Thursday, July 20, 2017

The 2017 D23 Expo

Last weekend was another great time at Disney's biennial D23 Expo!

It was a packed weekend during which I attended seven panel presentations and a surprise preview of Fantasmic!, which has returned to Disneyland's Rivers of America just in time to celebrate its 25th anniversary. (Weren't we just celebrating the 20th anniversary?!) There was also a look at an amazing model of Star Wars Land (newly renamed Galaxy's Edge), shopping, and more.

The weekend wasn't without its challenges, but fortunately the majority of our time at the Expo made it all worthwhile.

After five Expos I sound like a broken record, but lines continue to be an issue; on Saturday I arrived at 6:15 a.m., nearly three hours before the show floor opened, but that wasn't early enough to secure a spot waiting indoors, and the packed line in front of the convention center (see below) wasn't comfortable, to say the least, especially as it was a warm day.

It was just a wee bit claustrophobic! Fortunately when I arrived at the same time on Sunday I was able to wait indoors.

As I predicted last year, the only way to see Saturday's hugely popular panel on upcoming live action films was to spend the previous night in line...all night long. Our daughter was game for the challenge and after a cold night on a cement basement floor was rewarded by personal appearances by the casts of STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI, A WRINKLE IN TIME (Chris Pine!), and something like 15 Avengers. I, on the other hand, was at least able to sleep for a few hours!

There were some significant line management issues, particularly for Friday's Animation panel, where around 1000 people who'd been waiting for hours were accidentally excluded in favor of people from closer to the end of the line. Disney had to quell a threatened mini-riot by giving those folks wristbands guaranteeing seating to one of the other two "big" panels, Live Action or Parks and Resorts; so many seats being handed out in advance only added to spending the night being the only way to get into Live Action. Fortunately I was able to get into both Animation and Parks and Resorts with a reasonable wait time.

No one knows lines like Disney so I don't know if the issue was with contractors or there were other factors at play, but they really need to up their game in this regard. And while they're at it, how about something like doing lotteries for the three big panels and ditching sleeping in line overnight?

On Saturday and Sunday the lines to get into the Expo were so long that it was impossible to leave to eat lunch at food trucks or the nearby hotel, because it would take so long to get back into the convention center. That said, my husband was able to get to a food truck on Sunday thanks to the kindness of a security guard who agreed the food in the convention center isn't fit for man or beast. His experience was not the norm, however.

All was forgiven, however, during the magical moments, which included every guest at the Parks and Resorts panel being given a pass to a sneak preview of Fantasmic! on Saturday or Sunday evening. We went on Saturday night, and it was an unforgettable cap to the day.

A LION KING (1994) celebration which culminated in the original voice artist performing "Circle of Life" with a choir was a tremendously moving moment, and what a thrill to see people like Karen Dotrice (Jane Banks in MARY POPPINS), Lesley Ann Warren, the INCREDIBLES cast, Susan Egan (HERCULES), and a whole lotta Disney princesses in person!

I have a series of three posts in the works sharing photos and more about each day of the Expo. Be watching for those in the coming days, as well as photos from last month's trip to the Walt Disney Family Museum and much more!

Update: The 2017 D23 Expo: Highlights, Part 1; Part 2; and Part 3.

Previously: Off to the 2017 D23 Expo!


Blogger DKoren said...

Wow. Those lines sound insane. And spending the night on the sidewalk? I dearly love my movies, but I'm not sure I'd do that. I would love to go to something like this, but it sounds overwhelming rather than fun. Not sure how that could be alleviated though, not with that many people who want to attend. I'm glad I get to read about it through your eyes, at least!!

7:39 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

Hi Deb!

It seemed like this year was a little more stressful than years past, but maybe I've just blocked it out LOL...and there is so much good stuff that it keeps pulling me back.

Here's another blogger's review which comes down pretty much where I did: "Dear D23 Expo: We Need to Talk..."

Best wishes,

8:19 AM  

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