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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?