The house was packed, and guards were turning away lines upon lines of eager attendees. It could have been just another scene at nearby Disneyland, but this was the Anaheim Convention Center for the annual Disney fan convention, D23 Expo. The big draw wasn’t Mickey, but what Mickey has up his sleeves.

Enter creative head honcho of Pixar and Disney Animation Studios, John Lasseter, who greeted the lucky attendees with cheery freebie shirts. Holding the Pixar previews at a two-hour-plus presentation doesn’t mean the “Toy Story” director left the crowd of about 7,800 empty handed. He kept the show going with one surprise after the next.


Here are the top six reveals fresh from the D23 Expo in Anaheim:

1.  Announcing the New Celebrities Joining Disney’s Roster of Vocal Talent

For “Zootopia,” Shakira will voice the anthropomorphized gazelle character, Giselle, and contribute to the film’s soundtrack. She taped a little preview for D23 Expo attendees. In addition, grizzled cowboy Sam Elliot will give his best roar as the T. Rex in “The Good Dinosaur.” In the upcoming “Finding Dory,” Eugene Levy and Diane Keaton will supply the voices of Dory’s parents.


2. Animators Are Working on a New “Jack and the Beanstalk” Movie

Called “Gigantic,” the new movie will follow a Spaniard Jack (not called Juan, but okay), as he ventures into the world of giants and (reluctantly) befriends a precocious 11-year-old girl giant. They’ll team up to fend off the villainous Storm Giants who are wrecking her home. The part that got everyone’s attention? The inclusion of the song team behind “Frozen”: Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez.

3. Disney’s Sticking to One Strong Tradition

Boy, do they like knocking parents out of the picture. Both “Moana” and “The Good Dinosaur” will lose key parental figures early on. As director Ron Clements joked during his presentation of “Moana,” “Sorry, this is a Disney movie.” You’ve been warned: bring tissues! On a related note, Pixar will finally debut a movie all about the dead: their Dia de los Muertos-based feature titled “Coco.”


4. Animators Did Their Homework for “Moana”

The creators touted their involvement with indigenous scholars and townsfolk alike to pin down the myths they wanted to incorporate into “Moana.” Their stories helped shape the characters, from the 16-year-old Princess Moana searching to return to her roots as an explorer to the way characters interact with the Pacific Ocean, which animators said was spoken of like a person.

5. Surprise Cameo from Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson

Most of the crowd rose to its feet to catch a glimpse of the hunky actor who will voice the demigod Maui in “Moana” -- Dwayne Johnson. Once the crowd (and the sounds of “mmm…”) simmered down, Johnson addressed his audience. “I had a goal to be a part of the Disney family,” he confessed. But the project also had personal meaning for the actor as well. “I’m half-Samoan, half-black,” he said. “This is my heritage. This is my culture.” He described his character, Maui, as a human raised by gods who never quite fits into either world.



6. And Ellen DeGeneres, Too!

During the “Finding Dory” preview, DeGeneres drew big cheers by stopping by to explain. But she didn’t swim among the sea of faces alone. Soon, co-stars Ed O’Neil (who will play an octopus), Kaitlin Olson (a whale shark) and Ty Burrell (a beluga whale) joined her on-stage to trade jokes.

Now get some rest, D23 Expo fans! There are still two days left to trade pins, cosplay, shop and preview the things coming soon to Disney.