By the D23 Team
The Disney+ Adventure Continues
This year brought new adventures in the world of streaming, both anticipated and surprising. At the beginning of the year, we enjoyed the debut of two adaptions of beloved books, Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made and Stargirl. The cinematic debuts didn’t end there: in light of cinemas impacted by closures due to the global health crisis, Onward, Frozen II, and Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker all arrived on Disney+ earlier than expected so we could get a head start on binge watching these soon-to-be classics. Over in a galaxy far, far away, Star Wars fans got double the excitement with the debut final season of Star Wars: The Clone Wars and season two of The Mandalorian. If you prefer belting show tunes to wielding a lightsaber, we bet your Disney+ watchlist includes Hamilton, which debuted in July with a filmed version of the original Broadway production. Now, any room you are in can be “the room where it happens”! As if that wasn’t enough plussing up for the year, on Christmas, Disney and Pixar fans got into the zone to experience the debut of Soul, which you can stream right now, no matter if it’s for the first or 30th time.
Just last month, Disney+ celebrated its first year of streaming magic with the world, and you can check out our roundup of the platform’s inaugural year to read even more about everything new that made it into our Disney+ queue this year.
In such an unusual year, it was easy to find comfort in some incredible television from around the worlds of Disney—some of which was created under unprecedented circumstances. From brand-new seasons of ABC juggernauts American Idol (filmed remotely) and Dancing with the Stars (featuring new host and executive producer Tyra Banks, and filmed without its usual studio audience), to the amazing final season of ABC’s Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.… From the Disney Family Singalongs on ABC and Disney Holiday Magic Quest on Disney Channel (that kept both young and young-at-heart enthralled), to memorable special events like ABC’s broadcast of The 72nd Emmy Awards and Freeform’s Love in the Time of Corona… not to mention all the fantastic new content (way too much to list!) that still popped up—no matter the obstacles—on ABC, Freeform, FX, National Geographic, Disney Channel, Disney Junior, and Disney XD… it all made for truly “appointment television” all year long.
On February 9, Disney and Pixar’s Toy Story 4 was named best Animated Feature Film at the 92nd Oscars.® Producers Jonas Rivera and Mark Nielsen accepted the award alongside director Josh Cooley, who said, “We want to thank the moviegoing audience so much, especially those who grew up with Toy Story. We hope that your adventures with Woody and Buzz made growing up a little bit easier.” Disney releases earned four Academy Awards® in all for 2020. In addition to Toy Story 4’s big win, Taika Waititi received the Oscar for best Adapted Screenplay for Fox Searchlight’s Jojo Rabbit, and Ford v Ferrari, from 20th Century Fox, was honored in two categories, Sound Editing and Film Editing. You can relive all of the magical moments from this year’s Oscars telecast right here on D23.com.
At the 72nd Emmy® Awards, titles from across The Walt Disney Company combined for a total of 24 awards for this year. With seven wins for The Mandalorian, as well as an award for Pixar’s Forky Asks a Question: What is Love, Disney+ received eight Emmys—the most wins ever for a streaming service in its inaugural year. The 24 Emmys were comprised of 21 Creative Arts Emmys plus two juried awards and one Primetime Emmy, given to Uzo Aduba for her acclaimed performance in the FX limited series Mrs. America. View the full list of Disney’s Emmy winners and discover highlights from ABC’s live telecast, which looked a little different from previous years, here on D23.com.
All the Disney News from This Year’s San Diego Comic-Con and New York Comic Con
Fans just couldn’t get enough Disney this year! With large group gatherings not possible, two of the biggest fandom events in the country—San Diego Comic-Con and New York Comic Con—moved online, making their panels available to a wider range of viewers than ever before, and proving that even in this difficult year, fans were eager to hear the latest news and get behind-the-scenes peeks at their favorite shows and movies. And the brands of Disney stole the show, including Disney+, Disney Television Studios, ABC, Hulu, Marvel, FX, 20th Century Studios, Twentieth Century Fox Television, Freeform, and Lucasfilm Publishing!
At San Diego Comic Con, we got our first look at Marvel’s 616, Searchlight’s Antlers, and the next phase of Lucasfilm Publishing. Fans also got their first extended look at 20th Century Studios’ The New Mutants, along with behind-the-scenes panels with Marvel Publishing, Bob’s Burgers, Archer, What We Do in the Shadows, The Goldbergs, and more! And in grand fashion, creators and cast from Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. made their final convention appearance. We have a complete roundup of Disney panels here.
Later in the year, New York Comic Con gave us exciting first-looks at Marvel’s M.O.D.O.K., Monsterland, and Animaniacs!, all for Hulu, in addition to Disney Channel’s upcoming the Ghost and Molly McGee. Fans were also treated to panels featuring Big Hero 6 The Series (moderated by Jeffrey R. Epstein, co-host of the D23 Inside Disney podcast), Marvel Publishings’s X of Swords, and a nostalgic look back at the groundbreaking ABC series Lost, with Damon Lendelof and Carlton Cruse. See our recap of all the NYCC Disney panels here.
Out-of-This-World Fun at Disney Parks
The year pulled out of the station with a highly anticipated debut of a new attraction at Disney Hollywood Studios: Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway! We were there at the opening of the wacky new attraction starring our pals Mickey and Minnie with a special video episode of our podcast, D23 Inside Disney.
Back over at Disneyland Resort, the galaxy got a little bigger with the opening of Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, an epically high-tech attraction that puts fans as the main role in their own Star Wars adventure alongside their favorite characters. We celebrated the opening of this new adventure with another video episode of D23 Inside Disney, filmed inside Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge.
Even more magic was… well, Happening at Disneyland Resort with the debut of an all-new parade, Magic Happens! The parade, which features floats celebrating beloved Disney classics such as Moana, Coco, and more was first announced at D23 Expo 2019 and is still making magic through the power of the internet! While Disneyland is temporarily closed, our friends at Disney Parks Blog shared an enchanting virtual viewing of the parade so that you can sing and dance along with your favorite characters from the comfort of your home.
We saw even more fun debuts at Disney Parks this year, including the opening of three new shows at EPCOT along with the unveiling of a new entry fountain. Plus, Hong Kong Disneyland enchanted us all with the new Castle of Magical Dreams, while over at Tokyo Disneyland, fans lived out their own “tale as old as time” in the all-new Enchanted Tale of Beauty and the Beast attraction.
A New Kind of D23 Event: #AtHomeWithD23
While we were only able to see our D23 Members in person a few times this year, such as during our screenings of The Three Caballeros and at the world premiere of The Call of the Wild, we connected with our members virtually with our #AtHomeWithD23 event series. We kicked it off with a standout celebration of 25 years of A Goofy Movie, which featured a reunion of the cast and a live tweet of the film.
You can watch a full playlist of our virtual events here, which includes an exclusive reunion of the Star Wars: The Clone Wars cast, a delightful chat with Disney Legend Hayley Mills in celebration of 60 years of Pollyanna, and more!
One of the most exciting “firsts” for D23 this year was the premiere of our exclusive documentary, Adventure Thru the Walt Disney Archives, which gave viewers a look at rarely seen treasures of the extensive Disney Archives, which was founded by Disney Legend Dave Smith 50 years ago! The premiere was part of a monthlong celebration of the Walt Disney Archives’ milestone anniversary, which included a special issue of Disney twenty-three, exclusive virtual panels, and more!
We also brought together our Gold Members for two exclusive virtual events celebrating 65 years of the Disney Theme Park—a trivia night and special panel ringing in Disneyland’s milestone anniversary.
In September, we celebrated an impressive—most impressive—40th anniversary of Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back with a drive-in screening of the film at the Rose Bowl. At this socially distant celebration, guests dressed up, waved their lightsabers, and enjoyed the epic film on the big screen!
In October, we shared lots of treats and no tricks when we debuted our first-ever Virtual Mousequerade Costume Contest, just in time for Halloween! We celebrated the amazing skills of Disney fans who created stunning cosplays of their favorite Disney characters with a special virtual competition hosted by Nina West and judged by Yvette Nicole Brown, Ashley Eckstein, and Caitlin McHugh Stamos!
Just last month, we brought the fantastic worlds of Disney to you during our Fantastic Worlds Celebration—a week of virtual events celebrating the fantastic worlds of Disney, both real and imagined. You can check out a full playlist of the panels here. We’re so glad we were able to share the magic of Disney with our members this year, and we look forward unlocking all the magic of Disney for you in 2021!