Quick Tips to the 2017 D23 Expo For a Newbie

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?

Right!

But tell that to the folks who start lining up the night before. Oh yeah, they totally do that.

D23 Expo Tips

The overnight crowd. I joined this crew around 3 am early Saturday morning to make sure I had a seat in the Live Action Panel.

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.

2017 D23 Expo Guide


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.

2017 D23 Expo Guide

Dawn, I’ll miss you, buddy!

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.

D23 EXPO 2015 – D23 EXPO, the ultimate Disney fan event, brings together all the past, present and future of Disney entertainment under one roof. Taking place August 14-16, this year marks the fourth D23 EXPO at the Anaheim Convention Center and promises to be the biggest and most spectacular yet. (Disney/Image Group LA)
JOHNNY DEPP

It was – dare I say it?- magical.

Groaaaannnn.

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… 

#WorthIt

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.


Ginnifer Goodwin said we were her people.

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.

D23 EXPO 2015 – D23 EXPO, the ultimate Disney fan event, brings together all the past, present and future of Disney entertainment under one roof. Taking place August 14-16, this year marks the fourth D23 EXPO at the Anaheim Convention Center and promises to be the biggest and most spectacular yet. (Disney/Image Group LA)
ANTHONY MACKIE, CHRIS EVANS, KEVIN FEIGE

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.

D23 EXPO 2015 – D23 EXPO, the ultimate Disney fan event, brings together all the past, present and future of Disney entertainment under one roof. Taking place August 14-16, this year marks the fourth D23 EXPO at the Anaheim Convention Center and promises to be the biggest and most spectacular yet. (Disney/Image Group LA)
KRISTEN BELL

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? 

D23 Expo tips and plans for a con newbie. Things you need to know before you hit the Anaheim Convention Center!

Comments

  • Will you hold my hand in 2017?

  • April at RunTheGreatWideSomewhere says:

    Looked like you had an AWESOME time! Maybe I’ll see you there in 2017!!

  • Rachael says:

    I have done the expo for the past 3. My first one it was much smaller than what it is now. you are so right though you have to have a plan. The past 2 times I have done the sorcerer package because I hate standing in line and want to DO IT ALL 🙂 It is magical though and so cool seeing all the celebrities. Ginnifer Goodwin was really cool though, she is our people!!!

    • patty says:

      I tell you what, about 15 minutes into this whole weekend I realized that the Sorcerer Package is THE way to go if you want to see it all! Basically the only way you can see it all since your seats are going to be held for you!

  • ninergrl6 says:

    Thank you for this. I’m attending my first D23 — solo, at that — and I’m overwhelmed just thinking about it. I’ve been to many other cons but nothing on this scale. I need all the help I can get!

    • Patty says:

      I won’t lie- there’s a LOT going on there. But try to pick the 2-4 panels you MUST see and make plans around those. Everyone was super nice, which was helpful! Gotta love Disney people. <3 Have fun!!!

  • Anita says:

    This was a great article. I’m in San Diego and going solo and was wondering if I could pay someone to wait in line for me till i get there. Do people need tickets just to wait in line?

    Thanks so much for all the helpful hints.

    A

  • Hayden says:

    Hi there and thanks for all of the great tips! I attended D23 for the first time as press for my blog in 2015, so i was able to get right in the morning. This time however, I’m going with a girlfriend and will be waiting in the normal entrance line for general public.

    If we want to get in on Saturday to see the “Power of the Princess” panel at 10:30am, what time do you recommend we try getting in the general admission line? Do we need to camp out the night before? Or can we get there at like 5am in the morning? Any and all info is truly appreciated!

    Thank you in advance!

    • Patty says:

      I would think 5am would be ok for that one. Def earlier than I was last year (9am or so!- way too late lines were nuts!). Have fun!

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Patty Holliday


Patty is a 40-ish mother of four living in Virginia. A bit geeky, sometimes sarcastic, lover of a candid confession. She's trying to love running, she swears. But much like her marathon, it’s taking a very long time. Ahem. She's searching for the perfect way to balance family, work, travel, and fitness. Perfect defined as high on fun, low on guilt.

TMOM Travel Writer