Robert Downey Jr., Jon Favreau, Bette Midler & More to Be Named ‘Disney Legends’

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The Disney Legends that will be honored at this year’s D23 in August have been announced!  This year eleven individuals will be inducted. The inductees are: Wing Chao, Robert Downey Jr., Jon Favreau, James Earl Jones, Bette Midler, Kenny Ortega, Barnette Ricci, Robin Roberts, Diane Sawyer, Ming-Na Wen, and Hans Zimmer!

“The Disney Legends Award is the highest honor we can bestow; it’s a recognition of talent, a celebration of achievement, and an expression of profound gratitude to the remarkable men and women who have made an indelible mark on our company and our creative legacy,” said Bob Iger, Disney Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. “This year’s honorees have earned a place in our hearts and our history for their significant contributions in film, television, and our theme parks around the world.” – Quote from


Watch the video below to find out more information on what it means to be a Disney Legends, and some of the Disney Legends that have been honored previously.


Wing Chao – has designed a developed projects at Disney parks and resorts worldwide.

Robert Downey Jr. – is a two-time Academy Award nominee and Golden Globe.  He is most recently most notable as Iron Man in the Iron Man (2008’s Iron Man, 2010’s Iron Man 2,  2013’s Iron Man 3) and Avengers (2012’s The Avengers, 2015’s Avengers: Age of Ultron, 2018’s Avengers: Infinity War, and 2019’s Avengers: Endgame) franchises, and in 2016’s Captain America: Civil War, and 2017’s Spider-Man: Homecoming.  His Disney debut was in the remake of The Shaggy Dog in 2006.

Jon Favreau- is an actor, writer, director and producer!  He’s even voiced Disney television shows and feature films characters! On Television he has voiced for Hercules (Jealousy), Buzz Lightyear of Star Command (Crumford Lorak/Crumford Lorax),  and Star Wars: The Clone Wars (Pre Vizsla/Warrior Commander).  In movies has voiced Hurley in G-Force, and Rio Durant in Solo: A Star Wars Story.  He is also Iron Man’s loyal bodyguard, Happy Hogan in 2008’s Iron Man, 2010’s Iron Man 2,  2013’s Iron Man 3, 2017’s Spider-Man: Homecoming and 2019 Avengers: Endgame.

James Earl Jones – is an Oscar, Emmy, and Tony Award-winning actor.  He is most notable for his voice acting as Darth Vader (1977’s Star Wars: A New Hope, and in subsequent Star Wars films, TV Shows and Disney Parks attractions worldwide), and Mufasa (1994’s The Lion King, 1998’s The Lion King 2: Simba’s Pride, 2015’s The Lion Guard: Return of the Roar, and in 2019’s live-action The Lion King)

Bette Midler- is an Emmy, Grammy, Golden Globe and Tony winner.   Bette was Winifred in Disney’s 1993 halloween classic Hocus Pocus!  Her most memorable Disney vocal performance is of Georgette, the spoiled poodle, in 1988’s Oliver & Company.  In 1989 she was also featured in a short video that was produced for Florida’s Backstage Studio Tour at Disney-MGM Studios Theme park (now Disney’s Hollywood Studios).

Kenny Ortega– is multi-award winning director, choreographer, and producer.  His work with Disney dates back to 1988’s TV Special Disney’s Totally Minnie.  He has directed 1992’s musical Newsies, 1993’s Hocus Pocus, 2006’s High School Musical, 2007’s High School Musical 2, and 2008’s High School Musical 3: Senior Year, 2014’s short The Making of Frozen, 2006’s The Cheetah Girls 2, and most recently 2015’s Descendants, 2017’s Descendants 2, and 2019’s Descendants 3.  He also choreographed 2007’s High School Musical 2, and 2008’s High School Musical 3: Senior Year, as well as the Best of Both Worlds Tour for Miley Cyrus and the Jonas Brothers.

Barnette Ricci- is a choregrapher for shows and parades at Disney Parks worldwide.   The creation of Fantasmic! ( which has had successful runs at Disneyland, Disney’s Hollywood Studio at Walt Disney World, and Tokyo DisneySea) is her biggest project to date.   She retired in 2013 after more than 40 years working with The Walt Disney Company.

Robin Roberts- is an Emmy winner for Outstanding Morning program on Good Morning America (GMA).  Prior to GMA, she was a contributor and co-host on the ESPN network.  She has hosted In the Spotlight with Robin Robert’s: All Access Nashville, and Red Carpet coverage for the Academy Awards.  Her first book From the Heart: Seven Rules to Live By was released in 2007.

Diane Sawyer- is a multi-award winning ABC New Anchor.   In 1989 she joined ABC News as co-anchor of Primetime, in 1999 she was named co-anchor of Good Morning America (GMA) and later moved to World News in 2009.

Ming-Na Wen- is an actress most recently known as Agent Melinda May, aka “The Calvary” on Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.   In 1998 she voice the title character Mulan and has since voiced the character in movies and projects following the original release including 2004’s Mulan 2,: The Final War, Kingdom Hearts video games, and 2018’s Ralph Breaks the Internet.

Hans Zimmer- is a multi-award winning film score composer.   His work with Disney includes 1991’s White Fang, 1993’s Cool Runnings, 1994’s The Lion King, 1995’s Crimson Tide, 1996’s Muppet Treasure Island, the Pirate’s of the Caribbean franchise, and 2008’s Iron Man.  He has also composed the music for 2019’s live action The Lion King.

The Disney Legends award that is given to each inductee has three distinct elements: The Spiral, The Hand, and The Wand and The Star.  These elements characterize the contributions made by the recipients to the Disney History.  Imagination is represented by the Spiral, skill, discipline and craftsmanship is represented by the Hand, and magic is represented by the Wand and the Star.  A new dream is created when imagination and skill combine! (More information can be found here.)

The Ceremony will be held at the Anaheim Convention Center on August 23rd at 10:30am in Hall D23.  Bob Iger (Disney Chairman and CEO) will host.  Admission to the ceremony is included in the price of the D23 Expo and is on a first-come, first-serve basis.  You can purchase a one-day D23 Expo ticket for $89/adult or $69/child. For more information on tickets and D23 Expo 2019, visit!

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By Shannon
Shannon is a Florida girl who escapes the heat with TV, movies and music! On top of writing for Nerds & Beyond she has a full time job, does photography, and travels frequently to Disney, conventions or concerts. You can find her on social media as @reelnerdy!
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