I just unpacked my 4th of July suitcase and I’m already prepping it for next week’s travels. The time is almost here to head to the west coast again (oh my gosh, y’all, I’ve missed it so!) and I couldn’t be more excited about the 2017 D23 Expo kicking off next week!This summer is slam packed with travel for my family but this event has been the one longest in planning. TWO YEARS, guys.
After spending the 2015 Expo in a state of wonder, I was hooked.
Crazy as it was, I knew this lover-of-all-things-Disney needed to be there again. And I’ll confess: my tickets were bought the moment they went on sale.
Are you as excited as I am? If this is your first D23 Expo, there are a few things you need to know.
Quick Tips to the 2017 D23 Expo For a Newbie
I was completely unprepared for 2015. All of it.
Here’s hoping these tips will make things a little smoother for your first D23 Expo experience.
SLEEP IS OVERRATED
In 2015, I showed up around 9 am on Friday to discover I was late to the party. Way late.
But- it doesn’t start until 10 am, right?
But tell that to the folks who start lining up the night before. Oh yeah, they totally do that.
I discovered this fact after wandering through a maze of lines trying to get inside for the first panel. The outside folks? Yeah, they weren’t committed. The peeps already inside: legit commitment levels there.
They had chairs, food, pillows and portable phone chargers and had spent a sleepless night on the floor of the Anaheim Convention Center basement.
If you want to make sure you don’t miss a thing, come early and plan to hang in there.
Sleep will happen on Monday.
I’m bringing a backpack with a lightweight chair, some protein bars & 3 phone chargers.
For the 2017 D23 Expo events, overnight lines can start queueing up at 10 pm on Thursday and Friday.
PLAN. FOR MICKEY’S SAKE, HAVE A PLAN.
As any Disney-goer will attest, have a plan before you go.
Maybe not a minute by minute itinerary but a basic plan is a must.
I had NO plan.
But I did have friends. And they took pity on me and answered my panicky texts with a moderate amount of eye rolls.
Bless you, Dawn.
This year I’m traveling with friends from the TravelingMoms and one of them is creating a super detailed plan for us.
Kuleen, my friend, I’m in your hands.
If I feel like we are going down the wrong path, I’m going to reserve the right to call an audible!
DO THE ADULT THING HERE
Leave the kiddos at home if possible. Now, hear me out. I know it’s Disney and this should be a family thing! It’s totally kid appropriate, but I can’t say it’s kid friendly. If that makes sense.
I love mine. They love Disney. But this would have been a special kind of hell for them.
Ask yourself: do your kids like standing in line for hours? Possibly in the sun? Without easy access to food, water, or bathrooms?
If the answer is yes, your kids are rock stars. And possibly not really kids (check those birth certificates!).
If the answer is no: just don’t.
There were a lot of strollers on the expo floor, so I know many people don’t agree with me here. But if you can find a sitter, or send the kids to Disneyland with Grandma, I think you’ll be able to maneuver through the crowds a little better.
If you do bring the kids: they get a discounted ticket and kids under 3 are free.
YOU’VE GOT A FRIEND IN LINE
Rolling solo can be great, but you may find the buddy system a better option.
Since the biggest time suck here is waiting in lines, having a friend to pass the time or hold your place in lines is completely worth it. So recruit someone to go with you.
If that fails: we are all Disney people here, which means you’ve got a friend in line. Pass time by chatting with those around you and who knows, you may end up with some great stories to share!
BE PREPARED FOR MIND BLOWING MOMENTS
Expect the unexpected.
Whatever you think is going to happen, probably will, but in true Disney fashion, it’s going to be plussed.
Johnny Freaking Depp was a surprise addition to the Disney Legends award ceremony. As you can imagine, people lost their ever-loving minds.
He even threw a little Captain Jack our way.
As in, he showed up the next day at the Live Action Panel AS CAPTAIN JACK SPARROW.
It was – dare I say it?- magical.
I know it’s trite and overused and lame, but it simply was. How many people can say they saw Captain Jack- the real deal- in person? One lucky audience member even had grapes thrown at him. I mean, how cool would that be?
And that, kids, is why I can’t quite see out of my left eye…
During the three-day event, I walked by famous Disney Imagineers, iconic Disney Legends, and listened to some favorite actors and actresses talk about their love of all things Disney.
The Rock told us we were ‘aiga (family).
John Lasseter thanked Bob Iger. Bob Iger thanked George Lucas. Ellen DeGeneres stormed offstage…
And I’ll never forget this blue sweater. Ever.
So freaking cool, y’all.
SUNDAY IS A GREAT DAY
After 2 days of amazing panels, many people slept in or simply skipped the Expo on Sunday.
I found it to be the perfect day to attend, to shop, to check out the exhibits, and to sing along with a Snowman and a Princess from Arendale.
It was my favorite day of all three thanks to the lower crowd levels.
Friday is exciting because everything is so new. Saturday offers fantastic panels and information and the cosplayers are ON POINT.
So basically: don’t miss any of it. My plan is to save Sunday for the majority of my expo floor exploring & shopping experience.
Got any additional tips you want to share? Shout them out!
Have you been to a D23 Expo? Any thoughts on your first time?