How I Survived My First D23 Expo

This past weekend my boyfriend, Pat, and I made our way to Anaheim, California for the bi-annual D23 Expo. If you followed along on my Instagram videos prior to the event, you know that I planned as much as possible, spending hours watching vlogs, investing in items that would make the experience as comfortable as possible (Pat: “It looks like we’re going camping…”), and researching every panel to be sure we didn’t miss out on anything.

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All the planning, while my favorite way to get excited for a Disney trip, made me super nervous. So many past D23 attendees emphasized the long lines, lack of sleep, and necessity of staying over night in the convention center in order to get into panels. I was preparing to be sleep deprived, let down, and grumpy majority of the time because so many had warned me I should set my expectations low.

Well, we came out on the other side and my boyfriend and I both are counting down the days until the 2021 D23 Expo! Maybe it was because my expectations were so low or maybe it was because I went into it with a different mission than most. Either way, I had an incredible time and have a TON to share with everyone.

Pro tip – dress comfortably! You will be walking a lot!

I am going to post an in-depth blog about getting ready, how I was able to not get overwhelmed at the Expo, and of course all the awesome news that was announced, but for now, as I sit under the covers of my bed with my cat about to fall asleep, I wanted to share my top 5 highlights of the weekend.

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1. Disney+

Right in the middle of the Expo floor was a giant Disney+ booth that hosted presentations (including Phineas and Ferb!), overviews of the Disney+ interface, and the opportunity to join the Disney+ Founders Circle and sign up for three years at a discounted rate. I checked out the booth on the first day and signed up soon after for 33% off! Disney is still offering this discount to D23 members (pretty sure it includes the free members), even if you weren’t able to make it to Anaheim this weekend.

Take a look at some of the content coming to Disney+ this November!

2. Art of Disney Storytelling Panel

I will discuss the panels in more depth in my next post, but this one had to be shared ASAP! John Stamos and his wife, Caitlin McHugh Stamos, moderated a panel of legendary Disney Animators, Directors, and Imagineers, discussing the process of storytelling in movies and the parks. Tony Baxter, Don Hahn, Floyd Norman, and Paul Briggs each brought their own genius to the panel, sharing stories of days spent with everyone from the cast of Frozen, to the musical genius Howard Ashman, to Walt himself.

Held in the D23 Expo Arena, hundreds, if not thousands, of Disney fans came together for a discussion on storytelling the Disney way.

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3. The Shopping

I said I wouldn’t stand in line for any of the merchandise, but did anyone really believe me? Thankfully, on the third day we got in like an hour before the opening of the Expo and were able to get in line for Mickey’s of Glendale right away. We later were able to walk right into The Dream Store, but never made it to the shopDisney location due to the line. The amount of merchandise and variety was incredible! I knew I had to grab something with D23 Expo on it and was able to get a spirit jersey plus a whole bunch of Disney Imagineer pens! Yup, I was in my heaven!

Paired my new Imagineering pens from the Expo with a karma&kismet classic – Have a Magical Day notepad

4. The Imagineer Pavilion

You expect no less from Imagineering, but their pavilion blew me away. Everything from concept art, to picture spots, to interactive displays were included and engaged guests no matter how tired they were. We visited this area several times because there was so much to take in that it wasn’t possible to do it all at once!

So much news came out about Epcot, including a brand new logo!

5. The People

The best part of the D23 Expo was the people. Being amongst so many people who share the same passion for the Disney Company is difficult to describe. You feel a sense of togetherness and acceptance that most of us Disney fans don’t find with just anyone. Yes, I did witness people arguing and Cast Members being rude to guests, but overall, the crowd was just there to celebrate the company that we all love so much.

Peter Whitehead, Creative Director of the Disney Hometown Museum

Check back later for a in-depth review of the 2019 D23 Expo! If you have any questions about the Expo, or thoughts to share please comment below!