After two days of presentations and panel discussions from Imagineers and Disney Legends, the culmination of the first-ever Destination D: Walt Disney World left fans smiling, laughing, and singing along from within the Fantasia Ballroom of Disney’s Contemporary Resort. Surprise after surprised astounded the audience as Disney began the night with a song-and-dance routine, followed by the Walt Disney World Philharmonic band – both opening acts to Disney Legend Richard Sherman.
Unfortunately, no video or audio recording was allowed during this stellar performance, so descriptions and photos will have to due to describe what transpired, though no words or pictures could compare to the musical entertainment that was performed tonight.
UPDATE: After posting the recap below, I decided the pictures simply weren’t enough to capture the excitement that filled the room as Dreamfinder graced the stage, so I put together a “video” of sorts. Video recording of the actual event wasn’t allowed (as I noted above), so I combined my photos with the song “One Little Spark” from the attraction and, well, you can scroll down to watch the results.
Sherman delighted the crowd of D23 members and Disney fans with decades of familiar tunes, mostly from Disney films and theme parks. From “The Parent Trap” to “The Jungle Book” and from it’s a small world to the Carousel of Progress, the Sherman Brothers wrote songs that have become part of American culture. And tonight Richard Sherman performed many of them live on stage, with the show hosted by Tim O’Day.
But against all odds, I dare say Sherman was upstaged by the unexpected appearance of the Dreamfinder, the gone-but-not-forgotten and still beloved character from the original version of the Epcot attraction, Journey Into Imagination. The original Epcot actor, Ron Schneider, walked out on stage, dressed as the Dreamfinder with Figment in hand, singing along to the ride’s iconic Sherman Brothers song, “One Little Spark.” Thunderous applause rang out from the excited crowd.
Dreamfinder proceeded to tell a few Figment jokes (“These are all the people buying Figment pins and Figment shirts!”) and then “request” that Richard Sherman play “One Little Spark” for everyone. Following a one verse performance, Dreamfinder invited the audience to sing along with him and Sherman for another verse and chorus. And in one moment, the dreams of this group of roughly 1,200 Disney fans came true.
But the show didn’t end there. Billy Flanigan and two other familiar Disney musicians performed a touching rendition of “Golden Dream” from Epcot’s American Adventure attraction.
Then the talented Cast Member choir and band called Encore took the stage and performed renditions of classic Epcot attraction songs, including “Listen to the Land” and “New Horizons.”
The entire act was called “Magic Journeys,” and that’s exactly what Disney fans were taken on tonight. The entire journey was indeed magical, bringing tears to the joyous faces of attendees who had been immersed in all things Disney for two solid days at Destination D: Walt Disney World.
In the coming days, I’ll be summarizing many more of the presentations given throughout Destination D: Walt Disney World, so keep checking back here for more Disney fun, photos, and information!
More photos of Richard Sherman, Dreamfinder, and the rest of the Magic Journeys concert: