FIRST: Decide now that you are not going to buy run Disney merchandise and that you don’t care if you don’t get the random, limited edition tumbler with matching straw and overpriced shoelaces.
I’m serious. Once you cut out the official race merchandise lines, expos can get pretty empty. This was my experience at Marine Corps, too. The rest of the expo was empty, except for the 3 hour line to buy official merchandise. Guess who didn’t wait and saved herself $80+? Yup. I firmly believe it’s kind of crap shoot whether or not the expo will be empty when you get there. There’s an early morning rush, but I’ve also been in the afternoon when it’s jam packed around 4pm on the second day of the expo.
SECOND: You can see a map of the expo no on the rundisney site. Sit down, look it over, circle any places you want to go, and go from there.
A close look at the map lets you know there are THREE areas to the expo this year instead of two. If you’re a Goofy or Dopey participant, you never have to set foot in the expo area with vendors AT ALL. I can’t tell you how many people were waiting on line for ticket pick up when they thought they were waiting for t-shirts. Additional vendors are located in the baseball stadium, basically mimicking the set up for the Expedition Everest packet pick up, and that’s where you go for your Dooney and Bourke bags.
I like to strategize before I get there, circle who I need to visit to pick something up, and then get out. Some vendors, like Raw Threads, have expo pick up so you can actually do your ordering online and not wait in the long lines or get there and discover your size is gone.
THIRD: If there aren’t any lines or big crowds, take advantage of the freebies.
Last year, there were free photo ops and some food samples (Dannon and Chiquita banana). Since it was empty when I got to the expo, I took full advantage and got a bunch of free pictures. For the most part, there wasn’t anything too exciting, though, and certainly not worth hanging around in a crowded, hot expo for so don’t worry if you run in and run out.
LAST TIP: Most of all, remember you’re in Disney World and bring with you your ability to wait in endless orderly lines.
Anyone else have any expo tips?