VERY carefully) on the other side of my mouth (for six weeks), but since all food passes the front teeth, you do not have that luxury.


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