Disney’s D23 Expo begins tomorrow and with the full schedule out, it’s time to preview the big event. The bi-annual Disney convention is expected to be busier than ever before with the inclusion of Marvel and Star Wars under the Disney umbrella. Below are 23 things that can be expected from the weekend-long event at the Anaheim Convention Center.
1. While Marvel and Star Wars will certainly compete for the spotlight, Pixar will be celebrating a milestone with the 20th anniversary of Toy Story. Among the many festivities will be the giant Buzz Lightyear float that has been seen in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade for the past six years. The balloon will be making its West Coast debut on Friday outside of the convention center. You can’t miss it.
2. Another highlight sure to break the internet will be the first look at Finding Dory, the highly anticipated sequel to the hit Pixar film, Finding Nemo. That footage will screen in Hall D23 at 3 p.m. on Friday along with other upcoming Pixar films. Expect a cameo by the Inside Out characters as well.
3. Speaking of Marvel, the presentation is being folded into the overall Disney Films presentation on Saturday morning, so while we can still expect some guests to appear on stage, don’t expect a massive Comic-Con style assembling of the Avengers. You can bet that Chris Evans and/or Robert Downey Jr. will be on hand to promote Civil War and we may see a few other Marvel heroes like Paul Rudd from Ant-Man, Chadwick Boseman from the upcoming Black Panther or, and this might be a stretch given his current responsibilities with Hamlet back in the UK, Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Strange.
4. There will be plenty of Marvel figures and collectibles showcased on the Expo floor, but Disney is pushing Styled by Marvel for clothing and accessories. Click that link to check out their Instagram and hashtag #StyledByMarvel to show off your superhero fandom.
5. Star Wars is also folded in to the Disney Film presentation which suggests that we might see either footage or perhaps a new trailer. Director J.J. Abrams is sure to be there, but the likelihood of the original trio of Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, and Mark Hamill might be less likely. Instead, we might get one of the new cast members joining him on stage.
6. Another anniversary being celebrated at D23 will be the 60th Anniversary of the Mickey Mouse Club. The event will take place on Sunday at 5 p.m.
7. Among the other Disney films that will be highlighted, we can expect something from Beauty and the Beast starring Emma Watson and Josh Gad since the film recently wrapped. Disney did a similar thing in promoting Cinderella a year in advance of its release at D23 in 2013.
8. Video games are going to be a big part of D23 this year as well. Star Wars: Battlefront is going to have its own Sunday morning panel in the 7,500 seat arena to showcase new trailers, gameplay, and drop some big announcements. If you saw the trailer released at E3 earlier this year, you know this is a panel worth sitting in on.
9. Without question one of the other highly anticipated games that will be featured at D23 will be Kingdom Hearts III.
10. Eight Disney legends will be honored on Friday morning with the Disney Legends Award. The honorees are George Lucas, composer Danny Elfman, actress Susan Lucci, Disney Animator Andreas Deja, recently retired executive chariman of ESPN George Bodenheimer, Disney artist Eyvind Earle, Disneyland’s first Ambassador Julie Reihm Casaletto, and Carson Van Osten whom “helped bring Disney characters to life in a variety of media,” including designing Mickey Mouse’s 50th and 60th birthdays logos, the Walt Disney Studios logo, and the water tower design among others.
11. ABC Family TV stars will be on hand to greet fans. Check the schedule of shows and stars here.
12. When it comes to Frozen, Disney is clearly not ready to Let It Go. A Frozen themed musical journey is scheduled for Sunday afternoon at 3 p.m. with stars from the movie appearing on stage to perform.
13. Hawaiian shirts are synonymous with John Lasseter as the Genie from Aladdin is with Robin Williams. This D23, selections from Lasseter’s massive shirt collection will be on display on the showroom floor.
14. It’s not Disney if there isn’t TONS of stuff to sell. New products will be scattered all over the Expo floor. Check out our list of Disney collectibles. Also be sure to get a Store Pass on Friday morning so that you can by-pass the crowded lines to the Disney Store. The passes work just like the Fast Pass in the parks, but there will be a limited number of them available on a first-come, first-serve basis.
15. Disney is bringing Broadway to Anaheim this year. In anticipation of high fan demand, two performances have been scheduled on Saturday at Stage 23 at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Broadway’s original Mary Poppins, Tarzan, and Genie will be on hand for a show titled The Originals.
16. Speaking of concerts, a 32-piece orchestra celebrating the Silly Symphony animated short films and their accompanying music will be hosted by film historian Leonard Maltin on Sunday at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. in Stage 23.
17. Selfies featuring Disney characters will also be on display as fans can purchase a Selfie Party Pack. Wonder if it will look like this fan art…
18. Unlike Comic-Con or other conventions, you won’t be able to bring in your cell phone to the Disney or Pixar films presentations. Sure, people still figure out ways to smuggle them in, but just be prepared to check them in before you enter into the Arena.
19. Of course there is going to be a special edition Mickey Ears Hat… and it looks really cool!
20. We can’t forget where it all began – Disney parks! On Saturday afternoon, chairman Bob Chapek will discuss upcoming events coming up at Disney parks around the world.
21. Get ready to go on a quest! In your D23 Souvenir Guide, you’ll receive a starter pack of cards. From there, you can search the Expo floor for 30 cards in total featuring everything from Disney princesses to villains and more!
22. There will be plenty of opportunities to pose with some of your favorite Disney characters in photo spots throughout the convention floor. Photo spots are made up of figures and scenes from your favorite Disney films, TV series, and attractions—including Big Hero 6, Toy Story, Star Wars Rebels, and Frozen.
23. Finally, stay on top of D23 events by downloading the D23 App from App Store or Google Play Store and follow them on Twitter and Instagram. And since we’re throwing out social media handles here, you can follow me on Twitter and Instagram as well throughout the event!