Saturday, August 22, 2015

Daisy Goes to the D23 Expo

By Daisy Sparks

This past weekend, I was able to attend the D23 Expo at the Anaheim Convention Center. It was 3 days of all things Disney. It’s the perfect place for a Disney fan event being that it's literally across the street from Disneyland. For those of you who weren't able to attend this time around do not fear. We are about to checkout some wonderful moments right here on Disney Avenue. Join me as we travel to the D23 Expo and experience this magical event in today's new article...

The D23 Expo is really a Disney-Con(vention) of fans gathering to enjoy the magic of Disney together. There are featured presentations, panels, exhibits, vendor booths, and lots of shopping options. Many attendees proudly wear their favorite Disney apparel, Disney Bound or come in full costume.


There were a couple big presentations each day. The D23 Expo is where the newest Disney Legends are recognized and receive their special statues. It’s almost like a state of the union address during elaborate presentations from Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios, Live Action at The Walt Disney Studios and Walt Disney Parks and Resorts.

Smaller panels throughout the weekend included topics like “60 Years of the World Famous Jungle Cruise,” conversations with various Disney Legends, and “Shorts of the Walt Disney Animation Studio.” Movie critic, movie historian and Disney fan, Leonard Maltin, hosted the world premiere of “Disney in Concert: A Silly Symphony Celebration,” a live concert performance that featured a 32-piece orchestra celebrating the Silly Symphony short films. Located within the Walt Disney Studio booth, Pixar had an area where they had presentations all throughout the Expo featuring behind the scene stories, techniques, and more about many Pixar films. There was a fan filled panel featuring the writers and a couple stars from ABC’s Once Upon a Time television series. The final day reunited the original Mousketeers to celebrate 60 years of Walt Disney’s Mickey Mouse Club.

You can see the wonderful Mickey Mouse Club Celebration panel from the D23 expo here...


Many divisions under The Walt Disney Company had pretty elaborate booths to showcase the work that is done by their teams. For example, the Walt Disney Parks and Resorts had an elaborate walk through featuring Shanghi Disneyland and preview area for “Pandora: The World of Avatar.” There are models and art to view. There were Disney Imagineers available to answer questions and talk about their work. To have access to people who work on the projects and listen to them talk about it is always fascinating. You can’t beat hearing it from the source.

Disney Consumer Products and Disney Interactive had big pavilions to showcase their upcoming product releases and collections. You could see, sometimes even touch, and try out new products. There were always lines to play with the new computer games. The displays themselves were just as entertaining, too.

One of the most popular exhibits was the Walt Disney Archives. It was billed as “the biggest Archives exhibition in D23 Expo history, (you can) take a magical walk through 60 unforgettable years of Disneyland history.” There were many Disneyland attraction pieces and park artifacts on display. It was the perfect way to celebrate Disneyland’s Diamond 60th Celebration. Have a look...

There were also many photo opportunities scattered throughout the Expo floor. Book and artist signings plus autograph opportunities were also made available all weekend.


Some people were there to experience Disney exhibits and panels, others were there to shop. There were three main official Disney Expo shopping areas. The Dream Store (operated by Disneyland Merchandise) was where you could purchase official D23 Expo merchandise and get some special art, jewelry and pins made for the expo. The Disney Store, located in the center of the Disney Consumer Product Pavillon, was in huge demand offering exclusive and limited edition products only available at the Expo. The Disney Store line was a minimum 2-hr wait just to get into shop…then you had to wait in line again to pay. Mickey’s of Glendale offered some great WDI (Walt Disney Imagineering) logo items, pins, and apparel. There was a 2-hr wait to get into this shopping venue, too.

There were many partner retailers scattered throughout the Expo floor (eg. Vans, Hallmark, Precious Moments, Uniqlo). Most had some sort of special D23 Expo product offering. This Expo also saw “The Emporium” where you could find independent, 3rd-party vendors to purchase Disney related items such as artwork, pins, and collectibles.  

Finally, the D23 Expo was a great place for people watching. On the first day, there was the Mousequerade which was a contest for Disney-inspired costumes. The costumes were amazing, see for yourself in these photos by the Orange County Register...

Throughout the weekend, there were plenty of people who put on their best Disney costume or were Disney Bounding. There were classic and new characters represented. There were mash-ups (like Jedi Goofy). With Disney, Star Wars and Marvel to choose from, the Disney fandom is made up of many characters.

My biggest takeaway from this D23 Expo: Disney is more than Mickey Mouse. Since 1923, Disney has grown up and its family tree keeps expanding. Music, film, television and theme parks are all ways that someone experiences Disney. The D23 Expo was a place to experience all things Disney under one roof over a span of 3 days.

The D23 Expo only happens every other year. You’re on notice now. You can start saving and planning to join me for the D23 Expo in 2017.  See you real soon!



Daisy Sparks grew up in Southern California and Disneyland was a regular part of her life. While in college, she started working at Disneyland as a Main Street Merchandise Host. Her "college job" led to 12 adventurous years working with Mickey Mouse. She was a trained Magic Demonstrator, Hat Writer and was even signed off as a Disneyland Monorail Ride Operator. Daisy loved every minute of it while she held various management positions in Merchandise, Business Operations and Attractions. 

Daisy is married to her college sweetheart, David (a former Jungle Cruise Skipper). David solicited Daisy's Duck's help in memorable engagement proposal that took place at Disneyland's Club 33. Daisy left Disneyland in May 2001 to raise her two daughters. She continues to visit the Disneyland Resort multiple times a week as a Guest. Daisy particularly loves the Disneyland heritage because of all of the little details and stories that make it "the happiest place on earth."

You can read more about Daisy's Disneyland adventures over on her personal blog at DisneyDaze .

You can find all of Daisy's articles here.

1 comment:

  1. Yea, I don't know if I can ever do this again. Lines, lines and more lines.
    Has to be a better way.
    And then running out of everything...