Cressman’s review: Disney’s “Once Upon a Studio”

Celebrating 100 years of magic

Published by James Cressman, Date: November 7, 2023
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If you are a fan of Disney films and a subscriber to Disney+, you will want to check out “Once Upon a Studio.”  This original short film was released on Oct. 16 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Disney Studios.

The film brings together all of our favorite Disney characters, including that of Oswald the Rabbit, Walt Disney’s first company “mascot” prior to the creation of Mickey Mouse.

Taking place in the Walt Disney Animation Studios located in Burbank, California, the film begins with the animators leaving work at the end of the day. As soon as the coast is clear, Mickey and Minnie spring to life and begin gathering other classic characters together for a group photo.

For the first time, fans can see characters like Moana from the film by the same name and Flounder from “The Little Mermaid” interact with one another. Even Genie from “Aladdin” makes an appearance, once again being voiced by Robin Williams with the help of unused footage from the films.

Of course, the film is not without a little chaos, and anything is bound to happen any time Goofy is given responsibility.

Throughout the film, beloved Disney melodies accompany the characters as they make their way through the studios.

In the midst of all the chaos and fun, Mickey finds himself standing in front of a large framed photo of Walt Disney, the man who made it all possible. For a brief moment, Mickey longingly stares at the portrait before continuing to join the others. Just before walking away, Mickey removes his hat and thanks Disney for “everything.” Driving the scene home, viewers can hear the melody for “Feed the Birds,” a song from one of Disney’s favorites, “Mary Poppins.”

All of the characters eventually gather outside the studio to take their photo to celebrate the 100th anniversary where they join in together and sing, “When You Wish Upon a Star.” This is a moment that will make any fan of Disney feel a lump in the back of their throat.

I cannot think of a more perfect way to celebrate 100 years of magic, which is exactly what this film is. No matter how old you are, this film will once again remind you of what it was like growing up with Walt Disney classics.

Disney’s “Once Upon a Studio” will remind audiences, in the words of Walt Disney himself, “The imagination, and the feeling of happiness and excitement” that they once knew when they were kids.

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