D23 Expo Survival Guide – What You Need to Know Before You Go!
D23 Expo 2019 will be my fourth D23 Expo I’m attending! It’s quite the exhilarating experience, to get to be among the biggest of Disney fans while we all learn about epic breaking news regarding upcoming movies, attractions in the Disney Parks, and this year about Disney+, Disney’s upcoming streaming service.
When posting about D23 Expo on my Instagram, I get a lot of questions about what to expect and what’s happening at D23 this year, so thought I would put together a D23 Expo Survival Guide for the D23 Expo, happening August 23-25th 2019.
First Off, What is D23 Expo?
I have gotten this question a lot on Instagram! D23 Expo is a 3-day convention that happens once every other year at the Anaheim Convention Center near Disneyland Resort. D23 Expo is open to the general public as well as D23 (The Official Disney Fan Club) members, but D23 members get a discount on tickets. At the convention, there are panels with Disney legends, Disney cast members, talent from movies and more. The main panels share breaking news of things coming up for the Parks and for movies. You can also experience shopping some exclusive merch for the event.
How Do I Get Tickets for D23 Expo?
All tickets to D23 Expo as of August 14, 2019 are sold out.
Photo Credit: D23 Expo
What is the Schedule of Panels, and Planning Your Day
The easiest way to plan your day is by downloading the D23 Expo app, which has the latest information and planning tools where you create your own custom schedule. You can also find merch that will be exclusive to the Expo to help create a game plan for what merchandise locations you would like to go to. You can download the App in the App Store hereApp Store here.
You can take a look at the schedule released so far for Hall D23, D23 Expo Arena, stage 28 and the Walt Disney Archives Stage on D23’s website here. The Hall D23 panels are the “big panels”, the ones that announce the big news coming up for Disney.
Before going to D23 Expo, I would make a tentative list of the panels you want to go to. Something that I have done in the past to make my days at D23 Expo easier is picking a top priority panel for the morning, one for the afternoon, and one for the evening. It is pretty hard to do back-to-back panels, since they often require waiting in line ahead of time to get inside, so it’s pretty difficult to do that. Also, I would highly recommend saving some time in between your top priority panels to see the Showroom floor, which always has tons of shopping and lots of fun things to see!
I would make a schedule now so you have a game plan, then check out the schedule closer til the date once there will be more added to the schedule. If you want to go to one of the Hall D23 presentations, definitely arrive a couple hours early if you want a good seat. In the past, I have arrived just a half hour before and got a seat way in the back or standing. So if you would rather wait less time and do that, that’s a potential option!
To give you an idea of what a tentative schedule could like, here is what I am planning on doing:
Friday, August 23rd
10:30-12pm Disney Legends Ceremony (Hall D23)
Grab lunch in between
3:30-5pm Disney+ Showcase (Hall D23)
After this panel, explore the Showroom Floor until closing
Saturday, August 24th
10am-12pm Go Behind the Scenes with Walt Disney Studios (Hall D23)
Grab lunch in between
2:30-3pm Forky Asks a Question and Lamp Life Creative Panel (Disney+ Pavilion Stage on the Showroom Floor)
Explore showroom floor in between
6-7pm Travels with Marty: A Conversation with Sklars and Imagineers (Walt Disney Archives Stage)
Sunday August 25th
10:30-12pm Sneak Peek! Disney Parks, Experiences, and Products (Hall D23)
Grab lunch in between
2-3pm Inspiring Women Behind Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge (stage 28)
Explore showroom floor until closing
Find Schedule Updates:
Reserving A Spot for D23 Expo Experiences
If you have purchased a ticket, you will be able to make complimentary advanced reservations on the D23 website beginning August 16th at 12pm PT. In order to make the reservations, you must have your badge in hand for its activation code. For the reservations for panels, you can reserve the select offerings for up to two people online. If you do not receive the reservation you were hoping for, you can still join standby queues at the stores and arenas. You can reserve up to two panels per day for yourself. You can make one StorePass reservation per day, and three TalentPass reservations per day. Visit here for complete information about badge activation and StagePass, StorePass and TalentPass reservations.
Eating and Lodging During D23 Expo
With so much to see at D23 Expo, I definitely recommend going at least two days. I am planning on spending the night beginning Thursday night so I can easily begin my day first thing Friday. A great place to stay that’s a 25 minute walk, or a short Uber ride is Howard Johnson Anaheim. If you have kids with you, they have a great pirate-themed water playground.
I am going with one of my girlfriends, and we are looking forward to enjoying their comfortable queen beds, and their views of the Matterhorn and fireworks from the hotel! Inside the rooms, they have Hulu and Netflix you can use with your login for the streaming services. This is honestly one of my favorite things about this hotel! They also have a regular swimming pool, jacuzzi, and great mini mart/shop at the hotel. They also offer free parking for one car which is great!
You can book a room with them here, and use code LNLR for 15% off your stay, or LNAP for 20% off your stay if you’re a Disneyland Annual Passholder.
For eating when you’re at D23 Expo, my go-to place is the Hilton Anaheim next door. It’s right outside the convention center, with a food court, Starbucks, table service restaurant, and full bar inside.
Should I Bring Kids?
This is another frequently asked question. If your kid is into Disney, and is okay sitting quietly during panels then bring them! I went once with my daughter when she was two and I found it rather difficult. It gets crowded, hard to navigate with a toddler. Also, my daughter was getting antsy during the panels. So it can work for some kids, but maybe not the easiest with toddlers! Something else to keep in mind is that strollers are allowed in the showroom floor, but must be parked if you are going inside a presentation, as they are not allowed in the presentations.
Stay Tuned for More Updates!
Stay tuned as I update this D23 Expo survival guide as more information becomes available! Also stay tuned for when I’m at D23 Expo, since I will be posting lots of news and updates released!