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  1. #1

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    September 17, 2009: The First D23 Expo

    The first ever D23 Expo, a four-day convention billed as “The Ultimate Disney Fan Experience,” is now history.


    Please discuss it here.
    Werner Weiss
    Curator of Yesterland, featuring discontinued Disneyland attractions

  2. #2

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    Re: September 17, 2009: The First D23 Expo

    I had 5,000 identical “fake vintage” Yesterland post cards printed for the booth. The cards have the Yesterland logo in the middle, surrounded by my photos of Adventures Thru Inner Space, the Midget Autopia, the original PeopleMover, and the Mine Train through Nature’s Wonderland. I still have over half of these cards left. Unless Disneyland reopens any of these attractions before the next D23 Expo—which seems rather unlikely—my post cards won’t go out-of-date.
    Any chance those of us unable to attend D23 could send a SASE (or a stamp) to get one of the Yesterland postcards?

  3. #3

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    Re: September 17, 2009: The First D23 Expo

    Thanks for your excellent article, Werner. It was nice to read about all the good of the show, especially after reading a mostly negative thread on Micechat. One quibble - the Imagineer in charge of World of Color is Steve Davison, not Davidson. A common mistake.

  4. #4

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    Re: September 17, 2009: The First D23 Expo

    Great report! I attended all four days as well (the Mice Chat booth was busy when I came by and I never made it to goodies on the tables). I agree with everything you said..very well presented. I was one of the ones who got into the infamous Cruise presentation. I believe the room was cut because of the giveaway..a Disney Cruise Alaska announcement scarf. I guess they had so many scarves and didn't want any atteendee to get angry about not getting one, but maybe the fury from those who didn't get in made that not worthwhile for them. As in many presentations, they way underestimated the interest. They could have just given out vouchers to the first how ever many they had scarves for. The poor clicker girl was really trying to keep up with the line, but I can testify that just in front of us, three people came into the line that hadn't been 'clicked', so that is why so many could not get in. Line cutters are everywhere. The voucher idea is much better, but it would be even better if they could just hand out the vouchers and not allow lines until closer to room load times.
    Anyway, it was a great experience and I'm sure they will be on top of these issues next year.

  5. #5

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    Re: September 17, 2009: The First D23 Expo

    Well said, Werner. Thank you for pointing out a few areas of frustration that many of us attendees experienced. I hope Disney takes note and makes adjustments next year. I would just add that they also need to keep the show floor areas open longer in the day, say to 7 or 8pm. My friends and I never really got to see everything we wanted to see because we spent so much time in line for presentations, even though we did sacrifice seeing some presentations that we would like to have seen. I didn't even have the chance to stop by the MiceAge booth while you were there to meet you, Werner.

  6. #6

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    Re: September 17, 2009: The First D23 Expo

    Thanks for the great Expo information for those of us that couldn't go this year!

    Some of the most successful conventions I've gone to in the past allow early registration to not only the event itself but also to some of the more significant panels, discussions, and venues. Seems Disney could accomplish two things here if they started this: firstly, they could encourage early ticket purchasers by letting folks know if they sign up early, they'll have a better chance to register for popular venues. Secondly, it'd give Disney a heads-up on venue size based on early registration numbers. Hopefully we'll go next year (if there is one!) and benefit from the lessons learned from this year.

  7. #7

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    Re: September 17, 2009: The First D23 Expo

    I am curious to know what will actually remain of the old Fantasyland at Magic Kingdom, Florida. I assume Mickey's Toon Town Fair will be no more, but what about the dark rides. I hope they will not be replaced with an attraction like the Winnie The Pooh ride!

  8. #8

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    Re: September 17, 2009: The First D23 Expo

    I thought overall, D23 was pretty successful from an Expo goers standpoint - especially for a first year. I'm used to Comic-Con which is 20 times larger with many more panels running simultaneously and 20 times the logistical "challenges". You have to pick and chose and plan accordingly. (BTW, I just pulled the number 20 as a guesstimate; it's not accurate; let's just say that Comic-Con is a LOT bigger)

    Yes, it was really disappointing not to be able to get into some of the panels because the lines were too long or you couldn't make it from one panel to the next in enough time to get a good spot in line. Larger rooms and careful scheduling of panels would help in that regard but it's going to be tough to fit everyone's "wish" schedule. Pre-ticketing "hot" panels would be a good suggestion. You'd be standing in one line to stand in another line, but at least you'd be able to schedule your day better knowing you got into one panel or another. And presenting some panels more than once would be a great idea if possible.

    The cell phone and camera collection was truly a pain, but I don't know a way around that except to spread out the pick up area so you don't have huge bottle neck lines.

    That said, I commend the D23 staff for putting on such a large and diverse show and for quickly and pro-actively dealing with the line and room size issues by reorganizing cue lines, moving panels to larger venues (next time please use that arena more!), putting monitors in overflow rooms and changing start times to allow for "loading" the rooms (they need to do more of that). The D23 people were learning and "listening" as the show went along.

    Regarding the ABC screenings - if my time wasn't spent on the Expo floor or in a panel, it was spent standing (and sitting) in line. I did have interest in seeing advanced screenings of some of the ABC shows but wasn't about to get out of lines for them.

    My suggestion would be to put screens in the cueing rooms and some of the cueing areas and run the shows while people are waiting in line. We were a huge captive audience in those lines. I understand that some people may not want to see the shows, be bothered by sound and prefer talking amongst themselves. I understand that there are timing issues and people may not see the whole show. But having sat in some of those lines for over an hour and half, I would have welcomed a half hour sit com or some extended scenes from shows (or even other Disney or Muppet material).

    One quick other suggestion to D23 would be to put the video screens in the rooms up just a little higher so that you're not looking through so many heads and bodies at the bottom of the screens. I realize that in many cases there was a little more than 1' - 2' more space above the screens and they may not be able to raise them. But it's a thought.

    All in all, D23 was a good experience and I look forward to next year. And Marvel Comics going into the fold opens up a whole new area for booths, panels and media. Even though I'm a huge comics fan, having Marvel Comics at D23 just doesn't quite seem "Disney". But that's the "business" part of "show business" and I'll look forward to that, too.

    Ted in L.A.
    Last edited by BigBearLA; 09-17-2009 at 10:28 AM.

  9. #9

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    Re: September 17, 2009: The First D23 Expo

    Quote Originally Posted by RLS Legacy View Post
    Any chance those of us unable to attend D23 could send a SASE (or a stamp) to get one of the Yesterland postcards?
    Considering the price of two first class stamps, that wouldn't be worth it.

    I'll look for other opportunities to distribute post cards, in addition to the next D23 Expo.
    Werner Weiss
    Curator of Yesterland, featuring discontinued Disneyland attractions

  10. #10

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    Re: September 17, 2009: The First D23 Expo

    Quote Originally Posted by danyoung View Post
    One quibble - the Imagineer in charge of World of Color is Steve Davison, not Davidson.
    Thanks! I fixed it.
    Werner Weiss
    Curator of Yesterland, featuring discontinued Disneyland attractions

  11. #11

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    Re: September 17, 2009: The First D23 Expo

    I like this thread ALOT better than Al's thread about the D23 Expo.
    I think that we (Werner and the people on this board) went to a TOTALLY different Expo than Al and the people on that other thread.
    I also went all 4 days and went to 19 presentations, so I understand Werner's comment about being exhausted. I had a GREAT time.
    I liked alot of the suggestions. I think the video screens in the queue areas is a REALLY good idea. I think that the pre-registration idea is good too, but should be reserved for D23 members only (especially since the perks at the Expo for members was weak).
    As to the comments about ABC, I heard from more than one insider that ABC was dragged to the Expo unwillingly.
    And as to ESPN, I heard from an insider that they should be there next year.
    Alot of this boils down to trial and error. A number of the divisions didn't have ANY clue what the Expo was and didn't have ANY clue of what to do there. They can see the results (and mistakes) from this year and will adjust accordingly.
    One other note about the other thread. There was a lot of emphasis put on that there were ALOT of Disney cast members at the Expo. Some of the best conversations I had in line or waiting for a presentation were with Disney cast members that were not there in any official capacity.

  12. #12

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    Re: September 17, 2009: The First D23 Expo

    Very nice post, Me and my girlfriend went all four days and still didnt get to see everything we wanted, but definately got our monies worth. Left early to get our electronics and dad gum missed Johnny, my GF almost had a cerebral meltdown, so then we learned there was a coat hat check area for two dollars, wish we had learned about it the first day, could have saved alot of waiting and having to be in the dog house nothing about it anywhere in the program and just one little sign we just happened to see later. But i won the Mickey luggage at the Disney Visa booth so back out of the doghouse All in all a fantastic Expo and cant wait for next years.

  13. #13

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    Re: September 17, 2009: The First D23 Expo

    Excellent report, Werner. I was (literally) right behind you in the masses trying to get out of the Arena on Saturday, and I too wondered why they didn't make better use of the space. Fortunately by Sunday they moved the Toy Story showings there.

    Hopefully they'll follow your advice for the next Expo, and coordinate things a little differently.

  14. #14

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    Re: September 17, 2009: The First D23 Expo

    Very nice article, Werner. So wish I could have gone. Makes me want to plan to be at one in the future!!

  15. #15

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    Re: September 17, 2009: The First D23 Expo

    Quote Originally Posted by jedited View Post
    I also went all 4 days and went to 19 presentations, so I understand Werner's comment about being exhausted. I had a GREAT time.
    I liked alot of the suggestions. I think the video screens in the queue areas is a REALLY good idea. I think that the pre-registration idea is good too, but should be reserved for D23 members only (especially since the perks at the Expo for members was weak).
    19 presentations! Wow. I made it to 11 presentations, and I thought I was doing well.

    Actually, I'm glad there were no video screens and recorded noise in the queues. The best part of waiting in the lines was the ability to have conversations with people around me.

    Instead of pre-registration, I'd rather just see enough capacity—at least enough capacity for anyone willing to arrive 15 minutes before the start time. I'd like to see the doors open so that attendees could wander in and sit down for most presentations instead of having to stand in lines first.

    If Steve Davison had been in the Arena for his World of Color presentation, and the doors had been open a half hour before start time, we could have just walked in, picked seats, and relaxed before his presentation. He probably would not have filled the whole Arena, but it's likely he would have filled at least half of the 4,000 or so seats.
    Werner Weiss
    Curator of Yesterland, featuring discontinued Disneyland attractions

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