A guide to D23 Expo 2019

August 26, 2019

It’s official – the 2019 D23 Expo is a few days away!!!!!! (Can you tell we are excited?). This biennial event is arguably the most anticipated event in the Disney community. Every Expo brings us breaking news from almost every facet of the Walt Disney Company. The Expo is also the place for surprise celebrity appearances and the chance to come face-to-face with amazing Disney archives. D23 Expo is certainly heaven for any Disney fan, and this year’s Expo is expected to live up to all the hype.


D23 Expo 2017 | © Evelyn Morehead


Here is our guide to the 2019 D23 Expo and what we are looking forward to most:


Secret Walt Disney Company Project ???


All fans were shocked to see a panel titled “Secret Walt Disney Company Project” quietly pop up on the Expo schedule. The project will be announced on August 22, before the Expo weekend begins. What could the announcement be?? Fans are speculating on a possible 5th park coming to Walt Disney World to combat Universal Orlando’s Epic Universe announcement (however, this seems unlikely). Another possibility is the announcement of how the Walt Disney Company will be celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2023. However, there is still another D23 Expo before 2023, so it’s possible Disney will hold off on releasing anything about the anniversary. At least we only have to wait a few more days to know for sure! Regardless of what the project is, we cannot wait to hear more about it. 


(“Secret Walt Disney Company Project” panel will take place on Saturday, Aug. 24, from 1:30-2:30pm in Stage 28).


Parks & Resorts, Disney+, Walt Disney Studios


Every Expo, the most anticipated panels are the Disney Parks & Resorts panel, the Walt Disney Animation panel, and the Walt Disney Studios Live-Action panel. This year Disney is shaking things up and combining live-action and animation into one panel titled “Go Behind the Scenes with Walt Disney Studios." We can expect special footage, celebrity guests and news on upcoming films from Lucasfilm, Marvel, Pixar and more! We should be receiving news on upcoming films like “Frozen 2”, “Star Wars Episode 9: The Rise of Skywalker”, “Onward”, and first-looks at some of the upcoming Marvel films! And hopefully Disney will finally announce the full casting of the live-action “The Little Mermaid” so the chaos of fake news from unconfirmed sources can finally end (*groan*). 


With Disney’s new streaming service Disney+ launching this November, we are getting an entire Hall D23 presentation to preview the service. D23 has already hinted that we will be getting first-looks and news about some of the original content being made for the service, like “The Mandalorian” and “The Lady and the Tramp." Personally, I am hoping for a first-look at the “Loki” series (and a surprise appearance by Tom Hiddleston. Am I asking for too much??). 


And of course, we are SUPER excited for the “Disney Parks, Experiences and Products” panel. Here we will finally get more information on the reimagining of Epcot that Disney first began to reveal at the 2017 D23 Expo. We should also be getting more information on the Marvel-themed land coming to Disney California Adventure in the Disneyland Resort. With the 50th anniversary of Walt Disney World quickly approaching, we also expect more news on Disney’s plans for the celebration. Also, we are hoping for an announcement of Tomorrowland renovations coming to either coast (she is in need of some TLC for sure!). 


All of our questions and hopes will be answered soon enough. The biggest news from the Expo is sure to come out of these panels!


(“Sneak Peek! Disney+ Showcase” panel will take place on Friday, Aug. 23, from 3:30-5:30pm in Hall D23. “Go Behind the Scenes with The Walt Disney Studios” panel will take place on Saturday, Aug. 24, from 10:00am-12:00pm in Hall D23. “Sneak Peek! Disney Parks, Experiences and Products” panel will take place on Sunday, Aug. 25, from 10:30am-12:00pm in Hall D23).


Musical Theatre? Yes, Please!


For the fans of musical theatre and Disney movie musicals – D23 Expo has a real treat for you! On Saturday, Aug. 24, the Expo will present “Disney On Broadway in Concert: A 25th Anniversary Celebration” from 3:30-5:00pm in Hall D23. Fan favorites from “Aladdin” to “Newsies” will be featured in this performance. It is a must-see for any fan of Disney’s Broadway shows!


Additionally, D23 Expo will be holding a panel celebrating the music of “Aladdin” (1992) with special performances by the original voice actors and Broadway stars! If you are a fan of the original or the adaptations of “Aladdin," this panel is a must! 


(“A Musical Celebration of Aladdin” will take place on Saturday, Aug. 25, from 5:30-6:30pm in the D23 Expo Arena).


We Love You 3000


Alright, so this one is a little bit of a shot in the dark because D23 has released NO DETAILS about this. However, it must be included on this list for all the Marvel fans! The “We Love You 3000” tour will hit the D23 Expo on Friday, Aug. 23, from 2:30-3:30pm at the Marvel Studios pavilion. Will we be getting surprise celebrity appearances? (Brie? Tom? RDJ? Are you coming??). Hopefully Disney will give us some more information soon, but I’d imagine this will still be a must-do for all us Marvel fans. 


(“We Love You 3000” will take place on Friday, Aug. 23, from 2:30-3:00pm at the Marvel Studios pavilion).


For the Disney History Buffs


One of the best parts of the D23 Expo is getting to hear stories from Disney imagineers and animators – and especially those who worked with Walt! This year the Expo is giving us the “The Art of Disney Storytelling” panel on Sunday, Aug. 25, at 3pm in the D23 Expo Arena. The panel is hosted by John Stamos who will be interviewing Disney Legends Tony Baxter and Floyd Norman. Also joining them will be well-known producer Don Hahn and Paul Briggs [head of story on “Frozen” (2013) and “Big Hero 6” (2014)]. 


There are so many panels with imagineers, animators, filmmakers and other creatives across The Walt Disney Company at this year’s Expo. You can learn about how the sound and music was designed for Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, or go behind the scenes of the beloved attraction the Haunted Mansion. Take a look at the D23 Expo full schedule for more details, because these panels are really what the Expo is all about!


Some Final Thoughts


This Expo is surely going to be much different than in the past with the introduction of a reservation system. I’ve run into different logistic issues at each Expo and hopefully the reservations won’t cause any problems this year (except they already have – *cue site crash*). Regardless, the Expo works similarly to the parks: you cannot expect to do everything you want in one day, and there will be plenty of waiting in long lines. But, the difference about the Expo is that you are surrounded by the BIGGEST Disney fans around the world. It is truly a lovely experience to be in a room with fans that are just as fanatic as you are. So, take advantage of this and talk to people in lines and have all the niche Disney discussions you’ve ever wanted to have. I cannot wait until next week – see you there!






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