I have never been fortunate enough to attend a D23Expo or San Diego ComicCon. Living on the opposite side of the country is a bit of a financial and logistical disadvantage for those events. Instead, I’ve always read about the panels after the fact or viewed whatever videos the entertainment websites chose to make available.
I am as big a Disney fan as you will ever meet. I get the D23 newsletters. I took up running solely to compete in a runDisney event. Since I learned of its existence, I have wanted to attend a D23 Expo. This year, for the first time ever, I decided to follow updates from the D23Expo on Twitter and Facebook. I was thrilled to absorb every little detail that made it onto the web from the Disney Live Action Panel. An amazing trailer for A Wrinkle in Time! A behind the scenes video from The Last Jedi. A description of footage from Infinity War that was apparently shown to the audience at the Expo, but not made available to anyone not in attendance. Fun to watch the updates almost live online, but still not as good as being there.
ANAHEIM, CA – JULY 15: (L-R) Actors Sebastian Stan, Dave Bautista, Karen Gillan, Pom Klementieff, Benedict Cumberbatch, and Josh Brolin, producer Kevin Feige, and actors Elizabeth Olsen, Paul Bettany, Don Cheadle, and Anthony Mackie of AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR took part today in the Walt Disney Studios live action presentation at Disney’s D23 EXPO 2017 in Anaheim, Calif. AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR will be released in U.S. theaters on May 4, 2018. (Photo by Jesse Grant/Getty Images for Disney)
What I was dismayed to find during my foray into following these updates online is how many attendees chose to complain about the Expo online in the comment sections. The overwhelming majority of the complaints seem to focus on the shock that they had to wait in long lines. Um, seriously? Are you new to movie-fandom? Of course there are long lines! Likely overnight long lines. Yes, lines can be annoying, but you can’t show up to one of these events and expect to waltz right in. We’re talking about an exclusive event that offers the opportunity (not promise) to see actors and directors from highly anticipated movies. To see costumes and props. To see sneak previews that the press are occasionally forbidden from sharing. There are thousands of people, in one place, all hoping to see the same thing. OF COURSE there are going to be long lines! Instead of complaining about it, try preparing for it and then embracing the experience.
Bring water and snacks. Bring sunscreen or an umbrella. Wear comfortable shoes. Bring a book or headphones. Or, better yet, try speaking to the other people in line with you. You will likely never again be surrounded by so many people who share your passion for movies/comics/videos games, etc. These are your people! Talk with them! I am as big a Beatles fan as I am a Disney fan. A few years back, I attended a few McCartney shows solo and I met my people there. People who understood and identified with my passion without need for explanation. We shared stories while we waited. We squealed with glee together when he took the stage. I expect it would be a similar experience at any Disney Expo or ComicCon. I hope to one day experience it.
On behalf of the many, many fans who have not had the opportunity to attend these events, but can only live vicariously through what is shared online and through the media, I politely implore those who DO attend to try to find the positive in the experience. There is enough negativity in the world. Events that are designed to celebrate things that are created for our enjoyment should spread light, not darkness.
ANAHEIM, CA – JULY 15: (L-R) Actors Oprah Winfrey, Mindy Kaling, Reese Witherspoon, Chris Pine, Storm Reid of A WRINKLE IN TIME, director Ava DuVernay of A WRINKLE IN TIME, and President of Walt Disney Studios Motion Picture Production Sean Bailey took part today in the Walt Disney Studios live action presentation at Disney’s D23 EXPO 2017 in Anaheim, Calif. A WRINKLE IN TIME will be released in U.S. theaters on March 9, 2018. (Photo by Jesse Grant/Getty Images for Disney)
One day, I will make it to a ComicCon, or better yet, a D23Expo. One day, I will be among my people. Those who shudder with excitement over the reveal of details for an anticipated movie. Those who eagerly absorb teasers and trailers without a shred of irony. Those are my people. Those who don’t need an explanation for why a simple behind the scenes preview for the next Star Wars caused actual tears to fall from my eyes. Those who don’t question the hypnotic pull I feel while watching the pulsing trailer for A Wrinkle In Time. When I am fortunate enough to have the chance to attend one of these events, I will wear my comfiest shoes and plan for the endless lines I expect to encounter.
ANAHEIM, CA – JULY 15: (L-R) Actors Gwendoline Christie, John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, Mark Hamill, Director Rian Johnson, actors Kelly Marie Tran, Laura Dern and Benicio del Toro of (STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI took part today in the Walt Disney Studios live action presentation at Disney’s D23 EXPO 2017 in Anaheim, Calif. STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI
will be released in U.S. theaters on December 15, 2017. (Photo by Jesse Grant/Getty Images for Disney)
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For now, I will continue to follow the excitement online and hold out hope that it will be a positive experience for those who attend. Or, at least hope that people will refrain from spreading their vitriol over something as relatively harmless as waiting in a (really, really, really) long line. Lean into the positive aspects. Embrace the fact that you are one of the lucky few to have the opportunity.