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23 Things to Know Before the Next D23 Expo

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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.

Tips for the D23 Expo that you need to know before the next event happens! Disney's fan club, D23, puts on an expo every 2 years in Anaheim. It's Comic Con for Disney!

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.

2019 D23 expo poster

 

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. 

The Ultimate D23 Expo Packing List

The Agents of SHIELD are Coming to D23 Expo

Letting the Inner Fangirl Out: D23 Expo Is Coming!

2019 D23 Expo Legends Announced

Disney+ Streaming Panels Announced for D23 Expo

D23 Expo Badge Activation Steps

D23 Expo Online Reservation Tips

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! 

d23 expo pricing non member

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 expo early bird gold member

  • 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?

Yup.

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.

2019 D23 Expo Badge

 

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.

d23 expo overnight packing list

 

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!

D23 Expo fangirls

11. If you roll solo to D23: make friends in line.

Disney people are some of the nicest people EVER.

Swearsies!

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.

D23 Expo Online Reservation Tips

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.

If you need ideas, here’s a Loki Disneybounding look as well as a Snow White Dapper Day look.

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!

amiyrah martin at star wars galaxys edge

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.

At D23 Expo, the 4 “biggies” are the Legends ceremony, the Animation Panel, the Live-Action Panel, and the Disney Parks Panel.

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.

d23 expo food

 

19. Closest Disneyland Airports

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.

D23 Expo Stagepass fastpass

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.

Sorcerer D23 expo

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.

23 Tips for the D23 Expo at Anaheim Convention Center. Signage with Mickey and D23 Expo logo

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!

Marvel at D23 Expo

2017 Disney Legends at D23 Expo

D23 Expo tips and plans for a con newbie. Things you need to know before you hit the Anaheim Convention Center!

 

Did you attend the D23 Expo? What tips do you have?

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JC

Tuesday 13th of August 2019

i thought i went to D23 2018 Anaheim CC. Not able to get D23 2019 tickets though

JC

JC

Tuesday 13th of August 2019

opps it was a different CON haha WonderCon 2018

Ann

Thursday 8th of August 2019

Hey! Just discovered your article bec im looking for tips about the expo! It'll be my first time and I'll be alone so I'm kinda nervous about it. I want to go see the Legends Ceremony and Im wondering if an overnighter is really recommended so I can get in? Also, if I want to see the next panel after the ceremony which will still be held at Hall D23, can I just stay there until the next session or is it something where they let all the people out after one part?

Patty Holliday

Thursday 8th of August 2019

I don't think Legends *has* to be an overnight thing. You also have the option this year to try to grab an advanced Stage Pass reservation- that would 100% keep you out of the overnight line! Those are going to be available starting August 16th. You should have some info coming your way on that with your badges or you might find it on the app.

Mark Holliday

Monday 1st of July 2019

Great Info - we are Gold Family Members & bought 4 of the 3 Day Tickets. We are wondering if the same 4 people have to use the tickets all 3 days? We have one friend that can only go Friday & Saturday & another we’d love to invite Sunday but this is our first year and not sure how the tickets work? Thanks - btw we have the same last name :)

Patty Holliday

Saturday 6th of July 2019

Oh good question! I'm not sure but I'd say no off the top of my head. Mostly because the badges were always officially "non-transferrable" -- however, in the past, the names on the badges were not checked against ID or anything. I have no idea how 2019 will be set up though!

BellaV

Monday 27th of May 2019

its my first time an im really more interested in buying stuff, and what does Panel mean I have no clue about any of this other then shopping. do you have to sleep over to buy things or can you still get there super early or middle of the night to have chances to buy. I heard they let Cast members buy before public is that true?

Patty Holliday

Tuesday 28th of May 2019

I'm not sure what the setup for 2019 will be since they haven't announced any details just yet! But in the past, yes, people did line up overnight to be some of the first to get into the shopping areas. The lines there can get very long as they let a few people in at a time to shop! So you might need to be prepared for that kind of situation.

A Panel is where they speak on or announce specific things as it relates to the Disney Parks or movies!

Curly

Friday 17th of May 2019

Hi! This year is going to be our first experience at the D23 Expo and we're very excited! We're really interested on seeing some of the big panels and I see that you mentioned that Stagepasses are not available. So, to get in is it absolutely necessary to camp out or can you get there really early in the morning (like 4~5 am)? And if it's absolutely necessary to camp out, what do you recommend bringing with you for the night? And just another question, if the schedule is the same, how likely is to get in the animation panel if you managed to get into the legends panel? Thank you for your help!

Patty Holliday

Saturday 18th of May 2019

Hi there!

A lot of these questions I can't answer 100% because Disney hasn't announced the setup or schedule for 2019. So this is based on previous experience only.

There's a rumor that a lottery system could be used rather than allowing overnight lines, so we'll see if that develops.

In my experience, you did not need to camp out for the Legends panel. That one doesn't seem to over-fill, so you could safely line up for that one at a more reasonable 6am-ish time frame. I wouldn't try to walk in as the doors open, however, if you are concerned about "good" seats!

The animation panel did fill up last year and people who were not in line early did indeed miss out on that one. In 2015 I was able to attend Legends and the Animation panel without issue, but 2017 felt much bigger to be honest.

For overnights, I recommend a folding chair like this https://amzn.to/2YyL8v7 and to dress warmly. It was FREEZING down in the basement! You can also bring blow up air mattress (think pool type size) to set up in line- at least, people did in the past. But remember that anything you come in with you'll probably end up walking around all day carrying. So think light!

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