23 Things to Know Before the Next D23 Expo

Last week was the 2017 D23 Expo in Anaheim. I attended my 2nd Expo and felt like a seasoned vet this time. If you were watching via social media and saying, “I need to be there next time!” this is the post for you.

Here are 23 things to know before the next D23 Expo in 2019.

Tips for the D23 Expo that you need to know before the next event happens! Disney's fan club, D23, puts on an expo every 2 years in Anaheim. It's Comic Con for Disney!



23 Things to Know Before the Next D23 Expo

1. Dates are not announced just yet, but D23 runs every 2 years.  Don’t sound like a newbie and say “I’m going next year!”.

Be cool: 2019 is when the next Disney Fan Expo happens.

2. Look for news about the event to start coming out during the summer of 2018. Sign up for D23 via the Disney Store (it’s FREE!) to get on the email list or of course, follow along here because you know I’ll share all the details as they come out.

3. You do NOT need a D23 Membership of any sort to attend. But Gold Members do receive a few perks at the event (including better over-night line placement) so it might be worth the cost to become a member before the event.

4. Tickets: you need them! If you are a D23 Member (even the FREE membership level) you can get a discount on your ticket. Early bird prices go on sale for about 6 months (typically July to December) and then normal pricing takes over starting in January. Tickets start around $57 a day and go up from there.

5. Sell outs happen.

The event does sell out for most days- so get your tickets early. That being said, there were still tickets available up to the week before the 2017 D23 Expo.

6. It’s always been held in Anaheim and doubtful it would move to Orlando due to convention center proximity to the parks. The Orlando convention center is pretty far from Disney World! That could change, but, again, doubtful.

7. If you go: don’t count on getting a lot of sleep.

We chose to stay in the overnight lines, which afforded a little sleep, but not much.

Even if you skip this plan, you’ll want to be up early for entry to the best panels. Which of course means you might be exhausted & possibly overwhelmed by the end of the day.








Trying to get comfortable and grab a little sleep on the basement floor at D23 Expo.8. Book your hotel early. While you may not sleep in it a lot, you will still want a hotel room for a variety of reasons: naps, storage, showers… we all will thank you for that! Most hotels start the booking process about a year in advance.

9. Try to stay close to the action: the best hotels are right around the convention center. I’ve stayed at the Red Lion Inn for the past two expos without complaint. It’s a lower cost option that’s directly across the street from the Expo location.

10. Bring a friend (or three!) They help you pass the time, keep you laughing, and geek out right along with you. Poor Renee was beaten black and blue when the Avengers: Infinity War parade of stars started. Sorry, girl. I warned ya!

11. If you roll solo: make friends in line. Disney people are some of the nicest people EVER. 

12. Don’t be afraid to let your dis-nerd flag fly! Everyone here is “a huge huge yuuuugggee fan” and they will get you!  Chances are you will learn something new you didn’t know about Disney fandom. 

13. Costumes are for everyone- not just the super hero cos-players out there. But there’s a ton of those to see as well!

They love it when you ask to take their pictures: they didn’t dress up like this just for themselves!

Photo: D23 Expo Official

14. Disneyland is just steps away, but is NOT included in the price of your expo ticket.

D23 Expo fans will be able to purchase discounted tickets, however, so keep that in mind.

15. Parents: leave the kids at home, unless they are strong Disney fans in the tween to teen age range. While D23 Expo is kid appropriate, it’s not exactly kid friendly.

Strollers are hard to maneuver through the crowds and your fellow expo-goers’ heels will thank you for not bringing them!

16. Explore the expo floor. There are going to be lines for everything- so just ask people what they are in line for, then look for the “end of the queue” signs to find out where to line up.

Shopping is a HUGE thing at the expo. Bring your credit cards, yall!

While we missed out on jumping in Scrooge McDuck’s money pit, I didn’t miss the chance to star in the new Thor: Ragnarok trailer.

17. What’s a Panel and why do I need to go to them?

A panel is where are the good stuff is “leaked” or shared for the first time with fans. Sometimes it’s exclusive and only shown to the people in the room (like the Avengers: Infinity War trailer we saw) and sometimes it’s the first peek of something that will be released online soon after the panel concludes.

A typical panel will include directors, producers, and stars of the project chatting with fans about what they can expect to see.

At D23 Expo, the 4 “biggies” are the Legends ceremony, the Animation Panel, the Live-Action Panel, and the Disney Parks Panel.

18. Food and drinks cannot officially be brought into the Expo (though many people managed to get around that rule!).

There are places to purchase what you need inside.

Protip: make sure your burger actually has a pattie in it before you walk away. I learned this lesson too late to do anything about it- mine was missing!

But here’s where my point number 11 comes into play: I was rescued by a sweet line-mate who pulled a tuna kit from her bag. I made a tuna sandwich instead and all was good.

19. Best airports to fly into for this event: here you go.

20. Save some time & bypass the lines. Grab a Stagepass early if your favorite panel is offering them.

It’s basically a Fastpass into the hall or room that you want to be and keeps you from standing in line hoping to get in. Not all sessions offer them, but you can stop by the Stagepass booth on the Expo floor to pick yours up.

21. Pack your patience along with your Pixie Dust.

Because there’s a lot of people at this event, and they all want the same thing: to see and shop and experience all the amazing things Disney brings to the Expo. Good things happen to those that are willing to wait, but better things come to those that are willing to be kind.

I’ve heard stories of fans helping each other out- folks who missed out on a Tsum Tsum (hey, I got an extra! You can have it!) or who were shut out of the Animation panel but really wanted the COCO poster that was given (I won’t need mine- you take it!)

Be nice, people! It’s Disney, for goodness sake!

22. If all this sounds awful (lines suck, let’s be honest), consider the Sorcerer’s package. And be quick about it because these babies sell FAST (as in 2 minutes fast for the 2017 Expo!).

The 2017 Sorcerer Package included:

  • Three-day admission ticket and commemorative Sorcerer credential
  • Reserved seating at presentations in Hall D23, Stage 23, and Stage 28
  • Limited-edition D23 American Tourister boarding bag
  • Pre-Expo tour of select exhibits including Treasures of the Walt Disney Archives
  • Exclusive shopping time in the D23 Expo Dream Store, Disney Store, and Mickey’s of Glendale
  • Tour of the D23 Expo show floor the day before the Expo is open to the public
  • Welcome Reception on Thursday evening
  • Exclusive entrance to the Expo each morning
  • A voucher for an appointment with an on-site massage therapist
  • Exclusive D23 Expo gift pack including gifts from D23 and the rest of The Walt Disney Company
  • Meet and Greet with a special Disney guest
  • “Fond Farewell” reception on final day of Expo
  • Plus, access to the Sorcerer Member Lounge and other benefits

Sorcerer Package tickets are available exclusively to both D23 Gold and Gold Family Members at $2,250 per ticket. Members have the option to purchase up to two Sorcerer tickets.

Sounds sweet, right? It is. If you can’t be a unicorn, be a Sorcerer.

23. My final words of advice: if you watched this play out on social media and had any moment of, “Man, I wish I was there!” then this is the event for you.

You don’t have to do it all. In fact: you CANNOT do it all.

Go in with open expectations; pick one or two “must-see” panels and consider anything else extra because there’s no way to do it all.

Unless you are a Sorcerer. And if you are one, can you pick me up an extra pass? I make a great companion, swearsies!

Did you attend the D23 Expo? What tips do you have?



About Patty

Patty Holliday is a wife and mother of four. She's a travel agent specializing in Disney & Universal vacations- and loves a candid confession. Find her in Virginia (or anywhere frequent flyer miles or her trusty minivan takes her.)

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