Olaf's Frozen Adventure is an animated musical/fantasy featurette produced by Walt Disney Animation Studios. It is based on the animated film, Frozen, which mostly follows the film's comic reliefs, Olaf and Sven. It premiered in front of Pixar Animation Studios' nineteenth full-length animated motion picture Coco on November 22, 2017.
It is Christmas time in the Kingdom of Arendelle, and the castle is buzzing with excitement. It is also Queen Elsa and Princess Anna's first holiday since Elsa became Queen, and the sisters are going to throw a surprise party for the entire kingdom ("Ring in the Season"). Olaf, full of Christmas spirit, cannot wait for the celebrations to begin. The courtyard is soon filled with the townspeople. Kristoff and Sven wheel in the giant Yule Bell, which Anna and Elsa ring to officially announce the holidays to begin.
However, instead of entering the holiday party, all the townspeople walk away as the castle doors open. The villagers are going home to enjoy their family traditions, and they do not want to intrude on Anna and Elsa's traditions. Kristoff tries to cheer up Anna and Elsa by sharing a tradition that he and Sven have always enjoyed with the trolls. Sven brings in a mud troll named Flemmingrad (a troll who was killed trying to flee through a tight mountain pass from humans), and everyone must lick his forehead to make a wish. However, Anna and Elsa are not keen to lick the troll and pass on the offer.
Following Anna and Elsa into the ballroom, Olaf wants to know about their favorite family tradition (since the Yule Bell ringing ceremony is a tradition for the kingdom of Arendelle, not for the family themselves). Sadly, Anna and Elsa do not believe they have a personal tradition, especially after the gates were closed and the two sisters became distant from each other. Elsa blames herself for them not having a family tradition, and sadly leaves the room. Olaf does not like seeing Anna and Elsa upset (Anna especially, being reminded of what it was like for Elsa to shut her out the last 13 years), and suddenly comes up with an idea to find them a tradition.
Accompanied by Sven and taking Kristoff's sleigh, Olaf goes door to door, asking people about their family traditions. The first thing he sees is a family who make candy canes together each year. Olaf likes the family's tradition, especially when he is given a candy cane and instantly gets a sugar rush when he replaces his nose with it. However, there are still many more to find. Going from house to house, Olaf learns all about the different things families do together for the holidays. He puts something from every household onto the sleigh, and soon it is overflowing with wonderful traditions for Anna and Elsa.
Around nighttime, at Wandering Oaken's Trading Post and Sauna, Oaken greets Olaf and Sven, who both join the Oaken family in their holiday tradition; relaxing in the sauna. Afterwards, Olaf and Sven return to the castle with a sauna on the sleigh. They are very pleased with all the traditions they found. As they make their way through the mountains, a hot coal from the sauna tumbles out and falls into the pile of traditions, setting the whole sleigh on fire. The burning sleigh drags Olaf and Sven down the mountainside. They are flung to opposite sides of the ravine as the sleigh goes over the cliff and explodes into the snow below. The traditions they found are gone, except for a fruitcake. Olaf tells Sven he will meet him back at the castle, and skips off into the dark woods. In the distance, Sven hears the howling of hungry wolves chasing Olaf. He races back towards the castle to get help.
Back at the castle, Elsa feels bad about walking away from Anna, and decides to go and look for her sister. She finds her in the attic, looking through her old trunk from her childhood. She wants to know what is in Elsa's trunk, and finds it only full of gloves. Elsa lifts out a row of gloves and her childhood stuffed penguin Sir Jorgen Bjorgen. She reaches into her trunk and pulls out a small wooden box with two tiny bells on it. She hands it to Anna and tells her to look inside. Anna opens the box, and her face brightens.
Meanwhile, Sven, split off from Olaf, races back to the castle. He bursts into the stables and tries to tell Kristoff that Olaf is in danger, but does not understand. Anna and Elsa appear in the doorway, and instantly know what Sven is trying to say. Anna takes charge and orders everyone to gather for a search and rescue. Anna, Elsa, Kristoff, Sven, and an Arendelle search party head into the mountains in search of Olaf. Anna and Elsa call for their friend several times, but get no reply.
Suddenly, the sisters hear a sad, familiar voice. Anna and Elsa look around and see a carrot sticking out of a large pile of snow. After pulling him out of the snow, Olaf tells them everything that had happened. He tells Anna and Elsa about the traditions he lost, and was sorry that he could not give them one. Anna shakes her head, admitting, it turns out, she and Elsa did have a holiday tradition. Anna shows Olaf the box, full of artwork of him, both drawings and a sculpture. Elsa tells Olaf that it was him who brought them together and kept them connected when they were apart. Every year, Anna would make some artwork of Olaf and slip it under Elsa's door. Elsa would then keep it all in a box. The sisters both treasured the artwork, because it reminded them of their childhood and of how much they loved each other. Olaf is delighted and surprised, because he now knows that Anna and Elsa had a holiday tradition after all; he was their tradition.
Kristoff, Sven, and the rest of the search party gathers around, overjoyed to see Olaf safe and sound. Elsa wants to do something special to celebrate. She uses her magic to create a sparkling ice Christmas tree, and decorates it with lanterns from the search party. She also makes a star of ice around Anna's small Olaf sculpture. Then Olaf hangs it on top of the tree. Elsa and Anna are happy and grateful to be with family and friends. Elsa looks around and thinks Arendelle has a new tradition, to which Anna agrees and thanks Olaf.
- Josh Gad as Olaf
- Idina Menzel as Elsa
- Eva Bella as Young Elsa
- Kristen Bell as Anna
- Jonathan Groff as Kristoff
- Frank Welker as Sven
- Chris Williams as Oaken
- John de Lancie as Mr. Olsen
- Lauri Fraser as Mrs. Olsen
- Benjamin Deter as Candy cane kid
The short was announced to air on ABC in late 2017 as a television special. As development increased, however, the project was deemed "too cinematic" for television, thus became a theatrical featurette. Emmy award-winning directors Kevin Deters and Stevie Wermers-Skelton are set to direct the project, while Roy Conli (Big Hero 6) is set to produce.
Frozen songwriters Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez were too busy to helm the music for the project, but were directly involved in the choosing of the songwriting duo Kate Anderson and Elyssa Samsel. Four original songs were composed for the special.
When speaking to Entertainment Weekly about the featurette, executive producer John Lasseter explained that the short will coexist alongside the original 2013 Frozen and the 2015 short Frozen Fever as one coherent story-arc for Anna and Elsa, which will all coalesce in the 2019 full-length feature sequel, Frozen II.
Olaf's Frozen Adventure was released in theaters along with Pixar's Coco on November 22, 2017 for the first three weeks of the film's release. In the UK, it was again released with a re-release of Frozen on November 25 and 26, 2017. A DVD of the special was later released in the UK on December 7, available exclusively at Tesco. In Brazil, it was released on Disney Channel and Disney Junior on December 8, 2017, due to Coco being premiered on theatres only on January 4, 2018.
Olaf's Frozen Adventure made its US television debut in December 14, 2017 on ABC. The short was released with six bonus shorts on digital platforms on December 17, 2017 with a blu-ray combo pack release slated for November 13, 2018.
- Italy-based publishing company Panini relesed internationally a collection with a total of 192 stickers, during the featurette's run in theaters.
- Party supplies company WOW released a package of stickers, prior the featurette's release.
- Hasbro released prior the featurette's release, a Arendelle Traditions Collection set, with mini figures of the main characters.
- An Advent Calendar was released.
- A POP figure of Olaf with kittens by Funko, was released.
The week after Coco's release in Mexico, local media noted audiences' strong dislike for the length of the short film (even though Disney's previous featurette, The Prince and the Pauper, was four minutes longer). A few days later, all the cinemas in Mexico offered apologies for it and removed the short film from exhibition. Alissa Wilkinson of Vox.com also reported that audiences in North America have been critical of Disney's decision of screening the 21-minute short film before the main attraction. She additionally felt that the short would have been better off released on television as announced originally instead.
Simon Boyle of The Sun wrote that the short film "doesn't disappoint", adding it "provides a perfect bridge to the hotly anticipated full sequel".
Disney announced the short would no longer appear in front of Coco in the U.S. as of December 8th, bringing its limited release to an end after just sixteen days. Because of the 21-minute shorter running time, theaters would have more space to schedule extra showtimes for Coco.
- This is the first Frozen project not to be directed by Jennifer Lee and Chris Buck (though they were consulted), produced by Peter Del Vecho, or to feature music written by the Lopez couple. Christophe Beck did return to compose the music score with uncredited composer Jeff Morrow, however.
- Jennifer Lee came up with the gag of Elsa's chest being filled with gloves.
- This is the first Disney featurette to be theatrically released since 1990's Mickey Mouse short The Prince and the Pauper.
- This is the second non-Pixar short to be theatrically released with a Pixar film after 1990's Roger Rabbit short Roller Coaster Rabbit (which was theatrically reissued with Toy Story back in 1995). However, in the United Kingdom, since Coco was not released in the UK until January 19, 2018, the short was instead shown with special screenings of Frozen on November 25 and 26.
- This is the second theatrical Frozen short after Frozen Fever.
- Arendelle is more firmly connected to the real Norway by way of "making a giant cookie in the shape of Norway" being one of the traditions Olaf stumbles upon. Some viewers saw this as a response to criticisms of the Frozen Ever After attraction's placement in Epcot's Norway Pavilion that hated the idea of a "Norway-inspired fantasy kingdom" taking over a showcase of actual Norwegian culture.
- The painting of young Anna and Elsa with King Agnarr and Queen Iduna seen in the castle is based on a piece of concept art for the original Frozen (a notable difference is that the hair color in the concept art was changed to match the final designs of Agnarr and Iduna in the film).
- This is the second Frozen production to be shot in the 1.78:1 aspect ratio after the Lego Frozen: Northern Lights TV special, unlike the original Frozen film and Frozen Fever, both of which were produced from 2.24:1 to 2.39:1.
- Before settling on the subject matter of Christmas, various other ideas were thrown around for an Olaf-centric short, including:
- When aired on ABC, the brief montage of Anna and Elsa gathering the citizens of Arendelle to search for Olaf was cut.
- There are several Easter eggs featured during Olaf's song "That Time of Year".
- Figurines of Lanny and Wayne from Prep & Landing, seen twice in the villagers' homes.
- A plush doll of Nessie from The Ballad of Nessie, found on Kristoff's sled. The Nessie plush is seen again when the sled catches fire and races towards a gorge.
- A Sugar Rush bear animal cracker from Wreck-It Ralph and Baymax's rocket fist from Big Hero 6, found on Kristoff's sled towards the finale.
- Two dolls that a little girl owns are the same dolls that Anna was seen playing with during "Do You Want to Build a Snowman?" in Frozen.
- King Agnarr and Queen Iduna's travel luggage from Frozen can be seen stored in Anna's attic.
- In the junior novelization, Sir Jorgenbjorgen's name is spelled Sir Jorgenborgen.
- The candy cane kid's name is revealed to be Ben in the junior novelization. His mother's name is Frigga.
- This is, so far, the last Walt Disney Animation Studios short film to have a theatrical release, due to Disney+ launching their own series of WDAS shorts simply titled Short Circuit beginning in 2020.
- One family owns a menorah, which is used for celebrating a Jewish holiday (Hanukkah) which is earlier in December.
- This Frozen production has many things for a first in the series, such as:
- It is entirely possible that Olaf's Frozen Adventure foreshadows Frozen II due to a symbol that resembles the spirits of the Enchanted Forest in "The Ballad of Flemmingrad".
- When Elsa, Anna, Olaf walk back into the castle the door behind them is open but a few seconds later the door is closed behind them.
- When Kristoff's sleigh falls down a gorge, Sven's harness is still hooked up, but it did not get destroyed.
- Jones, Daniel (December 6, 2017). "Joy for Frozen fans as Disney confirms spin-off DVD that goes on sale TOMORROW". Retrieved on December 8, 2017. .
- Ryan Watson (May 10, 2017). "Latest film release changes: Coco pops in 2018". Digital Cinema Media. Retrieved on September 8, 2017.
- Duncan, Amy (September 7, 2017). "Olaf's Frozen Adventure gets a new trailer as Disney unveils special plans for its November launch", Metro, DMG Media. Retrieved on September 8, 2017.
- "The Olaf 'Frozen' Sequel Storylines That The Creators Scrapped Are Straight Up Hilarious". Bustle (November 21, 2017).