Trip Report: D23 (& All The Other People) & Me - D23 Expo 2019 & Disneyland

kristenabelle

a funny girl
Joined
Nov 16, 2013
PTR: D23 (& All The Other People) & Me - D23 Expo 2019 & Disneyland

Hello everyone!

First DisBoards PTR/TR (I think, maybe) - so let's take it from the top:

Me, Kristen:

411863

DVC, D23, AP, RD, Former CP, all the acronyms.

There's not much I don't like about Disney/the parks, so I'll spare you from listing out all my super favorites. When I'm not obsessively planning my next jaunt, I'm leading product marketing at a tech company in NYC.

While I'm usually an East Coast Disney kid, I've been going to every Expo since 2013 (with extra trips in 2014 for a Studio tour and 2015 for the Avengers/C2C challenge). This will be my fourth Expo and my first as a sorcerer 😱

I'll be documenting the methods behind my planning madness, in the hopes that writing this will bring me just a liiiiiitle bit closer to what will hopefully be a dream trip.

Talking Tickets
As soon as they announced the dates for this year's Expo, I knew I wanted to try for a Sorcerer ticket. I had the money saved (though if my mother were here, she'd tell you I'd been complaining about my *fine but old* oven for FOREVER and the money could have been better spent 😬).

But I was ready to go for it. I've been a basement-dweller for the past 3 Expos - and loved it! There's nothing better than basement bonding, and I've truly enjoyed every experience. Still, I wanted to see what it was like to get a different view of the Expo. And, as my wise mother says, "buy a ticket that gives you the opportunity to spend even more money" ...

(P.S. - my Mom is the sweetest, kindest person. She's just brilliantly frugal, and usually reserves her cutting advice for me and my brother)

In any case, I figured I might as well try for it, and if it didn't happen it wasn't meant to be. I work in an open office, so doing things without getting distracted can be very difficult. Because I'm crazy, I booked a conference room between 11:30 - 12:30 so I could write some copy (and more importantly, get my tickets) in peace.

I called my credit card company that AM and told them I'd possibly, maybe, hopefully, probably be spending a large amount around noon, and to pretty please let it go through. Because I'll be damned if I got all the way to the end and they flagged me for ridiculous out-of-character spending.

I barely wrote any copy, watching the clock like a hawk and hearing my heart pound faster with every minute. When 12:00 hit, my hands couldn't move fast enough and actually started shaking. I completely forgot how to type, and also forgot every piece of personal information I've known...well, my entire life. Is that my name? Am I sure that's my name? Bless Google for filling everything out automatically, and bless my company's WiFi for not crapping out during the process.

I think I killed an entire tree printing my confirmation email (because I had to be absolutely, positively sure it went through). Strangely enough, I still feel like it's all a dream - even though we've been getting monthly emails and updates. I might ask you to pinch me if I see you at the expo. Please don't be alarmed.

Next up, the basic agenda!
 

kristenabelle

a funny girl
Joined
Nov 16, 2013
The Plans: Getting There
Flying out of EWR is SO convenient for me - it's a 20 minute drive without traffic, and spares me a $75+ Uber to JFK. That said, it means I'm usually taking United and usually getting price gouged. Grr.

I knew I wanted to fly out on Wednesday, 8/21 to enjoy the parks for a bit & ensure I'm there before our preview day on Thursday.

Because United has a near monopoly on NJ fliers, I've been able to rack up a good amount of mileage. I booked a direct flight to LAX with points & paid ~$40 for upgraded seating (Economy Plus? Definitely not lay-flat first class), which I'm super excited for. The flight was originally at 6:30 AM, but it's since been pushed back 1/2 an hour to 7.

I'm extending my stay a bit after the Expo until 8/28. I'm hoping this will give me plenty of time to revisit my favorite attractions, see Fantasmic and World of Color, and explore SW:GE. My flight home is at 2:15 PM, so I'll be able to spend a little bit of the AM in the parks before leaving around 10. Though now that I think about it, I'll be spending a lot of time at LAX. 😑 Darn my super-early tendencies.

I've already purchased transportation on the Disneyland Express. I've used Super Shuttle before, but valued time over cost for this trip (though not sure how the first transfer will work - see hotels).

The Plans: Staying There
I stayed at the Anaheim Marriott for previous Expos, switching over to the Disneyland Hotel post-Expo. It's SO convenient, clean, comfortable, and worked out really well when they gave overnighters time to leave in the early AM in 2017.

I started looking for deals as soon as I booked my Expo ticket, noticing that the Marriott wasn't on the discount list provided by D23. I tried to look them up directly, even calling twice a week, but was told every time that it was too early to book. I checked back incessantly, scouring these boards & other forums, and nothing - still not open for booking. In the meantime, the Hilton was opening up and I was concerned it would fill quickly. I must've missed something, because when I called in October the Marriott said they were totally, completely booked. So I immediately booked the Hilton until the 25th, when I plan to switch over to the Disneyland Hotel post-farewell reception.

I thought staying at DLH would give me an advantage for SW:GE. Turns out I was right, but off by about 2 months 🙃 We'll see if anything changes before August, but it looks like the boarding pass system is working well.

In any case, I'm excited to try the Hilton for the first time!
 
  • kristenabelle

    a funny girl
    Joined
    Nov 16, 2013
    The Plans: What I'm Doing There

    WEDNESDAY 8.21

    • Go to EWR at an ungodly hour
    • Flight at 7!
    • Around ~10 or so mid-flight, check Disneyland reservations for Oga/Savi's (not a must-do, as I can try another day at the end of my trip)
    • Shuttle to Hilton & check in
    • Nap? Or use supercharged adrenaline to sprint to Disneyland (more likely)
    • Dinner and a show!*
    • Would love to get an Oga/Savi time at night, Batuu looks killer all lit up
    *Last time I went to Disneyland, I had dinner at Blue Bayou on arrival night (it was amazing) but almost fell asleep at the table.

    I scheduled a Blue Bayou + Fantasmic! dinner for my first day. Clearly, I haven't learned my lesson.

    But, I really love Fantasmic and this is my first weeklong vacation ALL YEAR, so I'm gonna go for it and sleep when I'm dead.

    THURSDAY 8.22
    Baby's first preview day for Sorcerers!

    I don't know what will happen exactly (we haven't been told yet), but I'm guessing we'll pick up pre-purchased items, any won RSP items, and I know we'll pay early visits to all 3 stores (though I've heard no MOG pin store, based on past Expos).

    I've already bought a lot through early purchase, though less than I initially thought - and some of it for friends. I only applied for a few RSP items - mostly the individual dapper day & balloon theme pins, plus a doll set preorder (my girl Belle, plus Meg and Esmeralda -- FINALLY). The only pin RSP I'm trying for is the Belle progressive set, which definitely isn't cheap ($300), but would be incredible to have.

    I'm lucky I'm not merch-obsessed with The Little Mermaid, or it'd be an expensive year. That said, 2021 is the 30th for Beauty and the Beast, and based on my spending for the 2017 live action, I'm screwed.

    Can't wait to cap off all the pre-expo fun at the Haunted Mansion-themed welcome reception (when I can finally wear my Her Universe tightrope dress)!

    FRIDAY 8.23

    The big day. I'm not sure how early I want to get in line. There are ~355 of us, some of which will likely want to go to the Disney Store/Dream Store for daily merch drops. I'm assuming many will head to MOG for pins, like me.

    With that said, and knowing we should get early floor access to line up for what we want, arriving at 4 seems excessive. I'm going to aim to get there no later than 6, probably closer to 5:30. I'll see what folks in the Facebook group say.

    Hopefully I'll be able to get into the MOG pin store with time to spare before the Legends panel at 10. Then it's a big ol' gap until Disney+ panel at 3:30. I'm looking forward to seeing what's in between, and trying to figure out a lunch strategy. Hoping I can find food and bring it back to the Sorcerer lounge.
     
    Last edited:

    kristenabelle

    a funny girl
    Joined
    Nov 16, 2013
    SATURDAY 8.24

    The big one - the new mega Frankenstein panel for all Disney-owned theatrical outlets. Really looking forward to this, as I usually skip it in favor of the show floor (or sleep after a ridiculous Friday).

    I'm also SO, SO very excited for the Disney on Broadway concert! One of the best things about working in NYC is getting to see shows as often as I can (especially when they're discounted on Today Tix). I'm absolutely thrilled that I'll get to see all my favorite performers in one place - I can't wait!

    Part of me wanted to schedule a Parks dinner for Saturday night, but I'd rather have no plans and see how I feel. I'll probably feel near-dead and hole up in my room, saving as much energy as I can for the rest of the trip

    SUNDAY 8.25
    Official checkout day from the Hilton. Leaving my luggage at the desk suuuuuper early.

    Then it's Parks and Resorts panel time! Not sure what's on the docket afterwards, but I know there's a Fond Farewell Reception at the end of the day. Once Expo is all wrapped up (SO. SAD.) I'll grab my bags and head to the DLH! Hopefully Trader Sam's won't be too nuts, or I won't be so tired that I faceplant into my Uh-Oa.

    MONDAY 8.26
    One of the reasons I like to stay on property at Disneyland is for Extra Magic Hours. I'm still on East Coast time, so I'm up anyway. I'll head over to DCA for Radiator Springs Racers, Mission: Breakout, and a cozy cone (or two).

    My initial plan for the afternoon was to book something at the Grand Californian Spa to decompress and vacation from my Expo "vacation." But I heard that's closing, so I'll substitute it for a hopefully relaxing afternoon by the pool!

    Then it's back to DCA for dinner at Carthay Circle w/World of Color viewing.
     

    lurkergirl

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 20, 2011
    I can provide some insight on Thursday, 8/22. ;)

    So check-in will be sometime during the morning, in 2017 it was at 9:30am. (It's Disney, people lined up!) You'll receive your packet the credentials and all the paperwork. Then go to the lounge. There were light snacks . They did an introduction around 10:30am-ish and then we got to choose where we went.

    All three stores didn't open the same time, I think MoG was the latest (I could be totally making this up, but I think it's right), so we lined up for that. They walk you into the Convention space because they are very much still loading and setting up. We were in the first group to MoG, then went to the Dream Store to pick-up the RSP and do some more shopping. The were artists at the Dream Store for signings. The last store we decided to go to was the Disney Store and there was stuff that was "sold-out" (this becomes important later).

    There is a bag check upstairs near the lounge, that's where we picked up our swag bags.

    The Disney Broadway booth also had a Lion King VR thing in 2017, we got to do that Thursday.

    Things to remember: the ACC is still being loaded and it was incredibly WARM. We were having a heatwave in 2017, but it was stifling inside the convention space. The doors outside the convention space was cool, open those doors to go inside and it was so hot and humid. Also, remember that in addition to the stuff you buy prior and the day-of, you'll get the swag. We brought one empty suitcase and it was filled with just the swag.

    You have to be back in the evening for the HM party, I want to say we left around 3pm-ish to drag everything back to the hotel and came back around 6:15pm-ish. The evening party had appetizers and desserts (and drinks). There is a little show/entertainment. You get to see the Archive exhibit and whatever booths they deem open for us, then it's on to fireworks.

    Because they told us in the morning that there was enough limited items for all of us and people complained about the Disney Store selling out, they allowed us to go to the Disney Store first in 2017 - they split the line and gave us wristbands. Not something I would expect for 2019, but something to know.
     
  • OhioStateBuckeye

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Sep 7, 2007
    Hello fellow D23 pre-trip report writer!!

    I'm so excited for you that you got Sorcerer Tickets!! Congrats, that should be epic. Send me a wave as you breeze by the lines hahahaha.

    Also, I'm a fellow Broadway lover! I worked in NYC for a summer and I entered the ticket lotteries every day, I got to see tons of shows including Fiddler on the Roof, Kinky Boots, Something Rotten, Les Mis, Wicked, Phantom, School of Rock and even Hamilton (a month after Lin Manuel left).

    I'll def be following along to see how the other half lives!
     

    kristenabelle

    a funny girl
    Joined
    Nov 16, 2013
    So sorry I missed these responses, y'all - I haven't been getting notifications on this thread for some reason, but darn it I'll do better :)

    I can provide some insight on Thursday, 8/22. ;)
    Yay!! Thank you for the amazing intel! I'm really excited for anything and everything that comes our way. A smidge nervous about merchandise craziness, but definitely more excited. And thanks for all your general Expo expertise - no matter how many I've been to, there's so much going on it's hard to keep track of what happened & what could happen. But it's almost here!

    Hello fellow D23 pre-trip report writer!!
    Hello, fellow PTR friend!! Can't wait to wave back - I'll be the one with the dazed & confused look, likely being pushed into the correct spot by fellow guests 😆

    And WOW - what an awesome run of shows!! Way to rack up some amazing Playbills. Are you planning on going to the concert?
     

    OhioStateBuckeye

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Sep 7, 2007
    So sorry I missed these responses, y'all - I haven't been getting notifications on this thread for some reason, but darn it I'll do better :)




    Hello, fellow PTR friend!! Can't wait to wave back - I'll be the one with the dazed & confused look, likely being pushed into the correct spot by fellow guests 😆

    And WOW - what an awesome run of shows!! Way to rack up some amazing Playbills. Are you planning on going to the concert?
    I hope to go to the concert. We'll see what ends up conflicting with it. Last expo I had to make some tough choices. Are you going to the concert?
     

    kristenabelle

    a funny girl
    Joined
    Nov 16, 2013
    I hope to go to the concert. We'll see what ends up conflicting with it. Last expo I had to make some tough choices. Are you going to the concert?
    Yeah, I hope so! That said, also looking forward to seeing how the rest of the schedule fills out.

    I don't know if it's because the Expo was pushed to August, but I'm more anxious than ever about news this year. I get not publishing the full schedule until the week before or so, but it's kiiiiillling me.

    But the more opportunities I get to hear Gavin Lee and Ashley Brown sing, the better.
     
  • lurkergirl

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 20, 2011
    Yay!! Thank you for the amazing intel! I'm really excited for anything and everything that comes our way. A smidge nervous about merchandise craziness, but definitely more excited. And thanks for all your general Expo expertise - no matter how many I've been to, there's so much going on it's hard to keep track of what happened & what could happen. But it's almost here!
    The merchandise situation is always crazy, but not as bad as the general fray. The preview gave an idea of what was where (talking about the stuff we didn’t get in the RSP), so you just have to prioritize.

    I kind of love that D23 tries to improve each Expo, making planning wonky. The unknown is kind of fun, albeit annoying.
     

    kristenabelle

    a funny girl
    Joined
    Nov 16, 2013
    The merchandise situation is always crazy, but not as bad as the general fray. The preview gave an idea of what was where (talking about the stuff we didn’t get in the RSP), so you just have to prioritize.

    I kind of love that D23 tries to improve each Expo, making planning wonky. The unknown is kind of fun, albeit annoying.
    And now this new curveball about reserving panels, signings, and more - hopefully it’ll be a better, improved process that’s more enjoyable for everyone. Wondering how it’ll impact us & anything we need to do? Looking forward to finding out
     

    lurkergirl

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 20, 2011
    @kristenabelle We get the opportunity to select panels but that’s more of an informational thing - an idea for reserved seats, pretty much. I’m curious about the shopping/talent thing. I’m assuming some of the slots will be held for the Sorcerers.

    I’ve read that the pre-selection at the Star Wars Celebration either went really well or really badly, depending on your luck.

    I’m intrigued!
     

    kristenabelle

    a funny girl
    Joined
    Nov 16, 2013
    @kristenabelle We get the opportunity to select panels but that’s more of an informational thing - an idea for reserved seats, pretty much. I’m curious about the shopping/talent thing. I’m assuming some of the slots will be held for the Sorcerers.

    I’ve read that the pre-selection at the Star Wars Celebration either went really well or really badly, depending on your luck.

    I’m intrigued!
    Same! Here's hoping everyone's a little bit lucky, in one way or another
     

    kristenabelle

    a funny girl
    Joined
    Nov 16, 2013
    RSP Update: I got everything I wanted - yay! Also, EEK - man, did I have champagne taste.

    Also, I totally forgot about sales tax. Luckily my DVC & Disney Visa discounts helped for Disney Store & Dream Store hauls (one thing, and three things, respectively), but the Belle progressive set had zero discount, and a dinner's worth of sales tax. Yeesh.

    Plotting out my suitcase space now. It's either going to be a feat of travel engineering, or a complete disaster. That said, a few folks have had success using the Marriott center to ship stuff back home? Might be worth doing, especially since I'm transferring hotels. Depends on the cost, I suppose.
     

    lurkergirl

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 20, 2011
    @kristenabelle I was wondering, yay! ;) We were also really successful and I actually got two of the pin progression I requested (I put it on my RSP and my guest's, to hedge my bet) - either it wasn't a popular one or we were really lucky.

    Loads of unhappy people, but the numbers were sooooo low...
     
    Last edited:

    kristenabelle

    a funny girl
    Joined
    Nov 16, 2013
    @kristenabelle I was wondering, yay! ;) We were also really successful and I actually got two of the pin progression I requested (I put it on my RSP and my guest's, to hedge my bet) - either it was a popular one or we were really lucky.

    Loads of unhappy people, but the numbers were sooooo low...
    Yay! So great to hear! :)

    One of the FB groups I'm in has a LOT of ISO posts for the Ariel progression. She's quite a popular lady.

    That said, I'm also seeing posts where folks are picking up random leftovers to trade. But at the cost per item, it kind of blows my mind.
     

    lurkergirl

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 20, 2011
    Yay! So great to hear! :)

    One of the FB groups I'm in has a LOT of ISO posts for the Ariel progression. She's quite a popular lady.

    That said, I'm also seeing posts where folks are picking up random leftovers to trade. But at the cost per item, it kind of blows my mind.
    Right? I think that's crazy. I mean, more power to them, but wow.

    Two people have already asked for my extra, I offered it to a friend but will probably just release it so it can go back to someone on the wait list if my friend doesn't want it. I can't see how I'd fairly decide between multiple people.
     

    OhioStateBuckeye

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Sep 7, 2007
    RSP Update: I got everything I wanted - yay! Also, EEK - man, did I have champagne taste.

    Also, I totally forgot about sales tax. Luckily my DVC & Disney Visa discounts helped for Disney Store & Dream Store hauls (one thing, and three things, respectively), but the Belle progressive set had zero discount, and a dinner's worth of sales tax. Yeesh.

    Plotting out my suitcase space now. It's either going to be a feat of travel engineering, or a complete disaster. That said, a few folks have had success using the Marriott center to ship stuff back home? Might be worth doing, especially since I'm transferring hotels. Depends on the cost, I suppose.
    Extra suitcase?

    If you are flying with southwest you get two checked bags. I usually end up packing an empty duffel on vacations for souvenirs.
     

    Connect

    Disney News and Updates

    Get Daily Email Updates


    Top