My D23 Expo Review


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.

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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.

As expected, there was plenty of Star Wars to go around. This is my first D23 and I can’t imagine this show without Lucas’ handy work. It was plentiful and well done.

Avatar had an interactive booth promoting fictitious trips to Pandora- presumably setting up Avatar 2. This miniature was pretty amazing.

There was all kinds of art of various kinds, like this Yoda made entirely of Jelly Belly- one of the show partners.

One of the coolest services offered was to get your head 3-D sculpted and added to a stormtrooper or Ironman body. It ranged from $80 to $300+ depending on the size.

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.

I didn’t buy a lot from the Expo store but I couldn’t resist this Princess Leia mug with twin handles- or as I call it, “Princess Latte”.

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!


5 thoughts on “My D23 Expo Review

  1. Glad you enjoyed your first D23. It gets better with each new expo.
    The Pandora park was actually about the new land being built in Walt Disney World, not the sequel.
    As for that riot, yeah that was crazy. I was there when it happened. I would have like the card but I wasn’t risking on getting hurt to get it.
    My only disappointment is that Marvel comics failed to be on the show, again. I’m glad the movie division was there but the comics need bigger exposure. How many new comic readers Marvel would have gotten if the writers and artists were there to promote their books? Marvel talks about trying to get new readers but fails to advertise them outside established comic readers. People know Iron Man, Spider-Man, and Captain America are comic book characters but how many of them know their respective comics are still being made? Any time their comic stories are brought up it’s always on stuff that’s decades old.

    That’s my thoughts on D23 Expo, who the next one is bigger and better!

    • Thanks for your thoughts. About Pandora Park, that does make sense. I was wondering if it was a tease into the sequel. I tried to get some info out of the representative but he wouldn’t give me anything. I was in the riot but wasn’t able to get one. However, a kind soul that got two kindly gave me one 🙂 Yea, I wonder why Marvel Comics was not there. It does seem the Studios and the Comics division are on two different pages. Thanks for your comment and glad you had a great time!

  2. Thanks for all the updates and pictures throughout your time there. I think the backlash coming for Disney buying all these nerd properties might have been a bit premature. They seem to really be looking to get their return on investment right away but are also making sure to do it the right way and not alienating all the original fans in the process. I was bummed that Marvel Studios didn’t have a panel at Hall H this year but after seeing what they brought to D23 it makes sense now. I’m always looking to get out to California more often and now I think I might have an excuse every other year! Thanks again for all the coverage!

    • I was definitely concerned a while back given the state of Disney before Pixar came into the picture. This all could have gone terribly wrong. But sounds like they are caring for these properties and seeing the fans as partners in this journey. Some smart folks over in their marketing division. It does seem that Marvel won’t be in Hall H every other year from now on. We’ll see! Thanks for commenting!

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