Disney Now and Then: D23 Expo
The minute I found out there was a D23 Expo, I couldn’t quite wrap my head around how huge it could be. Afterall, at the time D23 was first introduced, I was working for Radio Disney and got to work at the first ever expo. Now that I’m on the east coast, having events such as D23 means so much more to me now than it did when it first came out. I get giddy just thinking about the fact that I get to geek out with other Disney fans at the same location and that no one is going to judge me for talking about Disneyland with the same enthusiasm that a bride-to-be would talk about her wedding day. It’s been a few years since I last visited D23, so this week, I’m taking a look back as I make my Expo plans.
The first ever D23 was cool. It was figuring out what it was going to be. I was in awe at the different exhibits such as a Cinderella coach and who can resist hanging out with storm troopers? I spent my breaks trying to cover as much ground as possible. The thing is, the expo was still very new and trying to establish itself. You didn’t see people wandering around cosplaying. The vibe was that the event was an Expo, not a convention. It felt more like a gathering rather than an event. I didn’t see any panels while I was there, and you could see that all the puzzle pieces were forming but not clicking. A lot of that has to do with the fact that both the Walt Disney Co. and the Disney fan base has shaped so much over the past couple years. Walt Disney Co. has branched out and now owns companies such as Marvel as well as the Star Wars universe, which gives D23 a lot more variety and a much larger world to play in that can appeal to a wide variety of fans. Also, with technology changes such as vlogging/blogging, the Disney community has been able to connect and redefine themselves through their love of fashion/merch/movies etc, which has added more meaning and significance to D23 in general. Instead of showing up and wandering around aimlessly, the partnership between the Walt Disney Co. and its definitive fan base is creating the first ever truly focused fan experience where it’s not just about movies, comic books and dressing up. It’s about one very specific brand that has become more than a brand. It’s a feeling. It’s a world. And we’re all a part of it and all connected to it.
Fast forward a few years later and I’m living in New York frantically researching everything that I possibly can to be prepared for an Expo that has changed so much. D23 has grown in such a remarkable way. At least from what I can see from way over here in New York…”Hi Disneeeeeey!” There’s an app to help plan my experience? You mean I don’t have to dig through old emails from Disney PR to track all of the panel updates? Wahoo! I even purchased the D23 Gold Membership to get special early entry privileges into the event. There’s a 99.9% chance that I will sleep through every early entry, but still, yayyyyy! The expo has that same vibe you get when you visit Disneyland in the sense that you have some sort of control over planning your trip. With Disneyland it’s Fast Pass, with D23, it’s StagePass and StorePass. Yes, now, instead of waiting in line all day for a panel, you can select 1 StagePass for select panels once a day within a certain timeframe. You can even select one 30-minute shopping time slot to avoid long lines. I love it! I hope I remember everything when I arrive but it’s nice to know that a system is in place. Also, people now apparently dress up at D23! But instead of following the norm of what Wonder Con or SDCC does, D23 is its own brand of magic. A lot of people choose Disneybounding over full-blown cosplaying. I’ll say it right now, I’m Disneybounding all three days. While my outfits are a surprise for now, I can say this: Each of my outfits are themed to Disney news that happened in 2015, focusing on 1 movie, 1 attraction and 1 event. My Disneybounds are also a little over the top and I’m pretty sure one of them is teetering in cosplay territory. Also, apparently marketing yourself especially if you’re a blogger/vlogger is a thing. So I have business cards all made up and just for fun, I made buttons to hand out! Fart PixieDust, because I’m a classy lady.
I can’t begin to say how excited I am for this event and to meet all of you! Also, a huge thank you to Josh and Angie for bringing me into the Modern Mouse family. I can’t wait to see everyone at D23 and learn new things and meet new people. See you then!