Much of the excitement of the 2013 D23 Expo was found in its biggest presentations, from live action movies to animation to video games to a very special concert. But while thousands packed into the D23 Arena, Stage 23, and Stage 28 presentation halls, thousands more roamed the extensive convention show floor, snatching up exclusive merchandise, meeting and greeting with famous Disney dignitaries, and browsing elaborate booths promoting everything Disney from all arms of the company.
The D23 Expo show floor could be easily traversed in a matter of minutes, with plenty of room to stretch out (unlike uber-crowded events like San Diego Comic-Con). But while it may not have been as cramped as other big conventions, Disney did put together an entertaining assortment of exhibits and stores that could easily keep any fan busy for hours.
Looking past the elaborate Walt Disney Parks and Resorts pavilion, easily the highlight of the entire show floor and already extensively covered here, plenty of other interesting and unique sights were scattered throughout the exhibition hall, highlights of which are included below.
Video: Narrated walking overview tour of the 2013 D23 Expo show floor
The excitement of the D23 Expo actually began outside the convention center with the oversized, 40-foot-tall interactive Phineas and Ferb game, the Waffle-inator, promoting tonight’s “Mission Marvel” special. This exhibit allowed fans to fire foam waffles at a giant screen, helping to defeat the evil Dr. Doofenshmirtz.
Inside a giant red carpet spanned the entire show floor, with eye-catching displays including a few familiar Disneyland ride vehicles.
Those eager to get into the biggest presentations spent many hours waiting in long winding lines, particularly for the D23 Arena,
Alternately many attendees chose to wait in line in the Talent Roundup to meet many of the panelists and celebrities featured in those exciting presentations, like Disney Legend Marty Sklar.
Shopping was big on many D23 Expo attendees’ minds, with three stores to choose from – the most popular of which was the Disney Store, featuring quite a few exclusive items.
Included was the debut of the latest Disney Fairytale doll collection, this time releasing Disney Princesses with their male counterparts, such as Rapunzel with Flynn Rider, Snow White with Prince Charming, Jasmine with Aladdin, Ariel with Eric, and Belle with the Beast.
Disney also previewed the upcoming lineup of “Frozen” merchandise including a few spot-on dolls and plenty of apparel.
The new It’s a Small World collection features dolls that sing when squeezed, looking just like those on the attraction.
A series of “The Little Mermaid” Vinylmations were released as well, with a few chasers.
And Steamboat Willie made a comeback via new artwork and merchandise.
The Disney Dream Store was home to the most exclusive items to the D23 Expo, including figurines, puzzles, T-shirts, and artwork.
The third store was Mickey’s of Glendale, featuring items exclusive to Walt Disney Imagineering.
Disney Consumer Products had the largest presence on the show floor, with an elaborate winding space split up into separate exhibits including Mickey and Minnie Mouse, the Muppets, Mattel, Star Wars, Sephora, and more.
Disney Interactive also presented their latest video games and apps, including DuckTales: Remastered, Castle of Illusion, Planes, Disney Animated, Fantasia: Music Evolved, Kingdom Hearts, and a big booth for Disney Infinity, giving away free figures.
Disney Channel, Radio Disney, and Disney XD shared a large stage, this year moved further back on the floor, drawing attention of all the younger Expo attendees.
Walt Disney Animation Studios offered a chance to explore their upcoming movies more, including “Frozen,” “Get a Horse!”, and “Big Hero 6″ as well as meet some of the filmmakers behind them.
A booth for the upcoming movie “Tomorrowland” was unveiled halfway through the D23 Expo, after the Walt Disney Studios presentation took place.
Disneytoon Studios had photo opportunities for “Planes” and “The Pirate Fairy.”
ABC had a display for “Once Upon a Time” and “Once Upon a Time in Wonderland” with giveaways and character meet-and-greets.
Disney’s D23 Expo sponsors each had their own areas as well, including Jelly Belly, Build-A-Bear, Tervis, Party City, Hallmark, and Ridemakerz.
And lastly the Collector’s Forum was expanded and tucked off in a corner this year, allowing third party exhibitors to set up their wares – plus was a home for Cartography by Disney, the booth where the last leg of The Optimist game began at the Expo.
Across three days of the 2013 D23 Expo, I only personally spent a couple hours exploring the show floor, wrapped up mostly by presentations, but those who wanted a more hands-on approach to the event had plenty of opportunities to play video games, meet high profile people, browse exhibits, and purchase merchandise with no shortage of entertainment. Compared to other pop culture conventions, the D23 Expo show floor has always felt a little sparse, but it is nice to have room to spread out and walk freely while interacting with other likeminded fans, leaving everyone an opportunity to easily get around and immerse themselves in whatever topic is most appealing to them. There’s always a little something for everyone at this event.
More photos from the 2013 D23 Expo show floor: