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  1. #1

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    D23: Mad Mice - 8/24 Q&A with D23 on Expo Problems

    I got an earful at our booth all weekend about the many problems you had at the Expo. In the MiceChat Round-Up for 8/24 D23 responded to many of your questions. Discuss it here...

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    Re: D23: Mad Mice - 8/24 Q&A with D23 on Expo Problems

    Thanks Al, for putting this together. Jeffrey's responses came across as a lot of corporate blah-blah-blah-yackity-shmackity to me, but I'm sure he's limited on what he can and cannot say. It's apparent that D23 is aware of the problems they faced, and hopefully they'll take the time to address each one individually.

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    Re: D23: Mad Mice - 8/24 Q&A with D23 on Expo Problems

    It's surprising how far removed Jeffrey's responses are from the reality of what convention-goers reported in this thread and this one.

    He seems either highly uninformed, or heavily into corporate spin.
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    Re: D23: Mad Mice - 8/24 Q&A with D23 on Expo Problems

    Jeff is the PR "face" of D23 for both fans and corporate alike, it's his "job" to spin the event for the benifit of the WDC - his is the first head that should roll over this mess. If the first rule of business is "know your audience/market" the D23 team is woefully out of touch.

    Followed by -

    Steven Clark and his entire team. Leadership from the bottom isn't the way to build an event.

    Michael Vargo and everyone else in D23 Operations & Marketing. Selling tickets to fans who had no chance of enjoying their use is fraud.

    Some of these people have been involved with Disney Conventions/Fan Expos and Special Merchandise Events for decades - going back to the first Official Disneyana Convention in 1992. There is absolutley no excuse - and certainly not the weak ones Jeff gave - for the massive mistakes made in a three-day event with a two year lead and with more money and talent thrown at it than we will ever know.

    It's quite clear that the D23 team is in well over their heads and sinking fast. Even Iger has jumped this ship of fools.

    Enjoy!

    Kimber

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    Re: D23: Mad Mice - 8/24 Q&A with D23 on Expo Problems

    No need to write more...I totally agree with all the above posts! Ugh I hope its way better in 2013!

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    Re: D23: Mad Mice - 8/24 Q&A with D23 on Expo Problems

    having followed these conventions in the past... I don't understand why anyone would want to subject themselves to such pain in the format of 'queue up for hours and hope for the best'
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    Re: D23: Mad Mice - 8/24 Q&A with D23 on Expo Problems

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Wiggins View Post
    It's surprising how far removed Jeffrey's responses are from the reality of what convention-goers reported in this thread and this one.

    He seems either highly uninformed, or heavily into corporate spin.
    I don't think he realizes that people are more than just unhappy... they are borderline down right mad at some of the ways that they were treated over the weekend.

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    Re: D23: Mad Mice - 8/24 Q&A with D23 on Expo Problems

    About what I would expect from corporate answers. ni_teach is right - I think they have an idea there were problems, but don't truly get how angry some of us were. As a D23 member who has had good times at the studio and WDW 40th events (both with some issues, but nothing major), this was a major disappointment. I didn't get into the Studios panel, and as annoyed as I was, I felt worse for the general admission folks who didn't have a shot (and I didn't either for that matter).

    Not all of us use smartphones, and even still, the Twitter account was pretty useless.

    If Disney can't handle that many people and have enough content/rooms/capacity, don't do another one. I would even dare suggest they scale it back, only offer it to D23 members, and stop selling admission when their planned capacity is full. Sure, that limits the buying potential of 40,000 people, but anyone who wants to go to another debacle - good for them. I'm not going to the one in 2013.

    Purely looking at the numbers, Disney will call this a success. Everything else was pretty much a fail.

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    Re: D23: Mad Mice - 8/24 Q&A with D23 on Expo Problems

    The beauty of the Destination D event last year is that they only sold the number of tickets for seats in the conference center. YOu had to wait in lines if you wanted the best seats but all ticket holders got seats.
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    Re: D23: Mad Mice - 8/24 Q&A with D23 on Expo Problems

    in 2009 they had a animation presentation and a studios presentation seperately in the arena thus allowing for more panels the fact that it was 2.5 hours plus long this time around was crazy.. Next time it shoudl be split up among all major divisions Marvel can have one, Pixar/Disney Animation could have one and the Film studios could have one this way you can pull 4-6000 people off the floor at a time and not have such a large amount of people complaining


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    Re: D23: Mad Mice - 8/24 Q&A with D23 on Expo Problems

    Thank you for your interview, your comments and this discussion, Al. It was fun meeting people at the MiceChat booth.

    I went to the 2009 D23 Expo and to Destination: D in Anaheim. I’m a veteran Comic-Con goer so I know the drill of waiting in lines and over-crowded panels. Waiting in line for hours and people not being able to get into panels has become common there. I know it’s a difficult challenge to accommodate everyone at Comic-Con or the D23 Expo. But D23 is not quite the size of Comic-Con. And after facing the over-crowded panel problem at the D23 Expo in 2009, I was disappointed and frustrated to face the same problems this year. In fact, I think it was worse. The lines to get in hall were horrendous and slow. And I got tired very quickly of sitting in line for 4 to 3 hours for panel after panel.

    I like everyone’s suggestions above, and I had some thoughts. Apologies if some of these suggestions have been made in other threads. I'm sure they have been made, but I haven’t read all the threads -

    GETTING INTO THE CONVENTION CENTER - More people to check people in at the entrance to the Convention Center – that would help getting people into the hall faster.

    Separate lines outside for those who want to go to The Dream Store, Arena, Expo floor or panels first.

    PANEL OVERCROWDING – Bigger rooms with more video screens that can accommodate more people. Comic-Con can do it. I realize it may be more expensive for D23 to manage but it would make many more Expo goers happy.

    Find a way to accommodate more people in the Arena. Set up the stage and presentations differently. Do it in the round with a stage in the middle and screens above each section of the oval.

    Overflow viewing rooms. I recall they had them in 2009. Why not this time?

    Hold popular panels more than once.

    Line monitors and signage at the ends of the lines at all times to direct and inform people. These monitors should have walkies to communicate with managers. Often too many of the line monitors didn’t know what was going on.

    I think the D23 app was only for iPhones, and I’m on Android. And not everyone has smartphones or is on Twitter. I don’t see this as a wide-spread solution to distributing information at the Expo.

    SCOOPS - One of the reasons I went to the Expo was to get first hand news of new developments in the Parks and new movies. I was a little disappointed that the number of "scoops" was lower this year. The Carousel of Projects Pavilion was one of my favorites, but the Pavilion was smaller than the last Expo and more focused on merchandising. I wish there could have been more presentations on the various parks in the Carousel of Projects.

    I fully realize that new reveals and coverage of projects is dictated by schedules and lots of other factors. So hopefully the next Expo will be richer in presenting scoops.

    LONG WAITS IN LINE AND HANDLING MORE PEOPLE - Dealing with panel overcrowding and long waits in line is a big logistics challenge but there must be ways. Some thoughts –

    Tiered Extra Access Tickets are a solution but I don’t like the idea. It’s more of the up-charging that’s happening in the Parks. There’s no way I can afford a $500 or $1,000 pass. A somewhat cheaper premium ticket with access to 1 or 2 panels of your choice per day may be an option, but again – it’s up-charging!

    Give out tickets to panels with assigned seat numbers – it’s a good idea but it’s a large undertaking.

    Fast passes for panels similar to World of Color – Instead of assigned seat tickets, it might be more practical to divide the rooms into colored sections (like the viewing area for World of Color) and hand out X number of colored tickets to each section.

    A “dance card” for each day. The card would be the size of your badge and fit in your badge holder. It would have all the panels for each day. There would be organized timed lines to get a sticker or stamp for the panels you wanted and then line up about a half hour before the panel. Standby lines would also be set up.

    I realize that the all above suggestions would create MORE lines and perhaps even more time waiting in lines. Maybe it's not a good idea. But maybe there’s a way to make “tickets” or “fast passes” work. At least having “fast passes” would alleviate the 3-4 hour wait times for each panel and allow you to go down to the Convention floor or take in other panels. And if you don’t have a ticket you at least know how to schedule your time vs. going up and down the escalators time after time only to find out a panel or standby line is full.

    Hand stamp people who are in the staging lines and holding rooms to prevent line cutting.

    Bottom line - I would much prefer that D23 balance the number of ticket holders to room sizes and make the rooms bigger to accommodate more people.

    I love these types of events. There were some excellent panels and presentations. But the overcrowding issues left a bad taste. You have to figure that the D23 staff know the issues of this year’s convention and are giving it careful thought. I do hope that they come up with solutions and communicate in advance with us as the core group of fans.
    Last edited by BigBearLA; 08-25-2011 at 08:55 AM.

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    Re: D23: Mad Mice - 8/24 Q&A with D23 on Expo Problems

    Q. Gawd-awful food – although the service was noted as good.
    A. We were not responsible for food services presented at the convention center.
    (Al - Note/Suggestion: After asking around a bit more I understand this is an issue for all companies in booking events there, and it may be the same across the country in other venues. The Anaheim Convention Center won't negotiate on this point. I wonder how much more business they could welcome with a more flexible policy?)
    All of the menus served at the convention center are approved by the group booking the space. I'm glad the service was noted as good, but disappointed that no one who had an issue with the food mentioned anything to the food service staff. Hopefully we'll get some feedback from the questionnaire on the receipts.

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    Re: D23: Mad Mice - 8/24 Q&A with D23 on Expo Problems

    out of curiosity. has anyone gone to comic con and if so how are the lines managed there, how long do people normally wait for before each panel and is it competative like the d23 expo lines are?

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    Re: D23: Mad Mice - 8/24 Q&A with D23 on Expo Problems

    My boss at the bookstore went all 3 days and the thing he complained the most about was waiting in a long line for something and being told by crowd control and security that no line cutting would be allowed at all. Yet people were letting friends in line in front of other people and no one in security or crowd control did a thing when told. If you were #50 in line to get a limited edition item of 100, then you were guaranteed to get an item, but when people are allowed to cut in line and the line in front of you grows and grows and after waiting 3 hours in line you now have 150 new people in line who come up at the last moment and join friends or family in line. He really didn't care who they were or what relation they were he felt it was very unfair that Security would flat out say no cutting in line in any circumstance and then do nothing when told what was happening. For him this was a big deal and not good thing at all.
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    Re: D23: Mad Mice - 8/24 Q&A with D23 on Expo Problems

    As a longtime D23 "curmudgeon," I have to admit I'm a little surprised at the amount of complaining going on about the Expo. It was not smooth, and I didn't expect it to be. A transient event in the Anaheim Convention Center is not going to be equivalent to a Disney theme park experience. Realizing that this is only the second Expo ever and no Disney business unit has ever attempted something on this scale, I thought it went remarkably well. The crowds to me were indicative of the fact that D23 gained a lot of awareness for the Expo and that people LIKED the first one enough to come back. For every one negative post here, there are probably 100 people who don't post positive comments.

    There were a LOT of kinks to work out. Then again, Comic-Con has been doing this for nearly 40 years on an annual basis and still can't get it right. This past June, I had an AWFUL experience at Comic-Con. It was overcrowded, chaotic, and felt more like a carnival sideshow experience. D23, by comparison, was well-attended, well-organized (from what I experienced) and felt much more manageable.

    There are a TON of things I would change about the Expo and about D23 overall. But since I've been a D23 detractor for a while, let me say this -- the Expo exceeded ALL of my relatively low expectations, and I give kudos to the D23 team for pulling off a very successful event.

    (Regarding the quasi-critique that the Expo was filled with employees who got in at a discount ... guess what? Disneyland has literally thousands of non-paying guests every single day. It doesn't make it any less popular or successful.)

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