Alan Menken performs live!
Well, that pretty much was enough to get my attention. I don’t know about you, but getting the opportunity to listen to the maestro of Disney music in person is a treat I don’t plan to miss. But believe it or not, that’s only ONE of the amazing treats in store for you if you attend the D23 Expo this year in Anaheim.
As always, the biggest events of the Expo are held in Hall 23, the 6,800 seat venue at the Anaheim Convention Center. And as has been the tradition, four of those events are the same – Disney Legends Awards Ceremony, Walt Disney Studios Animation Presentation, Walt Disney Studios Live Action Presentation, and Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. All of them feature surprise guests, exclusive previews, and often gifts for the audience. At the last Expo, every guest at the live action presentation walked away with a Drew Struzan poster of Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
Friday, July 14 @ 10am – Disney Legends Awards Ceremony – Starting off the Expo is the Disney Legends Awards Ceremony which honors those who have made significant contributions to the company. Those legends end up with a plaque honoring their contribution in Legends Plaza on the Walt Disney Studios campus and walk home with a beautiful statue given to recipients. The awards are no surprise as they are published well in advance and this year’s class includes Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Garry Marshall, Stan Lee, Oprah Winfrey, Julie Taymor. Joining these celebrities are less well-known but equally important recipients Clyde Geronimi, Manuel Gonzales, and Wayne Jackson.
Friday, July 14 @ 2:30pm – The Walt Disney Studios Animation Presentation – As in the past, fans will find out what’s coming up in Disney and Pixar Animation. In all likelihood, fans will get updates on current films coming out like Coco, Ralph Breaks the Internet, and Toy Story 4. But will also probably find out more about a second Frozen film, the long-anticipated, Incredibles 2, and what else might be coming out in 2018 which so far looks like a light year. Unfortunately we’ll not likely find out why Gigantic keeps getting pushed back.
Saturday, July 15 @ 10:30am – Walt Disney Studios Live Action Presentation – This event is jam-packed with stuff including everything from Disney, Lucasfilm, and Marvel Studios. There is so much coming out from these three studios in the live action realm it should be overwhelming. Lucasfilm has of course Star Wars: The Last Jedi coming to theaters in December and with Mark Hamill already on hand for the Legends Award, I’m guessing it’s likely we’ll see him, but probably some other familiar faces also. With the recent announcement of a fifth Indiana Jones movie, I’m hoping they’ll share SOMETHING about that! And speaking of Han Solo, his movie is coming out next year. Marvel of course is rolling along and still has Thor: Ragnarok hitting theaters in November followed by Black Panther and Avengers: Infinity War. And the first female led superhero film from Marvel Captain Marvel starring Brie Larson. Not to be outdone, Disney has some heavy hitters we are likely to hear about including A Wrinkle in Time (which Oprah is a part of) and my favorite Mary Poppins Returns. Could we see and/or hear from Lin-Manuel Miranda? I hope so!
Saturday, July 15 @ 3pm – Walt Disney Parks and Resorts – I have to admit I’m looking forward to this the most. I’m such a big theme park fan and can’t wait to hear what’s coming next. But admittedly there’s only one thing I’m dying to know more about – Star Wars Land. Maybe we’ll actually hear what it will officially be named? Since it’s scheduled to come out before the next Expo, we will likely get some great news about it. Also the recent announcement of the multi-year expansion of Hong Kong Disneyland including an entire Marvel Super Heroes area and a reimagined Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters ride to involve instead Marvel characters should likely be part of the presentation. Updates about Disneyland Paris’ 25th anniversary celebration and future plans, Tokyo Disneyland’s planned expansion, and of course updates to the US parks are also things to look forward to.
Sunday, July 16 @ 1:30pm AND 5pm – A Whole New World of Alan Menken – Billed as a one-man show by the Disney Legend responsible for so many amazing works like The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast, Pocahontas, and Tangled just to name a few will give two performances at the Expo. The show will feature the many songs in his repertoire as well as stories and insights as only he could tell. Should be a truly amazing show.
And that’s only what’s scheduled for Hall 23! So much more will be happening at the Expo. What are you planning to do?