This post was originally written in 2017, prior to that year’s D23 Expo. It has been updated with all of the sessions, Disney Legends information, etc that we know about the 2019 D23 Expo, happening this August in Anaheim, California.
So much information has been coming out about the Expo, that it’s hard to keep track of it all. We learned the hard way in previous years that there truly is just too much to take in, but maybe at least you can get an idea of what you want to see (if you’re attending) – or to keep an eye out for on social media if you’re following along at home.
What We Know (so Far) about the 2019 D23 Expo
The “Ultimate Disney Fan Event” takes place at the Anaheim Convention Center from August 23-25, 2019. From the D23 site, this is the best overview of the event:
The largest Disney fan event in the world, D23 Expo celebrates all the wonderful worlds of The Walt Disney Company under one roof, including the best of Disney, Marvel, Pixar, and Star Wars across film, television, theme parks, products, online, music, live entertainment, and more. D23 Expo 2019 marks the sixth biennial Expo held in Anaheim.
Remaining tickets can still be purchased here; prices range from $59-79 for a One-Day pass. Please note that 3-day passes and 1-day passes for Saturday are already sold out!
D23 Expo General Details
The 6800-seat Hall D23 will once again be the location of the “big” presentations. Stage 23, Stage 28, and Center Stage will return as the site of smaller presentations and interactive guest experiences, and a number of other venues exist on the show floor and throughout the convention center.
Stagepass & StorePass
StagePass and StorePass, introduced in 2015, allow guests priority places in line to shop at a variety of venues throughout the event or provide guaranteed seating for some of the smaller panels in D23 Expo Arena, Stage 28, and the Walt Disney Archives Stage.
The StagePass and StorePass distribution centers will be located in Hall A. Guests must present a D23 Expo admission ticket to receive one pass for the selected session/shopping experience.
In my experience, it is easy to get these passes, but only the Stagepass seems to be a guarantee. With the StorePass, it was very hit or miss whether we got to the stores in time before everything sold out… or sometimes, if we got there at all before the standby line. We’re keeping our fingers crossed that some of last year’s kinks regarding passes are worked out!
D23 Fan Lounge
Located in the middle of the show floor, the lounge has charging stations and photo opportunities, as well as information about D23 Membership.
Schedule of Events
More details can be found on the D23 Expo website, but here are some highlights:
FRIDAY, AUGUST 23
Disney Legends Awards Ceremony
A Disney+ Presentation will give guests a first look at some of its original content including Lady and the Tramp, The Mandalorian, High School Musical: The Musical: The Series, and many more during this star-studded presentation.
SATURDAY, AUGUST 24
Go Behind the Scenes with The Walt Disney Studios:
Walt Disney Animation Studios’ Chief Creative Officer Jennifer Lee and Pixar Animation Studios’ Chief Creative Officer Pete Docter present never-before-seen footage and share surprise announcements. You’ll also catch musical performances and appearances by all-star voice talent from upcoming animation films.
Disney on Broadway: A 25th Anniversary Celebration:
Hosted by Tony® Award-nominee Gavin Lee (Mary Poppins, Beauty and the Beast), the 75-minute concert will feature Heidi Blickenstaff (Freaky Friday, The Little Mermaid), Ashley Brown (Mary Poppins, Beauty and the Beast, On the Record), Kissy Simmons (The Lion King), Josh Strickland (Tarzan®), and Alton Fitzgerald White (The Lion King).
SUNDAY, AUGUST 25
Bob Chapek presents Disney Parks, Experiences and Products – including more about the transformational plans for Epcot at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida.
Large-scale Presentations & Exhibits
Disney Legends Ceremony
The Disney Legends Ceremony takes time to recognize men and women who have been important parts of Disney history. Historically, Disney Legends have come from imagineering, film, music, parks, television, and even administration. You can read a bit more here, in our Disney Legends Spotlight series (which needs a serious update).
This year, the ceremony will honor Wing Chao, Robert Downey Jr., Jon Favreau, James Earl Jones, Bette Midler, Kenny Ortega, Barnette Ricci, Robin Roberts, Diane Sawyer, Ming-Na Wen, and Hans Zimmer.
Walt Disney Studios & Pixar Studios
New this year, a single “super presentation” will show guests what is in store for both live action and animated films, from Walt Disney Studios and Pixar!
In previous years, these were hands-down the most frustrating presentations to attend…and also the most incredible. Guests can expect sneak preview footage, interviews, behind-the-scenes stories, and special guests. You can read the recaps here (from John Lassetter’s Animation presentation as well as our overall recap), but I’ll just admit right up front: I squealed like a little girl when Captain American and Falcon stopped by for a visit.
The Studios will also have a large presence on the show floor, with displays, autograph sessions, and more from recent and upcoming films – especially Frozen 2 and Pixar’s Onward.
Walt Disney Parks and Resorts
I’m especially excited to see what’s coming to my beloved Epcot in the next few years!
Returning once again, Mousequerade is the Expo’s costume contest, with a $2300 grand prize! If you’ve never been to a Comic-Con type event – and honestly, probably even if you have – you’ll be blown away at some of the fan costumes. This year’s judges include Ashley Eckstein (Star Wars Rebels, Her Universe), Kara Saun (Descendents 2), and Yvette Nicole Brown (ABC’s The Mayor).
Walt Disney Archives
This year’s 12,000-square-foot exhibit from the Walt Disney Archives is “Heroes & Villains: The Art of the Disney Costume”. As we’ve come to expect, it will include props, photographs, video, costumes, set pieces, and more – many of which will be on display for the first time. I can’t wait to check out the enchanting ballgowns, wicked wardrobes, and everything in between!
“Epic Experiences” from Marvel Studios
Disney Consumer Products and Interactive Media
Oh my Disney! Stage
Disney Dream Store
The Disney Dream Store is home to exclusive Expo-themed merchandise and Disney Parks merchandise, as well as some additional fan events. This year includes special merchandise themed to the Dapper Dans and Mickey Balloons.
Disney Music Emporium
I’ve raved about the Music Emporium before, and they return to the expo with a pop-up store. This year they will feature album signings by artists and award-winning composers. Limited quantities of a wide assortment of music products will be available, including new releases from Marvel and Lucasfilm, vinyl albums, die-cut picture disc vinyl, cassettes, Crosley turntables, cassette players, posters, and more!
Mickey’s of Glendale
At the last Expo, I was probably most excited to check out Mickey’s of Glendale – the imagineering-exclusive shop that has begun to pop up at Expos and similar events. I’ve had the chance to shop Mickey’s of Glendale a few times since then, and I’m still a big fan. I’m especially excited about the attraction quote t-shirt collection!
This year, the Disney Store will have lots of new merchandise, including the Disney Designer Collection: Midnight Masquerade Series, the Legacy Collection (anniversaries of Donald Duck (85th), Silly Symphony (90th), The Lion King (25th), The Little Mermaid (30th)), Backstage Collections, Mickey Mouse Shufflerz, and more.
D23 Expo Emporium
Unlike the other, Disney-owned or major third-party shopping locations, the emporium allows fans to buy and sell their own collectibles and merchandise. There are always a lot of unique things to check out!
Celebrity Appearances & Presentations
Appearances from Disney Channel, Disney XD, Disney Junior and Freeform TV
The “Talent Central” section of the show floor will host autograph and meet-and-greet sessions throughout the weekend. Thus far, D23 has announced appearances of stars from several television shows, either as part of Talent Central or in panel discussions.
- Fancy Nancy
- Just Roll With It stars Suzi Barrett, Tobie Windham, Ramon Reed, and Kaylin Hayman
- Raven’s Home stars Navia Robinson, Issac Ryan Brown, Jason Maybaum, and Sky Katz
- Amphibia stars Disney Legend Bill Farmer, Amanda Leighton, and Justin Felbinger
- Big City Greens cast members Marieve Herington and Bob Joles
- Sydney to the Max stars Ruth Righi, Ava Kolker, Jackson Dollinger, and Christian J. Simon
- Big Hero 6 The Series stars Genesis Rodriguez and Brooks Wheelan
- Coop & Cami Ask the World stars Dakota Lotus, Ruby Rose Turner, Olivia Sanabia, Albert Tsai, Paxton Booth, and Rebecca Metz
- ZOMBIES stars Meg Donnelly, Kylee Russell, and Carla Jeffery
- BUNK’D stars Miranda May, Mallory James Mahoney, Raphael Alejandro, Will Buie Jr., Shelby Simmons, Scarlett Estevez, and Israel Johnson
- DuckTales stars Bobby Moynihan and Toks Olagundoye
Princesses, Pop Stars, and Musical Royalty
At the very least, the following people are slated to appear for panels and presentations (see above):
- Randy Newman
- Tyler Bates
- Anthony Gonzalez
- Matthew Morrison
- JD McCrary
- Jodi Benson
- Broadway Stars Gavin Lee, Heidi Blickenstaff, Ashley Brown, Kissy Simmons, Josh Strickland, and Alton Fitzgerald White
Disney Legends & Friends of the Company
Traditionally, living members being honored at the Disney Legends Ceremony are on-hand for the presentation. If this remains true, we can hope to see Wing Chao, Robert Downey Jr., Jon Favreau, James Earl Jones, Bette Midler, Kenny Ortega, Barnette Ricci, Robin Roberts, Diane Sawyer, Ming-Na Wen, and Hans Zimmer.
Also scheduled are:
- The Simpsons creator Matt Gorening and other production and cast members, including Executive Producer Al Jean, Executive Producer Matt Selman, Supervising Director Mike B. Anderson, and stars Nancy Cartwright and Yeardley Smith
Other fan experiences:
Gold Member Benefits
Once again, D23 Gold Members will have a handful of extra benefits. I’m trying to temper my expectations knowing that many in attendance are going to be eligible for these perks. That said, after a bit of a rude awakening at the 2015 event, I’ll take even the idea of working toward treating superfans (oh, and people who spend extra money…) a little differently than people who happen to pass by the convention center and show up for a the cool merch.
There aren’t a lot of details, but this is what we are was offered in 2017 for D23 Gold Members:
Priority Seating for Presentations in Hall D23 and the D23 Expo Arena
All members of the party must be present at the time of entry to the queue (no saving spots in line). The priority queue will be closed one hour prior to the scheduled session. Priority seating is not reserved seating, but allows first access to general admission seating.
Complimentary Exclusive Print
Gold Members can pick up an Expo-exclusive gift in Hall A
Special Merchandise Offers
Disney partners offering a discount are (as of 6/21/17): Havaianas, Ozobot, Stiff, and Thomas Kinkade
D23 Charter Member Lounge
As always, there is a cool lounge just for D23 Charter Members who (unlike me) maintained Gold Membership from the start.
PHEW! Is that all….?
Believe it or not, this isn’t technically even all of the information we have – and more comes out nearly every day. I’ll continue to update the post as press releases make their way to my inbox, but for your sake and mine, I’ll have to hold some of the details of specific small-stage panels and presentations, etc.
Visiting Disneyland while at the 2019 D23 Expo
If you’re already in Anaheim, you should definitely consider visiting the Disneyland Resort – Walt’s original dream. Whether it would be your first time or you’ve been before, the folks at EZ Dis by Instant Impressions can help plan your perfect trip. If you’re going to add a visit to Disneyland Park and Disney’s California Adventure during an already busy weekend, their concierge service will definitely come in handy to help you make the most of it. In addition to helping you book, here’s some additional benefits to book your Disneyland (or Walt Disney World) trip with EZ Dis – all provided at no cost to you!
- Help you select the best resort/category
- Assist with park planning and avoiding the crowds
- Recommend and make dining reservations
- Strategies and FastPass tips (or reservations at WDW)
- Watch for future discounts and automatically apply them to your package to save you money
- Provide lanyard with trading pins for all children on packages
Be sure to use referral code DL19 when you contact them to start your planning!