Welcome to DisneyBizJournal.com - News, Analysis and Reviews of the Disney Entertainment Business!

Brought to fans, investors, entrepreneurs, executives, teachers, professors, and students by columnist, economist, novelist, reviewer, podcaster, business reporter and speaker Ray Keating

Thursday, August 25, 2022

Thumbs Up at the New Boardwalk Deli

 by Ray Keating



August 25, 2022


As a former New Yorker who escaped to Florida recently, there isn’t much I miss from the Empire State, certainly not the insane taxes and the snow. However, there are a few items on the food front, such as real New York pizza, a good bagel, and the morning egg-bacon-and-cheese sandwich from a deli.

So, I was kind of excited to read my lovely wife’s DisneyBizJournal piece – “Disney World’s New BoardWalk Deli To Open Soon?” by Beth Keating – about a Northeast-style deli opening in Walt Disney World. I visited the BoardWalk Deli at Disney’s Boardwalk one day last week – the first week it was open – for both breakfast and lunch. Hey, sometimes research and writing requires sacrifice.


First, the Bagel Breakfast Sandwich gets a thumbs-up. The bagel was quite good, with a combination of being chewy and soft, with a little crispness on the outside. A true New York deli bagel would be slightly chewier and have a touch more crunch on the outside, but this was darn close.


The egg was fresh. With a traditional New York egg sandwich, the fried egg would have been a little less done, but once more, this was darn close. The bacon and cheese are essential, and were nicely represented here. Interestingly, there was a surprising touch of sweetness thanks to the caramelized onions.


So, my breakfast selection got a thumbs up.


What about lunch? The Warm Pastrami Reuben sandwich was appropriately thick. It was full of flavor, with the pastrami done just right. The cheese, pickles, sauerkraut, and Thousand Island dressing all worked well together. And yes, the marble rye bread was soft and thick. When the bread is off, it can kill a sandwich. Thankfully, that definitely wasn’t the case here. Be warned, though, you’ll need plenty of napkins. 

The Pastrami Reuben sandwich also gets a thumbs up.


Also, the Italian Sub hero presented nice combination of meats and cheese – sliced capicola, sopressata, pepperoni and provolone, with arugula, tomato, pesto, and mayonnaise on ciabatta bread. The key is that the flavors came through strong, as opposed to one of those fake heroes where it loses whatever it might had had because of sitting around in a refrigerator. The bread was soft, and the dressing fit. 


Yes, another thumbs up.

It’s also worth noting that the store-made chips made for a far better lunch accompaniment than the vinegary cole slaw. The chips were big and crunchy.

Finally, I have a suggestion as a former New Yorker. Make a small addition to the breakfast menu. Offer the classic bacon, egg and cheese deli sandwich, which features one or two fried eggs (perhaps a little runny), bacon, cheese, and – here’s a key point – on a poppy seed roll (salt, pepper and/or ketchup are optional). Nail that and the line will be long, and quite profitable.




Ray Keating is the editor, publisher and economist for DisneyBizJournal.com; and author of the Pastor Stephen Grant thrillers and mysteries, and the Alliance of Saint Michael novels; and assorted nonfiction books. Have Ray Keating speak your group, business, school, church, or organization. Email him at raykeating@keatingreports.com.


The views expressed here are his own – after all, no one else should be held responsible for this stuff, right?


Two great ways to order Cathedral: An Alliance of Saint Michael Novel, which is Ray’s sixteenth work of fiction, and the first in the Alliance of Saint Michael series. Signed paperbacks here and the Kindle edition here


Two great ways to order Ray Keating’s new nonfiction book – The Weekly Economist: 52 Quick Reads to Help You Think Like an Economist. Signed paperbacks here, and paperbacks, hardcovers and Kindle editions here.  


Get all of Ray Keating Pastor Stephen Grant thrillers and mysteries in paperback and for the Kindle at Amazon.com and signed books at www.RayKeatingOnline.com


Also, check out Ray’s podcasts – the Daily Dose of DisneyFree Enterprise in Three Minutes, and the PRESS CLUB C Podcast.

Wednesday, August 24, 2022

See What’s In Store at Disney During “Magical Dining”

 by Beth Keating



August 24, 2022


Four restaurants on Disney property are participating in this year’s Visit Orlando’s Magical Dining program, and they will be offering a wide variety of tastes and flavors for diners, beginning this week. This year’s dining program runs from August 26 through October 2, 2022. 

While there are typically close to one hundred Orlando area restaurants involved in the Magical Dining program, there are four Disney-based restaurants on this year’s list, with five more Lake Buena Vista area eateries at the surrounding hotels near Disney World. Il Mulino New York Trattoria at the Walt Disney World Swan; Jaleo and Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill at Disney Springs; and Todd English’s bluezoo at the Walt Disney World Dolphin Hotel are this year’s included “Disney” eateries (though they are all independently-owned).  


Guests at Magical Dining restaurants enjoy a three-course, prix-fixe dinner for just $40 per person, plus tax and gratuity. Dinner includes the choice of an appetizer, entrée and dessert from a specially curated Visit Orlando’s Magical Dining menu that showcases some of the chef’s favorite dishes at each restaurant. One dollar from each meal will also benefit The Able Trust, which works to help expand employment opportunities for people with disabilities.   


Here’s a peek at the Magical Dining menus at the participating Disney restaurants:


• Il Mulino New York Trattoria (Walt Disney World Swan Resort)  



Pollo Fritto Di Toscana

(fried chicken, rosemary, crispy artichokes, with garlic lemon dipping sauce)


(mussels with spicy garlic white wine sauce or spicy fra diavolo)

Insalate Caesar 

(classic il mulino caesar salad)



Rigatoni con Fungi 

(rigatoni pasta with wild mushrooms, italian cherry peppers, garlic and truffle oil)

Pollo Scarpariello 

(hand cut chicken with garlic, white wine, wild mushrooms, and spicy cherry peppers)


(seared striped bass with cherry tomatoes, garlic, pancetta and white wine served over sautéed spinach)


Torta di Cioccolati  

(flourless chocolate cake, whipped cream zabaglione)


(layered espresso and coffee liqueur infused lady fingers coated with mascarpone cream)

Italian Gelato


• Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill (Disney Springs)



Grilled Bruschetta

(marinated tomatoes, mozzarella, pesto, ciabatta)

Caesar Salad 

(little gem lettuce, creamy garlic dressing, herb croutons, shaved parmesan)

Wedge Salad 

(marinated cherry tomatoes, bacon, blue cheese, ranch dressing)



Oven Roasted Scottish Salmon 

(braised butter beans, pancetta, roasted tomatoes)

Grilled Pork Chop 

(creamy polenta, mushrooms, thyme)

Rigatoni Pasta 

(bolognese meat sauce, roasted tomatoes, pecorino)



House Made Carrot Cake 

(cream cheese icing, candied walnuts, caramel sauce)

Spanish Cheesecake with house made caramel sauce

Giant Warm Chocolate Chip Cookie with vanilla gelato and caramel sauce


• JALEO  (Disney Springs)



Traditional Pan Con Tomate 

(toasted slices of crispy bread brushed with fresh tomato)

Gazpacho de Tomate Estilo Algeciras 

(chilled spanish soup with tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers)

Croquetas de Pollo 

(traditional chicken fritters)



Pimientos del Piquillo Rellenos con Queso Caña de Cabra 

(seared piquillo peppers filled with goat cheese)

Ensalada Verde 

(mixed greens with tomatoes, onions and olives with sherry dressing)

Empedrat de Montgetes 

(traditional catalan bean salad with tomatoes, olives and sherry dressing)

Espinacas a la Catalana 

(sautéed spinach with pine nuts, raisins and apples)



Chorizo Casero con Puré de Patatas al Aceite de Oliva 

(house-made traditional chorizo with olive oil mashed potatoes)

Pollo con Pisto Manchego 

(josper grilled chicken thigh with a traditional vegetable stew)

Paella del Dia 

(daily paella served with garlic aioli)



Flan al Estilo Tradicional de Mamá Marisa con Espuma de Crema Catalana

(classic Spanish custard with ‘espuma’ of catalan cream and oranges)

Pan con Chocolate

(chocolate custard with caramelized bread, olive oil and brioche ice cream)

Sorbetes Caseros


• Todd English's bluezoo (Walt Disney World Dolphin Resort)  



Caesar Salad 

(little gem romaine lettuce, parmesan cheese, house dressing, crouton, crispy egg yolk)

bluezoo’s New England Style Clam Chowder

(light and brothy with salt cured bacon, house-made oyster crackers)

BBQ Potstickers

(smoked pork shoulder dumplings, mustard barbecue sauce)



Linguine Con Vongole

(linguine pasta, little neck clams, chorizo, sweet basil, tomato sauce, calabrian chili)

Simply Fish

(creamy risotto, seasonal vegetables, salsa verde or white wine sauce)

Crispy Skinned Chicken

(roasted chicken breast, confit thigh, warm bread & arugula salad, currants, roasted chicken jus)



Warm Chocolate Molten Cake

(chocolate cream pudding, chocolate and caramel sauce, house made organic vanilla bean ice cream)

Strawberry Angel Food Cake

(marinated strawberry, crispy tuile)

Root Beer Float

(vanilla bean ice cream, boylan’s root beer bourbon vanilla whipped cream, chocolate shavings)


Additional Hotel Restaurants Near Disney (click the links for their menus):


• La Luce  (Signia by Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek)  


•  The Venetian Chop House (Caribe Royale World Center Drive)


•  Deep blu seafood grille  (Wyndham Grand Orlando Resort Bonnet Creek)  


•  Four Flamingos, A Richard Blais Florida Kitchen  (Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress)


•  Unreserved Food Bazaar (JW Marriott Bonnet Creek)


You can make reservations for the restaurants under their listing on the Magical Dining website, through OpenTable, or through the restaurants themselves. Check the Visit Orlando Magical Dining website for restaurant hours, specific restrictions and availabilities.


If you’d like to see DisneyBizJournal’s dining reviews from Il Mulino and Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill from last year’s Magical Dining, check here and here.  



Beth Keating is a theme parks, restaurant and entertainment reporter for DisneyBizJournal.


Please support the efforts of DisneyBizJournal.com to bring news, analysis and commentary on Disney to readers such as yourself. Make a contribution right here via PayPal. Thanks!

Monday, August 22, 2022

Captain America Week at the Daily Dose of Disney!

It’s Captain America Week starting on Monday, August 22, at the Daily Dose of Disney with Ray Keating podcast. Tune in for some wisdom courtesy of Ray Keating’s all-time favorite comic book character – Captain America!

“Walt’s Own Chili and Beans” Looks a Little Different Than the Theme Parks

 by Beth Keating



August 22, 2022


Several weeks ago, I was at the Magic Kingdom trying to get lunch. It was one of those days when mobile ordering was just not working, with lousy WiFi signals squashing any hope of getting through to the menus.  When I finally got the page up and running after many refreshes, most of the places had waits that were hours away.  I gave up, and walked up to The Lunching Pad in Tomorrowland. 

While it wasn’t my original plan, the line at The Lunching Pad was short, and I could grab something quick and move on with my day. I selected one of the 50th Anniversary specialty items: Walt’s Chili-Cheese All Beef Foot-Long Hot Dog ($13.99). The hot dog was huge, more than filling, and the chili was tasty and not overly spicy. The only drawback was the fact that the chili made the roll a tad soggy by the time I got to the end of the meal.  It was a messy, need-extra-napkins meal for sure.


Fast forward to this weekend, when I was flipping through my dog-eared copy of Cooking with Mickey (Gourmet Mickey Cookbook) Volume II: The Most Requested Recipes from Walt Disney World and Disneyland. (It was published somewhere around the year 2000, but there’s no actual copyright date in the book.)  I came across a recipe for Walt’s Own Chili and Beans, and the description under the recipe reads “Walt Disney’s Personal Recipe.”  


I was intrigued by the possibilities, as so many of the chefs at Disney have offered up special variations on Walt’s chili in honor of the 50th Anniversary of Disney World.  (Tradition has it that chili was one of Walt’s favorite meals.) If you are in the parks yourself, and want to do a “Walt’s chili crawl,” head over to Casey’s Corner or Cosmic Ray’s in the Magic Kingdom, where you can get the same Walt’s chili-cheese dog that The Lunching Pad dished up. Cosmic Ray’s also offers the chili over fries for $6.49, as does the Golden Oak Outpost.  The chili fries and hot dog are available in Animal Kingdom at Restaurantosaurus, and if you are in Animal Kingdom anyway, try the Corn Chip Pie with Walt’s Chili for $8.49 at Dino Diner (the dog is available there, too.)


In the Resorts? Head over to the All-Stars or Pop Century, where you can get Walt’s chili in a bread bowl ($9.99). The chili dogs are there as well. At Capt. Cook's at Disney’s Polynesian Resort, you can get Walt’s Favorite 1958 Chili for just $4.99!

So, as a little experiment, I decided to give Walt’s recipe in the Cooking with Mickey cookbook a whirl, and see if it was the same as the current recipe in the parks.  The flavor was pretty close to the parks’ version, and it was fun to make this little piece of Disney history, but I will admit to it being a tiny bit different than The Lunching Pad version.  Whether that’s due to Disney making their chili in enormous batches, the vagaries of different chefs using a pinch more of “this” or a smidge more of “that,” or just the fact that I didn’t serve mine over hot dogs, each chili had its own personality.  (When I make it again at home, I’ll probably increase the amount of spice a little, and increase the amount of water over the simmering beans. My final product was a touch thicker than the park version, with a little more meat.)


If you’d like to see a few other recipes that we’ve tried from the Cooking with Mickey cookbook, check out this story about the Great Northern Bean Soup from Disney’s Soundstage, or the 50’s Prime Time Café’s Cranberry Chutney. In the meantime, here’s Walt’s personal recipe from the Mickey cookbook.


Walt’s Own Chili and Beans



2 pounds pink (pinto) beans, dry

2 medium onions, sliced

¼ cup vegetable oil

2 cloves garlic, diced

1 cup celery, chopped

2 pounds lean beef, ground

1 teaspoon chili powder (more if desired)

1 teaspoon paprika

1 teaspoon thyme, dried

3 cups (about 28 ounces) tomatoes, solid-pack, canned




Note: Optional ingredients for a more spicy chili: 1/8 teaspoon each coriander, turmeric, chili seeds, fennel, cloves, cinnamon, dry ginger, or 1 small Mexican chili pepper.


Wash and sort beans and soak overnight in cold water. 


Next morning, drain beans and place in a 2 quart saucepan. Add fresh water to cover 2 inches over beans. Add sliced onions and simmer in a covered pot until tender (about 2 hours). Meanwhile, heat oil in a large sauce pot and sauté garlic until lightly browned. Add celery and beef and cook until lightly browned also. Add chili powder, paprika and thyme. Break up tomatoes with a spoon and mix with meat mixture. Cover and simmer for 1 hour.


When beans are tender, combine with meat, stirring gently. Add salt and pepper to taste and additional spices, as desired, and continue cooking an additional 30 minutes.




Beth Keating is a theme parks, restaurant and entertainment reporter for DisneyBizJournal.


Please support the efforts of DisneyBizJournal.com to bring news, analysis and commentary on Disney to readers such as yourself. Make a contribution right here via PayPal. Thanks!

Sunday, August 21, 2022

D23 Names 2022 Disney Legends Honorees

 by Beth Keating



August 21, 2022


“D23 Expo: The Ultimate Disney Fan Event” begins in a very special way on Friday, September 9, 2022, with a spectacular opening celebration featuring the presentation of the 2022 Disney Legends Awards. The opening event will be streamed as part of D23 Expo [LIVE], and will feature performances by cast members from Disney On Broadway’s productions of Aladdin and The Lion King and The North American Tour of Frozen

It’s also a big year for the cast of the Frozen animated films, with four of its actors being named Disney Legends. Josh Gad (Olaf), Idina Menzel (Elsa), Kristen Bell (Anna), and Jonathan Groff (Kristoff) are all among this year’s 14 inductees.


As part of the Expo’s opening day festivities, an early look at “Disney 100 Years of Wonder” will also take place, before the special celebration airs in 2023. The bi-annual D23 Expo is the largest Disney fan event in the world, a three day-long forum featuring a variety of “inside the magic” experiences for Disney fans, including panels, discussions, surprise announcements, sneak peeks, guest appearances, and merchandise halls.


The Disney Legends Award is given to an individual who has made an extraordinary contribution to the Disney legacy, and this year’s list of honorees includes Anthony Anderson, Kristen Bell, Chadwick Boseman, Rob’t Coltrin, Patrick Dempsey, Robert Price “Bob” Foster, Jonathan Groff, Don Hahn, Josh Gad, Doris Hardoon, Idina Menzel, Chris Montan, Ellen Pompeo, and Tracee Ellis Ross.  


This year, D23 is celebrating the 35th Anniversary of the Disney Legends. There have been 304 Disney Legends since Fred MacMurray (The Shaggy DogThe Absent-Minded Professor) was inducted in 1987.  Past Disney Legends have included Julie Andrews, Annette Funicello, George Lucas, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Jim Henson, Steve Martin, Jack Kirby, Stan Lee, Alan Menken, Mary Blair, Hayley Mills, the Sherman brothers, Marc Davis, Fess Parker, Thurl Ravenscroft, Marty Sklar, Kurt Russell, Dick Van Dyke, Betty White, James Earl Jones, Tim Allen and Robin Williams, just to name a few. 


Honorees receive a two-foot-tall bronze Disney Legends sculpture, and participate in a handprint ceremony at the end of the event. The handprints are then bronzed and make their way to the Disney Legends Plaza at Disney Headquarters in Burbank, California, where fans can stop by to visit.


The 2022 Disney Legends Award honorees are certainly a talented group (credit to D23 for biographical information):


Anthony Anderson has appeared in more than 20 films, and his performance on Law & Order earned him four consecutive NAACP Image Award nominations for Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series. He starred in and executive produced ABC’s sitcom black-ish, winning seven NAACP Image Awards and earning seven Emmy and three Golden Globe® nominations for his role as Andre “Dre” Johnson in the series. He also executive produced and appeared in the black-ish spinoff series grown-ish and mixed-ish. In 2020 he received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.


Kristen Bell is best known as Anna, the fearless princess who later became Queen of Arendelle in the Frozen franchise. But she had an impressive resume before moving to Arendelle. Her first role with Disney was as the voice of Hiromi in the Studio Ghibli classic The Cat Returns, for the U.S. DVD release in 2005. Kristen also voiced Priscilla the sloth in the Zootopia franchise. She has starred in several Disney live-action films.


Chadwick Boseman’s breakout performance was as Jackie Robinson in 42, followed by his role as James Brown in Get On Up. He then starred in the title role of Marshall, which followed a young Thurgood Marshall. Boseman joined the Marvel Cinematic Universe as Black Panther in Captain America: Civil War before headlining the Black Panther film. Boseman won the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actor in a Motion Picture and the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture alongside the film’s ensemble. Boseman starred in 21 BridgesDa 5 Bloods; and Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, where his performance as “Levee” garnered an Academy Award nomination, and he won the NAACP Image Award and the Critics’ Choice and Screen Actors Guild awards. He also received an Emmy nomination for his work in the Disney+ animated series What If...?

Courtesy of D23

Rob’t Coltrin joined Walt Disney Imagineering in 1990 in the Show Set Design group and over time progressed through multiple disciplines—including show design, concept design, and art direction—before landing in his final role as an executive creative director. He had a hand in the creation of several Disney attractions such as Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin,  Mickey’s Philharmagic, and Muppet*Vision 3D. More recently, he was a major creative force behind Radiator Springs Racers, Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway, and recent expansions at Tokyo Disney Resort.  


Patrick Dempsey is a two-time Golden Globe  nominee and SAG Award  nominee for Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series, and is perhaps best known to fans for the 11 seasons he portrayed Dr. Derek Shepherd in ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy.  Disney fans will also remember him from Enchanted, and the upcoming Disney+ film Disenchanted, as well as the voice of Kenai in Brother Bear 2. Patrick founded the Dempsey Center to help make life better for people managing the impact of cancer.


Robert Price “Bob” Foster began his Disney career in 1956, joining the Walt Disney Productions legal department. He later served as a member of the Park Operations Committee for Disneyland and was promoted to Corporate Secretary and Legal Counsel in 1958. Two years later, he was named Assistant Secretary, Walt Disney Productions, and Resident Counsel for Disneyland. In 1963, Walt and Roy O. Disney selected Bob to head the land search for their top-secret “Florida Project.” Bob took extraordinary measures to ensure that the identity of Walt Disney Productions remained classified while initiating and executing the property research and acquisition effort. He acquired 43 square miles of land for what would eventually become the Walt Disney World Resort. Bob was later named Vice President (Legal), Secretary, and General Counsel for the Walt Disney World Co. and in 1970 was promoted to President of the Buena Vista Land Company. In this role, Bob was responsible for overseeing development of the resort community of Lake Buena Vista. In 1974, Bob retired from Walt Disney Productions as Vice President, Real Estate.

Courtesy of D23

Josh Gad is a Tony Award-winning actor and singer who has warmed the hearts of countless viewers around the globe as Olaf the snowman from the Frozen franchise, a role which earned him two Annie Awards for Outstanding Achievement for Voice Acting in an Animated Feature Production. Gad also starred as LeFou in the live-action Beauty and the Beast and Mulch Diggums in Artemis Fowl. He narrated the Magic of Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and has also had roles in Murder on the Orient Express and Modern Family. Gad’s Broadway talent is also showcased as both a creator and star of the Emmy-nominated 20th Television Animation musical series, Central Park (2020–).


Jonathan Groff is also a member of the Frozen franchise family, voicing the character of Kristoff.  He has had a number of memorable performances in theater since his award-winning breakout performance in Broadway’s Spring Awakening, originating the role of King George III in the production of Hamilton on Broadway. He received a Tony Award nomination for his performance, and was part of the cast in the Disney+ Original release of the show. Groff also received an individual Emmy nomination for his performance in the filmed production. He appeared as Jesse St. James on the television series Glee.  


Don Hahn joined The Walt Disney Studios in 1976 in the Art Props Morgue. His animation career took off when he worked as an inbetweener on Pete’s Dragon, and later as assistant director on The Fox and the Hound. He was Production Manager of The Black Cauldron and The Great Mouse Detective, then turned to producing on Who Framed Roger RabbitBeauty and the Beast, and The Lion King.  His other credits include The Hunchback of Notre DameThe Emperor’s New Groove, Maleficent, and the live-action Beauty and the Beast. He executive produced the Disneynature films EarthOceansAfrican Cats, and Chimpanzee. Don is also the author of several Disney Editions books, including The Alchemy of Animation, Before Ever After, and Yesterday’s Tomorrow: Disney’s Magical Mid-Century. As director, Don has helmed such acclaimed documentaries as Waking Sleeping Beauty and Howard. His most recent Disney credits include hosting the documentary Adventure Thru the Walt Disney Archives.


Doris Hardoon joined Walt Disney Imagineering in 1979 as a junior designer, then quickly rose through the ranks to lead designer, art director, and producer on a variety of groundbreaking projects around the globe. Included were EPCOT Center, Tokyo Disneyland, Disneyland Paris, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park, as well as Disney Cruise Line and Disney entertainment centers nationwide. She additionally served as executive art director, producer, and creative portfolio lead for projects including Hong Kong Disneyland, the proposed-but-never-built WESTCOT Center in Anaheim, and the unbuilt DisneySea in Long Beach. Doris left the Company in 2000 to pursue other innovative projects but returned in 2009 to help conceive, design, and build Shanghai Disney Resort. In her role as executive director and producer, Doris provided overall creative direction to her design and production teams, while establishing culturally relevant, “authentically Disney, distinctly Chinese” elements in all aspects of her assignments. Doris is the 2022 recipient of the THEA Buzz Price Lifetime of Distinguished Achievements Award.


Idina Menzel first rose to fame on the Broadway stage, winning a Tony Award in 2004 for her legendary performance as Elphaba in Wicked. She also rounds out the quartet of Frozen franchise actors in this year’s Legends class, voicing Queen Elsa. If you’ve heard the Oscar- and Grammy-winning song “Let It Go,” you’ve heard Idina’s voice! She also appeared as Nancy Tremaine in Enchanted and the Disney+ sequel, Disenchanted.  Idina is also a songwriter, and her original song, “Dream Girl” (from 2021’s Cinderella), made it to the Academy Awards’ Best Original Song short list. Among her TV credits are Lisa King in ABC Studios’ Private Practice, and Shelby Corcoran in Glee for 20th Century Television.


Chris Montan joined The Walt Disney Company in 1984, and within three years was named vice president of music for motion pictures and television. In 1997, Variety named him “musical supervisor of the decade” after he oversaw such classic and best-selling film soundtracks as The Little MermaidBeauty and the BeastPretty WomanSister ActAladdinThe Lion KingPocahontasThe Hunchback of Notre Dame, and Hercules. Chris was named President of Walt Disney Music in 1999 and was responsible for overseeing music for Disney and Pixar animated feature films, Disney Theatrical stage productions, and Disney Parks and Resorts, worldwide. He served as executive music producer for all of the Studios’ animated features during his tenure, working closely in the story development process as well as helping to select musical talent. His work has been nominated for multiple Grammy Awards, winning Best Original Cast Recording for Aida and Best Compilation Soundtrack for Visual Media for Frozen, with additional films receiving 45 musical Academy Award nominations and 16 Academy Awards in the Best Original Song and Best Original Score categories.


Ellen Pompeo leads the longest-running primetime medical drama in television history, Grey’s Anatomy, as Dr. Meredith Grey, which earned the actress a Golden Globe nomination in 2007. Some of Ellen’s other notable credits include Moonlight MileOld School, and Daredevil. Ellen will star in and executive produce an eight-episode Hulu Original limited series currently titled Untitled Orphan Project through her production banner Calamity Jane, which she launched in 2011.


Tracee Ellis Ross starred in the groundbreaking ABC comedy series black-ish, and also served as a producer and director. For her role as Dr. Rainbow “Bow” Johnson, Tracee was nominated five times for an Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series and won the 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2020 NAACP Image Award for Best Actress in a Comedy Series. In addition, Tracee was honored and acknowledged at the 2016 ESSENCE Black Women in Hollywood luncheon, receiving the Fierce and Fearless award. Her other Disney television credits include roles on grown-ish and mixed-ish—the latter of which she was both co-creator and executive producer—The Premise, and Private Practice. Tracee is the founder and CEO of PATTERN, a haircare brand that launched in 2019.


While the D23 Expo at the Anaheim Convention Center is sold out, and you won’t be able to see these panels in person without a ticket, you can still catch select presentations by streaming at D23 Expo [LIVE]!  For more information, visit D23Expo.com.




Beth Keating is a theme parks, restaurant and entertainment reporter for DisneyBizJournal.


Please support the efforts of DisneyBizJournal.com to bring news, analysis and commentary on Disney to readers such as yourself. Make a contribution right here via PayPal. Thanks!