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.
Have you attended a D23 Expo? What suggestions do you have?
Photos courtesy D23 Expo