D23 Expo 2024 at Anaheim Honda Center: Tips for First-Time D23 Attendees

I’ve attended Disney’s D23 event for the past several times now, and I’m so excited that D23 2024 is on the horizon! You can read about a couple of my past D23 visits here and here (and more at the end of this post) but I can tell you one thing right upfront: D23 is the place to be if you’re a hardcore Disney fan and you want to score on special Disney gear or attend priceless, amazing, celeb-filled presentations about all the exciting Disney news to come.

d23 expo marvel panel news
D23 EXPO (The Walt Disney Company/Image Group LA)

D23 has been held at the Anaheim Convention Center in the past, but with the growth this year, they’ve added in presentations at the Honda Center. Your admission includes both. There will be complimentary shuttles running all day each day of the convention! Parking can be tight in the area, so plan ahead and arrive early. Hotels also book up very quickly, particularly the ones closest. I stay a few miles down the road and I take an Uber in each morning and back to my room at night. I only live about an hour from Disneyland, but there is so much to see and do, it’s so much easier to just go to the hotel, unload your purchases, and head back in the morning without extra time spent on the road.

If you’ve never had the opportunity to attend, be warned — Disney overwhelm, but only in the best way possible. You are surrounded by fellow Disney-lovers who have traveled from all over the world to attend. D23 only occurs here in Southern California every other year, and tickets go fast. You must be a D23 member to attend, but you can be a free member if you don’t have a paid membership; you just don’t get the same pre-sale opportunities. Head to the D23 website to join! I’ve been a member for a long time, and there are fantastic perks, including special gear, exclusive events, and some of those are at the Disney Studios lot in Burbank!

d23 expo 2022 day 2 panel videos

There are a lot of places to eat inside the D23 Expo, but there are also many food trucks out front on Harbor. Lines can be long, so don’t wait until you’re starving! Hats are recommended because there isn’t always a lot of shade places to eat, unless you’re like me and are okay sitting on the ground somewhere. There are also a lot of surrounding restaurants to eat at, or get takeout, after the event ends for the day.

If you don’t want to carry your bags around, there will be a bag check area. In the past, it’s been a nominal fee per bag and is so worth it. You may end up with free swag, like posters, that will be safer if you’re not bumping into things with them. Just don’t forget your things at the end of the day!

me and thor's hammer mjolnir D23 Expo

Use the D23 Expo app. It will help you plan your schedules, make presentation reservations, and so much more. There are new reservation systems this year, so I can’t speak to those (and I’ve attended as press in the past, so I didn’t use them) but you’ll want to be well-versed in where to be at what time. Sessions go VERY quickly, particularly the opening event. Here’s some clips and photos from the Disney 100 Years of Wonder opening ceremony in 2022.

Wear comfy shoes. Cosplay is highly encouraged! I usually dress in gear from my current favorite Marvel character, but let’s be real, I say ‘current’ but it’s always Loki and Thor. Same thing this year! You will get searched as you enter the venue, so be careful to adhere to the rules about what you can and cannot bring into the convention. The walk back to the parking lot can be long and it’s usually pretty hot that time of year…which brings me to my next tip.

d23 cosplayers

Drink a lot of water! People underestimate the heat and the amount of walking, and while it’s tempting to drink less so you’re not worried about bathroom visits, there are a ton of restrooms available, and you’ll feel better if you’re hydrated. You can purchase water inside, or use one of the many refilling stations for your own bottle.

Anaheim Convention Center show hours for all guests are 9 a.m. – 7 p.m. For the Honda Center, doors will open two hours prior to each presentation start time. Schedules are on the site and in the app.

Very important: the Honda Center has a strict “No Bag” policy. The maximum size bag allowed at the Honda Center is 5″ x 9″ x 2″ regardless if it is a clear bag or not. Medical and diaper bags may be a maximum of 12″ x 12″ x 12″. Backpacks, including mini backpacks, are not permitted under any circumstances. Honda Center does not offer a bag check. As I mentioned above, there are security checks at both venues, so there is no sneaking anything in.

D23 Gold members: be sure you have your credentials available. You will find special perks throughout the convention!

disney plus free d23 expo 2024

Traffic around the Honda Center and Convention Center can be busy on a regular non-expo day, due to its proximity to Disneyland and the Toy Story parking lot on Harbor. Factor that into your arrival time. You will also need to allot time to get through the entry line.

More news will be coming out as it gets closer to the event. My recommendation, if you’ve secured tickets, is to book your hotel first. You can get around without a car, if you’re interested in ride sharing apps. The days immediately before and after the D23 Expo are busy at the parks, so keep that in mind also. (I still usually stop in when I’m down there, but Disneyland and Disney California Adventure still require reservations, so book those in advance, too.)

me and Wall-E at D23 Expo

I hope you’re able to attend! Bring your patience, be kind, everyone’s in the same hurry as you, and plan to spend time in some lines; certain vendors limit entry and you may need to wait. Bring a spare phone charger, too! There are so many photo opportunities available, especially with upcoming movies and props. It’s so much fun to get your pictures taken with scenes and characters…and of course, the hundreds of cosplayers along the way! (There were even a couple of service dogs dressed up last year!)

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