D23 Expo 2015 Recap: Theme of the Expo – CRAZINESS!

Craziness.  If there was one word to describe D23 Expo 2015 it would be craziness.  Crazy long lines, crazy fans, and crazy fun!  If you’re a Disney Nerd like I am (and let’s face it, if you’re reading this blog you probably are), then you would thoroughly enjoy the huge variety of options available to you at the expo.  Big Disney collector?  You can’t find a more suitable place than the expo to find those rare collectibles you’ve been wanting.  Love theme parks?  Not only is the expo situated basically next door to the one and only original Disneyland but there is theme park stuff galore – from panels and presentations to authentic theme park memorabilia.  Huge fan of Disney films? Go to one of the super-sized panels on animation or live action movies for surprises, previews, and studio reveals.

But then there is the bad side of it all.  Lines.  Long lines.  VERY long lines.  And it started even before the event began.  This was the first year fans were allowed to line up the night before in Hall E.  And as usual at a Disney event, even though it was written no lines before 10pm, an “unofficial” line started at noon and Disney honored it.  It was disappointing they let the unofficial line in as it negates the purpose of having the rule in the first place, but they did.  The worst part was that it wasn’t necessary to have us line up the night before.  After midnight, there was virtually no one who entered the line again until about 6am. Besides the early line up in Hall E, the lines once you were inside the Expo were also at times horrendously long.  Word of mouth reported that people were waiting three hours or more to shop at The Disney Store pavilion – even though daily they ran out of the ultra-exclusive items within the first hour.  Lines for many of the other pavilions, for the panels, for the presentations, and for the other locations with exclusive merchandise were also very long.  And trying to collect the free trading cards from Disney Visa was a nightmare as people mobbed whatever area they were being handed out.  Only the Dream Store was run truly efficiently.

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Despite the long lines Disney put on a spectacular event.  There were so many great things to do and see!  The traditional live action and animation preview events were amazing – especially with Star Wars: The Force Awakens opening in theaters late in the year.  As always, the stars turned out in droves to offer a preview of what was to come including Harrison Ford, Dwayne Johnson, Ginnifer Goodwin, Chris Evans, Ellen DeGeneres, Johnny Depp, and Daisy Ridley.  There were panels celebrating 60 years of Imagineering, displays showcasing the new Shanghai Disneyland Resort, a walk-through of Pandora: The Land of Avatar (and a meet and greet with Imagineer Joe Rohde), previews of upcoming attractions and plans for the Disney theme parks, the latest and greatest from Disney Interactive, featured panels like the cast and creators of Once Upon A Time, and performances galore including a Frozen Sing-A-Long.

But my favorite was Disney on Broadway: The Originals – a performance showcasing the history of Disney musicals on Broadway.  Starring Ashley Brown, the original Mary Poppins on Broadway; Josh Strickland, the original Tarzan; and James Monroe Iglehart, the original Genie from Aladdin; the show was a medley of songs from every Disney stage production to hit the Big Apple.  The power of the voices of these three star performers was incredible and shook the house!  The show closed with the reveal that Disney on Broadway was in production of Frozen as the next musical with a rendition of “Let It Go” by Ashley.  It was AMAZING!  The video is only a small sample of how good it was.

Ashley Brown, the original Mary Poppins singing with Josh Strickland and James Monroe Iglehart
Ashley Brown, the original Mary Poppins singing with Josh Strickland and James Monroe Iglehart

Overall, D23 Expo 2015 was an amazing experience.  The lines were crazy and super long.  Trying to get something from The Disney Store pavilion was nearly impossible.  There were so many presentations to choose from and not enough time to see them all.  But for the Disney fan, it’s the only place to be.  Wouldn’t miss it for the world.

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