By Rhonda Moffit, Moffits-Mad Hatter Adventures July 18, 2017
We attended the Disney D23 Expo which took place on July 14-16, 2017 at the Anaheim Convention Center. There was much to see and much to do.
There will be many upcoming posts here on the blog with specific pictures and details on the individual exhibits and celebrities that we met (thanks to the help of some of my personal Disney friends!), so be sure and watch for them. This article, however, is an editorial and more of an overview of the experience as a whole. Stop reading now if you are not prepared to read my honest opinion- because that is what I am going to give.
In our travels, we are not naive, as we have a lot of experience with D23 and with all of the other Disney parks, etc. We were thankful for the insight this time, as it helped us plan and cope with this Expo in a way that maximized our time and got us to the right places at exactly the right moments, but we did feel sorry for everyone we ran into that did not have any idea what they needed to do. We helped as many people as we could, for the staff at the convention seemed to be at as much of a loss as those attending in certain circumstances.
The exhibits were fun and full of amazing props and details. Our favorite was the Pirates of the Caribbean exhibit. We saw a multitude of props and costumes (VERY closely) from the successful POTC movies. We were able to see the actual portrait from the Disney film “Blackbeard’s Ghost” as well as the actual sheet music for “Yo Ho, Yo Ho, A Pirate’s Life for Me”, and so much more. Again, watch for a VERY detailed article on that in the coming days.
The actual presentations such as the Legends Ceremony, Disney Animation, Disney Live Action, and more were very fun. Where else can you be serenaded by Josh Gad or give Robert Downey Jr. a high five as he walks onstage? At least, some of us were able to do that.
The people who knew there would be lines and were prepared to wait- a lot. These individuals were among the best. They came prepared and occupied themselves visiting and getting to know other Disney fans as they waited in the lines. We had a LOT of great conversations with some of these people and are now friends with them on our social media so we can keep in touch and plan for the next Disney adventure. We even witnessed a great game of charades while waiting for one of the presentations in Hall D23.
The people who came totally unprepared and all they managed to do was complain loudly. This is one of the reasons we like to book our own clients for D23 and other Disney experiences- we do not let people go unprepared! It was completely disheartening to witness so much negativity and rudeness to others. If these people had planned ahead for the waiting, standing, prices of food, etc, they would have had a much better time. You can NOT do everything at D23 without a solid game plan. If you don’t do your homework before you go, it is simply chaotic and can be miserable- but that is no excuse for making others miserable.
The Convention Center. Yes, I said it. Anaheim, I love you, really- but you are now too small for D23. People were lined up (many in the hot sun) outside for HOURS just to get in the front door. Lines wrapped around for a couple of blocks and were several aisles deep at times. It was insane. We have attended previous Expos, and it was not as bad as it was this time. Pssst- Disney- it’s simple. Just one simple word to remember for next time- ORLANDO! You have grown, D23, which is great, but you need a LOT more space. People do not like standing on top of one another. MOVE THE EXPO! We will still come, I promise.
The lack of true Gold member benefits was apparent to everyone we spoke to. If you could get into one of the shopping venues, you may get a 20% discount, but there were supposed to be more perks this time around for Gold members and they just didn’t pan out for more than 10% of those in attendance. Special seating for them? It did exist, but it was often filled hours before a presentation. Even WORSE than that was the fact that if someone in your party had a wheelchair or scooter you did not get seated in a Gold section regardless. Why on earth was there no Gold handicapped seating? Instead, a lovely Gold family we ran into whose son had cerebral palsy was escorted to the rear of Hall D23 despite many seats being available prior to a presentation. They asked staff members why they could not take their son closer so he could see, and they refused, made the boy transfer to a regular chair only a few aisles forward even though there were several rows in front of the family that were vacant. What made this worse was when general seating people were admitted and took up all of the rows in front of the family. It was NOT well organized and should have been done better. But hey- Gold members did get a limited edition black and white print mini poster if they waited in line for it in Hall A.
Much of the Convention Staff was totally lost. Many people were disappointed in the fact that regardless who you asked a question to, you would get a totally different answer every time. It was at times like the staff had no training prior to the opening of the Expo. We ran into two really good staff members, thankfully, but most of them seemed flustered and unprepared to deal with the onslaught of so many Disney fans. Again- ORLANDO. Move the Expo, please!
The shopping was slightly better than in 2015, but goodness there is room for improvement here. That year the wait to get into the Disney Store or Disney Dream Store was 4-6 hours without a “shop pass” (another line to get one of those if you were lucky enough to get one). This year we saw only a two hour wait on average. Yay?
The rude, rude, rude people were all over the place, sadly. As I mentioned before, it was just sad to see so much negativity this time around. We did notice that this happened more on Day 1 this time around. People were exceedingly frustrated with the crowds, waiting in line (again- be prepared!), the cost of food, etc., and they were very loud with their opinions. What made it worse was the lack of values that we witnessed, some cussing loudly around other people’s children, yelling, and even shoving in a couple of cases. It was surprising, as we have been to many conventions and not seen as much of this behavior.
The garbage, just thrown wherever. We simply do not understand why it was so difficult for so many to throw away food wrappers, etc, in an actual garbage can. REALLY?! Again, it’s not exactly nice to leave a mess on the show floor regardless of how long you had to wait in a line.
All in all, we did have a good time at the D23 Expo, despite the weaker moments. We came prepared and really had some one of a kind experiences. We didn’t pay $2000 a person for the Sorcerer Package, but we got to do more than many of them did! We met several Disney actors and good friends while there, and we were able to talk directly with some directors, artists, and imagineers. We felt very sad for those that did not have as much of a magical time, and we are ready to plan for 2019 (but yes, I am hoping for Orlando!).
What do you think? Leave us a comment, a like, or just share us with your pals! 🙂
Images and video ©Moffits: Mad Hatter Adventures
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