It’s almost that most wonderful time again! Time for the D23 Convention.
This ultimate fan event is held every two years at the Anaheim Convention center. Over the weekend of August 23-25, Disney fans from all corners of the globe will gather to celebrate all things Disney!!
If this is your first time attending this event it can be a bit overwhelming. So here’s a look at my top 10 basic tips to have a wonderful time at D23.
1. Bring a Water Bottle
Convention centers are usually as dry as the deserts of Tatooine. Therefore, it’s important to keep hydrated. I always recommend carrying a water bottle. You can refill it at water fountains inside the convention center. And this way, you won’t get hit with the drastically inflated convention beverage prices.
2. Dress in Layers
Trust me on this one. You will go from sweltering heat to freezing chills during this event. The infamous basement holding area is perpetually icy. It doesn’t help that people spend hours stationary in this space waiting for the bigger panels. If you are already planning on waiting out some of the bigger panels, it also helps to bring something to sit on like a small camp chair or at the very least a blanket. You do not want to be sitting on that cold concrete floor.
The main convention floor is usually pretty warm and doesn’t get a lot of air flow. This is where dressing in layers will help.
3. Have a Plan
The D23 Expo can be overwhelming. There will be booths sponsored by Marvel, Lucasfilm, Disney Animation, Pixar, the Disney Archives, Disney on Broadway and countless others. Not only that but there will be large panels, smaller panels, and events happening on the main floor. There will also be a large section of outside vendors hawking every sort of Disney treasure imaginable.
The Expo has already been releasing tidbits of information on the schedule. The full schedule should drop about a week or so before the expo. If you want to get the most out of this great weekend, be sure to understand everything that is offered.
4. Choose 1 or 2 Must-Dos
This next piece of advice goes hand in hand with number 3. After you have seen the entire schedule, choose 1 or 2 must-dos for each day. This can be very difficult because there will be so many great things on offer. The truth of the matter is, many attendees will want to do the same things that you do. This could require securing a spot in line early. At the end of the day, you might not get to do that many things. This is why it’s so crucial that you have your must-dos picked out ahead of time. Don’t allow yourself to be distracted by anything else. Accomplishing your must-dos each day will contribute to having a successful D23.
5. Follow Social Media
It’s never a bad idea to follow all the main participants of the expo on social media. Many of them will post about events that are happening or special giveaways on their Twitter accounts. Last expo, I was able to get a limited edition Olaf lithograph because Disney Animation’s Twitter announced that there would be a special giveaway for the first 100 people that found a certain cast member in a particular location.
6. Make Friends
No matter what you choose to do at the expo, you’ll most likely find yourself in a long line at some point. Don’t be afraid to strike up a conversation with the people around you. You already know that you have something in common: a love of all things Disney!
7. Use the App
The app will most likely be released about a week before the start of the convention. It will be a great source of information. The entire schedule will be on there so you can pick your must-dos. You’ll be able to see a map of the convention center. The celebrity meet and greet times will be posted. This will also be the only place to be sure you are up to date with what is happening, as any changes in the schedule will be posted on the app. You can even make yourself a schedule on the app so you’ll always know what you want to do.
8. Arrive Early
Arriving early is one of the best pieces of advice I can give. Last convention, if you arrived before 5am, you were able to wait in the basement of the convention center. While the basement is freezing, there are several advantages to this waiting area. First of all, you’ll have already gone through security. So when the convention doors open, you can head right in instead of slowly following the line through security. Second, there are bathrooms. I don’t know about you but if I have to wait a few hours to get into the convention, I’d rather do it with bathrooms available. Third, it can get very hot waiting on the pavement outdoors to get into the expo. Fourth, I’ve heard horror stories of people arriving right when the expo opens. People have to wait in the hot sun out on the sidewalks in giant lines for over an hour just to get inside.
In my view, losing a few hours of sleep is well worth it to be able to wait inside and enter the expo a few minutes after the doors officially open.
Food is a tricky one. The official expo rules state that no outside food can be brought in unless you have an allergy or medical condition. This rule is not always enforced. Many people have been able to bring snacks inside. Which is a great thing because, not only is the food inside very overpriced, but you can wait a long time for it. In 2017, a good number of food trucks gathered outside the convention center, but if you wanted to use them, you’d have to leave and then come back in through the security checkpoints. Sometimes there will be lines to re-enter the convention center, so keep that in mind.
So, in short, if you want to try to bring snacks in, it’s not a bad idea. Just be aware that your particular security clearer could choose to enforce the rules and you might have to throw the snacks away. Don’t bring anything you are not prepared to lose.
10. Battery Charger
This is crucial. You’ll most likely be on your phone a lot during the convention. Whether you’re taking pictures, checking the D23 app, keeping up with social media accounts or just trying to keep busy while waiting in lines that battery charge will slip away faster than you think. You can find all sorts of portable battery chargers in most stores; Amazon has a pretty large selection.
There you have it! My top ten tips for having a great D23 expo!
Are there any tips you can think of that I didn’t include? Be sure to comment below!