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Once Upon a Studio is a 2023 live-action/animated short film special produced by Walt Disney Animation Studios. The short features Mickey Mouse assembling a large gallery of legendary Disney characters for a centennial group photo.

Created to commemorate the 100th anniversary of The Walt Disney Company, Once Upon a Studio combines live-action footage with both traditional and CGI animation. The film has been described as a "love letter" to the company's flagship animation studio, as well as "a thank you to anyone in the audience that's ever connected with a film over the last hundred years". Several key animators and voice talents returned to the studio to recreate their respective characters accurately.

Characters appear from all 62 feature films at the time of the film's release, numerous short films, and even some live-action Disney films featuring animation produced by the studio, such as The Reluctant Dragon (1941), Mary Poppins (1964), Bedknobs and Broomsticks (1971), and Pete's Dragon (1977), with the following exceptions being Song of the South (1946), So Dear to My Heart (1948), Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988), and Enchanted (2007).

The film was dedicated to Burny Mattinson, WDAS' longest-serving employee, who appeared in the short and passed away eight months prior to its release.

The film premiered on June 11, 2023 at the Annecy Film Festival and had its TV debut on ABC on October 15, 2023 to critical acclaim.

Synopsis[]

In Once Upon a Studio, an all-star ensemble of beloved characters from Walt Disney Animation Studios assembles to take a group photo in honor of The Walt Disney Company's 100th anniversary—making for a joyful, entertaining, and emotional reunion. Featuring 543 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.

Plot[]

Taking place in Burbank, California on October 16, 2023, when Walt Disney Animation Studios turned 100 years old, its employees are leaving the Roy E. Disney Animation Building as their usual work day is done and Burny Mattinson imagines about the walls of the studio coming alive after an intern, (Renika Williams), talks with him about the great history it made throughout the century.

Inside the studio, after the doors close, all is quiet when suddenly, Mickey Mouse, as seen in a production cel picture for Mickey's Birthday Party, comes to life, and calls Tinker Bell. Mickey questions if all of the employees have left, in which Tink replies yes with a nod. Excited, Mickey, along with his girlfriend Minnie Mouse, jump out of the picture, and Minnie gathers many characters from the studio's filmography with her signature "Yoo-Hoo!" signal, whether traditionally or computer animated. Tiana, Pinocchio, Judy Hopps, Nick Wilde, and Louis are the first to respond to the signal. Mickey calls to Bambi, Flower, and Thumper while the latter calls to Orville, Bernard, and Bianca. Minnie, alongside Rhino, Mittens, and Bolt, enlists Peter Pan to gather everyone from upstairs and he complies and flies off with Wendy, John, and Michael Darling.

During that, several gags of the characters interacting with one another happen all over the studio;

  • Sisu runs happily down the hall, followed by Jim Hawkins riding on his Alponian Solar Cruiser, Maui changes into his hawk form and flies into the hall while reminding Aladdin and Abu to meet in the lobby, and the former says he'll see them there while sliding down the railing with them ending up with the rock trolls, Vanellope von Schweetz and Dodger ride on the former's candy kart, Elliott takes Cody on a fun ride, Wayne and Lanny slide down on their ropes, and the Ocean drops Moana into the hall along with Flounder, who needed water.
  • Moana searches for water for Flounder. She approaches Merlin (who was at the Snuggly Duckling coffee area with his sugar bowl, the Mad Hatter, the March Hare, Lucille Krunklehorn, Mrs. Potts, Chip, and Cogsworth, who tells the others that they have no time for tea), and with his help, he casts a spell using the magic words, "Chapeaulius Bowlius" to summon water in the Mad Hatter's hat for Flounder to swim in, much to the former's pleasure, who then tells a passing Penguin Waiter with a plate of spaghetti and meatballs that "There's a carp in [his] cap."
  • After seeing an angry Stromboli trying to get a snack from the studio's vending machine, Elsa freezes Hans in his frame after Anna asks her if she thinks that all of the villains will be showing up (most likely because she would be worried about seeing Hans again after he tried to kill them in their film).
  • Donald Duck steps into an elevator with Carl, Terk, Humphrey the Bear, Ranger J. Audubon Woodlore, and Mother Gothel, when Flash calls from across the hall to hold the elevator as he slowly takes his time walking to them, much to Donald's annoyance.
  • Olaf draws on an animator's office desk humming "Friend Like Me" while using a book copy of Disney Animation: The Illusion of Life to boost his height while the Robin Williams Lost Boy, Timon, and Pumbaa pass by, with the former telling him to shake a leg (in which Olaf replies that the leg won't make a difference because it's all in the wrist) when the Genie bursts out of the drawing, sending Olaf to pieces and he uses his magic to put him back together.
  • While Prince John, Thomas O'Malley, Chicken Little, Milo Thatch, Happy, the Headless Horseman, and Gaston, who sings about himself while doing so, are freshening up in the men's room for the picture, the Cheshire Cat appears in front of his face laughing. Then Minnie opens the door while covering her eyes and tells them to move it.
  • While Christopher Robin, Kanga, and Eeyore try to free Winnie the Pooh from his picture, Antonio Madrigal speaks with Cinderella's bird friends, Meeko, Cri-kee, Pascal, and Pua about meeting in the lobby while stopping Joanna the Goanna from eating Jaq and Gus before getting spooked by an angry barking Pluto.
  • While MacBadger, Ratty, Mole, Ryder, Honeymaren, Sven, and Kristoff walk by, Kristoff warns some Dalmatian puppies, who are watching "Night on Bald Mountain" on a TV, that they'll have nightmares when Chernabog pops out of the TV, scaring the puppies and they run away and, in the process, run over Scrooge McDuck, who had just came out from his picture, causing him to drop his money bags, which Robin Hood and Little John grab.
  • At this point, Flash finally makes it into the elevator, much to the exasperation of the others, especially Donald who he thanked for holding the elevator. Baymax then squeezes into the elevator after he makes it, resulting in an increase of Donald's frustration enough to be thrown into a quacking fit when the fully-occupied elevator closes its doors.
  • While Ursula is being followed and annoyed by a lovestruck Splat, Cinderella and Prince Charming follow down the stairs, where the prince is the one to drop his shoe, much to their humor. Max picks up the shoe and runs off with it. Charming calls for Eric while Cinderella cheers for Max.
  • Mickey was amused by this when he sees Kaa leading Clarabelle Cow with his hypnosis. He desperately tells him to stop, but Rapunzel says she has it covered, hitting Kaa with her frying pan offscreen to save her.

While all of this is happening, Mickey looks up at a portrait of the late company founder, Walt Disney and takes his hat off to pay respects and fondly remember his legacy. Minnie reminds Mickey that everyone is in the lobby as Mickey speaks to the portrait saying that he has to go and thanks him declaring, "On with the show.", foreshadowing The Walt Disney Company's bright future ahead.

Mickey flies down the lobby stairs amongst some of the other characters to the entrance on Dumbo while Toby Turtle, Bowler Hat Guy, and DOR-15 avoid them. After Raya tells Mickey that the coast is clear, everyone goes outside to take the group photo. During the outside gathering, Wreck-It Ralph bumps in front of the door, but is okay, while Scar comes out feeling annoyed by those he refers to as "idiots" around him while Mr. Toad flies around the area on the Magic Carpet. Meanwhile, Ichabod Crane ducks from a ladder being held by Goofy. After Jock and Trusty walk by, Flora turns the building's hat structure pink while Merryweather quickly changes it back to blue. Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, (in black and white), is the last to arrive for the photo as he positions himself next to Pacha and Kuzco, (in llama form), in which Mickey allows Oswald to do so. Oswald tips his ears to say thank you to Mickey, but Kuzco warns him to keep a distance.

Everything is all set as Rafiki hands Goofy an old fashioned camera. However, things backfire as Goofy tries to find the timer button for the camera, he accidentally falls off the ladder, breaking it, shortly after Iago timed it with a three second countdown. Stitch chews on a part of the camera, but Lilo drags him away. Grumpy expresses a sarcastic comment saying "Well, that was fun." and Eeyore states that they might try again next century. Hiro, Go-Go, Honey Lemon, Wasabi, and Fred along with Friar Tuck, the Big Bad Wolf, Professor Ludwig Von Drake, Arthur Pendragon, and King Leonidas, among many of the others, leave in disappointment as the group photo is cancelled and ruined. Mickey tries to assure everyone that everything will be fine, but soon loses hope.

Just then, as everyone begins heading back inside, Alan-a-Dale plays "When You Wish Upon a Star" on his lute, joined in by Scat Cat on his trumpet, Mirabel Madrigal on her accordion, and Hathi Jr. using his trunk as a trumpet as everyone, including Taffyta Muttonfudge and Johnny Appleseed, returns to listen. Then the singing starts with Belle and the Beast's duet as Lewis and Wilbur Robinson, the Queen of Hearts, Penny, Pecos Bill, and Widowmaker listen, much to Hades' annoyance. Quasimodo, Pocahontas, Ariel, Scuttle, Baloo, and Mowgli also join in singing along. As the background chorus sings, the other characters help undo Goofy's mistake with the magic brooms sweeping up his camera in a pile, Fix-It Felix Jr. fixing it with his magic hammer, Hercules putting the ladder back in position with his super strength, and the Fairy Godmother using her magic wand to lift Goofy up over the ladder while he places the camera on top of it, and sets the timer. As the trio of Snow White, Mulan, and Asha, Winnie the Pooh, Jiminy Cricket, and the rest of the cast sing the last verse of the song and smile for the photo, Tinker Bell then uses her wand to cut from the scene to where the group photo on the wall is taken (most likely in the studio's lobby), and the film ends with the tagline, "To all who have imagined with us, laughed with us, and dreamed with us, Thank You."

Once Upon A Studio Group PhotoDL

The group photo that concludes the short, featuring over 500 Disney characters from multiple feature films and shorts represented.

At the end of the credits, a dedication to Mattinson appears that reads "For our pal Burny and his 70 years of legendary storytelling at Disney Animation."

Cast[]

Main article: List of characters in Once Upon a Studio

Live-action[]

  • Burny Mattinson as himself
  • Renika Williams as herself playing a Disney intern

Animated[]

Because nearly 3-9 decades had passed since the debuts of their original Disney animated franchises, a new cast of voice actors are used for almost all the Disney cartoon characters created from the 1920s-1980s in this short, with none of the returning cast members from Walt Disney's lifetime reprising their roles (excluding archival recordings of their voice work) due to them being retired or deceased at the time this short was made. Meanwhile, most of the voice actors from Disney's animated franchises of the late-1980s to 2020s reprise their roles in this short, with a few exceptions.

Additional voices were provided by Tony Anselmo, Libe Barer, Bob Bergen, Kimberly Brooks, Liza Del Mundo, Fryda Wolff, Debi Derryberry, Jessica DiCicco, Bill Farmer, Stephanie Sheh, Eric Goldberg, Jennie Kwan, Linda Larkin, Sean Schemmel, Ashly Burch, Brandon McGibbon, Melanie Minichino, Cristina Vee, Lynwood Robinson, Sarah-Nicole Robles, Kaitlyn Robrock, Lisa Linder Silver, Kath Soucie, Myrna Velasco, Katie Von Till, Hynden Walch, and Frank Welker.

Also appearing are Tinker Bell, Bambi, Flower, Friend Owl, Bolt, Mittens, Penny, Wendy Darling, John Darling, Michael Darling, the Lost Boys, Nana, Tick-Tock the Crocodile, Jock, Lady, Tramp, Peg, Fauna, Christopher Robin, Kanga, Roo, Meeko, Flit, John Smith, Nakoma, Chief Powhatan, Governor Ratcliffe, Percy, Ocean, Pua, Heihei, Cri-Kee, Mushu, Li Shang, Yao, Ling, and Chien Po, Pascal, Cinderella's bird friends, Perla, Happy, Doc, Dopey, Sneezy, Sleepy, Bashful, the Prince, the Evil Queen (in Old Hag form), Blue Fairy, Geppetto, Figaro, Cleo, Honest John, Gideon, Aurora, Prince Phillip, Maleficent, Pongo, Perdita, the Dalmatian Puppies, Roger Radcliffe, Anita Radcliffe, Nanny, Cruella De Vil, John Henry, Amos, Benjamin Franklin, Philoctetes, Rutt and Tuke, Kenai, Koda, Maggie, Mrs. Calloway, Grace, the Small One, Cyril Proudbottom, Angus MacBadger, Mole, Water Rat, Ichabod Crane, Katrina Van Tassel, Brom Bones, The Headless Horseman, Ryder, Honeymaren, Lieutenant Mattias, Sven, Oaken, Grand Pabbie, Bruni, Hiro Hamada, Go Go Tomago, Fred, Honey Lemon, Wasabi, Aunt Cass, Chernabog, Tuk Tuk, Boun, Noi, Tong, Namaari, Splat, Jaeger Clade, Searcher Clade, Ethan Clade, Meridian Clade, Callisto Mal, Legend, Prince Eric, Sebastian, Max, Luisa Madrigal, Pacha, Kronk, Yzma, Bagheera, Shere Khan, King Louie, Colonel Hathi, Winifred, Hathi, Jr., Shanti, Lady Tremaine, Lucifer, Anastasia Tremaine, Drizella Tremaine, Mr. Smee, Captain Hook, Fifer Pig, Fiddler Pig, Practical Pig, the Big Bad Wolf, Horace Horsecollar, Clarabelle Cow, Clara Cluck, Chip and Dale, Huey, Dewey, and Louie, Daisy Duck, Pete, Spike the Bee, Ludwig Von Drake, Susie the Little Blue Coupe, Pecos Bill, Widowmaker, Slue-Foot Sue, Joe, Jenny, the Golden Harp, Bongo the Bear, Humphrey the Bear, J. Audubon Woodlore, Mother Gothel, Taran, Eilonwy, Fflewddur Fflam, Hen Wen, Gurgi, Creeper, the Horned King, Ferdinand the Bull, Johnny Appleseed, Alice Blue Bonnet, Johnny Fedora, the Reluctant Dragon, Peter, Sonia, Sasha, Ivan, Flynn Rider, Maximus, Fix-It Felix Jr., Sergeant Calhoun, Taffyta Muttonfudge, King Candy, KnowsMore, Shank, Yesss, Mirabel Madrigal, Alma Madrigal, Agustín Madrigal, Julieta Madrigal, Isabela Madrigal, Pepa Madrigal, Félix Madrigal, Camilo Madrigal, Dolores Madrigal, Bruno Madrigal, one of his rats, Marie, Berlioz, Toulouse, Tod, Copper, Squeaks, Oliver, Georgette, Tito, Francis, Einstein, Rita, Duchess, Thomas O'Malley, Roquefort, Scat Cat, Edgar, Simba, Nala (both as cubs), Pumbaa, Zazu, Shenzi, Banzai, and Ed, Fairy Godmother, Jafar, Jasmine, Rajah, the Sultan, Magic Carpet, Wayne, Lanny, Alan-A-Dale, Basil, Olivia Flaversham, David Q. Dawson, Ratigan, Fidget, Esmeralda, Djali, Phoebus, Frollo, Victor, Hugo, and Laverne, Dumbo, Timothy Q. Mouse, Aladar, Plio, Yar, Zini, Suri, Hercules, Megara, Pegasus, Zeus, Pain and Panic, Piglet, Tigger, Owl, Rabbit, Gopher, Prince John, Sir Hiss, Maid Marian, Lady Kluck, Sheriff of Nottingham, Friar Tuck, Skippy, Sis, Tagalong, Toby Turtle, Big Mama, Dinky and Boomer, Miss Bianca, Penny, Evinrude, Madame Medusa, Mr. Snoops, Orville, Wilbur, Jake, Percival C. McLeach, Lilo Pelekai, Nani Pelekai, David Kawena, Jumba Jookiba, Pleakley, Tarzan, Jane Porter, Terk, Tantor, Kala, Kerchak, Clayton, Milo Thatch, Kida Nedakh, Vincenzo Santorini, Audrey Ramirez, Joshua Sweet, Molière, Wilhelmina Packard, Cookie, Nessie, John Silver, Morph, B.E.N., Captain Amelia, Dr. Delbert Doppler, Lumiere, Mrs. Potts, Chip Potts, Maurice, LeFou, Lewis Robinson, Wilbur Robinson, Lucille Krunklehorn, DOR-15, Arthur Pendragon, Archimedes, Madam Mim, Merlin's sugar bowl, the March Hare, Alice, the White Rabbit, Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum, the Queen of Hearts, the King of Hearts, the Penguin Waiters, Fifi, José Carioca, Panchito Pistoles, Pedro, Ben Ali Gator, Hyacinth Hippo, Madame Upanova, Bacchus, Jacchus, Melinda, Brudus, Yen Sid, the Magic Brooms, Duke, Flying John, Rachel, Joe, Prince Naveen, Ray, Charlotte La Bouff, Mama Odie, Juju, Dr. Facilier, King Leonidas, the Secretary Bird, Chicken Little, Abby Mallard, Runt of the Litter, Fish Out of Water, Lambert Lion, Chief Bogo, Clawhauser, Gazelle, Mr. Big, Fru Fru, Koslov, Bellwether, The Ugly Duckling, the Robin Williams Lost Boy from Back to Never Land, Winston from Feast, George and the lipstick paper airplane from Paperman, Paul from Inner Workings, Art and Dot from Us Again, four Skeletons from The Skeleton Dance, Boy Tree and Lady Tree from Flowers and Trees, Casey, and Oswald the Lucky Rabbit.

Dan Abraham and Trent Correy, the directors of the short film, make cameo appearances holding the door for Mattinson and Williams.

Release[]

Following its debut at the Annecy Film Festival on June 11, 2023, subsequent releases include a theatrical release on October 13, 2023 alongside the Disney 100 limited engagement re-release of Moana and its broadcast debut on October 15, 2023 as part of The Wonderful World of Disney: Disney's 100th Anniversary Celebration on ABC.[1] The short then debuted October 16, 2023 on Disney+ and Hulu.[2] The short premiered on the same day as part of Once Upon A Monday Movie Marathon on the Disney Channel, as well as on Disney Junior, FX, FXX, FXM, and Freeform.[3] The short was uploaded on Walt Disney Animation Studios' YouTube channel on December 24, 2023.[4] The short appeared as a bonus feature on the Blu-ray release of Wish on March 12, 2024[5]

Marketing[]

The official trailer was released on September 21, 2023.

Songs[]

Videos[]

Gallery[]

Wiki
The Disney Wiki has a collection of images and media related to Once Upon a Studio.

Trivia[]

Archive audio re-usage[]

Active audio voice footage from various Walt Disney Animation Studios productions were used in this short to voice certain characters. Among of them include:

References[]

  1. Goodfellow, Melanie (June 11, 2023). "Annecy Animation Fest Opens On Defiantly Positive Note After Knife Attack; Ceremony Features World Premiere Of Disney 100th Anniversary Short". Deadline.
  2. Palmer, Roger (October 15, 2023). "What's Coming To Disney+ In October 2023 (US)". What's on Disney Plus.
  3. The Disney Beat (October 9, 2023). "Once Upon A Monday Movie Marathon | Disney Channel Promo | Disney 100 EVENT". YouTube.
  4. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gB90me0aqSY
  5. https://www.comingsoon.net/movies/trailers/1482609-wish-digital-4k-and-blu-ray-release-dates-set-for-disney-movie
  6. Gad, Josh (June 11, 2023). "Now that it's premiered at Annecy, I'm so excited to finally have the world see what @DisneyAnimation has created to celebrate the incredible 100 year legacy of the studio. I nearly cried when I was told Olaf would appear alongside the Genie, utilizing previously unheard audio from my idol #RobinWilliams". Instagram.
  7. Reif, Alex (June 17, 2023). "Interview: "Once Upon a Studio" Directors Trent Correy and Dan Abraham Geek Out Over Disney Animation History". Laughing Place.
  8. https://www.disney.co.jp/movie/wish/news/20231115_01
  9. https://www.instagram.com/sharktooth72/p/C015jW5Rl8V/?img_index=1
  10. https://www.instagram.com/sharktooth72/p/C0xgzdUR0jB/?img_index=1
  11. https://www.instagram.com/sharktooth72/p/C1p1P1zypBP/?img_index=6
  12. https://www.instagram.com/p/C0moQcbPV5R/
  13. https://www.reddit.com/r/cartoons/comments/1af7jyr/once_upon_a_studio_deleted_scene_disney/
  14. https://twitter.com/DisneyTVANews/status/1748407162882175415
  15. https://www.instagram.com/sharktooth72/p/CzOuO1Ex9bh/
  16. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xPMbYHf3PD8

External links[]

See also[]

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