And how was your weekend?
Mine contrasted sharply with last weekend. Instead of being
inside of the brightly-lit Anaheim Convention Center surrounded by thousands of
Disney fans, I was sitting in the dark here at home with Nancy, Alice and the
cats. What with all the wind & wet weather associated with Hurricane /
Tropical Storm Irene, it took Public Service of New Hampshire upwards of 15
hours to finally get the electricity flowing again in our neck of the woods.
Which - I know - sounds like it could have been kind of
miserable. It actually wasn't. Even though we were without power for the better
part of a day, the six of us were all inside - safe & dry. More to the
point, we had plenty of food, water, candles & flashlights on hand. Not to
mention the terrific view of this storm that we had through the big picture
window which we have at our place.
So - because we'd done a little advance planning AND had
realistic expectations (i.e. we live way the hell out in the woods. There's a
hurricane headed our way. Which means that we're probably going to be without power
for a couple of hours) - Alice, Nancy and I had a pretty enjoyable time
The line outside of Anaheim Convention Center on Friday morning just before the D23 EXPO opened its doors. Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved
I bring this issue up because ... Well, over the past week, I've
been reading the comments that some people have posted in the wake of the D23
EXPO. Where they then vented their frustration about the lines that these
folks encountered and/or groused about the panels & presentations that
these people couldn't get into.
And what's kind of interesting about these complaints is
that there's a constant refrain that runs through many of these comments. To wit:
"Disney has had years & years of experience of dealing
with large crowds thanks to its theme parks. Which is why I'm surprised that they
didn't do a better job of managing the lines at the D23 EXPO."
The only problem with that premise is that the D23 EXPO wasn't
/ isn't a theme park. It's a convention much along the lines of Comic-Con
This is just a portion of the line for Hall H at Comic-Con International. The rest of the line(which typically includes an additional 2,000 - 3,000 people) winds back-and-forthalong the waterfront behind the San Diego Convention Center.
And as anyone who's ever been down to the San Diego
Convention Center during the third week of July will tell you, lines are just an
unavoidable part of life - at least as far as Comic-Con is concerned. Like it
or not, you're going to spend much of your time at this 4 ½ day-long pop
culture event standing in a queue. Waiting in line for hours at a time, hoping
that you can then actually get into a particular panel or presentation.
Which then bring me to another comment that kept popping up
in people's complaints about the D23 EXPO
"Why don't they just schedule multiple presentations of
these panels? Or at least stage them in bigger venues?"
Well, not to be blunt here ... But you do realize that the
people who were hosting / moderating these various panels & presentations actually
do have lives & responsibilities outside of entertaining & informing
members of the Official Disney Fan Club?
A sleep-deprived Joe Lanzisero (left) soldiers on through Sunday's Disney Cruise Line, as he and WDI's Bob Zalk describe the amenities that will be found on the DisneyFantasy. Photo by Angela Ragno
Take - for example - Joe Lanzisero, senior vice president of
Walt Disney Imagineering. In the days prior to his appearance at this year's
D23 EXPO, Joe had been at Hong Kong Disneyland consulting on the three new
lands that are being built at that theme park. Lanzisero then flew back to the
States just so he could then co-host Sunday morning's "Imagineering the Dream
and the Fantasy: Designing for Disney Cruise Line" panel. Which is why Joe kept
apologizing from the stage about continually having to consult his script for
this presentation, because " ... I'm a little jet-lagged up here."
You get what I'm saying? That the actual people who worked / are working on
these new movies, TV shows & theme park attractions for The Walt Disney
Company took time out from their busy schedules to come on down to the Anaheim Convention
Center and then talk about what they're working on. And since these films /
television series / rides & shows are dynamic, on-going entities ... Well,
that's why these folks then weren't available to present their panels over
& over again at 11 a.m., 1 p.m., 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. each day. They had to get
back to their actual jobs.
More to the point, the people who run D23 recognize that not
every member of the Official Disney Fan Club is a theme park fan. That there
are those who are just animation enthusiasts. Or those who watch the Disney
Channel & Disney XD religiously. Or maybe they're a comic book collector
who wants to learn more about what Marvel & the Mouse have in the works for
2012 & beyond. Which is why creating an event that services all of these
needs / addresses all of these interests can be something of a challenge.
Look, as someone who was a moderator at this year's EXPO as
well as being someone who attended this event as a member of the media, I'm not
going to pretend that my D23 EXPO experience was typical. But that said, I
spent an awful lot of time on the show floor on Saturday & Sunday. And
judging by the huge screaming crowds in front of the Disney Channel / Disney XD
/ Disney Junior stage, the long lines for autographs & giveaways at the
Walt Disney Animation Studios booth, not to mention how crowded Mickey's of
Glendale and the on-site Disney Store were, there were clearly a lot of people
who had a perfectly fine time at this year's D23 EXPO.
"Good Luck Charlie" fans line up to get the autographs of the cast of this Disney Channelseries. Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved
What's that you say? Your chief complaint about the 2011
edition of the D23 EXPO is that Friday's Disney Parks & Resorts presentation
was underwhelming? This is honestly one of the more ridiculous comments that I
have ever heard coming from Disneyana fans.
I mean, think about it. The Walt Disney Company just spent
upwards of $1.2 billion (or $1.7 billion, depending on who you talk to) on
reinventing Disney California Adventure. Not to mention the $350 million (or is
it $500 million?) that the Imagineers are now spending on expanding &
enhancing Fantasyland at WDW's Magic Kingdom. That's roughly $2 billion that
the Company has recently invested in its stateside resorts. And let's not forget about the
work that's being done on the Disneyland Hotel, Disney's Art of Animation
Resort, Aulani, as well as the soon-to-begin-construction Disney Vacation Club
at the Grand Floridian Resort & Spa.
So given the enormous amount of money that the Mouse has just
plowed into the Disneyland & Walt Disney World Resorts (more importantly,
given what's going on with the economy right now. With consumer confidence back
at November 2008 levels as everyone worries about whether we're now headed into
a double-dip recession), is it realistic to then expect that Mickey would now be
announcing yet another billion expansion of its stateside properties? I'm
thinking that someone who's actually been paying attention to what's been going
on in financial circles lately would likely say "No."
Which brings me to the part of today's JHM article that I'm
sure will get me the most hate mail. Which is the unrealistically high
expectations of some Disneyana fans. Who seem to insist that every new
attraction that's being added to the theme parks has to be this state-of-the-art
E Ticket. Or that an event like this year's D23 EXPO be completely glitch-free.
Concept art for Disneyland's new Fantasy Fair area. Copyright DisneyEnterprises, Inc. All rights reserved
Look, I know that the PR department at Disney regularly
tosses around terms like "magic," "wonder," "dreams," "wishes" and "pixie dust"
just so we'll then get all warm-and-fuzzy whenever we think about the Mouse's
latest project. But I myself, I don't
live in Fantasyland. I live in the real world. Where life is full of small setbacks,
tiny hiccups and little disappointments.
So when I found myself unable to get into Stage 23 for
Friday night's Dick Van Dyke and the Vantastix concert, did I pitch a fit? Did
I immediately get on Twitter and then complain about this year's D23 EXPO was ineptly
run & how everyone associated with this event should be fired? Nope. Because
I'm an adult who can actually handle disappointment, I got on the escalator and
then headed back downstairs. With my only thought being that I wish that I'd been smart enough to get on
line earlier. That way ... Well, maybe I could have actually scored a seat to
this supposedly extraordinary show.
What's that you say? D23 could have easily avoided this
problem if they'd just had Dick perform in the D23 Arena (which had seats for
4000) rather than Stage 23 (which only had seats for 750 - 1000)? Sorry, but
that wasn't D23's call. It was Van Dyke himself who supposedly insisted that the
Vantastix perform in a more intimate venue. With his main concern being that -
what with the acoustics of the cavernous Anaheim Arena - that oversized venue just
wouldn't lend itself to the sort of close harmony that Dick's group does.
"Well, D23 should have just insisted that Dick Van Dyke and
the Vantastix perform in the Anaheim Arena," you say. Look, the Official Disney
Fan Club knows that it was damned lucky to land this 86-year-old Disney Legend
for this year's EXPO. You see, Dick turns down hundreds of requests each year
when it comes to interviews, appearances and performances. So whatever it took
to keep Van Dyke happy (i.e. have the Vantastix perform in an intimate space
versus an enormous arena), that was what they were going to do.
Dick Van Dyke and the Vantastix perform at the 2011 D23 EXPO. Copyright DisneyEnterprises, Inc. All rights reserved
Anyway ... You wanna know why I had a great time at this year's
D23 EXPO? It wasn't because I was the moderator of the Pixar Shorts panel. Nor
was it because I attended the event as a member of the media.
No, I had a great time at this year's D23 EXPO because -
just like with this past weekend's hurricane / tropical storm - I went into
this event with realistic expectations. I knew that there was just no way that
I'd be able to see each & every panel and presentation. Which is why I then
carefully chose those events that I really wanted to attend.
More to the point, because I anticipated that there'd be
lines & crowds for the D23 EXPO's more popular panels, I did some advance
planning. I found out where I needed to go. More importantly, when I needed to
get on line. And as a direct result, I wound up being able to see about 75% of the
presentations that I really wanted to attend at this year's event.
Which - I know - if you're going by Disney theme park
standards, only getting to experience 3 out of 4 of the rides, shows and attractions
that you came out to the park to see ... That's somewhat disappointing. But if
you're going by Comic-Con standards, getting into 3 out of every 4 panels &
presentations that you really wanted to attend ... That's huge. That's the pop
culture equivalent of winning the lottery.
Some of the Disneyana enthusiasts who chose to dress as their favorite characters forthis year's D23 EXPO. Photo by Florence Doyle
So I guess what I'm saying is - if you've been reading some
of the negative post-D23-EXPO comments that are out there and are now thinking that you
may take a pass on attending the Official Disney Fan Club's 2013 convention
... Don't be a chump. You'll just be letting those people who are already predisposed
to complaining when it comes to whatever it is that The Walt Disney Company does rob
you of the opportunity to experience something pretty extraordinary.
Which - provided that you do a little advance planning &
walk into the Anaheim Convention Center with realistic expectations - can be a
very entertaining and informative way to spend three days.
I´m not at all amazed about the lame excuses you make on behalf od Disney. Some people are very blind. You make a lot of excuses on behalf of Disney about a bad organized commericial outing of this company. You fail to see that they ask customers a lot of money for this event and on the side try to sell them even more stuff.
I could read the little news that was anounced second later on theyre excelent blog.
I´m also glad customers complain and it shows on the Disney Blog where Mr. Staggs was quick to come up withe a (very poor) excuse of the lack of news during the event.
I also think you can´t judge how people feel during this event bacause you (as Ricky B) had a press pass so what the hell are you talking about?
Ok, folks... here's the deal. Disney and everyone else can make excuses for all of the problems that existed with the Expo, but speaking as someone who has helped to plan and execute very large conventions that went off without a hitch and left no one upset or feeling as if they didn't get their money's worth, I can tell you that they are just that, excuses. There are MANY ways to make these kinds of events run smoother and put on a great show.
For starters, the whole mob rule mentality of showing up and lining up for presentations is the worst idea ever created. The CORRECT way to handle this is to allow pre-registration for panels and scan badges at each panel. Too hard, you say? I've seen it done successfully, year in and year out, for conferences with thousands of attendees. Guess what... no one missed out on what they wanted to see. If they panels they wanted to see were full, they just chose not to attend at all. Sure they were probably disappointed, but they didn't pay for said disappointment. Plus, by pre-registering, it allowed us, as the people managing the conference, to expand rooms, when needed, and move things to larger rooms as well.
Some others have mentioned that another thing to do is to have activities proportional to the number of attendees. If everyone isn't fighting over 2 rooms, you have a lot more happy people. They don't have to be big things, just things that reach certain parts of your fan base. Have an event for the 50s-70s fan, the 80s-90s fan, the current Disney Channel fan, the Imagineering fan, the collectibles fan, the parks fan, etc. Spread people out. And, seriously, space the stuff out. Don't have two presentations for the same fan group on top of each other, so you guarantee they won't get into both.
Finally, stop trying to sell me something every time I turn around. I, and a lot of people, are pretty sick of Disney always having their hand out, especially after I paid money to get into something. Sure, make shops available for me to buy cool stuff (and make sure it's cool, not the same old crap), but I don't want to see DVC or anything like that in an event like this.
The attitude Disney has taken about this is possibly the worst thing. " You expected to much". "We were tired". "You people are never satisfied". That's a great way to lose fans. You know... I'm tired all of the time, at work, when I'm pushing the 11-13th hour of the day. Do my customers care? NO. Do my bosses care? NO. I have customers coming to me all of the time wanting "more". Can I say, "no, you get what I give you, now be happy about it." Heck no. I wouldn't have any customers. What Disney needs to do is man up, say, yes, it was a mess, and promise to do better... then lay out a plan and DO BETTER.
And for goodness sake, STOP comparing things to ComicCon. ComicCon is a huge mess and not something that should be aspired to. Sure, piles of people flock to it every year, and that same group comes back talking about how crazy and overwhelming it was. Don't strive to be ComicCon... strive to be better than ComicCon.
Wish I would've had the opportunity to read this first instead of suffering through another horrible Magical Definition Podcast. They continue to suffer while you have to take the time to explain basic entertainment/marketing concepts instead of sharing your insight. It was obvious that Nathan was mounting his attack on D23 staying in CA because he wants it in his backyard... not because of 'fan' interest. It's a very basic premise... why are all of the big movie premieres in LA? You also made a great point with Disney Channel stars at 23. Even Disney scrapped the 'popular' Disney Channel Games event in Florida for CA.
I had to write a response. Our family happened to be in Anaheim during the time of D23 and I considered going. But, I ultimately decided against it due to the crazy lines and chaos that I saw many reports of from 2009 and which by nearly all accounts was worse this time (I am not a D23 member).
As it turns out, I would have probably gone on Friday for the Parks presentation, most of which would not have been overly interesting to me. The best presentation was the Buena Vista Street presentation, which was in a smaller (harder to get into) venue and on a different day. Thankfully, videotaping was permitted for that presentation.
I have not attended ComicCon, and I suspect many Disney fans have not either. The chaos of the rooms and presentations is just too crazy for me to consider attending. I don't think it is unfair for the average Disney Parks fanatic to be shocked and disappointed by the poor (compared to the parks) crowd control at an event like this.
Would be nice if Disney took video of the various events and made them available online for maybe D23 members to view afterwards - that would be a perk worth paying for.
I'm glad I'm not the only one who seems a bit disappointed by the lack of this article's critical perspective, which I've come to expect from this website.
Some of the above posts describe the same feeling I had - that once you put "Disney" in front of it, we all expect something a bit more customer friendly than a typical "Con" event.
I poured over the PDF guidebook before the Expo, participated in numerous forum discussions, and listened to three different podcasts with Expo tips. Even after all that preparation, my expectations were still too high for this event. The aforementioned lack of programming and the small presentation rooms guaranteed disappointment. The Convention Center was Disney's oyster, and I don't feel they utilized all the space that was available to them.
Also, my biggest frustration was the time it took to simply view and buy merchandise. I paid for entry to an event, and I was more than willing to fork over more money to buy some swag. I was greeted with hour long lines to simply get IN to the store - I won't even tell you about the checkout lines. When I have to wait 2+ hours to give you my money for merchandise, there is a problem.
They knew the number of tickets they sold. They knew the venue size - afterall, they had one of these in 2009. I would love to know how Disney justified making the decisions they did for this event.
The issue here is not necessarily that people didn't get into everything they wanted... it's that some people didn't get into *anything,* and not from lack of planning. We attended 2009 and were able to get into all but one of the sessions we wanted, lining up about an hour ahead. In some cases, we were able to leave one presentation and then immediately double back to the same venue for the next presentation and still get in. This year, that was simply impossible. Some sessions reached capacity upwards of three or four hours ahead of time. At one point, there were two "dueling" unofficial lines for the Star Tours presentation before the official queue even opened. Some Cons, including the upcoming DragonCon, have specific rules about how far ahead lineups can occur. Disney apparently doesn't. I dare say that EVERYONE would do better if Disney charged a nominal fee to access the building and show floor, say $20 per day or $50 for the weekend... then do a lottery for any event that people want to try to enter. Open up registration for a week-long period... plop down your credit card so they can charge a minor fee for anything you get in to, and then do a lottery once everyone has had a chance to register. This way, you're not having to burn five hours of your expo admission to wait for a panel that's going to start 20 minutes late but still have to end on time at the end of the "hour" to prepare for the next one. Yes it'll cost attendees more (doubt Disney would balk at that) but it's worth it in my opinion versus having to pay for admission and not getting anything out of it. I paid just shy of 2x the expo admission for Destination D at WDW this year (which was shorter than the expo!)... and it was worth it because there was no need to spend the entire day camped out for a spot. You were guaranteed admission, so you could waltz in five minutes ahead and still get decent seating.
As for the Expo not being a Disney theme park, that is true. However, let's remember that Disney wasn't in the animation business at first, but they entered it and made it better. They weren't in the live action film business, but they entered and made it better. They weren't in the amusement/theme park business at first, but they entered it and made it better. They weren't in the resort hotel business at first, but they entered it and made it better. They weren't in the Time Share business, but they entered it and made it better. They weren't in the cruise business at first, but they entered it and made it better. They weren't in the city tour business, but they entered it and made it better. Now they're in the Expo business. They need to make it better.
JIm, I am a regular reader and big fan of this page. That being said, I have to comment on the evolution of your relationship with Disney over the years....at least the impression I get of that relationship based on what I read here. When I first started visiting JHM you were much more critical of the company as a whole, you often published very inside info that the public was not meant to have, and I know from speaking to a former Imagineer friend that you were persona non grata as a result. Recently, however, your blog reads almost as if you are a P.R. arm for the company, like "they've gotten to you". You are not nearly as critical as you used to be, in fact you sometimes, as today, go on the defensive. You don't give us the same amount of "inside" info as you used to. That could be because security is better and there are fewer loose lips within the company, because there isn't as much going on or because your relationship with the company has changed. Some of your recent posts have read like straight publicity, as if published by the Disney company themselves. I always felt like I had a "mole" inside Disney filling me in on what I was not intended to know. Now this blog reads more like part of "the Machine". This is just my observation that I thought was worth sharing.
you miss the point there simply was not enoght offered considering the amout of people attending.
Let me blunt here: Back when I initially started writing for the Web (October of 1999 or thereabouts), Michael Eisner was in charge of The Walt Disney Company. And given Eisner's deliberately-combative, hands-on, micro-managing style ... Well, that meant there was a lot more negative stuff to report on back then.
But now that Bob Iger is in charge ... A lot of Disney's problems of the past 12 years or so (i.e. DCA, Walt Disney Animation Studios losing its way, too many direct-to-video sequels, Pixar potentially going off on its own and then becoming a direct competitor of Disney's, etc.) have been addressed / dealt with. So there are far fewer, genuinely huge negative Disney-related stories to cover these days.
More to the point, back when I initially started working this beat on the Web, there were only a handful of Disney news sites. MousePlanet, LaughingPlace, WDWMagic. Now there are hundreds. Each of them frantically competing to be the very first to post info and/or pictures of such non-stories as that Reader's Digest version of the Enchanted Tiki Room that recently re-opened at / returned to WDW's Magic Kingdom.
And given that I'm the guy who's based out on New Hampshire (which kind of puts me at a disadvantage when I'm competing against websites that actually have staffers on the ground on a daily basis in Anaheim, Burbank and Orlando) ... Well, that's why I decided to make an editorial change a year or so back.
You see, I had grown tired of dropping by other sites' discussion boards and then reading something to the effect of " ... Jim Hill wrote this. So please take this story with a grain of salt." Which suggested to me that I was using far too many anonymous, off-the-record sources in JHM's articles. Which is why I then began doing more phoners and face-to-face interviews. So that this site's readers would then know who exactly my source was when it came to a particular Disney-related story.
The only problem with taking this new sort of editorial approach -- doing more & more interviews with people who were associated with soon-to-be-released Disney movies, TV shows and theme park attractions -- is that it then made JHM more mainstream. The site seemed to lose a bit of its juice & edge. But I'd also argue that -- when you're churning out 5 stories a week, 52 weeks a year (To date, I've written 1857 stories for JHM. Not to mention the hundred or more articles that I wrote for MousePlanet, LaughingPlace & DCACentral during my stints at those websites) -- it's just not physically possible that every single story that you write can then be an edgy, juicy, Pulitzer Prize-winning beauty.
Mind you, there are still stories that I'm proud of. Last Friday's Why For column, for example. In order to get the info for that article, I had to spend hours in the Disney Depository at the Orlando Public Library during a recent trip to Walt Disney World. I burrowed through all sorts of files, tracking down old newspaper clips & press releases on international pavilions that were proposed / announced for Epcot's World Showcase that were never built.
But do JHM readers actually seem to appreciate it when I go the extra mile? Put in the additional time & effort to serve up a Disney-related story that's never been told on the Web before? Not really, no. Just today, in response to Friday's Why column, I got a note from a JHM reader that said -- in essence -- "How come you never finish any of the stories that you start? And why are you pretending that there's more information about this topic when there probably isn't?"
Which brings me back to D23. Do I perhaps rise to the defense of the Official Disney Fan Club a little too quickly? Well, let's just say that I have a lot of sympathy for what Steven Clark, Becky Cline and the rest of the crew at D23 have been dealing with. I know all too well what it's like to have a fan base that's quick to criticize and slow to praise.
Don't get me wrong. I'm not actually looking for sympathy here, Ayefour. I just want you to get some sense of what this has all been like (i.e. writing about The Walt Disney Company and its various divisions for the Web almost exclusively for the past dozen-or-so years) from my side of the fence.
I mean, it's not like churning out 5-new-articles-per-week for JHM (plus the pieces that I've recently begun doing for the Huffington Post's Entertainment section) actually involves heavy physical labor. But to read messages like yours today, which basically say (to borrow a particularly memorable line from Woody Allen's "Stardust Memories") "We like your movies. Especially the early, funny ones" ... can be kind of disheartening.
That said, I'm a big boy. I've been writing for the Web now for almost a dozen years. So trust me. I've got a thick hide at this point. It's not like anything that anyone posts here is ever going to prevent me from writing something new for the Net.
So if you guys don't really like it that I wrote an article which then points out that there were actually people (myself included) who managed to have a pretty decent time at this year's D23 EXPO ... Not to worry. JHM will be posting yet another new article sometime later today / early tomorrow that (I'm sure) will entertain, inform and/or aggravate some of you.
That's kind of the nature of the beast when it comes to running a website.
Soooo ... Any other questions / comments ? Or are we about done here?
Jim, thanks for the response. It would be easy for you to just sit back and ignore it as people take shots at you but you usually take the time to respond. It would also be easy for you to take a defensive tone considering the contentiousness of todays comments (including my own), but you gave an even-handed explanation that didn't come across to me as defensive or nasty in the least. I wasn't commenting on this particular article because I didn't go to D23 (although I was in Disneyland while it was happening) so I don't really have an opinion on it. I just thought this article fit the theme of what I had been thinking over the last several months. I appreciate your candor and it is good to know that what I was chalking up to some secret union between you and Disney is actually just an editorial decision to go in another direction.
Thanks Jim for the great article. The level of entitlement within the Disney Fanbase is a constant frustration. Nice to hear you speak up for the other side.
Another major difference between Comic-Con and D23 is, Comic-Con didn't have half the floor covered with "EVENT GUEST"s, who were Disney/ABC/Marvel employees who got in for $10 vs. the $47 I paid for Saturday. They could have hidden these people easily by putting names on the badges and EG on a corner somewhere, but it was rather in your face the way it was handled.
Considering how much of the Anaheim Convention Center wasn't used, the line handing was poor compared to SDCC, starting with the registration line. I prepaid my ticket, the signs said to to the left, then the people told me "No, go to the end of that big line to the right" which didn't look that different from your Hall H pic. If they had opened a few more rooms, at least the lines wouldn't have seemed as bad.
Those complaints said, did I have fun? Yes. $47 worth? Not sure, to be honest. Yeah, I could join D23, but other than some priority seating a day or two every couple of years, the club just doesn't interest me.
Meeko Me: A "level of entitlement" is inherent when someone is paying for something. A "level of expectation" is based upon previous experience(s).
In this case we are talking about Disney and a standard of quality set by Walt and the company for it's products and services. A standard of quality that has typically prided itself in customer satisfaction, and in meeting or exceeding customer expectations.
For a great many, D23 Expo failed in this.
Great article Jim. You hit the nail on the head. It is too bad that those unrealistic Disney fans are now on here complaining still about the Expo as if nothing you said sunk in. Sad.
Hey Rick R, where did you get this fact that half of the people on the convention floor were the $10 discounted Disney/ABC/Marvel employees? You are sadly mistaken sir. Maybe barely 10% of all attendees were from that group. The vast majority were true diehard D23 fans with either advance tickets in hand or walk-up tickets each day.
And lightened up people. While we all love and enjoy Disney, Disney is not the end all in the world. Enjoy it for what it is, but don't get so worked up about Disney that it consumes your lives. I guess any object or thing that has a fan base (ie Star Trek, Comic-Con, etc.) have the fringe group that doesn't know how to balance both worlds. I don't mean that as an insult, but a slap of reality.
Was D23 Expo perfect? Heck no, but it was far from bad. It was very enjoyable and I made it fun with a realistic understanding of the overall type of crowd that would be present. And for comparisons between Comic-Con and D23 Expo, just remember that Comic-Con has been doing their convention for over 10 years or longer. D23 Expo has just recently completed their 2nd expo. Give it time for them to perfect the experience. You extreme Disney fans kill your own fun thus making the company make decisions to cancel future events like a D23 Expo and then you will complain that they are cheap and horrible for taking away the Expo from you all. STOP WHINING PEOPLE! Be careful what you ask for. You may have it all taken away if you don't get real about life and Disney.
If you were legitimately treated wrongly then you have a valid complaint. But being too far back in a line that doesn't allow you into a presentation due to capacity is not the fault of D23 Expo. And stop with the overflow room remedy. That simply doesn't fix every situation. Even with an overflow room that too would most likely exceed capacity and then they would still be turning away people. It is no different than those who whine that Disneyland should close the gates at a lower capacity to make the park a better crowd experience. Yet, if Disneyland adopted that very policy I would put money on it that those same whiney individuals, who might be turned away at the gate if they arrived too late, would be the first ones whining and complaining.
It is time to grow up people and enjoy the things you can in life and stop whining over the other things that don't matter a hill of beans in life overall. My God people are dying of cancer each day and some of you are still whining about D23 Expo. Perspective people, perspective.