Disney D23 expo falls short of expectations

After three years of waiting, Disney’s famous fan expo returns, but the chance to rebuild an image feels wasted.

Brendan Peters, Staff Writer

Disney’s biannual fan expo, better known as D23, initially welcomed attendees in Sept. 2009. For 10 years it was a chance for The Walt Disney Company to connect with fans, celebrate its history and make big announcements about the magic to come. However, that all changed when the COVID-19 pandemic forced the cancellation of the 2021 expo. Now, as Disney lifts its COVID restrictions and comes out of a hard financial period, the 2022 D23 Expo returned to the Anaheim Convention Center with much anticipation and fanfare. 

Disney CEO Bob Chapek greeted fans onstage by sharing his excitement for the return of the expo. “It sure feels great to be back with all of you. It’s so exciting to see people from all over coming together to celebrate the shared passion for the magic of Disney,” Chapek said.

EXPECTATIONS VS REALITY

It is not an understatement to say that fan expectations for the weekend were sky high. An article on screenrant.com described Disney as having a “seemingly infinite amount of content to tease fans with.” Attendees and enthusiasts certainly anticipated first looks at even more of this brand-new content, for screens both big and small. Additionally, Disney Parks fans anticipated a plethora of new experiences after three years of shutdowns and cancellations. For Disney, it surely presented a chance to rebuild their image after the frustrations from Disney fans surrounding company leadership and lackluster content continued to grow.

Pixar and Disney Studios previewed their new upcoming movies and shows, including the announcement of a sequel to the blockbuster film “Inside Out” and the first teaser for their live action retelling of the Disney classic “The Little Mermaid.” On Day 2, Lucasfilm and Marvel took center stage, offering new details about their own content including announcements for a “Werewolf by Night” Halloween special and a first trailer for Season 3 of “The Mandalorian.” On Sunday, it was the Disney Parks’ turn to drop new details, including new details on the E-ticket attraction coming to Avengers Campus, and some distant plans to revitalize sections of EPCOT at Walt Disney World.

While loyal fans of Disney surely left feeling satisfied, fans who have become less forgiving to the company made their disappointment known. The big surprises that fans are accustomed to seeing at D23 were notably absent, despite plenty of updates and small announcements. The expo represented yet another unpopular showing for the company, who has had to increasingly rely on that loyal fanbase, particularly with theme park price hikes and poorly received content sticking out like a sore thumb over the past two years. With more to watch from other companies, and with the increasing exclusivity of Disney experiences, it will take more than just small updates to reel back in those frustrated fans.

0 0 votes
Article Rating
close

Enjoying The Chimes? Subscribe to our newsletter!