It was news when it was announced that Dick Cook would be a keynote speaker at the D23 Expo on behalf of the Walt Disney Studios. It was big news when it was announced that he would be joined on stage by actor Nicolas Cage. It was headlines when D23 announced at the eleventh hour that directors Robert Zemeckis and Tim Burton would also take the stage. But what literally thousands of rabid Disney fans bore witness to this morning defies any category of news. Filled with exclusives and celebrities upon celebrities, even those who had an inkling there was more than Disney was letting on couldn’t have imagined what the Walt Disney Studio managed to pull off in front of the capacity crowd.
Getting settled in your seat, it was impossible not to notice the orchestra setup at stage right – you knew then you were in for something a little extra. The lights dim and the orchestra fills the Arena with epic theme music as clips from Disney films begin to play. Then you start to hear singing voices as a 10 person choir chimes in when there are lyrics to be sung. Theme song after theme song, movie after movie, from Snow White to the Proposal and everything in-between. It has to be at least, oh, I don’t know… 23 minutes long. An absolute masterpiece crafted by Barnette Richie with music and songs sync’d perfectly every frame of the way, remarkably demonstrated by an extended clip of a musical number from Enchanted mid-way.
Then Walt Disney Studios Chairman Dick Cook took the stage. He talked of his love for the company ever since he started as a steam train and monoral operator at the Disneyland Resort some 40 years ago. He spoke of quality being the underlying factor in movies produced by the studio. He talked about the animation studios and upcoming projects such as Cars 2 and Rapunzel which will be covered in depth when John Lasseter takes the same stage on Sunday. He talked about how for the first time in history the Walt Disney Studios will open its gate to the public and invite them to see a limited pre-release engagement of The Princess and the Frog in the studio’s newly renovated state-of-the-art theater as well as the special engagement in New York City’s famous Ziegfeld Theatre.
He acknowledged the work of Miramax before turning to the Touchstone Pictures label and its newest upcoming release The Last Song, written by Nicholas Sparks for and starring Miley Cyrus. And he mentioned the upcoming sequel Wild Hogs 2: Bachelor Ride.