So for those that don’t know or have never been to the Disney convention called D23 Expo, it happens every 2 years but it’s not like a regular convention like Comic-Con for example, there are no celebrities to be seen live, nobody you can just come up to and meet or have them sign something for you. I mean there’s probably somewhere that’s offered behind the curtain maybe but nothing like that on the convention floor that I have seen.
D23 Expo is more of a museum then a convention, I mean it is called an expo after all not a con. Imagine Tomorrowland at Disneyland only on a much larger scale, you get to walk around and look at some amazing Disney artwork, some projects that they’re making, Disney Worlds that they’re building and enhancements to their Parks. You get to see it first hand and ask the Imagineers, architects and artists about their inspiration for their craft.
I got to learn how the Spider-Man animatronic got to be. The imagineers knew accidents will happen so they intentionally made it with inexpensive parts so it will be cheap to fix. And they actually have spare Spider-Man animatronics that are charged and ready to go on hand in case one goes flying into the wall. The battery it uses is different than our cell phones but it also doesn’t last as long. After all it only needs to work for 3 minutes because that’s the length of the show in Disneyland’s California Adventure park.
I also got to witness Walt Disney’s official airplane, what the insides look like and the official seat he sat in. He liked to sit closer to the back in case you were wondering. After the Expo is over the plane will be delivered to the Palm Springs Air Museum because Walt Disney loved Palm Springs. In 1938, Walt Disney came for a weeks stay and fell in love with Palm Springs. He loved western theme and riding horses, which was very popular in Palm Springs at the time. He even bought a plot of land at Smoke Tree Ranch and he built a house there for him and his wife to live in 1948. They moved into the home in 1951 according to architect William F. Cody.
But let’s get back to the more exciting part of the show, the announcements, from Marvel, Star Wars, Pixar and so on. This is where D23 differs from other conventions. In order to attend a panel at D23 Expo you have to request it in advance and if you’re lucky enough to get it you can go, if you didn’t get as lucky you have to wait in the standby line. Which can get pretty lengthy and they don’t allow anyone to line up the night before like a lot of people do at San Diego Comic-Con.
If you bought your badge in advance you get it shipped to your home and then you have to go online and activate it, then comes the reservation of panels, and you can pick as many as you like and they actually encourage you to pick more so you have more likelihood of getting at least one. I only got a panel for The Simpsons. And it was very similar to the one they do at San Diego Comic-Con. Also unlike San Diego Comic-Con companies here are not as generous, so their are very little giveaways that happen and when it does it’s very few and far between.
Lastly I would like to share some tips that I think are beneficial if you decide to go.
1. Look at the schedule/map and make yourself an itinerary of what you want to do and see.
2. Park at the convention center it’s only $20 and for convention parking that’s unheard of.
3. Don’t buy the pineapple soft serve also known as Dole Whip. They trick you by not putting any prices anywhere and you see a big line so you get in line and when you get to the register they say that’ll be $8 for a tiny cup of pineapple soft serve.
4. Speaking of not getting ripped off do not buy your lanyard in advance. I paid $13 for mine and they were giving them out for free at the convention. And when I asked for a refund they said no.
5. Bring the essentials with you like snacks, water, and a portable battery so you can charge your device. Bringing cash with you is also beneficial because some vendors card machines don’t always work.
In conclusion D23 is a great Expo, it’s very similar to Star Wars Celebration where they do have a main stage but no live performances there is only a screen that shows a live feed of the ongoing panel, so it has a little bit of this Wizard of Oz feel. If you would like to learn more about Disney, their upcoming projects or movies or take some cool photos this is the event for you, but if you’re used to a traditional Comic-Con where you can just walk up to talent get an autograph and a photo or just ask a question and not actually buy anything, this might not be the Expo for you.