I attended my 2nd D23 Expo in 2017 and felt like a seasoned vet. No more D23 Expo newbie mistakes! If you were watching via social media and saying, “I need to be there next time!” this is the post for you. The D23 Expo is August 23-25, 2019. Here are 23 things to know before the next D23 Expo in 2019.
What is D23 Expo?
Let’s start with answering the question- what is D23?
D23 is the official Disney fan club which was created on March 10, 2009.
This was the first-ever official fan club of The Walt Disney Company.
The D23 Expo is the biennial fan event held in Anaheim, California to celebrate all things Disney. It’s the ultimate Disney fan experience!
From the Marvel movies and Disney Studios movies to the television shows, to the merchandise and the parks: it can all be found at D23 Expo.
What does D23 stand for?
The D stands for Disney, and 23 represents 1923, the year that Walt Disney made it to California.
23 Things to Know Before the Next D23 Expo
1. When is D23 Expo?
August 23-25, 2019. D23 runs every 2 years.
Don’t sound like a newbie and say “I’m going next year!” because there is not a D23 Expo in 2018 (unless you wanted to go to D23 Expo Japan!).
Be cool: 2019 is when the next Disney Fan Expo happens.
For historical purposes, the D23 Expo 2017 dates were July 14-16.
2. Where can you find D23 news?
Look for D23 news about the expo to start coming out during the summer before the event. So for D23 Expo 2019, start looking in August of 2018.
Or hey, right here! I’m sharing everything D23 Expo that I can find. Here are a few posts if you want to catch up on the 2019 D23 Expo news.
Watch this space!
Sign up for D23 via the Disney Store (it’s FREE!) to get on the email list or of course, follow along here because you know I’ll share all the details as they come out.
3. D23 Membership is not required
You do NOT need a D23 Membership of any sort to attend.
But Gold Members do receive a few perks at the event (including better over-night line placement if there is an overnight line up this year) so it might be worth the cost to become a member before the event.
Becoming a D23 member is easy: head over to the Disney Store and purchase your membership level.
D23 Membership costs with shipping:
- D23 General: free!
- D23 Gold: $99.99
- D23 Gold Family: $129.99
4. How Much Do D23 Expo Ticket cost?
Welp, prices have gone up a bit since the last D23 Expo.
General admission tickets are $89 for one-day adult admission and $69 for children. Three-day money-saving tickets are also available.
ETA 8.12.19: D23 Expo is sold out!
NEW THIS YEAR: If you are a D23 Gold Member you can get a discount on your ticket. Nice, right?
The free membership will no longer qualify for the discount.
Plus, Gold Members who purchase their tickets from August 23 – November 20, 2018, will enjoy an additional special Early Bird discount. D23 Gold Family Members can save as much as $288 off the price of admission, based on the purchase of four three-day tickets at the D23 Gold Member Early Bird rate.
- D23 Gold Members must log in by using their D23.com Gold Member account information when reserving discounted tickets.
- D23 Gold Members may reserve a discounted ticket for themselves and one (1) guest; D23 Gold Family Members may reserve discounted tickets for themselves and up to three (3) guests.
- Non-Members may reserve up to twelve (12) D23 Expo 2019 tickets. Gold Members may reserve up to twelve (12) D23 Expo 2019 tickets including their discounted tickets.
- Ticketed Members and guests who do not attend D23 Expo 2019 forfeit their place as well as all experiences, benefits, and gifts associated with the event.
- D23 Expo 2019 tickets are subject to availability
- All D23 Events are subject to change without notice. There are strictly no cancellations or refunds, and tickets are not transferable.
- Tickets are expected to ship to the provided shipping address 6-8 weeks prior to D23 Expo 2019.
D23 Expo 2017 Ticket Prices:
From July 14 – December 31, 2016, tickets are $67 for one-day adult admission and $46 for children 3?9. Tickets for members of D23: The Official Disney Fan Club are $57 for one-day adult admission and $41 for children.
5. Will D23 Expo Sell Out?
The event does sell out for most days- so get your tickets early. The 3-day tickets sold out in late April for the 2019 event.
That being said, there were still one-day tickets available up to the week before the 2017 D23 Expo.
D23 Expo has sold out for 2019 as of August 12, 2019.
6. Where is the D23 Expo 2019?
It’s always been held in Anaheim and will return to the Anaheim Convention Center in 2019.
Why isn’t D23 held in Orlando? Well, for one, the Orlando convention center is pretty far from Disney World- so settle down, Disney World fans. It’s not likely to happen.
Make plans to visit sunny California in 2019.
7. Sleep after D23 Expo
Because you probably won’t get a lot of it during the event!
We chose to stay in the overnight lines, which afforded a little sleep, but not much.
Even if you skip this plan, you’ll want to be up early for entry to the best panels. Which of course means you might be exhausted & possibly overwhelmed by the end of the day.
8. D23 Expo Hotels
Book your D23 Expo Disneyland Good Neighbor Hotel early!
While you may not sleep in it a lot, you will still want a hotel room for a variety of reasons: naps, storage, showers… we all will thank you for that!
Most hotels start the booking process about a year in advance.
9. Stay Close to the Anaheim Convention Center
Try to stay close to the action: the best hotels are right around the convention center.
I’ve stayed at the Red Lion Inn for the past two expos without complaint.
It’s a lower-cost option that’s direct across the street from the D23 Expo location.
10. Bring a friend (or three!) to D23 Expo
They help you pass the time, keep you laughing, and geek out right along with you.
Poor Renee was beaten black and blue when the Marvel Avengers: Infinity War parade of stars at the 2017 D23 Expo Live Action Panel started.
Sorry, girl. I warned ya!
11. If you roll solo to D23: make friends in line.
Disney people are some of the nicest people EVER.
12. Don’t be afraid to let your dis-nerd flag fly at D23 Expo
Everyone here is “a huge huge yuuuugggee fan” and they will get you!
Chances are you will learn something new you didn’t know about Disney fandom too.
13. Wear a costume to D23 Expo or try your hand at a Disneybound
D23 Expo Costumes are for everyone- not just the superhero cos-players out there.
But there’s a ton of those to see as well!
They love it when you ask to take their pictures: they didn’t dress up like this just for themselves.
I love channeling a character with my clothing at these events.
It’s called Disneybounding, and it can be a lot of fun to spot the fellow Disneybounders in the room.
14. Visit Disneyland During D23 Expo
Disneyland is just steps away but is NOT included in the price of your D23 expo ticket.
D23 Expo fans will be able to purchase discounted tickets, however, so keep that in mind.
During the D23 Expo 2017, I had a chance to check out Disneyland’s Summer of Heroes and it was FABULOUS! And this year?
Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is open!
15. Should you bring the kids to D23 Expo?
Possibly an unpopular opinion, but I’m just keeping things real here.
Parents: leave the kids at home unless they are strong Disney fans in the tween to the teenage range.
While D23 Expo is kid-appropriate, it’s not exactly kid-friendly.
Strollers are hard to maneuver through the crowds and your fellow expo-goers’ heels will thank you for not bringing them!
16. Explore the D23 Expo floor
There are going to be lines for everything- so just ask people what they are in line for, then look for the “end of the queue” signs to find out where to line up.
Shopping is a HUGE thing at the D23 Expo. Bring your credit cards, yall!
While we missed out on jumping in Scrooge McDuck’s money pit, I didn’t miss the chance to star in the new Thor: Ragnarok trailer.
17. Do you need to go to panels?
A panel is where are the good stuff is “leaked” or shared for the first time with fans.
Sometimes it’s exclusive and only shown to the people in the room (like the D23 Expo Avengers: Infinity War trailer we saw) and sometimes it’s the first peek of something that will be released online soon after the panel concludes.
A typical panel will include directors, producers, and stars of the project chatting with fans about what they can expect to see.
18. What to eat at D23 Expo
Food and drinks cannot officially be brought into the Expo (though many people managed to get around that rule!).
There are places to purchase what you need inside.
Protip: make sure your burger actually has a pattie in it before you walk away. I learned this lesson too late to do anything about it- mine was missing!
But here’s where my point number 11 comes into play: I was rescued by a sweet line-mate who pulled a tuna kit from her bag. I made a tuna sandwich instead and all was good.
Check out the closest Disneyland airports for your travel needs.
You have quite a few options for flying into Southern California, but there are airports that might be better than others.
20. D23 Expo Stagepass is Awesome
Save some time & bypass the lines.
Grab a free Stagepass early if your favorite panel is offering them.
It’s basically a Fastpass into the hall or room that you want to be and keeps you from standing in line hoping to get in.
This year you will have a chance to register for panel access. Seats will be limited, but you can grab a spot in advance.
Here’s what you need to know about the D23 Expo online registration process.
21. Pack your patience along with your Pixie Dust
Because there’s a lot of people at this event, and they all want the same thing: to see and shop and experience all the amazing things Disney brings to the Expo.
Good things happen to those that are willing to wait, but better things come to those that are willing to be kind.
I’ve heard stories of fans helping each other out- folks who missed out on a Tsum Tsum (hey, I got an extra! You can have it!) or who were shut out of the Animation panel but really wanted the COCO poster that was given (I won’t need mine- you take it!)
Be nice, people! It’s Disney, for goodness sake!
22. Be a D23 Expo Sorcerer
If all this sounds awful (lines suck, let’s be honest), consider the D23 Expo Sorcerer’s package.
And be quick about it because these babies sell FAST (as in 2 minutes fast for the 2017 Expo!).
ETA: Sorcerer packages sold out for the 2019 Expo quickly!
New for 2019 D23 Expo SORCERER PACKAGES:
A limited number of VIP Sorcerer Packages for D23 Expo 2019 will be available exclusively to both D23 Gold and Gold Family Members at $2,500 per ticket.
The Sorcerer Package includes a three-day admission ticket with a commemorative Sorcerer credential; reserved seating at presentations; a preview day with a tour of the show floor and advance shopping opportunities; a Haunted Mansion-themed welcome reception; a packed D23 Expo gift pack, including an exclusive bag provided by D23 Expo 2019 sponsor American Tourister, and more.
Members can purchase up to two Sorcerer tickets.
The 2017 D23 Sorcerer Package included:
- Three-day admission ticket and commemorative Sorcerer credential
- Reserved seating at presentations in Hall D23, Stage 23, and Stage 28
- Limited-edition D23 American Tourister boarding bag
- Pre-Expo tour of select exhibits including Treasures of the Walt Disney Archives
- Exclusive shopping time in the D23 Expo Dream Store, Disney Store, and Mickey’s of Glendale
- Tour of the D23 Expo show floor the day before the Expo is open to the public
- Welcome Reception on Thursday evening
- Exclusive entrance to the Expo each morning
- A voucher for an appointment with an on-site massage therapist
- Exclusive D23 Expo gift pack including gifts from D23 and the rest of The Walt Disney Company
- Meet and Greet with a special Disney guest
- Fond Farewell reception on final day of Expo
- Plus, access to the Sorcerer Member Lounge and other benefits
Sorcerer Package tickets are available exclusively to both D23 Gold and Gold Family Members at $2,500 per ticket.
Members have the option to purchase up to two Sorcerer tickets.
Sounds sweet, right? It is.
If you can’t be a unicorn, be a Sorcerer.
23. Final D23 Expo advice
My final words of advice: if you watched this play out on social media and had any moment of, “Man, I wish I was there!” then this is the event for you.
You don’t have to do it all. In fact: you CANNOT do it all.
Go in with open expectations; pick one or two “must-see” panels and consider anything else extra because there’s no way to do it all.
I repeat: SET YOUR EXPECTATIONS. You cannot do it all.
Unless you are a Sorcerer. And if you are one, can you pick me up an extra pass? I make a great companion, swearsies!
Need more D23 Expo tips? Check out this post!
Did you attend the D23 Expo? What tips do you have?
Patty Holliday is a movie critic, writer, and podcaster living in the Washington, DC area. Her goal is to bridge the gap between casual fandom and picky critic with parent movie and television reviews.