I’m home. Didya miss me? :)
I thought I’d share my thoughts on the D23 Expo. Sound good?
Let’s start with the good.
-The Dick Cook presentation on upcoming Disney Studios projects was super cool. Über cool even. And that, coming from the dumb girl who left the arena fifteen minutes before Johnny Depp appeared on stage in full on Capt. Jack Sparrow character. And yes, I’m totally kicking myself for that. Sigh.
-Presentations. Disney showcased some of their best and brightest during the Expo. And they did a great job of making attendees feel like they were being given an “inside” scoop. In spite of the fact that everything shared opened for public consumption, via DisneyParks tweets, seconds after it was announced on stage.
-Space. I attended the Expo on Friday and Saturday. There was only a brief time on Saturday morning during which I felt maybe a little claustrophobic. Other than that, the meeting space was big enough that it didn’t make it feel like you were one of the many heifers being herded down Main Street after Wishes.
-Design. There was Disney signage everywhere. They did a great job of illustrating the Disney sponsored exhibits. So too did they succeed at properly identifying the meeting spaces and exhibits.
-Staffing. There were plenty of Cast Members on hand to offer direction or answer questions.
-Publicity. If you weren’t aware of the D23 Expo, you almost certainly must have been hiding under a rock.
Now. On to the not-so-good. And I give some serious slack here considering the fact that this was a HUGE event to put together and it was the first of its kind.
-Organization. I think they could have done a bit better in this area. In all fairness, though, I saw significant improvements on day three over day two.
-Planning for the masses. I saw a report pre-Expo that stated Disney was expecting 40,000 fans in attendance. Yet many of the most popular presentations were only set up to allow seating for 200 people.
-Value. I’m not sure that I got my $37 worth of “entertainment” each day, considering I could have gotten into Disneyland for $35 more.
My biggest complaint? Ever since it was announced, I wanted to attend D23. And I wavered for a long time. I was pushed over the edge, though, when Disney Cruise Line announced that it would unveil it’s newest itineraries at the Expo. Once that happened, I immediately purchased my plane ticket and made hotel reservations. The DCL presentation was scheduled to begin at 9 am on Friday. When I showed up at the Convention Center at 8:15 on Friday I was told that because I was not a D23 member, I would not be permitted to enter the convention hall until 9 am. I pointed out to the Cast Member that there was no way I would make the presentation in that case. And he kindly directed me to the ticket sales booth where I could purchase a $75 D23 membership in order to gain admittance and line up for the presentation I’d traveled a thousand miles to see. Fabulous. But left with little choice, I begrudgingly purchased the membership. And after a whole lot of hassle (which I’ll skip over for the sake of brevity) I was permitted to go upstairs and line up for the presentation. You can imagine my delight when a Cast Member came by and counted the awaiting guests, assigning me a number of 190, safely under the 200 person limit for the presentation. This, though, is where I feel like Disney had an organizational fail: they didn’t monitor the line at all. Guests in front of me had been “saving space” for other members of their party and when it came time to enter the theater, the line jumpers ahead of me ended up cheating me out of my spot.
I mean really, really sucked.
If I’m being honest I’ll tell you that I was on the verge of tears. Not only because I’d been duped into purchasing a $75 D23 membership, but also because I legitimately had earned my place inside that theater and it had coyly been snatched away.
You’d have cried too.
I will say, however, that my experience significantly improved from there. Because when Dick Cook puts on a presentation, well, let’s just say he knocks it out of the park.
I was privy to movie clips and trailers of some of the most super cool movies in the making. We saw clips or trailers for: Disney’s A Christmas Carol, Old Dogs, Prince of Persia, Alice in Wonderland, and The Sorcerer’s Apprentice. John Travolta, along with his wife, Kelly Preston, and daughter, Ella Bleu, appeared briefly on stage as did Nicolas Cage, Tim Burton, Jerry Bruckheimer, and Robert Zemeckis. Of course, that’s saying nothing of the appearances of Miley Cyrus (who doesn’t really do a thing for me, personally) and Johnny Depp as Capt. Jack Sparrow (who maybe kindofsortofdoes).
Of the presentations I saw, this one absolutely takes the cake.
Overall, I’d venture to guess that D23 Expo (surprise surprise) was a success.
Here is the advice I’d offer to someone who plans to attend the next event (should I be so bold as to predict there will be one…):
-Don’t go alone. The highlights of my weekend (besides the Dick Cook presentation) occurred when I was hanging out with Allison (more on that tomorrow!) and her adorably sweet mom, Francie.
-Don’t rely on the Expo for your sole means of entertainment. Incorporate a trip to Disneyland and/or Disney’s California Adventure.
-Don’t plan to see any first-of-the-morning presentations unless you are a D23 member. :)
I do plan to attend again next year. If there is a next year. But I’ll be bringing my peeps with me, because all that excitement just isn’t as exciting without someone to share it with.