Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Star Wars Dark Side Expo 2017 (Tuesdays on the Run Edition)

Here is the recap of the expo from the Star Wars Dark Side Half Marathon Weekend.  If you missed my previous post about the first day, click here.

runDisney Expos are probably one of the few large expos out there.  Disney World, in my opinion, takes the cake.  It takes up two huge buildings in the ESPN World Wide of Sports and can be very confusing.

On Thursday morning we got up early to head to the Expo.  We decided to get there early and get through the official merchandise line as early as we could.  We ended up taking a Lyft.  I have only used Uber and thought I'd check out the competition.  The driver wasn't very fluent in English, but was good enough to chit chat with Franklin about basketball.

We got to ESPN about 8:15.  It was nice to make our way through the complex with very few people around.  We were able to take pictures with the backgrounds without people stepping in your way.

Tons of people loved my shirt!
We were guided past the J Center and around the field behind the building.  The line made its way from the back of the building and around the field.

We were about half way up the side.  I still can't believe how many people get there early.

There was a lot of things going on around the complex that we could see from the line.  There was a baseball game, a lacrosse game, and a DJ who hula hooped to keep us entertained.

I want to say it was about 9:30 when they started to let us in.  This was the first time that they didn't post a merchandise preview before the expo opened so I felt like I was just wandering around looking to see if I liked anything.  I am a pain to shop with because I want to know all the options between everything before I make a decision on what to buy.  The more it costs, the more details I want.  And things in the official merchandise area were not cheap.  So not having a preview was a little irritating for me.  But I did find some items I was happy with.  I got the Kessel Run shirt and pin, a sweaty band, a tank, a tumbler, and new to any Disney race was a craft (or vase for those who don't drink).  I really wanted a jacket, but I didn't like any of the designs.  I usually don't like designs on the back of my jackets.  And I didn't like any of the designs offered.

Final tally of loot
You could tell that things got crowded very quickly, and that makes me anxious.  I hate being in crowds so I picked up what I wanted quickly and made it to the line to check out.  It was a very long line, but they kept it moving very quickly, which made everyone happy.

Standing in line looking out to the merchandise
We made our way out of the official merchandise area into the body of the expo.  We were done by about 10 and you could tell things were in full swing.  Kelly went to get her knee taped at KT Tape and I went to look at the other booths.  Not too much interested me.  I did get my beer in my runDisney cup (yes at 10 AM :) ).  I didn't drink much of it, but I found a new beer that I really did enjoy.  They were also selling light up Death Stars and Millennium Falcons.  The type they tend to put at the bottom of mixed drinks to make them fun.

I also got a couple of clearance Sweaty Bands.  At this point I couldn't find Kelly or Franklin, so I ended up heading over to the HP Field House to get my bibs and pre-purchased merchandise.  I could feel the expo crowds growing and I was happy to be done early to avoid the largest crowds of the day.

Main expo floor, official merchandise is at the back of the picture
Everything over at the HP Field House was easy to get and very short lines to stand in.  They usually have the challenge shirts to pick up at the HP Field House and this year they had the 5k shirts there too.  So unless you signed up for just the 10k or just the half, you didn't have to go over to J Center to get your shirts.  So for me, I didn't have to go back over to get any shirts, but Franklin who was doing just the 5k and the 10k had to go back to get his 10k shirt.

I got my pre-purchased merchandise.  There was a jacket and a bundle (a tumbler and ordainment).  Like every pre-purchased jacket, I did not like it.  I went to return it, as I had for every event (including Star Wars Light Side this year), I was told that they no longer refund any of the pre-purchased merchandise.  Because we don't know what the design will be, I probably will no longer purchase the pre-order jacket.  I felt ripped off without the option to return.

I finally found Kelly and Franklin.  Exhausted and ready to get out of there, we headed to the bus to go back to the resort.

Continue on and read about the Star Wars Dark Side 5k!

Do you like the bussle of a busy expo?  What do you think of the new policy not to be able to return pre-purchased merchandise?  


  1. Do you think this weekend is larger than PHM? I just wonder cus I only remember taking that route into the Josten Center during marathon weekend cus of the crowds.

    1. I'm not sure. I think they go that way for Princess (as someone told me) to now, so it must be the new way to get people in.

  2. Wow, that's crazy how long the line was to get in! I didn't get to the expo until late morning Saturday so at least the lines weren't too bad by then. I was actually surprised at how many people were still there on Saturday. I thought most people would have gone Friday and Thursday. Boo to not being able to return the jacket, that's crazy when you can't see it when you order :(

    1. Yeah, I was kinda glad to get there early. Once we were done with the official merch you could tell that the crowds were starting to make their way in. I don't do well in spaces with a lot of people so I was glad to only have to get my bib at that point.

  3. Oh no! So sorry you couldn't return the jacket! :( Glad you did get a good mix of merchandise, though!