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Disney Legends Award Honorees to be Celebrated at D23 Expo

Jeffrey Epstein

by , Director, Corporate Communications, The Walt Disney Company

Hi everyone! We are thrilled that the prestigious Disney Legends ceremony will be returning to the D23 Expo this year. Taking place on Friday, August 19, at the Anaheim Convention Center, Disney Legends honors those who have made significant contributions to the Disney legacy.

Disneyland Hotel creators Jack and Bonita Wrather

Among this year’s honorees are many creative and inspiring individuals who have helped shape Disney Parks around the world. For example, this year’s group of worthy recipients include television icon Regis Philbin, previously featured in the “Who Wants to Be A Millionaire: Play It!” attraction at Disney’s Hollywood Studios; Jim Henson, whose masterful work can be seen at that park’s Muppet•Vision 3D; Disneyland Hotel creators Jack and Bonita Wrather; Ray Watson, whose vision helped lead the expansion of Walt Disney World including the opening of Epcot; and Jodi Benson, the voice of Ariel, who recently attended the opening of The Little Mermaid ~ Ariel’s Undersea Adventure at Disney California Adventure park.

Other soon-to-be Legends include former Disney Consumer Products Chairman Bo Boyd, Guy Williams who embodied Zorro, and Disney Princesses Paige O’Hara, Linda Larkin, Lea Salonga and Anika Noni Rose.

The ceremony will be hosted by Tom Bergeron of “Dancing with the Stars” and will take place in the Convention Center Arena. For more details about the “Ultimate Disney Event for Fans and Families”— including an exclusive advance screening of “The Lion King” in 3D, visit


  • Sounds amazing! This is enough to tip the scales for me to go! My dream is to one day be a Parks & Resorts Legend… gotta get in the door first, though! 🙂

  • Eric–
    Yes, I’m aware of that. There’s still nothing wrong with making Jim a Disney Legend. Synergy or not. The expo website also cites the fact that Jim’s Muppet characters were in Disney produced films such as Muppet Christmas Carol and Muppet Treasure Island.

  • Fred – I’m not arguing that Jim Henson isn’t a legend, he’s just not a DISNEY Legend–Legend, yes, but he’s his own legend.
    He didn’t start out at Disney like Steve Martin or John Lasseter, he didn’t work faithfully for Disney like Wally Boag or Fess Parker, and his fame wasn’t built from scratch by Disney like the Sherman Bros. or Mary Blair.
    Jim built his own independent empire from the 60’s to ’90, and apart from the Dinosaurs joke, his only contact with Disney (except for a Channel show that never happened) was the ’90 deal that didn’t go through. And it was twelve years of son Brian’s objections before it ever did.

    (A former CM once told the story of seeing his Muppetvision 3-D buddies clowning around inappropriately before break–A supervisor took them aside and told them that MV3-D was technically on probationary loan from Henson’s company, that Brian and his family had been in the park that day, and if he’d been in the wrong place at the wrong time, the attraction’s contract could’ve been pulled that day…Oops.)

    I’m a Henson fan, and yes I know it’s All About the Movie, but it’s something that some fans feel strongly about.
    As for Anika becoming a “Legend” because Bob Iger wanted to stick up for her one movie, that’s not so bad, but still sort of the same issue.

  • Lauren, I love that idea for a meet-and-greet of the Disney Princess voice actresses!

  • Eric–
    Please don’t be so cynical. You could really offend someone saying stuff like that.

    The point is, Muppet-Vision 3D has always been in a DISNEY park and was made for Disney. So its entirely appropriate for Jim Henson to be named a Disney legend. Many people have always considered him a legend anyway.

  • And last-minute promotion of next November’s movie aside, how EXACTLY is Jim Henson a “Disney Legend”?
    (Considering Muppetvision 3-D was technically on loan for twelve years and Disney didn’t own it…)

    Maybe it’s for….no, wait, you couldn’t be giving it to him for “Dinosaurs”???? 😉

  • I am so excited to see Jodi Benson at the Disney Legends Ceremony at the Expo!!!

    Can you PLEASE organize a Meet and Greet with Jodi Benson and the other voices of Disney princesses at the Expo??? It would be a lifelong dream come true for me to be able to meet Jodi Benson in person. Thanks.

  • That’s all amazing stuff. Looking forward to the Expo and particuarly seeing the Lion King in 3D!

  • Great choices on new Legends! How many of the 10 official princess voices will be legends? Will everyone but Mandy more be included?

  • Nice choices of Disney Legend honorees, especially the inclusion of Jim Henson.

    However, there are some other Disney talents/contributors that deserve such acknowledgements as well, such as:

    -The remaining Princess voice actresses (Irene Bedard, Judy Kuhn, Ming-Na, etc.)

    -The majority of Jim Henson’s colleagues (Frank Oz, Jerry Nelson, Richard Hunt, Dave Goelz, Steve Whitmire, Jerry Juhl, Brian Henson, etc.)

    -Overlooked Imagineers (Joe Rhode, Jeff Burke, Eddie Sotto, Kevin Rafferty, Steve Kirk, Tim Kirk, Julie Svendson, Kim Irvine, Christian Hope, Chris Teitz, etc.)

    -Other voice actors (Pete Renaday, Paul Winchell, John Fiedler, Phil Harriss, Pat Buttram, Burl Ives, Laura Olsher, Jim Cummings, Corey Burton, Frank Welker, Jess Harnell, etc.)

    I really do hope that you fine Disney folks will honor these wonderfully-talented individuals as Disney Legends in the near future.

  • What about Jennifer Hudson since she began her career on the Disney Wonder in 2003 and returned as the godmother of the Disney Dream!

    Jennifer Hudson should get it for Disney Parks and Resorts. Plus she’s won both the academy awards and the Grammy’s. She should get a Disney legend to go with all of those awards

    Steve Martin got a Disney Legend for Disney Parks and Resorts in 2005 because he began his career as a Magician at the Magic shop and a newspaper boy at Disneyland. He came back to host Disneyland’s First 50 Magical Years and still playing only on a smaller T.V inside the opera house. He went on to become one of Hollywood’s biggest actors.

    That’s the same thing Jennifer Hudson did after she left Disney Cruise went on American Idol, then Dreamgirls, and then her album.

  • I am REALLY looking forward to the Expo! 🙂

    I had a blast at the first one.

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