Why Disney Should Bring D23 Expo to East Coast

weblogo1Three years ago I wrote a piece on why Disney should build a third theme park in North America—in Toronto to be specific. Alas, that hasn’t transpired—and I’m not exactly holding my breath—although it’s great to see Disney expanding the existing parks with exciting new lands and attractions.

But there is another, perhaps less ambitious, way Disney can bring bigger smiles to more fans: take the main D23 Expo beyond Anaheim, California, where it’s been held since its inception in 2009. Start by bringing it to the East Coast.

We all know air travel and comfortable accommodation doesn’t come cheap, even for a single traveler. Now consider what an average family of, say, four Disney fans from the U.S. Northeast would have to shell out for a three-day trip Anaheim. There goes that year’s trip Disney World.

I’m certainly not unbiased when I suggest that Disney hold its annual gathering of fans closer to me. I’ll admit to suffering a twinge of wistfulness this past weekend. But even looking at it in a totally objective manner, the demographics of the area certainly support the idea, particularly if the expo were to be held in New York City.

Figures vary depending on methodology, but the New York metropolitan area alone has 23 million inhabitants, give or take a few hundred thousand. It goes without saying that Manhattan, with a major convention venue like the Javits Center and a wealth of attractions, can support an event like D23.

With millions of people living within a reasonable driving distance, and well over a hundred million more just a short-haul flight away, a D23 Expo in Manhattan would be a blockbuster success. How many of these fans don’t currently attend D23 but would jump at the chance if it were held in a more accessible location?

Of course, Manhattan isn’t the only choice—Chicago? Orlando?—but it would seem to make the most sense. Toronto—ahem—would be another possibility. (I have no shame, do I?) The  centrally-located Metro Toronto Convention Centre could host a great expo within walking distance of many of the city’s attractions. But I still strongly prefer New York because holding the event outside the United States could deter the substantial number of Americans who don’t currently have a passport.

Speaking of taking the event international, I’m sure that D23 Expo Japan 2015, taking place this November, is going to be another big success. What about a D23 Expo London? Hey, Euro Disney (now Disneyland Paris) should have been built in England to begin with—and it would have been were it not for Michael Eisner’s outsize obsession with France.

And now it’s your turn. Do you think exporting the D23 Expo is a good idea? Where would you like to see it and why?

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8 thoughts on “Why Disney Should Bring D23 Expo to East Coast

  1. Jay

    I’m just as biased towards the west coast, but aren’t the NYC hotel prices also likely to wipe out a vacation fund?

  2. Barbara

    I have been calling for this for years…and New York City should be a D23 Expo site long before we go international…don’t you think? There are so many of us here who travel to Dismey World…in driving distance of the city and have been loyal Disney fans for many years. New York, Connecticut, New Jersey…all substantial numbers to support this. Javits Center as well as Madison Square Garden are large convention spots-and the cost of the hotel in the city (there are deals out there people) are no worse than the big places in California. Not to mention the draw of Broadway shows, restaurants, museums and other attractions to more than bring people into the city and finally get the benefits of a D23 Expo.

  3. Dustin

    Atlanta is always a convenient travel hub for any convention type. It would be within striking distance for WDW regulars in FLA and surrounding, and lodging tends to be quite a bit cheaper than some of its other metropolitan counterparts.

    There’s also a strong cosplay contingency as ATL hosts Dragon-Con every year, so the scene surrounding the event would be fun as well.

  4. Peanutj

    I wonder if Disney hasn’t moved the D23 Expo out of Anaheim because of the cost to them. They’d have to pay for airfare and hotels for many (hundreds) of people. I’m sure the cost wouldn’t be prohibitive for a company of Disney’s size, but it’s something to consider.

  5. Tina

    It’s not Disney that hasn’t moved the Expo, it’s D23. This has been an ongoing battle for years. It IS pretty crazy that they ONLY have it in Anaheim, when they BLATANTLY should switch off every other year with Orlando. I’d personally love it in New York or Orlando, because I live in NY and frequent WDW well more than DLR. But it truly isn’t fair to all the die hard Disney Fans on the East Coast that simply can’t make it to Cali every time this comes around. I finally got to the Expo for the first time this year, and I was happy to do it. I spent WAY more for my hotel on DLR Property than I would’ve paying for a room in NYC. A Theme Park and a Big Cities Price Range are all the same thing. Like someone said before not to mention all there is to do in NYC. They need to start paying a little more attention to WDW and all it has to offer.

  6. Tommy Allison

    Sorry, Disney won’t be moving the D23 Expo from Anaheim.

    They can’t produce a show of that kind of magnitude without the support of cast members, and the various divisions of the company that are all located in Southern California. Plus the cost to create, transport, install, support and secure the exhibits and merchandise is so much more cost effective to keep it in Anaheim. 90% of the exhibitors who pay to have a booth there are also based in SoCal too, so that another thing to consider too.

    Fortunately, D23’s “Fanniversary” and “Destination D” events are already ongoing and reach the Disney fan base in other locales. This is their way of sharing the spirit of a D23 Expo without the heavy lifting that would be involved to produce the Expo somewhere else.

    Finally, there is already a successful momentum and built in audience in SoCal as well – why risk going somewhere else? Plus, you can enjoy the magic of Walt’s Disneyland and Disney California Adventure after the Expo in the evenings – so much better and nicer than Times Square, in my opinion.

    Tommy Allison, The DisGeek Podcast

  7. Jerry Vargas

    I haven’t been to D23 yet. But I appreciate the fact that this event stays in Anaheim. A Disney fan expo needs to be held at, or near Disney property. Holding the event in New York makes no sense.

    I would not be opposed to an occasional move to Walt Disney World. But logistically, it just makes more sense to have the event in SoCal. TWDC is based in Burbank. This is much more than a theme park event. Many facets of the company are represented. I think Disney is perfectly happy with their event as it is currently set-up.

  8. Shelly Valladolid

    What Tommy said. While much of Parks/Parks Merch is in Orlando, the lion’s share of people from each division plus all of the pavilion setups, the Archive treasures, the television and movie stars and performers, animators, Imagineers, models, mock-ups, toy prototypes, et cetera is in Southern California. A director working on an animated film with a looming deadline can drive down to Anaheim after breakfast, appear onstage at the D23 EXPO with John Lasseter, and be headed back to her team after lunch. If the D23 EXPO were in Orlando, she would lose at the very least two days of work, plus the company would have to pay for her airfare and deluxe hotel. Multiply this by several hundred, and there is your problem.

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