As the official fan club of the Walt Disney Company, D23 gets its name from Disney’s last initial and references the year 1923, the company’s year of foundation. This year marked D23’s 8th annual expo which has become the exclusive home for all things Disney.
Day One: Legends and Animation
Famous Disney animators, Marvel creators, and other accomplished individuals were honored during the Disney Legends award ceremony on July 14. Notable honorees from this year’s ceremony include actress Carrie Fisher, actor Mark Hamill, Imagineer Wayne Jackson, comic book creator Jack Kirby, and comic book writer Stan Lee.
“The Disney Legends Award is the highest honor our company can bestow on an individual, reserved for those few who have truly made an indelible mark on the history of The Walt Disney Company,” Disney Chairman and CEO Bob Iger stated in a press release.
During the Disney Animation press conference, the company announced a new “Planes” film and a 21-minute “Frozen” short that will appear before the new Pixar film, “Coco.” Upcoming sequels were also discussed, including: “Ralph Breaks the Internet: Wreck-it Ralph 2,” “Incredibles 2,” and “Toy Story 4.” Related to the “Toy Story” franchise, a new level based on the Pixar characters will be coming to Disney’s action role-playing videogame, “Kingdom Hearts III,” in 2018.
A teaser for the Marvel film “Avengers: Infinity War” was showcased during the Expo, along with a behind-the-scenes featurette for “Star Wars: The Last Jedi.” In addition, first looks at the upcoming films “A Wrinkle in Time “and “Marry Poppins Returns” were also highlighted.
Meanwhile, the Disney Parks and Resorts panel shared details on the upcoming “Star Wars” Galaxy’s Edge, a new land that will be added to Disneyland and Hollywood Studios in Walt Disney World in 2019. Guests will be able to create a reputation in this immersive new environment.
“To say we are excited for the Star Wars-themed lands to open in 2019 is an understatement,” Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Chairman Bob Chapek stated. “All along, we have said this will be game-changing, and through the model we can begin to see how truly epic these immersive new worlds will be.”
Another addition to Hollywood Studios is an original Mickey Mouse ride called Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway. The new ride will replace the Great Movie Ride, which is set to close on Aug. 13.
In EPCOT, a “Ratatouille” ride will be added to the Paris pavilion, a “Guardians of the Galaxy“ ride will replace Ellen’s Energy Adventure, and a space-themed restaurant will accompany Mission Space. A theater is in the works to be added to Main Street USA in Magic Kingdom. Also on the list of new attractions is a “Tron“ light-cycle ride that will find its home in Magic Kingdom’s Tomorrowland.
Walt Disney World will get two new resorts: a Disney Vacation Club resort called the Disney Riviera and an untitled, immersive “Star Wars” Resort. Walt Disney World will also see the debut of the Minnie van ride-sharing service. A new gondola system will be coming as well, nicknamed the Skyliner, it will connect Disney’s Art of Animation, Pop Century, and Riviera resorts to the entrance of Hollywood Studios and the International Gateway EPCOT, while providing a bird’s eye view of the property.
Day Three: Panels
The last day of the expo featured panels that focused on behind-the-scenes specials and celebrations, including the 80th anniversary of “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” and 75th anniversary of “Bambi.” Voice actors and animators also discussed their perspective of working on Disney hit movies such as “The Lion King” and “Hercules.”
Article by Brian Kane