This past weekend, I was at the D23 Expo in Anaheim, California where I heard all the announcements and presentations from Walt Disney and Pixar Animation Studios. Here are all the goodies we heard & saw, as well as what it was like to be in that room!
When I received an invitation to the D23Expo, I had no idea what was in store for me. I can’t wait to tell you all the amazing experiences I had these past 3 days, but first, I want to tell you all the news we heard from the first panel of the Expo – the Walt Disney and Pixar Animation Studios. Here’s a quick recap of what we saw:
The first day of the D23 Expo, Friday, July 14, began was an amazing tribute to those receiving the Disney Legends awards – Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Whoopi Goldberg, and Oprah Winfrey were just a few of the recipients. And that afternoon, we had passes for the first of the two film panels. I knew it was going to be an exciting 2 hours and I had some ideas of what they would be presenting, but there were so many special appearances and sneak peeks that were so exciting.
Alan Horn, Chairman of the Walt Disney Studios started the presentation with a look at all the successful animated movies that have come out since the last D23 Expo – Finding Dory, Moana, & Cars 3 to name a few…..
Then out comes John Lasseter, chief creative officer of Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios, with a t-shirt gun shooting them into the audience. He was so excited to share the upcoming slate of films. His enthuasium and passion for each & every film was contagious – made me want to go home and watch some movies!!
Walt Disney and Pixar Animation Studios Announcements
Untitled Disneytoon film – April 12, 2019
The presentation began with a clip of 2 jet planes breaking the sound barrier and flying swiftly across the sky. With a little hint to “Planes”, but much faster, Lasseter announced the Disneytoon Studios’ original new animated movie, “Untitled DTS Film.” This film will “explore the future of aviation—taking moviegoers to the edge of discovery in the air—and beyond.”
Olaf’s Frozen Adventure – November 22, 2017
Kristen Bell, who is the voice of Anna in Frozen, kicked off the panel to tell us a bit about Olaf’s Frozen Adventure, a 21-minute featurette that will be seen in front of Pixar’s CoCo, in theaters November 22, 2017. She began to show us a clip, but it had a “rehearsed” glitch that luckily someone was in the house, ready to take the stage…..
Josh Gad, voice of Olaf, sang one of 4 new songs for us – “That Time of Year”, written by Elyssa Samsel and Kate Anderson. Bell & Gad had such fun onstage testing each other, just like Anna & Olaf do in the movie. Idina Menzel (Elsa) and Jonathan Groff (Kristoff) join Bell & Gad.
Olaf’s Frozen Adventure is directed by the Emmy-winning team Kevin Deters and Stevie Wermers-Skelton (Prep & Landing) and produced by Oscar winner Roy Conli (Big Hero 6).
Frozen 2 (Title TBA) – November 27, 2019
The next film announced was Frozen 2 – but according to Lasseter, that will not be the name. In fact, her, Bell & Gad joked on what the name would not be……. not Thawed, Frozen Again, or Frozen Peas (?)). They then showed us a behind-the-scenes video of the filmmakers’ research trip to Norway, Finland, and Iceland.
Frozen 2, or whatever it will be called, will be directed by Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee, and produced by Peter Del Vecho.
Ralph Breaks the Internet: Wreck It Ralph 2 – November 21, 2018
We had no idea what a treat we were in store for when directors Rich Moore and Phil Johnston along with actress and comedian Sarah Silverman (Vanellope von Schweetz) introduced the second edition of Wreck It Ralph to us. This version finds Ralph (John C. Riliey) & Vanellope (Sarah Silverman) leave the arcade behind, and exploring the world of the internet, where he encounters a new character, Yesss (Taraji P. Henson) who owns the website Buzzaholic.
There are TONS of fun references to websites in this film, including Oh Yeah Disney. In fact, we saw a clip where Ralph & Vanellope venture into the world of Disney. Filmmakers poked fun at their own company, including a scene where Vanellope interacts with all of the Disney Princesses. The audience was in stitches with all the cameo appearances and Disney movie references. In fact, Moore & Johnston were able to get every original living princess to voice their characters in this scene. It was incredibly funny and we were so excited to have been able to have seen it.
When you thought it couldn’t get better than having a sneak peek at that scene, almost all of the Disney Princesses were welcomed onto the stage! Out they came, introducing each other – Auli‘i Cravalho (Moana), Kristen Bell (Anna in Frozen), Kelly MacDonald (Merida in Brave), Mandy Moore (Rapunzel in Tangled), Anika Noni Rose (Tiana in The Princess and the Frog), Irene Bedard (Pocahontas), Linda Larkin (Jasmine in Aladdin), Paige O’Hara (Belle in Beauty and the Beast) and Jodi Benson (Ariel in The Little Mermaid) were welcomed on stage for the largest gathering of Disney Princesses in history. What an incredible moment!
Incredibles 2 – June 15, 2018
Moving onto Pixar films was a movie we have all been waiting for – Incredibles 2 – and it opened with a funny clip of Edna Mode’s fashion influence on the world. And did you know who voices Edna?? Director Brad Bird!
Bird joined Lasseter onstage to show us what has happened next with our favorite superhero family…will they ever find out that Baby Jack-Jack has super powers? Introducing the fun clip of the film was Mr. and Mrs. Incredible (Craig T. Nelson and Holly Hunter), Violet (Sarah Vowell), Dash (newcomer Huck Milner) and Frozone (Samuel L. Jackson). We can’t wait to see this sequel next summer!
Toy Story 4 – June 21, 2019
Being a big fan of Woody & Buzz, I was really excited to see that Toy Story 4 is coming the following summer after Incredibles 2. Pixar’s Josh Cooley (Riley’s First Date? short) showed us a behind-the-scenes look at a day in the director’s life at the Northern California studio where if you listed closely, there were definitely a few Easter Eggs about the movie to be seen.
Coco – November 22, 2017
Coming in just a few months, I was excited to learn more about Pixar’s next film. Coco introduces Miguel, an aspiring musician whose family long ago banned music. Desperate to prove his talent and follow in the footsteps of his idol, Ernesto de la Cruz, Miguel makes a fateful decision and finds himself in the Land of the Dead, where he meets his extended family and charming trickster Hector (voice of Gael García Bernal). Together, they set off on an extraordinary journey to unlock the real story behind Miguel’s family history.
We saw 2 different clips to Coco and I am really excited to see this movie, not only to learn more about the Mexican culture but because it looks like a really fun story too.
The panel ended with a first-ever public performance of “Remember Me” from the film. Anthony Gonzalez (Miguel) and Benjamin Bratt (Ernesto de la Cruz) performed the song written by Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez. It was a colorful finale with more than 160 performers who descended upon Hall D23 at the Anaheim Convention Center, including the Grammy-winning Mariachi Divas de Cindy Shea and Ballet Folklorico de Los Angeles under the direction of Kareli Montoya, and the Grammy®-winning Gordon Goodwin Big Phat Band. Golden Petals rained down from the ceiling to celebrate the amazing slate of films that Walt Disney and Pixar Animation is releasing in the next few years!
Other Fun News from the D23 Expo
Disclosure: I was invited by Disney to attend the D23 Expo, learn about DuckTales and visit Disneyland’s Summer of Heroes. All opinions are my own.