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D23 Expo 2022: Disney Legends Awards 35th Anniversary Ceremony Recap

September 13, 2022 | Posted by Jeffrey Harris
The Broadway Casts of “Aladdin,” “The Lion King” and “Frozen” Image Credit: The Walt Disney Company

Yours truly was in attendance for this year’s D23 Expo 2022. For this year’s convention, Disney celebrates the 100th anniversary of The Walt Disney Company. Due to the events of the COVID-19 pandemic, Disney postponed the 2021 convention and moved it to this year instead. D23 is normally a bi-annual event, but things shifted this year.

This year’s convention opened on Friday, September 9 with the customary Disney Legends Award Ceremony, inducting the latest group of honored Disney legends:

Disney Legends 35th Anniversary Awards Ceremony

The opening ceremony for this year’s D23 Expo kicked off a video introduction showing Bob Chapek speaking with a costumed Mickey Mouse character outside the convention center talking about the meaning of the status and D23. This was followed by a live performance of Disney’s Broadway versions of Aladdin, Frozen, and The Lion King, with the Broadway actors performing live as their characters.

There was also a new sizzle reel shown for The Walt Disney Company featuring footage of Disney cinema from across its history. It also revealed the new Walt Disney Studios logo, celebrating “100 Years of Wonder” and the 100th anniversary of The Walt Disney Company, which Walt Disney founded in 1923. Before the actual Legends were inducted, Disney CEO Bob Chapek talked about the weekend’s festivities. He also teased a new announcement regarding the Avengers Campus theme park at Disney, along with a new Multiverse expansion, but more to come on that later. Tamron Hall served as the main host and MC for the award ceremony.

This year’s Legends 35th Anniversary Awards Ceremony featured a prestigious slate of guests, featuring actors, company luminaries, and more. Multiple voice cast members of Frozen were inducted this year including Kristen Bell (Princess Anna), Idina Menzel (Princess Elsa), Jonathan Groff (Kristoff), and Josh Gad (Olaf). Also inducted this year were Gray’s Anatomy stars Ellen Pompeo and Patrick Dempsey, along with Black-ish stars Tracee Ellis Ross and Anthony Anderson. The late Chadwick Boseman was inducted as a Disney Legend as well, with his brother Derrick Boseman accepting the award on his behalf. I liked how they had groups of actors who shared credits in shows or movies for this year’s inductions by having multiple actors from Frozen, Gray’s Anatomy, and Black-ish all inducted.

On the Walt Disney Company side, Disney honored the late Robert Price “Bob” Foster, the man who helped sign all the land deals for the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida. Also inducted this year were Imagineering creative artists Doris Hardoon and Rob’t Coltrin. Animator, producer, and documentarian Don Hahn was also inducted. Walt Disney Music President Chris Montan, who has been instrumental in helping to deliver some of Disney’s greatest music deals, songs, and soundtracks for decades, received his Disney Legends Award and induction this year.

Robert Price Foster’s daughter accepted her father’s award on behalf, and she shared a great story about her father learning that he’d be honored as a Disney Legend earlier this year before he passed. Sadly, Don Hahn was not available to accept his award in person. Derrick Boseman closed out the ceremony, accepting the award on behalf of his late brother, Chadwick, with an incredible speech.

Some of the other speech highlights certainly were some good jokes about Josh Gad, and how he wants to be officially recognized with Disney Legends as his title, similar to a knighthood. Patrick Dempsey delivered a wonderful, heartfelt speech about honoring his mother with the Dempsey Center. Idina Menzel even sang “When you Wish Upon a Star” during her speech, which was wonderful.

D23 Expo 2022 - Disney Legends Cast of Frozen

Image Credit: The Walt Disney Company

The Disney Legends Awards are always a great highlight of the D23 Expo. It’s basically Disney’s own personal Hall of Fame.

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D23 Expo, Disney, Jeffrey Harris