Welcome Back to our New Blog Series (and to its new Friday home): Jamie’s Destination “Do”s and “Don’t”s, where our favorite Travel Planning Aficionado shares her wealth of knowledge and experiences about traveling the world! After every trip to a new destination, Jamie gives us her perspective as both a traveler, and a travel advisor, through a quick but comprehensive list of what to do or not do at each vacation location!
Since, as many of you who follow along know, Jamie recently returned from Disney’s D23 Expo in Anaheim, California, today’s blog will be all about her time at this 3-Day Mega-Disney Fan Event!
So Let’s Go to D23! But First…
Some Information About D23 If You’re Unfamiliar
- D23 is a huge 3-Day Mega-Disney Fan Event (similar to Comic Con, but for Disney fans) that takes place every other year in Anaheim, California, near Disneyland.
- It features announcements and reveals about the future of the Parks (all over the world), Disney Cruise Line, and anything/everything related to Disney (including Marvel, Avengers, and Star Wars announcements, too).
- The event also includes a giant Exhibition Floor showcasing Disney Archives and Exhibits, Shopping Booths, Pin Trading Booths, Parks Information and Displays (sometimes even scale models of future projects, depending on what’s coming), and so much more that is different and unique for each Expo.
Who Can/Should Go to D23:
Lots of people assume D23 is a media or invitation-only event, but it’s not! Anyone who is a Disney Fan is not only allowed, but also encouraged to attend (with a ticket, of course).
People Who Love Fan Events!
If you love being around other Disney enthusiasts who share your passion and love for Disney, D23 is definitely something you should experience at least once! Seeing celebrities from Disney, Marvel and Star Wars take the stage, and getting to hear all the announcements for future Disney plans in person in a room of cheering fans is super fun and exciting.
If you are a Cosplayer, or someone who loves Disney Bounding (turning “regular” clothes into character representations without looking costume-y), Disney’s D23 Expo is a great place to show off your costumes and Disney style!
If you love Disney History and Artifacts, D23 is definitely a place you want to be. There are so many exhibits full of rare Disney Artifacts from the Disney Vaults that you would never have a chance to see anywhere else.
And Now…Jamie’s Destination “Do”s and “Don’t”s for Disney’s D23 Expo
Top Favorites and Jamie’s “Must-Do” Experiences
Have a Plan!
The Number 1 Must-Do for the D23 Expo is that you Must Have a Plan! Much like the Disney Parks, there’s just too much to see and do without having prioritized what you want to experience long before you get there. Being prepared for D23 is essential!
Stay in a Hotel Nearby
The best options are of course the Disney Hotels themselves, as they are walking distance to both the convention and the Parks, but there are also lots of other great hotels that are close enough to walk or take a quick Uber. If you are planning to attend a D23 Expo in the future, contact your favorite Love of the Magic Vacations Travel Advisor ahead of time, so that as soon as dates are announced, your TA can grab reservations from the hotel at the top of your list!
Schedule in Park Time
Whether you are attending D23 from near or far, it’s definitely worth visiting Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure while you’re so close (and possibly staying on Disney property anyway). While you should plan your Park Time around what Panels and Exhibits you’ll be attending at D23, you’ll notice that mornings are unusually empty in the Parks, with so many people getting an early start at the Expo, and that afternoons and evenings fill up with crowds as people finish up for the day at the Expo. However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t go later in the day; lots of celebrities attend D23 and you may see some people (even from the Panels) enjoying an evening at Disneyland!
Top Tips that Jamie Learned Along the Way
Get Your Tickets Early
Tickets for D23 sell out quickly as soon as they are released, and there are NO tickets sold at the door. Although it is a 3-Day event, tickets are sold as 3-Day or 1-Day tickets (for the specific day you choose). If you plan to attend a D23 Expo in the future, make sure you are keeping up with when tickets go on sale in order to grab the amount you want. You can sign up at https://d23.com/expo-2022-news/ to receive updates directly to your inbox regarding dates and tickets for the next Expo.
Do Your Research!
Remember the Number 1 Must-Do for D23, Have a Plan? You create your plan by researching what and who will be at the Panels, and prioritizing the events you want to attend. It’s impossible to do everything, and standby lines can take hours, with no guarantees that you will make it into the event you’re waiting for. Typically, the most popular events are the Legends Awards (usually, this takes place on Friday) and the Parks Panel, where all the announcements for new changes and updates to the Parks are announced (and which usually takes place on Sunday).
This year for the first time there was a pre-registration email in which you could choose two events per day that you were interested in, and based on those, you’d be assigned Panels to attend. Assuming it will be this way going forward, it’s definitely worth it to complete the pre-registration and attend the Panels that are assigned to you. That way, you have plenty of time to check out all the other Exhibits and Shopping Booths instead of spending the whole day waiting in stand-by lines (which you can do if you don’t get your first choice, but again, there are no guarantees).
Unlike at the Disney Parks, food is not one of the main focuses of the D23 Expo. They do have some food available to purchase, but the amount and choices are limited, and the lines to get anything are extremely long. D23 is for sure not a Food and Wine Expo, so do yourself a favor and bring your own favorite snacks (energy bars are great at events like these) to keep you going as you cover as much ground as you can throughout the Exhibition Floor. And don’t forget that you can get all your favorite Disney snacks either before or after your time at the Expo when you go to the Parks.
Top “Must-Don’t”s, or Things Jamie Would Do Differently
Don’t Arrive Late
As mentioned, if you are registered for an afternoon event, you can get in some Park time in the morning, just don’t cut it too close. And if your scheduled event is bright and early, definitely do not assume you will get there in time just because you may be staying close by. Although this is still a Disney Event, it’s not a Disney Park, where everyday operations ensure entrances and security checks are streamlined down to a science; the security and ticket lines are LONG at D23. So leave yourself more time than you think you’ll need to get in, especially if you would be heartbroken to miss a certain Panel. Arriving early will save you tons of anxiety and heartache.
Don’t Forget Your Disney Gear
Even if you are not a Cosplayer or Disney Bounder, D23 is the Ultimate Fan Event, so don’t skimp on your Disney Gear and Flare! Whatever Disney Gear you can adorn yourself with, D23 is the place to do it up! Mickey T-shirt? Bedazzled Minnie Jacket? Sparkly Castle Earrings? Your Favorite Pair of Ears? Wear it all! And altogether! And if you’ve never gone all out, but have always wanted to try Cosplaying or Disney Bounding, D23 is the place to try it! D23 is a much more fun experience when you fully embrace the fandom, and let go of any reservations you have about letting your true Disney-loving self shine!
Don’t Be Underprepared
Like a Disney Parks Vacation, the D23 Expo requires preparation on many fronts, so don’t be underprepared in any area! From knowing when tickets go on sale, to getting reservations at the hotel of your choice, to researching what Panels you want to pre-register for, to planning your outfits, to arriving with enough time to get through security, there is so much to prepare for ahead of time. As always, your favorite Love of the Magic Vacations Travel Advisor would love to help you plan your trip to the next D23 Expo!
And…That’s a Wrap on Jamie’s “Do”s and “Don’t”s of Disney’s D23 Expo!
Ready to Plan?
Now that you have Jamie’s Expert Tips for Experiencing D23, are you ready to get ahead and be prepared for the next Disney D23 Expo? Contact your Love of the Magic Vacations Travel Advisor today or email hello@LOTMV.com
Looking for more of Jamie’s Destination “Do”s and “Don’t”s?
So far, we have:
Jamie’s Destination “Do”s and “Don’t”s: Paris and Disneyland Paris
Jamie’s Destination “Do”s and “Don’t”s: Italy
Jamie’s Destination “Do”s and “Don’t”s: The Disney Wish
Jamie’s Destination “Do”s and “Don’t”s: Grenada
A new list comes out the Friday after Jamie returns from her latest trip!
And don’t forget to check out our Inspiring Itineraries as well, featuring a Perfect Plan for your next vacation, and highlighting a new destination each month!
Contact your favorite Love of the Magic Travel Advisor or email hello@LOTMV.com to start planning today!