Craig’s Notes: As of today (Friday the first day of D23 Expo 2013), they didn’t have pin boards (bummer). They did have a trading area in the Collector’s Forum right by the entrance to it, but that’s about it. Pin trading is pretty sparse although I did meet a dealer who was willing to look at your pins. There is still plenty of FREE stuff, some inexpensive stuff, and some VERY expensive stuff. In a future blog, I’ll cover all of those items, but wanted to update this post. No USPS presence this time either. But WDI is having MOG on site for some great pins and great deals – but get there quick.
As with any great Disney event there are plenty of souvenirs to get. Some free, some not so free. The pass you get to enter is nice and if you buy yours in advance you’ll have your name on it and everything so quite a nice collectible. The D23 Expo Guidebook is REALLY nice and also completely free – a beautiful full-color 134 page memento summarizing your Disney Expo experience. And last time when we went up to the guest services desk, they offered us free fans and stickers. Plus, you can find little free things all over. We picked up some Prep and Landing postcards for free and a couple of posters also. Not to mention opportunities for pin trading and Vinylmation trading! At the Expo they had designated times for each and they operate like they do at other Disney events – pin boards with a one-for-one exchange and hidden Vinylmation boxes. The pins were beautiful and quite unique. Not being a Vinylmation guy, I couldn’t accurately report on it, but the pin trading side was great. Lots of people willing to look and trade.
Now, if you want to shell out some dough, there are MANY more things to buy. Some less expensive and some more expensive. You can get a letter stamped and cancelled at the event by the USPS for a little more than the cost of postage. You can also get some inexpensive goodies at the various shopping locations around including the collector’s area where you can buy a slew of pins for about $3 or $4 each (for authentic pins, too). But the premium collectibles will cost quite a few dollars. They had a great selection of releases at the Disney Store shop including a set of princess pins that are nearly impossible to get except on eBay. They also allowed you to buy the princess collectible doll collection in advance from the Disney Store and were sold out quickly. The Dream Store had a number of incredible items for purchase including exclusive Vinylmation, a huge selection of exclusive pins, as well as a slew of shirts, t-shirts, purses, thimbles, and other collectibles. The more exclusive the item the higher it cost. And many of those are already bought by the people who just paid $1500 for the Sorcerer’s Package. To get anything with a LE release of 150 or less was near impossible, but there were plenty of good LE releases. And there are other non-LE items that are fun to get if you want a nice souvenir. One of my favorite places to go was Mickey’s of Glendale. The folks from WDI set up a store within one of the pavilions and named it after their famous location on the WDI campus. MOG had a great selection of pins you could only get from WDI and only from the MOG store. They also had shirts and other items exclusive to Imagineers normally so make it a point to head over there if they have it open again. Another place to buy exclusive items is at the end of the Treasure of the Walt Disney Archives exhibit. Again, they will have exclusive D23 merchandise available nowhere else. Expect long lines everywhere and be pleased when they are short!
The best advice I can give to any prospective buyer of cool stuff is to go early. Forget the opening ceremonies, forget the first panels and presentations, get in line as early as you can possibly stand it, and make a bee-line to the Dream Store. All the best stuff will be gone by the end of Friday so make it a priority. Go for the limited edition items first and make your way quickly around the floor. If you’re going with friends, bring iPhones and split up, covering as much area as you can. Since often times you are limited to the amount you can buy, you’ll have to bring someone who is willing to help and doesn’t want any for themselves. Such friends are worth their weight in gold. Most of all though, have fun. Regardless of what you buy, there is so much fun to have at the D23 Expo, I’m sure you’ll have a great time!