Perhaps the biggest surprise of the animation presentation today occurred during the middle portion, which featured a number of surprise appearances and, in one awesome moment, Tom Hiddleston singing a song from The Jungle Book.
Here are the highlights from the Disneytoons portion of Animation Presentation:
- The Disneytoons presentation began with a video tour of the Glendale offices, to give fans an idea if what goes on behind the doors. The conference room, kitchen, "cereal bar" and an in-house billiard table were featured.
- Very briefly we'll touch upon two new direct-to-home-video releases coming up in the Tinker Bell franchise. Disneytoons has already released five Tinker Bell movies to expand the fairy's cinematic universe.
- Two new titles were announced. The first is Legend of the Neverbeast, which finds Tink and other fairies encountering a beast that looks like Falkor, the flying dog from The NeverEnding Story.
- The second title bridges the gap between Tinker Bell's universe and that of Peter Pan. It could almost loosely be called a Peter Pan prequel, minus Peter. The film is titled Pirate Fairy.
- The voice cast for Pirate Fairy includes Christina Hendricks as the title-role character named Zenia and a cabin boy named John voiced by Hiddleston. The two stars appeared onstage, with Hiddleston registering a huge applause.
- Hiddleston talked about some of his favorite Disney films. He called outThe Jungle Book as his favorite Disney movie and said he sang "The Bear Necessities" during a theater school performance. The audience egged him on to sing the song and Hiddleston, after a moment of hesitation and embarrassment broke into song and sang the chorus. The arena erupted into applause and if cell phones were allowed into the building, I'm sure you'd see it on YouTube soon.
- We then got a character twist when it was revealed that John the cabin boy was really Captain John T. Hook, but minus the hook hand.
Lasseter returned to the stage to preview Planes and the previously announced sequel Planes: Fire and Rescue, due out in summer 2014.
- "We wanted to open things up and explore the larger world of Cars," Lasseter said. "We wanted to explore the question, 'What if Dusty couldn't race again?'"
- Dane Cook, who voices Dusty appeared onstage to talk about both films. It was also announced that Modern Family star Julie Bowen would voice Dipper in the sequel. Her character is described a huge, almost stalker-ish fan of Dusty's.
- The sequel finds Dusty joining the Piston Peak National Park fire squad and training to be a fire fighter. He'll ditch his orange colors seen in Planes for a more patriotic red, white and blue design and attach pontoons to his design.
- When asked why he joined the newly launched Planes franchise, Cook joked, "Because the first name people think of when they think 'family entertainment' is Dane Cook."
- A clip was then screened for the audience, which was comprised of completed and partially rendered footage. The scene showed Dusty's first meeting eight he Piston Peak fire squad, who get called out to fight a small forest fire all to the tune of AC/DC's "Thunderstruck."
Transitioning between Disneytoons and Disney Animation, Lasseter called up Burney Mattinson to the stage. Mattinson, who this year marked his 60th year working at Disney and is the last remaining animator who worked with Walt Disney.
A sizzle reel was shown in his honor and Mattinson shared a few stories with the crowd including how he was hired (the front-gate guard liked his drawings and let him interview for a job) and working as a messenger and cashing Walt Disney's weekly $300 check at the cashier's office for the entertainment icon.
The short Mickey Mouse film Get a Horse was also shown and will be screened in front of Frozen. There's a secret to that short film that we won't divulge here. Just know there's something sneaky going on with that "restored" film.