June 18, 2024

2024 D23 Expo Disney Fan Event Guide: Dates, Tickets & Events

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This year's Disney D23 Expo runs from August 9 to 11, 2024 in Anaheim. This guide covers all dates & details, strategy, area hotel recommendations, crowds, tips & tricks for the 'Ultimate Fan Event' that'll

This year’s Disney D23 Expo runs from August 9 to 11, 2024 in Anaheim. This guide covers all dates & details, strategy, area hotel recommendations, crowds, tips & tricks for the ‘Ultimate Fan Event’ that’ll be held a short walk from Disneyland and California Adventure.

As always, we’ll be attending the 2024 D23 Expo and are really looking forward to it. We’ve had a good time at each of the past Expos over the course of the last decade-plus, and enjoy making a wishlist/predictions for the Parks & Resorts presentation, which is what I care about most.

With that said, the 2024 D23 Expo absolutely is not for everyone. The event has its moments, but also the worst aspects of both conventions (sitting around in conference rooms for hours on end) and theme parks (standing around in lines for hours on end). It’s great for fans of celebrities, history, hype, exhibits, cosplayers, and random fandom fun. That’s a very eclectic range of interests, but such is the nature of the D23 Expo. If it isn’t immediately apparent that the D23 Expo is for you…there’s a good chance it isn’t. Don’t try to force it–do Disneyland instead!

Dubbed “The Ultimate Disney Fan Event” and hosted by the company’s Official Fan Club, the 2024 D23 Expo takes place in Anaheim, California August 9-11, and celebrates the magic and excitement of Disney entertainment past, present, and future.

Tickets for the D23 Expo will go on sale March 26, 2024. Typically, the 3-day passes sell out pretty quickly–but within days, not minutes or hours. After that, single day tickets are usually available for a couple of months. The only thing that sells out almost instantly is the VIP access and seating (previously called Sorcerer–who knows if it’ll get a new name for 2024).

If you’ve heard that “D23 sells out instantly,” that’s likely about a different event–Destination D23 or some other small scale event. The actual Expo held in Anaheim is colossal, and will be even bigger in 2024. Because of that, there’s a chance that they’ll release even more tickets and they’ll sell out slower.

Technically, they’re not calling it the 2024 D23 Expo. The official name is just “D23: The Ultimate Disney Fan Event.” No one is going to call it that. If you say, “I’m attending D23 colon the ultimate Disney fan event” to your friends or fellow fans and they might respond that you’re the “ultimate Disney colon dweeb.” It’s just the 2024 D23 Expo.

The 2024 D23 Expo will feature new venues and multiple days of entertainment that brings together the worlds of Disney. That’s everything including Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, and much more.

The D23 kickoff celebration will take place at Disneyland Resort on August 8, 2024 followed by shopping, exhibits, panels, presentations, and more from August 9 to 11, 2024 at the Anaheim Convention Center during the day. The fun extends into the evening at the Honda Center–home to the Mighty Ducks—where bigger marquee shows, such as the Parks & Resorts Panel, will be presented.

Honestly, I’m nervous about how the split-venue approach between the Anaheim Convention Center and Honda Center will work. I think the Honda Center is probably a better venue for the big movies and parks panels. It’ll allow more people to see these presentations and stadium-style seating will afford better views.

The downside is going to be getting people between the locations. Even with the whole ART fleet and Disneyland buses at their disposal, it’s going to be a real challenge. The first thing I did when hearing this news was pull up the walking distance between the two venues on Google Maps. It’s 62 minutes–pretty much a straight shot down Katella. That might be faster than taking the bus!

In addition, there will also be a special D23 Day at Angel Stadium, where D23 fans are invited to attend the Los Angeles Angels vs. New York Mets game on August 4, 2024. Note that the Los Angeles Dodgers have a homestand during the 2024 D23 Expo and will be playing the Major League Baseball clubs from the great state of Pennsylvania from August 5 to 11, 2024.

So if you want to see Shohei Ohtani and Yoshinobu Yamamoto, consider purchasing tickets to the Dodgers instead. Just realize that Angels tickets are a lot cheaper and easier. Despite both having “Los Angeles” in the name, the Angels actually play in Anaheim–a stone’s throw from Disneyland. The Dodgers are in Downtown Los Angeles, getting there from Disneyland can a hassle, and everything from parking to concessions to the game itself is much more expensive. But also, better.

The 2024 D23 Expo will have Disney+ integrations and a new interactive app as well as musical performances, an amazing shopping experience, and special presentations. The fan event will also be going global with D23 heading to São Paulo, Brazil in November 2024. It’s the first time that the Disney fan event will be taking place in Latin America.

Other specifics for 2024 have not yet been announced, but this year’s D23 Expo is expected to feature 50+ presentations and panels. This includes the popular Disney Legends Awards Ceremony, which honors the talented individuals who have made significant contributions to the Disney legacy, as well as an exhibit curated by the Walt Disney Archives.

We’re also expecting the massive show floor full of interactive booths and elaborate exhibits from a wide range of Disney brands and partners to return to the 2024 D23 Expo. In the past, there has been everything from sprawling showcases from Walt Disney Imagineering and Pixar to intimate displays from Sphero and clothing companies. Truly something for everyone.

One of the neat things about the show floor is the chance to have one-on-one time with Imagineers, animators, and filmmakers who work their respective booths. Then there’s the 7,000-seat Hall D23 that plays host to the biggest panels, which will be joined this year by the 3,000-seat Premiere Stage, and the 1,200-seat Backlot Stage. There’s also the expanded, 700-seat Walt Disney Archives Stage for presentations curated by the staff of the Archives. It’s unclear how much use each of these venues will get with the addition of the Honda Center.

On the main show floor, the D23 Expo Live! Stage will feature performances, appearances, demonstrations, and more all weekend long. Many of these and other panels will be livestreamed to audiences at home, so it’s not imperative to attend if you want to keep up with what’s happening. However, a lot is not live-streamed, including pretty much anything with archival content, concept art, or extended trailers.

Guests can also enjoy shopping, many featuring D23 Expo-exclusive collectibles, at an assortment of Disney and partner pop-up shops including the D23 Expo Emporium, where the ultimate Disney fans can wait in the ultimate lines. Seriously, the lines are always multi-hour for these stores. I’ve never even set foot in Mickey’s of Glendale during any of the Expos I’ve attended.

As always, there will be a lot of celebrities from the Marvel and Star Wars series and films, along with those appearing in Disney+ content. In the past, those celebrities have included Robert Downey Jr., Christina Aguilera, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Emily Blunt, Angelina Jolie, Robin Roberts, Salma Hayek, Tom Holland, Chris Pratt, and the casts of Star Wars stuff and Marvel movies.

We’d strongly recommend booking your hotel for the 2024 D23 Expo now if you’re planning on attending. If past precedent is any indication, rates will only increase as the event date draws nearer–and some hotels near the Anaheim Convention Center have already seen their rates skyrocket.

Refer to our Disneyland Area Hotel Rankings & Reviews for a rundown of the best (and worst) options. Note that it’s not strictly necessary that you book a ‘convention center’ hotel, as pretty much anything on or around Harbor Boulevard is going to be within a reasonable walking distance. You’ll be paying a significant premium for the hotels at the ACC. With that said, we’d strongly discourage you from booking something that requires driving to the convention center–parking in the morning can be a real pain.

Making the Most of the D23 Expo

Once the actual 2024 D23 Expo rolls around and you’re in Anaheim, there are several other things you should do to make the most of your experience. We’ll cover some of those here, expanding this section over time as the event draws nearer (assuming people actually care).

Your first step towards this should be downloading the D23 Expo app. You can find it now on the App Store and the Google Play Store. This app has the complete schedule, a show floor map, ways to favorite what you’d like to do, and much more. I recommend starting your planning by favoriting everything you even might want to attend on this schedule.

It does not matter if some of the things you’re scheduling conflict with other things (in fact, that’s good!), just go through and favorite anything of interest. There are over 250 “things” to do at the D23 Expo: presentations, panels, concerts, demonstrations, meet-and-greets, sneak peeks…even a recurring pancake art making seminar(?) There’s more than enough to keep you busy for 3 full days.

The reason for some overlaps being okay is because you’ll inevitably get shut out of certain presentations. The D23 Expo’s motto should be “the best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry.” From long lines for the seminars to congested areas to lines even for restrooms to [insert random thing you currently don’t expect to cause you delay] you cannot predict what will prevent you from making it into a particular panel. The only thing that you can safely predict is that it will happen.

If the D23 Expo had a second motto, it’d be “lines, lines, everywhere a line.” Add to that widespread confusion among volunteers and attendees, and you have a perfect recipe for delays. The scope and scale of the event that D23 organizes is incredibly impressive in a lot of ways. Historically, crowd control and guest management have not been one of those ways. Be prepared to encounter some frustrating situations.

There are ways to reduce your frustrations. First, use StagePass. Think of this as FastPass for certain panels (noted in the D23 Expo App). It’s a great way to avoid waiting in line and you can show up 15 minutes before a panel starts and be guaranteed a seat.

Second, skip the panels with celebrities. This is probably going to be a controversial recommendation, but any panel I’ve ever attended with a big name celebrity has not been worth the effort. The primary offenders here are the movie panels and the Disney Legends panel. We’ve done both a few times but won’t again.

Yes, there some big names will make surprise appearances and you’ll see sneak peaks at movie trailers that won’t make it to YouTube for another whole week, but you will be so far from the stage that you’ll be watching on a monitor anyway, and you’ll have to get up at the crack of dawn to wait in line. I’ve made this mistake before, and won’t be repeating it this year.

I know FOMO is strong, but it’s okay to skip the marquee panels. Not only will it relieve you of stress and time in lines, but it frees up some of your time to explore the show floor, which is crucial. At past D23 Expos, I’ve spent about 25% of my time exploring the show floor. Given the panel schedule, I don’t know how I’ll manage that this year, but you should set aside at least 2-3 hours over the course of the weekend for the show floor.

Finally, expect the unexpected. As mentioned, I’ve attended the last several D23 Expos. The one consistent thing I’ve encountered is no consistency. All policies and procedures seem to be made up on the fly, and no one actually knows what’s going on. Roll with the punches and be flexible, otherwise you’re gonna have a bad time.

Technically, no outside food is allowed into the Anaheim Convention Center, so don’t get carried away and bring a cooler or anything. I’ve never had a problem bringing protein bars and beef jerky. Your mileage may vary, though.

Additionally, I’d recommend dressing in layers. I know this sounds preposterous and like over-planning, but we’re having a heat wave in Southern California right now, so it’ll be hot in the morning while waiting in line, but the inside of the Anaheim Convention Center is hospitable for polar bears. Throw a sweatshirt or something in your backpack to stay comfortable. Shoes rather than sandals might be a wise option, too. You’ll easily get your 10,000 steps per day in while navigating the huge Anaheim Convention Center.

Planning a Southern California vacation? For park admission deals, read Tips for Saving Money on Disneyland Tickets. Learn about on-site and off-site hotels in our Anaheim Hotel Reviews & Rankings. For where to eat, check out our Disneyland Restaurant Reviews. For unique ideas of things that’ll improve your trip, check out What to Pack for Disney. For comprehensive advice, consult our Disneyland Vacation Planning Guide. Finally, for guides beyond Disney, check out our Southern California Itineraries for day trips to Los Angeles, Laguna Beach, and tons of other places!

Your Thoughts

Do you agree or disagree with our advice for the D23 Expo? What have been your experiences with crowds and lines at past D23 Expos? Any questions we can help you answer? Hearing your feedback–even when you disagree with us–is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!

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