Once Upon A Studio is a love letter to Walt Disney Animation Studios and all of the incredible stories they have told over the last 100 years.
Walt Disney Animation Studios is coming up on its 100 year anniversary. Perfectly timed with this special birthday is a new animated film release, Wish, which dives into something the studio was built on — wishes, dreams, and hope. But that isn’t the only treat that Disney fans will be getting this year. There is also a very special short titled Once Upon A Studio, which is making its broadcast television debut on ABC on the 100th anniversary of WDAS, October 15th, 2023.
This short film features many beloved characters from beloved Disney films and is sure to deliver a whole lot of nostalgia. Not just because of the visuals, but because of the score and sounds that we hear during certain scenes as well.
The story itself surrounds Mickey and Minnie trying to get their friends together for a group photo to celebrate the 100 year anniversary. Burny Mattinson, famed Disney animator and director, kicks off the short as he tells a young intern “If these walls could talk.” He recently passed away, so seeing him up on the screen, leaving the studio, immediately kicks off the emotional tug at the heartstrings — and spoiler, it never stops.
Of course not all of the featured characters can have a line, but the filmmakers did bring in forty actors so they could relend their voices to the characters they have played in the past. In the case of Genie, the team used a recording of Robin Williams’ voice from when they were filming Aladdin that was never used. Don’t worry, they got approval from his estate first. And another spoiler alert — that part will make you cry, too.
Seeing your favorite characters pop up brings out a certain kind of feeling. Different styles of animation are used in order to ensure that these characters look as they should. It transports you back to the moment in time when you first met them, and each and every one of them is exactly as you remember them.
While this is certainly emotional, there is a lot of humor worked into the short as well. One scene in particular, which we won’t spoil, involves Donald Duck and trust us, you will be cracking up when you see it.
Once Upon A Studio is like visiting old friends. Perhaps you saw them recently, perhaps its been years, but you will always remember the times you had with them — and when you see them again, it is going to mean something special and dig up feelings inside of you.
Walt Disney created something truly special one hundred years ago. This short film makes sure to honor him, just as much as it does these characters. Get ready to laugh, cry, and just feel good. Once Upon A Studio is the perfect way to celebrate this studio and the magic that it makes.
Rating: 5 out of 5
About Once Upon A Studio
An all-star ensemble of beloved characters from Walt Disney Animation Studios come together in “Once Upon a Studio” for a joyful, entertaining and emotional reunion as they assemble for a spectacular group photo to mark Disney’s 100th anniversary.
Featuring 543 Disney characters from more than 85 feature-length and short films, “Once Upon a Studio” welcomes heroes and villains, princes and princesses, sidekicks and sorcerers—in all-new hand-drawn and CG animation—to celebrate 10 decades of storytelling, artistry and technological achievements.
Directed by Dan Abraham and Trent Correy and produced by Yvett Merino and Bradford Simonsen,
Once Upon a Studio makes it broadcast debut on ABC on Oct. 15, 2023.
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Tessa Smith is a Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer-approved Film and TV Critic. She is also a Freelance Writer. Tessa has been in the Entertainment writing business for almost ten years and is a member of several Critics Associations including the Critics Choice Association, Hollywood Critics Association, and the Greater Western New York Film Critics Association.