Disney honors a group of artists, creatives, and performers who have made significant contributions to the studio’s legacy. This year, Anthony Anderson, Kristen Bell, Patrick Dempsey, Josh Gad, Jonathan Groff, Idina Menzel, Ellen Pompeo, Tracee Ellis Ross, and the late Chadwick Boseman were among this year’s Disney Legends inductees.
Also joining the group were Imagineer Robert Coltrin and Doris Hardoon, as well the late Robert Price “Bob” Foster (the man responsible for purchasing the land that would later become Disney World, film producer Don Hahn, and music producer Chris Montan.
“When I heard that Disney wanted to honor Chad, the first word that came to mind for me was the word honor,” Derrick Boseman, Chadwick’s brother said. “I wish that he was here to receive it. Him not being here has been a point of immense pain for my whole family. But as I think about him, I think about how he honored our parents. How he honored his family. How he honored even his friends, and he made sure that his friends had good careers. How he honored all the contracts that he signed. He honored them with his blood, his sweat, his tears, as he played these roles and he was taking chemo at the same time.”
During his acceptance speech, in which he took a selfie with Disney CEO Bob Chapek, Anderson said, “First, I’d like to say it is an honor to stand before you as a Disney Legend. Growing up in Compton, California, about 25 miles west of here, Disney was always in the background. Disney has taught all of us to dream. And to dream big. And it has been said that if your dreams don’t frighten you, then you’re not dreaming big enough. Disney has inspired me and I hope it continues to inspire us all to dream larger than life…I hope that I stand before you as an example of what hard work, determination, dedication, sacrifice and dreams are all about.”
After apologizing to parents for their kids asking to hear the Frozen soundtrack on repeat, Bell said “Disney taught me to dream big and follow your heart. And that it is totally appropriate to bust out into song at any moment, which I really appreciate.”
“As a young gay boy growing up in the late ’80s early ’90s in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, Disney VHS tapes were my primary escape,” Groff said. I dressed up as Peter Pan, as Alice in Wonderland, as Cinderella… Disney was my complete life as a kid. And getting to voice the role of Kristoff in ‘Frozen’ is a complete dream come true. And it’s extra special to be here with Idina and Kristen and Josh. I love the three of you so much and I’m so happy that we are forever tied to each other in this film… So thank you for creating a space where even young boys can put on their Anna and Elsa dresses and sing and express themselves as the true Disney Legends that they are.”
Gad, who also paid tribute to Boseman in his acceptance speech, wanted to let the recruiter who didn’t hire him to be a skipper of the Jungle Cruise that he is now a Disney Legend, and they should put that on his resume, if they still have it on file.
Menzel had a similar sentiment to her fellow Frozen castmates about the impact Disney had on her life. As such, she belted out her own rendition of “When You Wish Upon A Star.”
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