Things are really starting to get moving for Disney’s biannual D23 Expo. Tickets are selling fast for the August 23-25 event – three-day and Saturday-only passes have already sold out – and we’re finally starting to get some concrete information on what will be going on over the weekend.
Earlier today, D23 announced the major panels that will be taking place inside Hall D23. These panels are the tentpole events of the expo, and are known for big announcements, celebrity appearances, and exclusive sneak-peeks of upcoming Disney content.
The announced Hall D23 schedule for the 2019 event is as follows:
Friday August 23 at 10:30 am: Disney Legends Awards Ceremony
Friday August 23 at 3:30 pm: Disney+ First Look
Saturday August 24 at 10:00 am: Walt Disney Studios Panel
Sunday August 24 at 10:30 am: Disney Parks, Experiences, and Products Panel
As previously announced, the Disney Legends Ceremony will be the first major event of the weekend, as per usual. But those who have previously attended the expo will notice some changes from the schedule structure the event had followed for the past several years with the other major events. The parks panel has moved to Sunday morning instead of holding onto its typical Saturday afternoon placement. The Disney+ showcase – a first for the expo seeing as the streaming service is new this year – has taken over the Friday afternoon slot which was previously held by the Disney Animation and Pixar panel.
But perhaps the most significant change of all is the Walt Disney Studios panel. As described on the D23 website, “Fans will see what’s on the drawing board for the acclaimed filmmakers at Walt Disney Animation Studios and Pixar Animation Studios and get a peek at the exciting slate of live-action projects, from Disney to Marvel Studios to Star Wars.” This makes it seem like the animation panel (featuring upcoming Disney and Pixar movies) is being combined with the live action panel (featuring Disney live action, Lucasfilm, and Marvel Studios projects).
Naturally, this news already has a lot of fans concerned. The animation and live action panels have both been typically difficult to get into, requiring fans to line up many hours in advance in hopes of possibly getting a seat. Combining both for a presentation in the same space will mean less fans will be able to experience the excitement and sneak peeks D23 movie panels are known for. There’s also concern about timing. The two separate panels were known for clocking in as long as three hours each. Does the merge mean we’re getting a six-hour panel, or will less time be dedicated to each studio?
We’re looking forward to learning more about this year’s D23 Expo – and hopefully getting some of our questions answered – as we get closer to the event!