The D23 Expo once again played host to the Disney Legends Ceremony which recognizes notable people who've made contributions to the Walt Disney Company. This year's recipients included the extraordinary actresses who vocally brought to life many modern-day Disney Princesses: Jodi Benson, Paige O'Hara, Linda Larkin, Lea Salonga, and Anika Noni Rose. Other recipients included Regis Philbin, Jim Henson, Guy Williams, Ray Watson, and Barton "Bo" Boyd.
We are happy to present a recap of highlights from the ceremony including the live performances by each of the singing voices of the Disney princesses who were awarded, the special tribute by Kermit and Rowlf, and Regis Philbin's eccentric acceptance speech.
Anika Noni Rose is the most recent Disney princess voice actress to receive a Disney Legend award. She was taken aback by the outpouring of appreciation for her work on the Princess and the Frog and actually thought that Princess Tiana was being honored at the event instead of herself until just a few days before the event.
Linda Larkin was the next actress to be honored with the award for her work over the past few years as the speaking voice of Princess Jasmine in Aladdin and several other films and features featuring the fiesty royal.
Lea Salonga has gained much acclaim on the broadway stage for her various roles including originating her character in Miss Saigon. For the Disney Legends Ceremony, she was recognized for providing the singing voice of both Mulan and Princess Jasmine. She thanked Linda Larkin for not knowing how to sing which afforded her the gig of a lifetime.
Paige O'Hara has been the voice of Belle over the years and was recognized with a Disney Legend aware for her contributions to Beauty and the Beast.
Jodi Benson brought an even more emotional note to the show with a touching acceptance speech for her work over the years as the voice of Ariel for nearly every single instance in which the character has been used. She proudly pulled out her Disney Cast Member employee badge and shared that the experiences she's had over the years have been truly once in a life time and something she for which is deeply appreciative.
She remarked that over the past 25 years she has been fortunate enough to work with Disney to create 8 films, 7 voices, and 3 television series.
Linda Larkin resumed the stage once all the Princess honorees had been presented their awards and talked about the amazing impact of the songs in Disney films. This, of course, seg-wayed into musical performances by singing voice actresses.
Paige O'Hara was the first to take the stage singing a medley of "Belle," "Beauty and the Beast," and "Be Our Guest."
Lea Salonga sang a chilling rendition of the song "Reflection" from Mulan.
Anika Noni Rose livened the atmosphere singing the jazzy "Almost There" number from The Princess and the Frog.
Jodi Benson charmed audiences once more with a heart-felt rendition of "Part of Your World."
In true Disney fashion, a spectacular quartet was assembled with the four leading ladies as they sang "A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes" from Cinderella.
Regis Philbin was another recipient to be honored with a Disney Legend Award, after some comedic banter with host Tom Bergeron, Philbin went on to deliver a humorous speech foiled slightly by ending on a sour punchline.
The ceremony was concluded by honoring Jim Henson
with a posthumous award. Kermit and Rowlf played tribute to him singing "Rainbow Connection."
Check out even more images and info about the 2011 Disney Legends Ceremony