However close we think San Diego Comic-Con is, there’s that one big event that’s a little bit closer – The D23 Expo Fan Experience, holding court just oop t’road from SDCC at the Anaheim Convention Center the weekend before, from Friday 14th to Sunday 16th July. All the ducks are being mightily lined up for the show (heh!), and today we’ve got news of the last panels and presentations to round up the schedules.
And they are some pretty bloody impressive panels, to say the least, and the names being brought along should get every Mousehead utterly stoked – especially if they happen to be a fan of The Greatest Movie About The Roman Gods That Isn’t WONDER WOMAN™ Ever Made Ever, HERCULES. It’s the presentation listing that’s jumped out at me in this new announcement, as D23 Expo celebrates the 20th Anniversary of this classic by bringing cast and crew to the stage, including Tate Donovan (Hercules) and Susan Egan (Megara). Any opportunity to talk at length about how the voice and attitude of Magara awoke the hormones of many a HERCULES fan, including yours truly, as fine by me – that panel takes place on Sunday in the D23 Arena at 3.15pm and you can consider me there.
Lots of other things to keep peoples attention, too, with: Whoopi Goldberg and Lesley Ann Warren hosting a panel on the music of Disney’s live-action output in the Sixties (I’ve heard no mention yet of BLACKBEARD’S GHOST yet and somebody had better get on that noise, man); HerUniverse head honcho Ashley Eckstein and COMMUNITY’s Yvette Nicole Brown help judge the masquer… sorry, Mousequerade competition for creative fans, rocking their Disney-themed duds; and, there’s also a celebration of THE GOLDEN GIRLS, too. (Nope, not a clue myself, either. However, if they don’t have Quentin Tarantino up there on stage, riffing with Betty White, somebody’s missing a trick.)
Pixar‘s Pete Doctor will be hosting what should be a fascinating panel on the men and women behind the Disney parks and rides through the generations, and seemingly-immortal-always-entertaining film historian Leonard Maltin will celebrating honourees from thirty years of the Disney Legends, including Bill Farmer (voice of Goofy and Pluto) and Mark Hamill (hmmm, not entirely sure, I’ll have to wiki that one).
Oh, and a Street Party, led by Stan Lee, too. Because it just wouldn’t be Disney without some dancing in the street, baby! (Wait, it’s being held indoors?? Well, now I’m just confused. And STILL no word if Jeff Bridges is coming – c’mon, guys, watching Disney live-action on telly as a kid and he was the MAN! Still is, right?)
Loads on the docket. Let’s dive in…
WHOOPI GOLDBERG, MARK HAMILL, LEONARD MALTIN, JOHN STAMOS, LESLEY ANN WARREN, THE STARS OF HERCULES, AND MANY MORE JOIN D23 EXPO’S ROSTER OF EXCITING ENTERTAINMENT AND PRESENTATIONS
And, for the first time ever at D23 Expo, fans will get to enjoy a daily street party, featuring celebrities, Disney characters, and live music on the show floor.
BURBANK, Calif. (June 13, 2017) – The excitement is ramping up from “zero to hero” for D23 Expo: The Ultimate Disney Fan Event. During the three-day spectacular, which takes place July 14–16 at the Anaheim Convention Center, guests will have the chance to celebrate the 20th anniversary of HERCULES with members of the cast and creative team; hear from Disney Legends, including 2017 inductee Mark Hamill, during a panel hosted by Leonard Maltin; and enjoy the music of Walt Disney’s classic live-action musicals in a remarkable stage production featuring Lesley Ann Warren and hosted by Whoopi Goldberg. John Stamos will host a chat with Legends of Walt Disney Imagineering. Plus, the Walt Disney Archives will host three days of presentations on its own stage. And, for the first time, guests will be able to enjoy a daily ULTIMATE FAN STREET PARTY, right on the show floor.
FRIDAY, 14TH JULY
- MOUSEQUERADE (11am, Stage 28)
MOUSEQUERADE, the fan-favorite costume competition that invites participants to create their own Disney-inspired designs, returns to D23 Expo 2017. Join judges Ashley Eckstein (STAR WARS REBELS), Kara Saun (costume designer for DESCENDANTS 2), Yvette Nicole Brown (ABC’s THE MAYOR), and the contest’s host, Disney’s Jim Babcock, to watch dozens of finalists compete in five exciting categories for the $2,300 grand prize!
- THE GOLDEN GIRLS: A Celebration of Friendship, Laughter, and Cheesecake (2:30pm, Stage 28)
In the 25 years since the final episode of THE GOLDEN GIRLS aired in 1992,the television series has become an enduring fan favorite that continues to be watched throughout the world. Celebrate with us as we bring together the show’s creators and other special guests for this unforgettable event.
- DISNEY LEGENDS 30TH ANNIVERSARY (4:15 p.m., Stage 28)
Join film historian Leonard Maltin as he celebrates the 30th anniversary of the Disney Legends program with a remarkable lineup of individuals who have each left an indelible mark on the Disney legacy, including Bill Farmer (the voice of Goofy and Pluto), Imagineering Legend Bob Gurr, Walt Disney Archives founder Dave Smith, and 2017 inductee Mark Hamill.
- MELODIES IN WALT’S TIME: THE MUSIC OF DISNEY LIVE-ACTION FILMS (6 p.m., D23 Expo Arena)
In the 1960s, Walt Disney sought to expand his filmmaking style beyond animation and bring music to a variety of new live-action film projects. D23 Expo will celebrate these magical, musical movies in a live stage extravaganza — hosted by Whoopi Goldberg and featuring Lesley Ann Warren, Karen Dotrice, and other renowned guest stars, joined by live musical performers and a 20-voice chorus—to showcase SUMMER MAGIC, MARY POPPINS, THE HAPPIEST MILLIONAIRE and THE ONE AND ONLY, GENUINE, ORIGINAL FAMILY BAND, as well as others.
SUNDAY 16th JULY
- ZERO TO HERO: THE MAKING OF HERCULES (12:30 p.m., D23 Expo Arena)
From the heights of Mount Olympus to the depths of the Underworld, celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Disney classic that put the “glad” in gladiator! Join a group of legendary artists and filmmakers who brought HERCULES to life, including directors John Musker and Ron Clements, animators Eric Goldberg (Phil) and Ken Duncan (Megara), as well as Megara and Hercules themselves — Susan Egan and Tate Donovan — as they recount stories of making one of the most epic animated features of all time.
- SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DWARFS: 80TH ANNIVERSARY SCREENING (3:15 p.m., D23 Expo Arena)
For eight decades, Disney fans have whistled “Heigh Ho” while they worked. Now, in honor of the 80th anniversary of Walt Disney’s first-ever animated feature, D23 Expo is proud to present a special screening of the film that started it all: SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DWARFS.
- LEGENDS OF WALT DISNEY IMAGINEERING (6 p.m., D23 Expo Arena)
Join a fascinating conversation, hosted by John Stamos, with three Imagineering Legends — Marty Sklar, Tony Baxter, and 2017 Disney Legend inductee Wayne Jackson — as they recount true-life anecdotes and share personal stories about the celebrated artists, designers, and technical wizards who established the foundation and guiding principles for groundbreaking Disney experiences around the globe.
Also coming to D23 Expo…
- WALT DISNEY ARCHIVES STAGE
The popular Walt Disney Archives Stage returns, more than doubling its capacity, as it hosts 17 panels and presentations throughout the weekend. Disney notables, such as director Pete Docter, Disney Legend Jim Cora, producer Don Hahn, Bret Iwan (the voice of Mickey Mouse), Imagineers Diana Brost, Jason Grandt, and Chris Merritt, plus many more, will participate in panels throughout the weekend. Fans will enjoy exploring many of Disney’s worlds, from the incredible work of Marc Davis and the original characters of the Disney Parks (such as Figment and the Country Bears) to the women of Disney animation and an incredible virtual walk-through of the Walt Disney Studios on Hyperon Avenue. Visit D23expo.com for the complete schedule.
- CENTER STAGE
Located in the center of the D23 Expo show floor, Center Stage will be the heartbeat of the Expo and a hub of activity throughout the weekend. Aimee Carrero, the voice of Disney’s ELENA OF AVALOR, will perform live for the first time, and will be joined by special guests including Lou Diamond Phillips who voices series’ villain, Victor Delgado. Also performing on Center Stage will be Temecula Road, Tomasina, Billy Hill and the Hillbillies, nerd-rock group Kirby Krackle, and Susan Egan, who will sing favorites from BEAUTY AND THE BEAST. Disney animators, including Eric Goldberg and Mark Henn, will show aspiring artists “how to draw” throughout the weekend. Marvel’s Brian Crosby will show fans how to draw Spider-Man and Groot. And Bill Rogers, the “voice of Disneyland,” will be on-hand each day to record fans’ outgoing voicemail messages in his signature dulcet tones. The complete lineup will be available in the coming weeks on the D23 Expo app.
- D23 EXPO’S ULTIMATE FAN STREET PARTY
For the first time at D23 Expo, guests can enjoy a one-of-a-kind street party—right on the D23 Expo show floor. Twice each day the cavalcade will travel down Mickey Avenue, with a live band, beloved Disney characters, high-energy dancers, and celebrity grand marshals! Stan Lee and Mark Hamill will grand marshal the first cavalcade on Friday, July 14, and members of the cast of DESCENDENTS 2 will lead the second that day. Additional talent and times to be announced in the coming weeks and will be available on the D23 Expo app.
Disclaimer Small Print: Talent subject to change.
Tickets for D23 Expo 2017 are available for $81 for one-day adult admission and $59 for children 3–9. Members of D23: The Official Disney Fan Club can purchase tickets for $72 for a one-day adult admission and $53 for children 3–9. Multi-day tickets are also available. For more information on tickets and D23 Expo 2017, visit D23expo.com.