Because we are so ridiculously cool over here at WDWHints, we get to send one of our people to the D23 Expo (Friday, August 14th-Sunday, August 16th) in order to cover the event. And, you guessed it, “one of our people” means me. Grace. OHMAAYGAAWSH.
So. What I learned last time (when I covered the event in 2013) is that going to conventions is, like, really hard. I just showed up on Saturday with no plan in mind and sort of ended up wandering around alone taking pictures. The 2013 Expo was my first convention ever, and I would like to just put it out there that it was super humbling and I could have done much better. This is why I’m very excited to be given another chance, since now I feel like I know exactly what to do and what not to do.
I’m also going to tell you what I know so that you can feel comfortable that you will get to do the things you’re excited about next time you go to a convention (whether it’s D23 in a couple weeks, or Comic Con, or whatever. There really are so many now that it’s hard to keep track.) (All the more reason for this article, right?!) (Right.).
A small disclaimer, here: This is a listicle. Listicles are lazy, right? WRONG. Only when they are written lazily (I’m looking at YOU, BuzzFeed!) I happen to be an expert listicle-er, as loyal readers have seen from my previous listicle about being the best nanny on the planet. Okay. Disclaimer over. Let’s talk D23 prep.
1.) You need to stay up to date with the panels that will be taking place at the event. I have been checking the D23 Expo website every couple of days since my press pass was approved. Now, I am extremely anal retentive and you don’t need to check on it that often, or this early. But, the more often and the earlier the better. I would recommend doing your first check-up on the line-up no later than one week before the first day of the event. More than one check is also imperative, since line-ups change frequently, and you do not want to be caught off guard when you show up and none of the stuff you were expecting to see is in the right place or at the right time.
2.) Make a list of things you want to go to. I make a prioritized list, meaning that the stuff I can’t live without seeing or going to is at the top, and the things I could feel okay about missing are at the bottom. This way, if there are multiple things that you are interested in happening at the same time, you can make a decision based on what is more important to you, or you can plan to leave one panel or event a little early in order to catch at least some of the other. (For instance: On Friday, there are two panels that I really want to see: the Disney Legends Awards, and the Emotions of Inside Out panels. The Inside Out panel starts an hour into the two-hour Disney Legends panel, so I will have to make a judgement call about whether or not I want to leave the Disney Legends panel in order to get to my Inside Out one.)
3.) If you don’t have reserved seating, get to your panels early. In 2013, I found that coming half an hour early got me into most panels, but that I was usually shoved in the back. So, if having a good seat is important to you, keep the popularity of your event in mind and plan accordingly, allowing for plenty of line-waiting time.
· Sub-point: Bring stuff to do in line. Books, games, whatever. Don’t be like me and just have to sit forever looking awkward because you didn’t think ahead.
4.) Take all of the above information and form an itinerary for yourself. It doesn’t have to be fancy or super specific, but definitely have some sort of plan laid out for yourself so that you don’t miss out on what you’re really excited for. It can be scribbled on a napkin, too; don’t feel like you have to create an Excel workbook with pages and crap, like me. I’m weird.
5.) Don’t let your schedule for yourself bog down the fun. I can see myself having issues with this, due to my incredibly Type-A, supper-planning personality. Don’t be me. You will not have a good time. Allow yourself some time to sit down for lunch, as well as some time to leisurely walk the convention room floor. These will be valuable things in your life when it comes to maintaining your sanity in the huge crowds and long lines.
6.) (I know, I said five. This one doesn’t apply to everyone, though, so it wasn’t REALLY a lie… Okay, I’m sorry, I won’t do it again.) If you’re going to a convention with the intention to cover the event for a blog you’re writing for…. Have business cards. If you don’t, other press pass people will absolutely laugh at your face unabashedly. Don’t ask me how I know. Betcha’ can’t guess.
Those are all the tips I have, friends. I’m looking forward to bringing you updates about what is new and exciting in the world of Disney. Good luck to you if you will be at the D23 Expo (and say hey if you come across my super-friendly self!). If you won’t be there, stay tuned in to our Facebook page and Instagram account (@WDWHints) on the days of the Expo to see me flex my social networking muscles and bring you exciting updates live from the Expo floor!