Zip-a-dee-doo-dah, zip-a-dee-ay- My, oh my, what a wonderful day! Sorry, I couldn’t help myself. I just got back from a weekend in Anaheim attending the D23 Expo at the Anaheim Convention Center. This is the fourth expo that has occurred since 2009. While I appreciate Disney, I would not consider myself an aficionado. In fact, most of my awareness of the show was because of Marvel’s absence from Comic-Con this past year. So I was eager to see what all the hubbub was about and to see how it compares- especially since Star Wars Celebration AND WonderCon have been held in the same space just a few months earlier. Here are my highlights:
While the crowds were lighter in comparison to Comic-Con, it was about on par for SW Celebrations. However, when it came to waiting for the Expo store or autographs for Disney TV celebrities (like Jesse above), the wait times were easily a couple of hours or longer. But given Disney is an organization known for it’s customer service, as expected, the staff were organized, polite, and well trained.
There were plenty of photo opportunities, mostly related to properties Disney was promoting, I was amazed by the ease and speed of being able to take photos. They were fun, high quality, and I didn’t have to wait more than a few minutes for many.
Of course, the news rolling out of Hall 23 was epic like the announcement of two Star Wars Park additions to Disneyland. Visitors will be able to explore new lands consistent with a galaxy far, far away.
There was a lot of movie news that took the internet by storm. Like Captain America: Civil War footage, Black Panther images, Toy Story 4, Cars 3, Incredibles 2, Jack Sparrow and this cast photo of Star Wars Stories: Rogue One.
I ended up trying to collect these Expo exclusive trading cards. A starter pack of 6 came in the Souvenir Book, then new cards were given out at stations through out the weekend. At a central location, fans shared, traded, and bartered in an attempt to complete their collection of 30 cards. Check out below…
I was amazed how serious the fans took this. You would have thought Disney was printing free money. At one point, word got out that a rare card was being given out at one corner of the showroom floor. A stampede broke out and a riot nearly ensued. It was crazy! I ended up with 25 out of 30 cards which wasn’t too bad for one days effort. Overall, while they need to work the bugs out, I like the idea of a system that encourages a free way for fans to interact over something they love.
Overall, I really enjoyed my first D23 Expo. I spent a couple of days and I think that was plenty of time to cover the floor and panels. I was a little disappointed with the lack of cosplay- they do have a more strict policy so it may have deterred the hardcore cosplayers. It was really nice to see Marvel have a home at a show like this. To see it embraced in panels, toys, video games, and art is really a dream come true. I think Disney has done a phenomenal job integrating properties like Star Wars and Marvel into a larger universe. So while I am not a hardcore Disney fan, a show like this has hooked me in even more. I would definitely encourage you to check it out 2 years from now.
If you went to the show, let me know what you thought and how it compared to Star Wars Celebration and Comic-Con. Thanks!