The 2019 D23 Expo is fast approaching with less than three months to go. D23 has started announcing details of some of the presentations, so it’s a good time to start thinking about what you want to see while your there. We’re here to help you get ready for the D23 Expo.
First things first, if you have not yet purchased tickets to the D23 Expo and you have any thoughts of going, it’s time to buy them. Three-day tickets and Saturday only tickets have only sold out, but Friday and Sunday only tickets are still available.
Setting Expectations at the D23 Expo
You will never be able to do everything at the D23 Expo. It’s just not designed that way with so many things going on at once. You’ll need to decide what is a priority for you when getting ready for the D23 Expo. Do you want to shop for all the limited edition merchandise, see the big Hall D23 presentations, or see some of the smaller presentations and exhibits?
Hall D23 Presentations
Hall D23 is a large venue that holds 6,800 people. There are a lot of not so great seats in a venue that large where you will be watching from monitors in the room. These are some of the most popular presentations at the D23 Expo. If you would like a front and center seat for these presentations, we recommend lining up very early (possible overnight the morning presentations). It also helps if you are a D23 Gold Member as they usually reserve some seats for them before the general public enters the venue.
The following presentations have been announced for the 2019 D23 Expo:
- Friday, August 23
- Disney Legends Awards Ceremony – Disney CEO Bob Iger will induct Wing Chao, Robert Downey Jr., Jon Favreau, James Earl Jones, Bette Midler, Kenny Ortega, Barnette Ricci, Robin Roberts, Diane Sawyer, Ming-Na Wen, and Hans Zimmer as the newest Disney Legends
- Disney+ Presentation – Attendees will get a sneak peek Lady and the Tramp, The Mandalorian, High School Musical: The Musical: The Series, and many more. Expect celebrities from these new shows to make an appearance.
- Saturday, August 24
- The Walt Disney Studios Presentation – Walt Disney Animation Studios, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, and Disney Live Action reveal more about their upcoming projects. This presentation usually has a lot of exclusive clips that will not be made public of months or years and plenty of special guest appearances.
- Sunday, August 25
- Disney Parks, Experiences and Products – Bob Chepek reveals what’s next for Disney Parks. I would expect to hear more about changes coming to Epcot and any other announcements for Walt Disney World’s 50h anniversary. While there will probably be a lot of big announcements made during this presentation, most will end up on Twitter within minutes of being announced.
There usually are three main stores with limited edition merchandise: Mickey’s of Glendale, The Disney Store, and the D23 Dreamstore. Mickey’s of Glendale typically has a line of limited edition pins and apparel that’s usually exclusive to Disney Cast Members. This Disney Store usually debuts new lines of merchandise. The D23 Dreamstore has a variety of Expo themed merchandise (pins, shirts, phone cases, etc.), merchandise commemorating special Disney anniversaries, and artwork. You can utilize the Storepass for skipping the lines, which get pretty sizable during the early and middle part of the day.
There will be many other presentations in the smaller venues. These have not yet been announced, but they usually focus on a film’s anniversary, an upcoming product, or a look back at something from Disney’s history. These typically are more niche, so they don’t have the demand of the Hall D23 presentations, but they are great if the topic interests you. Stagepass, a fastpass for these smaller presentations, is offered on the show floor, so you could skip the line come show time.
There are usually some great exhibits from Imagineering and the Walt Disney Archives at the Expo. Imagineering had the full Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge model last year. This year’s Archives Exhibit will focus on the costumes of Disney Heroes and Villains. There are also smaller exhibits from other parts of the company, third part exhibitors, and celebrity autograph signings.
Most of these things can be seen in between presentation or at the end of the day (except for autograph signings which have set times). The end of the day is also a pretty good time to see some of the exhibits. Lines shouldn’t be too long at that time.
Arriving at the D23 Expo
How early you get there depends on your desire to be one of the first people in line for the morning presentations or on the show floor. In the past, they have allowed people to begin lining up at 10 pm the night before and sleep overnight in the basement of the convention center. It’s not the best place to get a good night sleep. We would recommend bringing a cheap inflatable bed that wouldn’t mind throwing away because the floor down there is very hard.
Additionally, you’ll want to dress in layers because it can get very cold in the convention center overnight. They do sell food overnight, but you might want to bring some snacks as well. Bathrooms are also available.
Eating at the D23 Expo
There are various places to eat within the convention center as well as several food trucks located outside. I would suggest the food trucks over the convention center food. The food trucks offer better food, and the lines will be shorter with more places to sit and eat. There are also restaurants in the nearby hotels that might have shorter lines. I would prioritize any expo presentations over eating. So if there’s something you want to see or do during lunchtime, it might be better to have a bigger breakfast and late lunch or pack some snacks to have during the day instead of a full meal when getting ready for the D23 Expo.
Structuring Your Day at the Expo
The best strategy with so much to do at the Expo is picking the things that interest you the most and aim for those events. Utilize the presentation Stagepass where you can for the smaller afternoon presentations to buy yourself some time. We have found you can get the most done at the Expo by doing the morning Hall D23 presentation, a smaller presentation in the afternoon, and then shopping and exhibits at the end of the day. In our experience, you should only expect to do two to three presentations a day. However, your plan could differ if you’d prefer to do your shopping first to get all the limited edition merchandise or if the Hall D23 presentations don’t interest you.
D23 Expo App
Download the D23 Expo App while you’re getting ready for the D23 Expo. The app has all the information you will need for the weekend. It has a map of the convention center and Expo show floor. It also has the schedule of all the presentations, autograph signings, and more. You can even create a list of your favorites and customize your own itinerary.