Hello!! I have been to both Expos. The first year we stayed at the Paradise Pier Hotel (Disney owned) which was the most reasonable "onsite" resort. Very much in walking distance of California Adventure and/or Downtown Disney which can lead you to Disneyland. In walking distance to the Expo as well.
Last year we stayed at Best Western Plus Stovall's Inn. I really disliked it. I won't lie. But again, in walking distance of California Adventure and the Expo.
The Anaheim Tourism Bureau website or perhaps the Convention Center website has a hotel map...which is helpful because you can see what is close by. The Anabella Hotel is very close. We are either going to stay there in 2013 OR stay at the Marriott or Hilton which are right next to the Expo.
Considering people start to line up SUPER early, we think it best to be closer to the Convention Center this next time. We have learned out lesson.
If I remember correctly they did have discounted tickets for the parks if you entered after 4 or 5 pm. Otherwise you pay full price to go into each park (during the days before or after the Expo). It would be awesome if they would let you park hop back and forth between DL and DCA but nope.
Evening stuff at the Expo is: The auction. Movies. Ultimate Trivia Challenge finals. **** Van Dyke. To be honest though, after being up at the crack of dawn and running around all day (more on that in a bit), I never wanted to stay late. Once the last session is over, they close the floor. Which stinks!! Because would love more time to check out the collector's section (or buy stuff!!) or check out the pavilions or the Dream store. I hope they change that next year.
Ok, so...BE PREPARED to never eat (no time). To wait in endless lines. To RUN from one place to another inside of the convention center. To choose between two sessions you really want to do (maybe even more). Accept the fact that you're going to miss something you were dying to do because something came up. Pack snacks!! Make sure you get in line early. There are so many D23 members now. They get to go in first. But again, that line is super long. Last year, the Marvel geeks (sorry guys) just bought a one day admission to see the Disney Films presentation to see scenes from the new Avengers movie...and they didnt even get in to that session.
Are you a charter year member? We have our own lounge, but again...I never had any time to really be in there. One time I ran in, grabbed a cookie, charged my phone for five minutes, and bolted. No time to eat.
Let me know if I can answer anything else.