The D23 Expo only happens on North American soil once every other year and it sells out each time.
Much like at one of the Disney theme parks, there are lines to get into different exhibits, Disney stores, and photo opp experiences like Scrooge McDuck’s money bin from DuckTales.
It’s a place you can go and flaunt your love of all things Disney without fear of judgment, because I guarantee you there will be someone even more of a fan than you at the Expo.
I was fortunate enough to visit the Disney Dream store there, where I scored a very limited edition Alex + Ani bracelet commemorating the 30th anniversary of Star Tours at Disneyland. The ride was opened in 1987 and they made exactly one thousand, nine-hundred, eighty-seven bracelets.
I wish I had also snagged the Oswald the Lucky Rabbit limited edition bracelet, but I was trying to contain myself.
I also picked up two very limited edition pins, and a Star Wars Vinylmation. We wound up getting the 1/10 Rex figure, which I absolutely couldn’t believe.
I also picked up some brand new not-yet-in-parks Minnie ears with detachable bows. They are softer and not as tight on your head as the current ears sold in parks, and you can change the bows around to wear in your hair or on the ears. The headband comes in at $29.99, but the bows are $17.99, and you only need one headband because the bows are interchangeable. SUPER cool, right?
The Legends Awards Ceremony
The Legends Awards Ceremony was one of the most amazing things I’ve ever been able to experience.
The tribute to Carrie Fisher still makes every cell in my body come to life and prompts tears to run from my eyes. Oprah Winfrey, Whoopie Goldberg, & Mark Hamill also became Disney Legends for their contributions.
There were other names I didn’t recognize, but that were familiar to me for their contributions in animation, cinematography, and music.
Michael Vargo Q&A
We had the opportunity to talk to Michael Vargo who is the Vice President of D23, The Official Disney Fan Club and the Walt Disney Archives. I love that he seemed as excited about the Expo as the rest of us were and spoke extensively about the benefits of becoming members, such as limited edition, members-only books, opportunities around the world for experiencing all things Disney, speak peeks into new lands in the parks, special Expo benefits, and more.
Memberships are FREE for the General Membership or $79.99 per year for the Gold Membership which adds the Disney 23 Membership Publication, special events, Annual membership gift, special member events, a fancy membership card, and the ability to attend D23 events with a guest.
We received the 2017 Disney Legends 30th Anniversary Disney 23 Membership Publication for attending this exclusive interview and I’m terrified to take it out of the plastic. I want to preserve it for FOREVER!
Disney Music Emporium
While at the Expo, we also visited the Disney Music Emporium which was one of my favorite booths. I wanted to buy ALL the vinyl, but I didn’t wind up buying any because I had already spent so much money on trading pins.
The Emporium had so many limited edition and exclusives that every time I turned around I heard myself saying, “If only I had an extra $500 sitting around!” or “Certainly I can spend $1000 on this signed record of Star Wars music, RIGHT?” Don’t worry, I didn’t. But I really, really wanted to. While there, we were gifted a CD of the Robin Hood soundtrack. Another thing I’ll probably never take out of the plastic film.
Disney Archives – A Pirate’s Life For Me
One of the longest lines at the Expo was for the Disney Archives – A Pirate’s Life for Me exhibit.
This exhibit pulled out a ton of pirate-related memorabilia from the Disney Archives, starting at the very beginning.
There was correspondence from Walt Disney with plans for the Pirates of the Caribbean ride long before it ever came to life, old posters, costumes and props from the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, and a long line of pirate-related EVERYTHING you can think of.
There were pirates from Peter Pan, King Neptune’s Silly Symphony, & Moana – Pirates of the Caribbean aren’t the only pirates in the Disney Archives, you know that, right?
Concert by Disney Legend, Alan Menken
One of the definite highlights of the trip was the concert by Alan Menken. He came out and talked a lot about each song he played for us, or each movie he had composed for. He talked in depth about his long-time friend and collaborator, Howard Ashman. He choked up when he spoke of how Howard passed with AIDS and what it meant to him that when Aladdin hit Broadway, he was able to use some of the songs he and Howard had written that didn’t make it into the film. He played “Proud of your Boy” from Aladdin the Musical which moved me to tears and gave me a deeper appreciation for the play which Kyle and I went to see in 2015 during our trip to NYC.
I had no idea, but Alan Menken wrote Little Shop of Horrors which is another of my favorite musicals. The music alone would have been a fantastic way to spend my time, but hearing the stories of how these things came to be, in addition to failed riffs, full thought processes; those things made the concert what it was – moving and memorable.
It’s amazing to me how one, simple thing like this changes your appreciation for a person.
Wrap It Up Already!
I really still can’t believe this happened, that I had the honor of being part of it, and that I got to experience so much in a short three days. It was far and away one of the most amazing things I’ve ever been part of and I can’t wait until 2019, when I’ve already promised my husband we can return for THAT D23 Expo, and yes, we’ll be saving our coins so that we can make it happen.
If you have the opportunity or a few extra dollars at the end of the month, and you’re a big-ol Disney fan, consider going to the next D23 Expo state side. It will be an event you’ll never forget.