It’s almost here! The most exciting weekend for Disney fans is almost upon us. That’s right … D23 Expo is back!
The Ultimate Disney Fan Event, put on by the Official Disney Fan Club D23, is returning to the Anaheim Convention Center from September 9 through 11, 2022.
Tickets sold out quickly after they went on sale in January and no tickets will be sold at the door. If you won’t be attending D23 Expo this year, you can keep an eye on D23Expo.com for livestreams!
If you *are* going, I hope to see you there! If you want to know what to expect or need instructions on the advanced reservation system, keep reading!
Your Guide to D23 Expo 2022 – The Ultimate Disney Fan Event!
Table of Contents
What is D23 Expo?
D23 Expo is a Disney convention run by D23, the Disney Fan Club. The 3-day convention takes place every other year* in Anaheim, CA (where Disneyland is located). The first D23 Expo was held in 2009, with the 2022 Expo being the seventh convention.
*The 2021 D23 Expo was postponed to 2022 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
D23 Expo is a massive event, drawing thousands of Disney fans from around the world. And it includes not only Disney properties, but entities under the Disney umbrella including Star Wars, Marvel, ESPN, National Geographic, and FOX. The Expo features panels, celebrity appearances, exhibits, experiences, photo opportunities, exclusive merchandise, and lots and lots of cosplay.
Mostly, it’s a place where Disney fans can gather and celebrate their love of Disney with one another. Think of it like a Disney-themed Comic Con.
When is the Next D23 Expo?
The next D23 Expo will be held September 9 – 11, 2022 at the Anaheim Convention Center.
How Do You Attend D23 Expo?
Passes for D23 Expo typically go on sale a few months prior to the convention weekend, and sell out quickly. The most popular pass is the 3-Day pass, followed by the Saturday pass.
In order to purchase a pass for the D23 Expo, you must be a member of D23, the Disney fan club. There are two levels: General Membership is free, and Gold Membership which requires an annual fee.
How Much Does D23 Expo Cost?
For D23 Expo 2022, the prices were as follows:
- One-day tickets were $89 for Gold Members, $99 for General Members, and $79 for children ages 3-12.
- Three-day tickets were $229 for Gold Members, $279 for General Members, and $209 for children.
- (NEW THIS YEAR!) D23 Gold Member Exclusive Hall D23 Preferred Seating pass for $899.
Where to Stay for D23 Expo?
There are many hotels around the Anaheim Convention Center, where D23 Expo is held. Ticketholders will receive access to a few hotel room blocks which may provide a lower rate than booking the hotel directly.
The two convention center hotels are the Hilton Anaheim and Anaheim Marriott. Both hotels are directly next to the convention center and are the hotels I recommend the most.
Nearby hotels include Doubletree Convention Center, Westin Anaheim, Best Western Stovalls Inn, Anaheim Discovery Inn and Suites, Eden Roc Inn and Suites, SpringHill Suites, Anaheim Portofino Inn and Suites, Sheraton Park Hotel, Hotel Lulu, Hyatt House, Alpine Inn, and Desert Palms Hotel and Suites.
Many people wonder if staying at the Disneyland Resort hotels would be a good choice for D23 Expo weekend. In my opinion, they are too far from the convention center, which means you’ll be doing a lot of extra walking!
Mask Policy for D23 Expo 2022
Here is the D23 Expo health & safety policy, taken from their website:
- Proof of vaccination will NOT be required for guests.
- Proof of negative test will NOT be required for guests.
- Anyone experiencing any symptoms related to COVID-19 such as cough, headache, fever, body aches, chills, etc., should remain home and isolate.
- Masks will be required at all times for UNVACCINATED guests for their protection.
- Masks will be strictly enforced for ALL GUESTS in certain areas where talent is present.
- Masks are recommended for ALL GUESTS at all times throughout D23 Expo weekend.For Talent Photos & Signings:
- If the spacing between talent and guest is 6’ or MORE, guests may remove masks while taking their photo.
- If the spacing between talent and guest is LESS than 6’, guests must REMAIN masked.
- Guests will not be allowed to hand items for signature directly to Talent. They will be received by a staff member and handed back to the guest once signing is completed.
What are the D23 Expo hours?
The doors open for Guests at 9am each day, and the show floor closes at 7pm.
D23 Expo Merchandise and Shopping Instructions
Part of the fun of attending D23 Expo is the exclusive and rare merchandise available. However, waiting in the queues just to shop would eat up a big part of your day.
New in 2022, D23 Expo is using virtual queue technology for their merchandise locations. Yes, the same virtual queue procedure you may be familiar with from the Disney Parks. Joining a virtual queue allows you to enjoy other aspects of the Expo while virtually holding your place in line.
The following locations will utilize the virtual queue:
- D23 Expo Marketplace
- D23 Expo Marketplace – 3rd Floor Limited Edition Annex
- Mickey’s of Glendale Main Store
- Mickey’s of Glendale Pin Store
- Mickey’s of Glendale x D23 Expo Shop
- Disney Studio Store Hollywood
In order to join a virtual queue, you will need both the D23 Expo app AND the Disneyland app. Here are the instructions:
Step 1: Open the D23 Expo app and navigate to the retail location. Guests may alternatively scan a QR code using their mobile device camera located at the entrances of the locations listed above.
Step 2: Tap “Join Virtual Queue” at your retail location. Guests can request to join the D23 Expo virtual queue at 6 a.m. or 1 p.m. PT.
Step 3: You will be navigated to the Disneyland Resort app, where you will be prompted to log in if you haven’t already. Once you are logged in, select the number of guests and tap “Join Virtual Queue.” Guests may join for up to two (2) people and may only join one (1) queue at a time.
Step 4: You will see a confirmation screen with an estimated wait time. While you wait for your boarding group to be notified, enjoy other D23 Expo experiences.
Step 5: You will receive a push notification when your group is ready.
It is unknown at this time if there will be a regular queue for any Guests who miss out on the virtual queue.
** Also new in 2022, Guests may use mobile checkout to pay for their items at the following locations:
- D23 Expo Marketplace
- D23 Expo Marketplace – 3rd Floor Limited Edition Annex
- Mickey’s of Glendale Main Store
- D23 Expo Shop x Mickey’s of Glendale
In order to use mobile checkout, you will need the Disneyland App.
Dining Options at D23 Expo
The Anaheim Convention Center has a small food court which offers basic items like hot dogs, sandwiches, and chips. The second level usually has food carts with small “grab & go” snacks and coffee.
For better quality food options, you’ll need to go outside the convention center. There will likely be food trucks outside the entrance, and the two closest hotels – Hilton and Marriott – offer a variety of meals to choose from. Hilton also has a Starbucks and a couple fast food places including CRAVE Pizza and Coastal Mexican Grill.
Note that leaving the convention center means you may have to wait in line to go back inside, so leave at your own risk!
I highly, highly, highly recommend bringing your own snacks so you don’t get hangry while waiting on those long lines.
What’s New at D23 Expo in 2022
D23 Expo 2022 will be an exciting event, because it will be kicking off the “100 Years of Disney” celebration. (The Walt Disney Company was founded in 1923 … hence the fan club being D23.)
Here is the full schedule of panels for D23 Expo 2022. For details on any of these, you can visit the D23 Expo website or the D23 Expo app.
- 10:00 a.m. – Sounds Delightful! – An Illustrated Audio Adventure (Walt Disney Archives Stage)
- 10:15 a.m. – Cesar Millan: Better Human, Better Dog (Hyperion Stage)
- 10:30 a.m. – Disney Legends Awards Ceremony (Hall D23)
- 10:30 a.m. – Inside Look at the Society of Explorers and Adventurers (Backlot Stage)
- 10:45 a.m. – “The Simpsons!” (Premiere Stage)
- 11:45 a.m. – traceback: Celebrating the People of Walt Disney Animation Studios (Hyperion Stage)
- 12:00 p.m. – Who is Honored with a Window on Main Street, U.S.A.? (Walt Disney Archives Stage)
- 1:30 p.m. – ABC’s “Home Economics” (Backlot Stage)
- 2:00 p.m. – National Geographic’s Superhero Women of STEM (Hyperion Stage)
- 2:00 p.m. – A Very ’90s Afternoon Special with the “All New” Mickey Mouse Club (Walt Disney Archives Stage)
- 2:30 p.m. – “Disney For Scores” Podcast Live Celebrates Marvel Music (Backlot Stage)
- 3:30 p.m. – Studio Showcase, Day 1: Celebrate the Magic of Disney and Pixar (Hall D23)
- 3:45 p.m. – Behind the Scenes: ABC’s “Beauty and the Beast: a 30th Celebration” (Hyperion Stage)
- 4:00 p.m. Disney Legends in Conversation (Walt Disney Archives Stage)
- 4:30 p.m. – The Cast and Creators of Disney Channel’s “Hamster & Gretel” (Backlot Stage)
- 5:45 p.m. – National Geographic Special Screening: Epic Adventures with Bertie Gregory (Hyperion Stage)
- 6:00 p.m. – D23 Expo “Mousequerade” 2022 (Premiere Stage)
- 6:00 p.m. – Walt’s Plane: Taking Flight Through Disney History – Presented by Amazon (Walt Disney Archives Stage)
- 6:30 p.m. – Here for the Laughs (Backlot Stage)
- 10:00 a.m. – Studio Showcase, Day 2: Marvel Studios, Lucasfilm, and 20th Century Studios (Hall D23)
- 10:00 a.m. – The Making of Disney100: The Exhibition (Backlot Stage)
- 10:00 a.m. – A Peek Behind the Curtain with Walt Disney Imagineering’s Illusions and Special Effects Development Lab (Walt Disney Archives Stage)
- 10:15 a.m. – Women in Disney Fashion (Hyperion Stage)
- 10:30 a.m. – Talkin’ Pets with the Vets of National Geographic (Premiere Stage)
- 11:45 a.m. – “Marvel’s Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur” (Hyperion Stage)
- 12:00 p.m. – Bob’s Burgers (Backlot Stage)
- 12:00 p.m. – Uncovering Treasures from the Marty Sklar Collection (Walt Disney Archives Stage)
- 2:00 p.m. – MARVEL COMICS: Celebrating 60 Years of the Amazing Spider-Man (Backlot Stage)
- 2:00 p.m. – A Century of Storytelling at Walt Disney Animation Studios (Walt Disney Archives Stage)
- 2:00 p.m. – It’s a Small Disney World: Celebrating the Art of Disney Parks (Hyperion Stage)
- 3:30 p.m. – Disney’s Epic Entertainment Showcase: The Musical: The Extravaganza! (Hall D23)
- 3:30 p.m. – A Celebration of Disney Animation’s “Encanto” (Premiere Stage)
- 4:00 p.m. – Dreaming, Designing, and Bringing to Life the Disney Wish (Backlot Stage)
- 4:00 p.m. – “Cautionary Tales” with the Disney Villains: The Imagination of Ridley Pearson (Walt Disney Archives Stage)
- 4:00 p.m. – ABC’s On the Red Carpet’s Storytellers Spotlight (Hyperion Stage)
- 5:45 p.m. – National Geographic Special Screening: “Limitless with Chris Hemsworth” (Hyperion Stage)
- 6:00 p.m. – The Santa Clauses (Premiere Stage)
- 6:00 p.m. – Sneak Peek at “Zootopia+” from Walt Disney Animation Studios (Backlot Stage)
- 6:00 p.m. Building Walt’s Florida Project: Walt Disney World from Dream to Reality (Walt Disney Archives Stage)
- 10:00 a.m. – Disney Original Documentary’s Sneak Peek of “Mickey: The Story of a Mouse” (Backlot Stage)
- 10:00 a.m. – Nat Geo & Disney: 100 Years of Exploring the World Through Storytelling (Walt Disney Archives Stage)
- 10:15 a.m. – Revisiting Yesterday’s Tomorrow: Disney’s Magical Mid-Century (Hyperion Stage)
- 10:30 a.m. – A Boundless Future: Disney Parks, Experiences and Products (Hall D23)
- 10:30 a.m. – The Cast and Creators of the Disney+ Series “The Proud Family: Louder and Prouder” (Premiere Stage)
- 11:00 a.m. – Back to the Grid: 40 Years of Tron Presented by Enterprise
- 12:00 p.m. – An Animated Conversation: Celebrating 90 Years of Goofy (Walt Disney Archives Stage)
- 12:15 p.m. – Join National Geographic Books on 100 Disney Adventures of a Lifetime (Hyperion Stage)
- 1:00 p.m. – Walt Disney Imagineering: 70 Years of Making the Impossible, Possible (Premiere Stage)
- 2:00 p.m. – 100 Years of Treasures from the Walt Disney Animation Research Library (Backlot Stage)
- 2:00 p.m. – “The Main Street Electrical Parade” — 50 Years of NIghttime Magic & Imagination (Walt Disney Archives Stage)
- 2:15 p.m. – 100 Years of Hollywood Magic: A Disney Tour of the UCLA Film & Television Archive (Hyperion Stage)
- 3:45 p.m. – Explore the World with the Next Generation of National Geographic! (Premiere Stage)
- 4:00 p.m. – FX’s “AHS: Behind the Screams” (Backlot Stage)
- 4:00 p.m. – The Disney Parks Through the Decades: A Disney Ambassador Perspective (Walt Disney Archives Stage)
- 4:15 p.m. – “Disney Princess – The Concert” Live at D23! (Hall D23)
- 4:15 p.m. – The World of Duffy & Friends Revealed (Hyperion Stage)
- 6:00 p.m. – Conversations with Disney Character Voices (Premiere Stage)
- 6:00 p.m. – “Dancing with the Stars” 31st Season Celebration (Backlot Stage)
- 6:00 p.m. – Memories of Walt Disney World: Framing A Portrait of 50 Magical Years (Walt Disney Archives Stage)
The Hall D23 panels are the most popular panels for a good reason! They typically make huge announcements about upcoming movies and experiences, punctuated by celebrity appearances.
Because the Hall D23 panels are so popular, Guests tend to line up hours in advance, even overnight for the morning panels. If you want to attend any of the Hall D23 presentations, I recommend getting in line no later than 4 hours prior to the start time (but even that may be too late)!
Here is the schedule for Hall D23:
Disney Legends Awards Ceremony
Friday, Sept 9
10:30 am – 12:00 pm PT
Disney100 kicks off at D23 Expo on Friday, September 9, at 10:30 a.m. with an epic presentation that includes the Disney Legends Awards Ceremony, featuring Disney CEO Bob Chapek. Legends will once again honor those visionaries and artists who have made significant contributions to the Disney legacy.
Studio Showcase, Day 1: Celebrate the Magic of Disney and Pixar
Friday, Sept 9
3:30 pm – 5:30 pm PT
Join Disney Studios for an all-star look at what’s coming up in theaters and on Disney+ from Disney’s iconic Walt Disney Animation Studios and Pixar Animation Studios, as well as its namesake motion picture group behind such recent Disney hits as Cruella, Jungle Cruise, and Chip ’N Dale: Rescue Rangers.
Studio Showcase, Day 2: Marvel Studios, Lucasfilm, and 20th Century Studios
Saturday, Sept 10
10:00 am – 12:00 pm PT
Welcome all multiversal, intergalactic, and world-spanning adventurers as Marvel Studios, Lucasfilm, and 20th Century Studios preview upcoming titles, including sneak peeks and special guests.
Disney’s Epic Entertainment Showcase: The Musical: The Extravaganza!
Saturday, Sept 10
3:30 pm – 5:15 pm PT
Join Disney Branded Television for an exclusive showcase that highlights a legacy of excellence in storytelling and includes talent appearances, performances, and never-before-seen previews of original content for Disney+, Disney Channel, and Disney Junior.
A Boundless Future: Disney Parks, Experiences and Products
Sunday, Sept 11
10:30 am – 12:00 pm PT
Join Disney Parks, Experiences and Products Chairman Josh D’Amaro for a look at Disney’s boundless future. With announcements and updates on the magic happening around the world in parks, on the high seas, at home, and beyond, attendees will get a behind-the-scenes look at the big dreams of Disney Imagineers. Every Disney fan will want to be a part of this special presentation full of exciting news and surprises.
Disney Princess – The Concert Live at D23!
Sunday, Sept 11
4:15 pm – 5:30 pm PT
Be our guest as an all-star quartet of Broadway, television, and animated film icons sing the music and celebrate the memorable film moments of every Disney Princess, alongside their magical Music Director and enchanting Prince, in an exclusive D23 Expo performance of Disney Princess – The Concert. Presented by Pandora Jewelry.
Walt Disney Archives
Every Expo, the Walt Disney Archives showcases a huge display of Disney memorabilia. This year Guests will experience Walt Disney Archives presents Step in Time, an exhibit celebrating the nearly 100 year history of The Walt Disney Company.
The exact location of the exhibit is TBD, but Disney promises a 12,000 square foot experience showcasing rare historical objects and immersive areas.
As part of the kickoff of Disney100, D23 Expo Guests will get to see Walt Disney’s Grumman Gulfstream I airplane! It will be on display in the Arena of the Anaheim Convention Center.
The plane is having its exterior restored and Guests will be able to view exhibits that share more about the history of the aircraft. (It does not sound like Guests will be able to view the interior of the plane.)
Here’s a list of some of the talent available for autographs and meet & greets at D23 Expo:
- Creative Team from The Simpsons
- National Geographic’s Cesar Milan
- 2022 Global Disney Ambassador Team
- Mousketeers of the 80s and 90s
- Cast members from “Big Shot”
- Cast members from “Raven’s Home”
- Cast members from “The Mysterious Benedict Society”
- Cast and creatives from “The Proud Family: Louder and Prouder”
Here’s a partial list of some of the experiences Guests can see on the D23 Expo floor:
- Encanto Filmmaker signing
- Pixar Ball giveaway
- Ratatouille 15th anniversary artwork
- Walt Disney Studios 100 Years Pennant
- Marvel Studios Visual Development signing
- Strange World filmmaker signing
D23 Expo Prep – Know Before You Go!
How to Activate Your D23 Expo Badge
Anyone who purchased a D23 Expo pass in 2022 will receive their badge in the mail. In order to use your badge at the Expo you must activate your badge(s).
Activating your badge will also allow Guests to:
- Secure reservations for shows and stores
- Participate in opportunities presented by Disney and Friends of Disney
- Receive photos taken at select D23 Expo experiences
- Redeem your Gold Member Expo gift (D23 Gold Members Only)
To activate your badge, you need to follow three simple steps:
- Step one: Visit D23Expo.com/Activate and log in to your D23 account.
- Step two: Click the “Manage D23 Expo 2022 Profile” button, and the select the “Activate Badge” button next to the badge you want to activate.
- Step three: Enter your badge number and press ACTIVATE
How to Transfer a D23 Expo Badge
If you purchased a D23 Expo badge for someone else, you must transfer their badge to them before they can make reservations or attend the Expo.
To transfer a badge, do the following steps:
1. Visit D23Expo.com/Activate.
2. Click the “Manage D23 Expo 2022 Profile” button, followed by the “Transfer Items” button.
3. Select the badge(s) you wish to transfer and enter the email address of your recipient and click TRANSFER. Your badge recipient email must be associated with a D23 Member account to claim the badge transferred to them. Repeat with each badge you wish to transfer to a different recipient. *Note: A Gold Member badge purchaser can assign all badges purchased except for one, which must remain in their ownership.
4. Once you complete your transfer, your recipient will receive an email to login and accept their ticket. If you return to the transfer section, you can monitor the status of the tickets you’ve transferred.
To accept the transfer, the recipient should receive an email with instructions.
If for some reason the recipient does not receive the email (be sure to check spam folder!) or the website shows an error, the purchaser should cancel the transfer and try again. Make sure the recipients email address is typed correctly and is associated with a D23 membership account.
How to Make Advanced Reservations for D23 Expo
For 2022, D23 Expo guests have the opportunity to request advanced reservations for the most popular panels. Instead of the reservation process being “first come, first served” as in the past, this year reservations will be randomly distributed like a lottery.
The “Reservation Random Selection Process” (Reservation RSP) entry period will open on Monday August 15, 2022 at 12pm PT, and conclude Friday August 19 at 12pm PT. Guests who are assigned reservations will be notified by email starting September 2. Click here to access the Reservation RSP for D23 Expo.
*** All badges must be transferred and accepted by 11:59pm PT on Sunday August 14 in order to submit for the Reservation RSP. After this time, badges will no longer be transferable, and individuals can make reservations for only one badge type in their possession.
There will be four categories to make reservations. They are:
- Stage Pass – Hall D23
- Stage Pass (Premiere Stage, Backlot Stage, Walt Disney Archives Stage, and Hyperion Stage)
- TalentPass (Celebrity signings and photos)
- Show Floor Experiences (Demonstrations, Presentations, and Giveaways)
Reservation RSP Details:
- Guests can submit for 1 reservation per time slot (for example, you cannot submit a reservation for panels happening in Hall D23 and Premiere Stage at the same time. You must pick one.)
- Guests can pick up to 4 items from each section, and can designate which item is highest priority.
- For each item you select (and receive), you can choose to bring up to one guest.
- Children under 16 cannot make their own reservations, but can accompany an adult as their designated guest.
- Groups of more than 2 people may not be able to get reservations for the same category at the same time.
- If you are picking up your badges at will call, you can still participate in the Reservation RSP with your D23 member login associated with your badge.
- The most popular offerings will have a lot of interest, so consider signing up for some of the smaller events to increase your odds of getting a confirmed reservation.
- Guests with Hall D23 Preferred Seating will not be able to make Hall D23 selections as your badge guarantees reserved seating for ALL presentations in Hall D23.
- For guests who do not get reservations for their preferences, standby queues will be available for most panels and experiences.
- All reservations are subject to change or cancellation without notice.
- If you do not arrive by the time specified in your reservation confirmation email, your place will be filled by standby Guests.
- If you are assigned a StagePass reservation, please check for the arrival time noted in your confirmation email. If you do not arrive on time, your place may be given away to a guest from the standby queue
The D23 Expo App
As I’ve alluded to a few times in this article, D23 Expo has its own app available in the Apple App Store or Google Play. Download the app to your device before you arrive so you can start using it right away! Just search your app store for “D23 Expo.”
Mindy’s Tips for Attending D23 Expo
Because I’ve attended every single D23 Expo since the start, I figure I’d share some of the things I’ve learned from past events, and give some advice to anyone attending for the first time!
- There will be lines. Lots and lots of lines. You will spend more time in lines than you think. Even if you think you know what to expect, you don’t. It will start before you even enter the convention center, with long lines to get in. Be prepared for the September heat with a hat, water, reading material, and snacks.
- Pack snacks. Speaking of snacks, bring some with you. The best time to eat is when you’re waiting in line.
- You won’t be able to do and see everything you want to. It’s simply impossible. There’s just too much good stuff!
- Plan ahead. That being said, I highly recommend looking at the schedule and having a basic plan. Decide which panels are “must see” for you. And schedule in time to simply walk the show floor.
- Bring a phone charger. It’s better to charge your devices while waiting in a line than having to look for an outlet at some point. This one has two USB ports so you can charge two devices at once (affiliate link).
- Expect to spend money. Between the exclusive Expo merch and all the small shops, it’s pretty much impossible to leave without purchasing something!
- You may be too exhausted for Disneyland. A lot of Guests plan on being at the Expo all day then hopping over to Disneyland in the evening. But, the Expo involves a lot of walking and standing and you may be be tired when the doors close at 7pm.
- People watching is part of the fun. Many Guests will dress up in costume (or cosplay), and you’ll see some obscure references! Being among so many Disney fans really is one of the best parts of the Expo.
FAQ for D23 Expo
Can a family or group with more than 3 people get reservations together?
It’s possible but not guaranteed. For groups that want to see a panel or attend an experience together, all adult Guests with badges should submit for that offering with the highest priority. For children under 16, they can attend as the designated guest of one of the adults.
Do you have to type in the designated guest name when submitting for a reservation?
No, you do not.
What happens if I don’t get any reservations for the panels or experiences I want?
For any Guests who are not randomly selected for a reservation, a standby queue will be available.
Will there be advanced reservations for shopping?
For 2o22, D23 Expo will be using a virtual queue for select shopping locations. Please refer to the Merchandise and Shopping section of this article.
Will there be any discounts on merchandise for Disney Visa Cardholders, D23 Gold Members, or Magic Key holders?
There has been no announcements as far as discounts go; however, I suspect the usual Disney Visa discount will apply at select locations.
What is the swag situation like? Should I bring a bag?
Expect to get some really cool swag at D23 Expo, such as buttons, stickers, keychains, posters, etc. All attendees are given a branded plastic bag when they enter the Expo, which should be good enough for most Guests. I know we all love free stuff, but I highly recommend being choosy with your swag so you’re not exhausted by carrying around a bunch of stuff you ultimately don’t want.