Suggestions for Plussing the D23 Expo

D23 Expo

As you know the D23 Expo is the Disney event to end all Disney events. It is huge, filled with tons of amazing exhibits, tweet-worthy news, celebrities and incredible cosplay. There is something for every Disney fan and then some. However, like all things Disney does there is always room for plussing. I have attended the last three events (there have been four in total) and during that time I have compiled some suggestions:

  • I can only assume (or Google it) that the lack of official Disney concessions is due to some stipulation by the Anaheim Convention Center (the location used for the event, which is walking distance from the Disneyland Resort), because what other reason could Disney possibly have to not hawk their signature churros and Dole Whips at the D23 Expo? That said, get around it. Everybody loves a churro.
  • Offset lines and crowds with more interactive events. Create a space for Disney chefs to teach recipes and techniques, let Disney artists do sketching tutorials (like they do in the parks), DIY project for topiaries, stunt shows . . . the possibilities are endless.
  • Have some of the characters stop by. Sure, there is a lot of cosplay and Disney wouldn’t want there to be any confusion, but some sanctioned meet-and-greets would add a bit more magic to the experience and pull some of the foot traffic off the floor.
  • One of the biggest complaints that I always hear about the D23 Expo is how commercial the event is, which is fair. It can get pretty commercial at some of the panels and Disney booths, making it feel like a giant ad to anyone not drinking the Kool-Aid (there aren’t any Dole Whips, remember?). The thing is, D23 attendees are Disney’s biggest fans, we’re already buying what the mouse is selling. It isn’t the upfronts, and we aren’t the board of investors, we’re already in. Tell us the stories, provide the unique experiences. We crave magic not just release dates. For the most part Disney has done a great job with this, but there is always room for improvement—I’m looking at you, Disney Vacation Club—there are two years until the next D23, you’ve got plenty of time.
  • That said, why wait two years? Make the D23 Expo an annual event, rotating it back and forth between Anaheim and Orlando. Sure, both coasts always love it when one gets something the other doesn’t, but things move faster than two year increments and we’ll be happy to trade every other one for, say, Star Wars Weekends, or something like that, you know, just brainstorming here.
  • There is room for more Star Wars. And Marvel. And Muppets. And Pixar. And Walt Disney Studios. Yes, Disney made a lot of announcements about most of their properties and there was a pretty big Star Wars footprint on the floor, but it could be so much more. So much more.
  • Speaking of footprints, why not organize something with RunDisney like a family 5k or fun runs? Even some stretching exercises would be a nice touch.
  • Provide an additional ticket tier that includes evening admission into the parks. Guests are spending a lot of money on travel and hotels and the addition of theme park attendance for just a few hours after D23 closes each night (usually around 7 p.m.) really adds up. Reward the fans. Feel the synergy. Be the churro (I don’t know what that means, I just really want a churro right now).

I’ve got more ideas, Disney. Call me.

Mickey Mouse D23 Expo

Have you attended a D23 Expo? What suggestions do you have?

Photos courtesy D23 Expo

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12 thoughts on “Suggestions for Plussing the D23 Expo

  1. Ben Power

    They could almost hold this event at Hollywood Studios in Orlando in off-years while they are doing all of this rehab (see through 2020). With all of the empty buildings and general empty space this would be a way to get people into this park in an elongated way. Maybe a 1 or 2 week event with a few panels each day?

  2. Mark Hickson

    I don’t exactly agree with your take on this. D23 was started to share the past and present the future of Disney.

    True the Convention Center has food service labor agreements in place that preclude selling Disney Churros. As for Zoo-crew meet and greets, they are best done in the parks.

    Each division has the responsibility to create and man their own exhibits using their budget, not corporate funds. That’s why some were very small like DVC, Maker and Adventures by Disney. They just don’t have large marketing budgets like Parks and Resorts.

    As for holding it every year… if you do that it becomes less “special.”

  3. Rebecca Guerrero

    I’ve read a lot of comments on the expo since I attended this year, and yours are definitely the most reasonable and worthwhile for Disney to consider!

  4. George del Castillo

    I agree with practically all of the ideas expressed here that definitely can improve the experience. But I really want to emphasize that something needs to be done to reduce the length of the lines and to reduce the time of the wait. I think that having one Expo at WDW and one at DL/CA would spread out the audience attendance at anyone venue over both of them and thin the lines. They also need to accommodate the interest of many, many fans in special programming like the Legends Introductions in a much larger auditorium or even arena. That way the door won’t close on so many fans that get left out.

  5. Adam

    The additional ticketing tier for evening park touring already exists, as it does for several other conventions at the Anaheim Convention Center.

  6. Toonatic

    How about fixing the line to get inside?!?!?

    Nothing kills the event more than just getting inside. Mass chaos. Signage pointing in wrong directions. “Cast Members” (on loan from the convention center) telling me 9 times out of 10 that they have no clue what is going on.

    When I attended WonderCon at that convention center there was no confusion so it can be done. The fact that it is Disney (the king of the cue from the park right next door) that is seen as not being able to handle things is disgusting.

    Sure, I’d love more panels & more booths on the floor where souvenirs don’t cost half your salery or require half a day waiting in line (so please expand the “fan booth” areas!). But if they just fix how to get inside their approval raiting of the event would go up 60%!

  7. Kristina

    Line management! That was probably the biggest problem I saw at this convention. 100+ degree weather and people standing in line for hours only to get to the door and have a few people scanning badges? The lack of efficient staffing for that really astounded me. While I understand Disney likes to do their thing they really need to look at how other large conventions handle it and go from there.

  8. Asitha Kalinga

    It’s better if disney character take a private tour with some kids around the park.
    You can select daily few kids by a draw or special ticket and engage in this fascinating tour. May be few characters can do it daily in sessions.
    It will be a mind blasting item with kids.
    Adults can enjoy too!!!

  9. Barbara

    I still say bring D 23 to New York City!!!!!!!!!!!!! Madison Square Garden or the Javits center is prime for something like this…..and night time could include Broadway shows for the out-of-towners. Those of us who live local enough (I am two hours away which is certainly doable) would love it to finally be here. There is the large Disney Store in Midtown not to mention shows like “The Lion King” and “Aladdin” for Disney people as well as all the other shows. There is mass transit – buses and subways to get around the city.

  10. Debbie

    I’ve been to the last 3 D23’s and the lines seemed worse than ever this year. I did three major events that required getting in line early – Animation, Live Action and Parks and Resorts. Stood in line about 90 min for Archives on Sunday. Never got into a store. There has to be a better way.

  11. Andrew

    As a Gold member, there should be buying privileges for us card holders. Seems everything is inundated by General admission. Certain timed events like obtaining StagePasses or purchasing D23 Exclusive itens should be given to us card holders….or even to us who buy our 3-day tickets on the first day they come out.

    1. John Frost

      I won’t support D23 until they get rid of special privileges for some members and not for others. It should be about the fandom, not about special merchandise opportunities.

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