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Top 10 Things I Discovered at the D23 EXPO 2015

Steven Miller

by , Manager, External Affairs


The D23 EXPO 2015 was a blast! There were incredible announcements of upcoming projects throughout the Walt Disney Company (the seven year old me can’t believe that Star Wars Land will be a real place). Besides those major announcements, I wanted to share the top 10 things I discovered during my visit this year.


I Need to Step Up My Aloha Shirt Collection
Being a long time fan of Aloha shirts, I loved seeing John Lasseter’s Studio Collection on display. In 1999, designer Reyn Spooner created a custom shirt for John featuring art and characters from Disney-Pixar’sToy Story 2.” The tradition continues today with shirts for the newest animated features including “Inside Out.”


Incredible Displays
Located nearby the shirt display, I found this wall of Pixar balls (above). The décor found throughout the Expo was over-the-top. I’d love to recreate something like this wall in a future home.


DisneyNature “Born in China”
Ever since I was an attraction manager at China Pavilion in World Showcase at Epcot, I’ve dreamed of visiting China. I look forward to seeing DisneyNature “Born in China” coming soon to theatres. You can see the trailer here


Caring at the Disney Citizenship Pavilion
I loved watching Disney fans make care kits at the Disney Citizenship Pavilion. This pavilion showed what Disney is doing to inspire kids and families to think creatively, live healthier, conserve nature, and strengthen our communities.


Disney Infinity 3.0
I’m beyond excited for Disney Infinity 3.0 which debuts on August 30 this year. I loved seeing a full size image of Sam Flynn from Disney’s “TRON: Legacy” that will be a new figure released later this month. Stay tuned for additional details about an early launch party at Once Upon a Toy in Downtown Disney Marketplace on August 28.


Gravity Falls Mystery Shack
There was a full scale recreation of the Mystery Shack from Gravity Falls. I wanted to take everything home with me. A brand new episode debuts on Monday, August 24 at 8:30 p.m. on Disney XD. I can’t wait!


Quest for Trading Cards
Since I spent 7 ½ years as Project Manager for Disney Trading, I was delighted to see trading cards at the D23 Expo. They were part of a Trading Card Quest presented by Disney Visa Card. Fans received a starter pack of cards, and could search for opportunities to collect different cards from locations all over the show floor. I even watched Disney Fans trading cards in my hotel lobby.


Disney Dream Store
I visited the Disney Dream Store a few times. The 3-foot Vinylmation Haunted Mansion-inspired figure by artist Javier Soto was impressive.


D23 EXPO Design Challenge
I was also impressed with the D23 EXPO Design Challenge that my fellow author Jeffrey Epstein first discussed in March 2015. In honor of the Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration, artists were invited to craft their own interpretation of Sleeping Beauty Castle. The image above contains just a few pieces I enjoyed seeing.


The People Who Make the Dream a Reality
My favorite thing I learned attending the D23 EXPO 2015 is Disney fans are incredible people! While I enjoyed seeing a Nav’i from the upcoming Pandora – The World of AVATAR coming to Disney’s Animal Kingdom, I loved meeting people who love Disney as much as me. The costumes some fans wore, such as the one my friend Mary Jo made to honor newly inducted Disney Legend Julie Reihm Casaletto, were outstanding. Stay tuned for a closer look at some of those costumes in a future Disney Parks Blog article.

What was your favorite part of the D23 EXPO this year? Please share in the comments below.


  • Meeting so many nice people, and having my work on display as part of the Design Challenge – such a huge honor to be among only 23 artists!

  • Sounds like an amazing time! The sights, the sounds,the reveals, and the memories…wow.

  • Great photos of the Expo! On a separate note, any word on CD/MP3 release of the Diamond Celebration nighttime show songs (Forever Young, Live the Magic etc…)? Thanks!

  • We have all the cards we wanted except Hat Box Ghost. Hours after it’s release it was selling for $30 on ebay! 🙁 Takes the fun right out of it all!

    I liked the Castle Artwork competition, but other than that lines were crazy, mdse was mostly sold out by the time the place opened every day because guests were not only allowed but encouraged to camp out overnight. Outside lines were extremely hot and we needed shade, lines were not monitored and staff guides did not know the right answers to things. Not as many giveaways as there was in 2013 and much less organized IMHO, also less space to walk around and seemingly more people in attendance (might have had to do with using less square footage). I also didn’t like the “Emporium” being split up in sections. I liked the 2013 “Collectors Forum” better! Oh, and the trading area should have included a cast member with a trade board, instead it was full of sharks! And there was many announcements, but no announcement of a 2017 Expo… surprising!

  • I have all cards but the small world hippo. By now it’s out of reach on ebay. I enjoyed the card trading at fist, but it soon wasn’t as much fun. People with so many cards in their hands they could hardly hold on to them. Good idea, but maybe more of small world hippo should have been available for distribution. Last card on last day and I had to leave early. I ha to go to work.

  • Still looking for a Dreamfinder trading card. Anybody? Anybody?? Heavy sigh.

  • I have a pretty good collection of Disney Aloha Shirts myself….nothing like his of course! That having been said I have ‘never’ seen one of the Reyn Spooner Disney’s in a store in the parks or otherwise. I’ve gotten a few of mine in the Parks (Tiki or Shag Anniversary types in one the Disney Gallery Stores) but I’ve searched everywhere to include Reyn Spooner’s own website. Nothing. Any advice?

    • @Robert – Aloha! The only time I found a shirt was at the Disney Studio Store in Hollywood, CA. It was a “Cars” shirt similar to one on display at the Expo. It was maybe 2008 or 2009 when I found it. I don’t know of any plans to carry them at Disney Parks. I wish I had better news.

  • James’ wife here – from reading this blog with all the updates from D23 Expo for/about Disneyworld and Disneyland is that Disney Magic is alive and well and that many trips are in my families future!
    Everything is so incredible and blew me away with all that is coming to both parks!
    It was bigger and more fantastic than I ever expected for reports about upcoming ventures for Disney et al. Mr. Iger is a masterful CEO. Hats off to all of Disney for keeping the Magic in the Disney torch glowing!


  • Hi Steven!

    I think my favorite part was seeing more details about the upcoming rides and lands that are being added to the parks, although singing Happy Birthday to James Cameron with 8,000 other people is also worth mentioning!

    It was also great to meet you of course :). Looking forward to the article about the costumes!

    • @Andrea – Glad to hear you had a good time! I agree that the birthday song was awesome to hear.

  • Hi There

    will the Mouseketter IPhone Cases come to the parks, Please 🙂 and also John’s Hawaiian shirts 😉

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