I don't even care how much fan pandering was in this episode, 'cause it was done amazingly.
Snowflake (or Bulk Biceps as he's now known) got a canon name and
a proper speaking role.
Fleetfoot appeared for the first time in the show, also getting a speaking role.
Soarin' got a proper speaking role.
Some well-known background ponies (mostly pegasi) made a comeback, some getting a speaking role f.ex. Thunderlane.
Griffons were seen.
A new location was introduced.
And most awesomely...
*drumroll*Derpy came back. With a major part. She didn't talk, but she didn't have to.
I may sound cool, calm and collected in this Journal, but in reality I AM LOSING MY SHIT, BIG TIME.