Having seen it in the afternoon of the first day, this presentation set a pretty extraordinarily high bar of everything else I was going to see. You've probably read about most of the stuff announced here a week ago, so I'll just stick to my opinion on everything.
This movie looks funny as I'm sure you've probably already heard but unlike some of the other people I've read it's certainly not my favorite of the bunch shown here and the some of the sequences seemed to stay on the same bit for too long. That all said, Nick Wilde's son, is going to be everywhere once this film is released. Him in the elephant costume may be the cutest thing Disney has every created.
A new take on Jack and the Beanstalk, and with the twists the revealed, I'm in. Nathan Greno is directing this and I just so happened to meet him and get a sketch, a few days after this presentation.
A big fan of the South Pacific and Lilo and Stitch, I was really intrigued by this movie when they released some concept art a while back. The clips and musical performance they showed has bumped up my excitement even more. One specific clip, where they explained that the Pacific Ocean will be an integral character to the story, had me fighting back tears. It was visually beautiful, the way they made the ocean interacted with a young Moana, but it was just as emotionally striking having known nothing about the character.
I never really got into professional wrestling, but I totally get why the Rock was so huge in the 90s that got is damn good on the mic. Oh and he's also voicing a character/god named Maui in the movie.
Inside Out: Riley's First Date?
Pixar announced a new short was accompanying the DVD/Blu-ray release of Inside Out and they showed it to us in it's entirety. It is just as charming and entertaining as the movie and the subject matter is very funny.
The Good Dinosaur
Having gone through so many production woes, I haven't had much excitement for Pixar's next release The Good Dinosaur. These concerns have vanished after seeing a few clips of the movie and crying during one. Based on the clips shown, this movie reminds me a lot of Finding Nemo, as we follow the two main characters on an epic adventure with the heart of the first act of Up thrown in (hence my crying). It's also worth noting the visual style of the movie. The characters are more simplistic and stylized while the background are super-detailed and highly-rendered. This reminds me a lot of Sleeping Beauty and Earle's very detailed backgrounds against those simple characters.
I used to have a tropical reef aquarium because of what I saw in Finding Nemo, so I'm totally in on Finding Dory plus the voice cast is phenomenal.
Out of all the announcements at D23 Expo, including Star Wars Land, this is the one I am most excited about. I love the brightly colored Dia de los Muertos look and the 'diorama' (an early sequence meant to showcase the look and feel of the film) that director Lee Unkrich showed knocked my socks off. It had this Skeleton Dance mixed with a 'dark ride', because of the continuously moving forward camera, that I adored. How awesome would a Dia de los Muertos dark ride in Disney World(I'd say Epcot but I'd probably get in trouble for that) be?
Toy Story 4
People are worried about this, but I have faith and Lasseter is directing, what could go wrong?
Randy Newman closed out the presentation performing "You've Got A Friend In Me". I love Randy Newman.
Disney Animation Shorts
A panel of people involved in the Disney Animation shorts were on hand to discuss their associated shorts and how important doing shorts has become to the company. Clips were shown, things were said, just nothing particularly insightful.
Pixar Living Archives
Christine Freeman, lead archivist and historian at Pixar discussed the work that the Pixar archives does and how they serve as essentially a reference library for Pixar employees as well as preserving the company's history
Thoughts on the next D23 Expo
I will 100% be at the next D23 Expo, I just may be paying substantially more money to get it. The Sorcerer's Pass, a VIP pass, gets you reserved seats at every presentation, early entry, special shopping times and more. To my eyes, bypassing all the lines and being able to get into every presentation is worth the $2000 they are asking.
Next time I'd love to see something akin to Animation stage but exclusively for Imagineering. The number of Imagineering presentation was supremely lacking. I want to see engineers discussing designing ride systems. Fireworks people discussing how they put on a nightly fireworks show. Sculptors discussing how they create fake rocks. You get the idea.
All in all, if you are a Disney fan I can not recommend D23 Expo enough.