I’ve had a week to think things over after the big D23 Expo. Some things worked for me… and some things just didn’t.
If you’ll remember, I shared this post just one week ago full of excitement and promise of fabulous things to come. And they did come- it WAS indeed a weekend I’ll rank as a top 10 coolest things I’ve ever experienced.
But it has to be noted that the Expo was not perfect.
No, my dear friends watching from home, my expo experience was quite far from perfection. Even with the bonus of Chris Evans and Johnny Depp life was NOT flawless at the Anaheim Convention Center.
What Didn’t Work
Communication Lacked on Day 1. Unless you arrived early (as in O’Dark Thirty early) you suffered from poor communication at this event. Lines were everywhere.
And on the Katella side of the Convention Center, there were absolutely no signs letting you know what the lines were actually for.
The Event Staff (not all were Disney Cast Members) seemed confused and unsure as well. No one knew where the closest bathrooms were, no one could give a time estimate of the wait, and there was no shade, water, or other provisions for the line. I was told 3 different things by 3 different staff members when asked what the line was actually for and almost walked away from the event altogether.
I heard it took upwards of 5 hours for all these people to finally make it into the Expo.
Shenanigans, man. There’s no way an event like this should have that kind of poor line management. The lines on the expo floor also had issues, and made absolutely no sense that first day. You couldn’t tell where one ended and the other began.
Speaking of lines…
The Disney Store was redonkulous ALL weekend long. You had a lot of options to spend your money at the Expo. The Dream Store was one and the Disney Store was another, both had waits for most of the event just to make it inside. I made it easily into the Dream Store with a relatively short wait. Maybe 20-30 minutes max.
But the Disney Store was another matter altogether.
— Leanna Siu (@RecruiterLeanna) August 14, 2015
Disney Store: you failed, man. Check out this article that detailed just how bad it was.
A friend at home asked that I check on the doll situation for her. Sure, no problem! I walked up to the entrance on Sunday and was quickly pointed around the corner. And around another corner. And… heck, y’all, I couldn’t even SEE the end of that nonsense.
And for the record: those dolls were long gone. But no one official would CONFIRM that information, which goes back to point one about communication lacking.
Honorable Mention of what didn’t work: the trading cards. We were given these fun trading cards when we first arrived. And throughout the days, announcements were made where you could go and pick up another set (the idea was to collect all 30). There were mad rushes when a new card location was announced and the crowd was not on their best behavior. I was out after the first try.
Staff Attitudes were fabulous! I am sure other attendees had other experiences that were less than spoonful-of-sugar cheery. I get that. But my experience was pretty awesome when it came to stressed out Expo staff.
With one exception, I encountered staff that were happy to stop and attempt to answer any question I had. The one exception was quickly rectified when a 2nd employee, Security Staff Al, stepped in and helped me out. I think he saw my face and knew my limits were reached.
God bless Al for saving me on Day 1.
Day 2 was very different. Huzzah! I’m guessing someone somewhere had a late night meeting that went something like, “We gotta fix this shizzz, Bob.” And they did.
When I showed up super duper early on Day 2, I expected more madness. It was surprisingly calm as the basement level filled to capacity in anticipation of the live-action movie panel.
Wristbands. Simple color coded bands allowed the staff to know who was in line early and who could be allowed re-entry if they had to leave for some reason. This made the wait so much more bearable knowing my place in line was secured even if I forgot something important in my room.
I also noticed that the lines on the expo floor had an addition to them: staff held signs signaling the end of a line. These signs also let you know at a glance just what the line was for! It’s similar to the process they have at the parks (I’m thinking Haunted Mansion in particular) and it was a much-needed addition to the floor madness.
I completely noted the changes and appreciated a quick response to the issues.
Celebrities, Celebrities everywhere!
This totally worked for me. Ha!
They were onstage, they were walking the expo floor, they were in line at Disneyland. I even ate dinner with 3 big names at an undisclosed location that just might live above the Pirates of the Caribbean. Ahem.
Okay, so I didn’t so much as eat dinner with them as sat in the same room and breathed the same air as them. Close enough, right?
I’ve been to Walt Disney World and Disneyland more times than I can count, but I honestly can’t recall seeing so many famous people enjoying Disney as I did this weekend. It was a heartwarming realization noting that they too love a good dark ride.
The D23 Expo was truly an experience like no other. I look forward to returning in 2017 (oh my gosh… 2 whole years?! Ack!) and have high hopes that some of the issues we experienced this year are not present.
Did you attend the D23 Expo? What was your favorite line to stand in? 😉