D23 Expo 2015 is just a day away, and I’m beside myself with excitement to nerd out on all things Disney, Marvel, and Star Wars with thousands of other like-minded people. I was lucky enough to go to D23 in 2013, and it was one of the coolest weekends I’ve had as a Disney fan. So, what am I looking forward to at this year’s D23 Expo? It would literally be impossible to see everything at the Expo, so here are some highlights.

The Panels

Of course, one of the biggest draws of D23 are the star-studded lineup of panels. The panels act as a great way to hear from the people behind your favorite shows and attractions, relive fond memories of the past, and get a glimpse of things to come. Here are a few of the panels that look like they’ll be extremely compelling, a lot of fun, or both.

In Conversation with the Filmmakers and the Emotion Behind Inside Out (Friday 11:30 – 12:30, Hall 28)


Director Pete Doctor, producer Jonas Rivera, and actress Phyllis Smith (Sadness) will give guests a behind the scenes look at the making of Inside/Out. Pixar’s latest movie is one of their very best, so it should be fascinating to hear from the minds who brought you the movie about what goes on in the mind.

60 Years of Disney Parks Merchandise (Friday 1:30 – 2:30, Hall 28)

This panel looks back on the artistry that went into some of the most iconic and classic Disney Parks Merchandise, as well as show how items make it from concept to reality. Plus, they’re promising a sneak peek at upcoming merchandise. Collectors like me might not be able to resist the draw of this panel.

Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios: The Upcoming Films, Hosted by John Lasseter (Friday 3-5, Hall D23)

The first of the big presentations in the expanded Hall D23! Yes, the Disney Legends ceremony will take place in the morning, but the Studio presentations are a huge deal at D23. This presentation will focus on upcoming animated films such as The Good Dinosaur, Finding Dory, Zootopia, and Moana. At D23 2013, Idina Menzel came out to sing “Let It Go” at the Animated Features presentation, so who knows what fun surprises they have in store this year.

Imagineering 60 Years of Disneyland (Friday 5-7 pm, Stage 23)

A two-part panel with Imagineers sharing the story of how Disneyland began, how it transformed over the years, and where it is heading. A new trailer from Leslie Iwerks documentary on WDI will premiere at this panel.

Goofy Movie 20th Anniversary Reunion! (Friday 6-8 pm, Stage 28)

Goofy, Max, Pete, and PJ all in one room? The only way to make this better would be a singalong of Powerline’s classic tunes like Stand Out or Eye to Eye. Just sayin’.

“One Little Spark”: Marty Sklar Presents “Mickey’s Ten Commandments and the Road to Imagineering” (Saturday, 10 am – 11 am, Stage 28)

Disney Legend and Imagineering Ambassador Marty Sklar leads a talk with Imagineers where they will share their path to joining Walt Disney Imagineering, as well as giving a glimpse into the world of Imagineering.

Worlds, Galaxies, and Universes: Live Action at The Walt Disney Studios (Saturday 10:30 am – 11:30 am, Hall D23)

Star Wars, Captain America: Civil War, Alice Through The Looking Glass, The Jungle Book. Walt Disney Studios, Marvel Studios, and Lucasfilm are firing on all cylinders lately, and they’ll be releasing some of the most anticipated movies of all time in the next year. As for the most anticipated movie of all time, JJ Abrams has confirmed that no new footage or trailers from The Force Awakens will be shown at D23. However, this doesn’t prevent there from being an appearance by cast members, another live BB-8 demonstration, or more of a look at Rogue One, next year’s Star Wars Anthology film that just started shooting.

If you are planning on going to this panel, be sure to line up early. Also keep in mind that cell phones and cameras will have to be checked for this presentation.

Walt Disney Parks and Resorts (Saturday 3:00-4:30 pm, Hall D23)

This one is the big one in our neck of the woods. Not much has been revealed on what Disney has to announce for their parks, which is a good thing. We know for sure that we’ll get a deeper look at Shanghai Disneyland and the Avatar project at Animal Kingdom. Beyond that is pure speculation. I expect to hear some big things for Hollywood Studios, and a new crop of Star Wars land rumors makes me hopeful that we’ll finally get some sort of official announcement.

Toy Story: 20 Years Later, the Original Crew Looks Back (Saturday 4:30-5:30 pm, Stage 23)

The crew behind Toy Story, including John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton, Pete Docter, and Lee Unkrich, take a look back onto one of the most important breakthrough films in animation: Toy Story.

Aladdin – The Making of a Classic (Saturday 6-7 pm, Stage 28)

Another personal favorite animated film from the 90s, another retrospective bringing back the artists behind the movie.

It’s Game Time: Disney Interactive Takes the Stage (Sunday 11 am – 12 pm, Hall D23)

Yes, gameplay will be shown from Star Wars Battlefront, Kingdom Hearts III, and Disney Infinity 3.0 Edition, and that is very exciting, but I’ll be honest: I’ll be at this panel for the giveaway. Last time they gave away an exclusive Sorcerer Mickey Infinity figure, so my guess is that this year will feature a Star Wars Infinity figure giveaway.

Best of Destination D – with Disney Legend Dave Smith and Imagineer Jason Grandt (Sunday 4:30-5:30 pm, Stage 28)

A reprise of two of the most popular Destination D presentations. One looking back on the construction and history of Walt Disney World, including favorite attractions of the past. The other looking at Disney Parks through a designer’s point of view. Should be a great panel for Disney Parks fans.

So, that’s what I’m looking forward to, and that’s just the panels. There’s a ton of other fun stuff on the show floor. Stay tuned for more info on that, and then stay tuned all weekend for updates live from D23.