Dreamfinder makes surprising return to Disney World as legendary songwriter Richard Sherman headlines Destination D finale concert

in Disney, Entertainment, Epcot, Events, Featured, Magic Kingdom, Music, Theme Parks, Walt Disney World

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.


Magic Journeys - Destination D: Walt Disney World

Magic Journeys - Destination D: Walt Disney World

Magic Journeys - Destination D: Walt Disney World

Magic Journeys - Destination D: Walt Disney World

Magic Journeys - Destination D: Walt Disney World

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.

Richard Sherman at Magic Journeys - Destination D: Walt Disney World

Richard Sherman at Magic Journeys - Destination D: Walt Disney World

Richard Sherman at Magic Journeys - Destination D: Walt Disney World

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.

Video:

Dream Finder and Figment at Magic Journeys - Destination D: Walt Disney World

Dream Finder and Figment at Magic Journeys - Destination D: Walt Disney World

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.

Dream Finder and Richard Sherman at Magic Journeys - Destination D: Walt Disney World

Dream Finder and Richard Sherman at Magic Journeys - Destination D: Walt Disney World

Dream Finder and Richard Sherman at Magic Journeys - Destination D: Walt Disney World

Dream Finder and Richard Sherman at Magic Journeys - Destination D: Walt Disney World

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.

Magic Journeys - Destination D: Walt Disney World

Magic Journeys - Destination D: Walt Disney World

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.”

Magic Journeys - Destination D: Walt Disney World

Magic Journeys - Destination D: Walt Disney World

Magic Journeys - Destination D: Walt Disney World

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.

Magic Journeys - Destination D: Walt Disney World

Dream Finder and Richard Sherman at Magic Journeys - Destination D: Walt Disney World

Dream Finder and Richard Sherman at Magic Journeys - Destination D: Walt Disney World

Dream Finder at Magic Journeys - Destination D: Walt Disney World

Magic Journeys - 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:

6 Comments

  1. Mary T.

    Oh my! I don’t know I would have held up during this! I am still so sad that I was not able to make it down unitl next week! I would have loved to have been apart of such an awesome weekend – NEXT YEAR! I would have probably shed a few tears. I have my photo of the three of us & it’s one of my most cherished! Thank you so much for posting this! I hope you had a blast all weekend, and I cannot wait to hear the podcast! Glad I’m off tomorrow so I can continue to catch up on posts from this weekend! Once again, thanks again for everything you do, Ricky!

  2. Kristian

    Ricky, was there any sign of anyone professionally capturing this event for possible future release? I would love to hear this!

    1. Ricky Brigante

      Disney captured the whole event, but it didn’t seem likely that they’re going to release the video or audio. No one else was allowed to record it.

  3. Otto

    For a moment I thought the journey into imagination would get a (much needed) update to the original, longer and much, much better ride from when I first visited Epcot (Center). Unfortunately it isn´t so…
    From the look of it the overly rich fans at D23 got they´re money worth.

  4. When Dreamfinder walked out on that stage, the energy level–scratch that, magic–in that room was truly palpable. I had the chills from some of Mr. Sherman’s earlier performances, but when he and Dreamfinder performed their duet, I couldn’t hold back the tears.

    For me, it was a chance to re-connect with the characters that began my love for Disney as a child. Seeing the REAL Figment and Dreamfinder for the first time since probably 1996 or so was truly an emotional experience for me.

    So, thank you D23 and your wonderful cast, thank you Mr. Sherman, but most of all, thank you Mr. Schneider for making the evening so magical!!!

    Hopefully a HD video leaks out of this in the coming weeks. There were several people near us recording other performances (albeit not in HD), but I was too stunned during Dreamfinder’s appearance to tell whether anyone recorded it. At least there’s one video already out!

  5. Jackie

    My sister is a part of D23, and told me about Dreamfinder. I don’t know if this supports the hopes that Journey into Imagination will be refurbished similiarliy to the original ride. I guess all I can do is hope.

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