Walt Disney arrived in Los Angeles 100 years ago this year, and with his brother Roy, founded the “Disney Brothers Cartoon Studios.” From that seed, an empire of animated classics was born. As Walt was fond of saying, “It all started with a mouse.” But it quickly expanded beyond Mickey Mouse, and now includes a metric ton of beloved characters. To celebrate 100 years, Walt Disney Animation Studios has crafted a short film called Once Upon a Studio. In it, Mickey Mouse gathers hundreds of his fellow cartoon icons together for a group photo on the Disney lot. You can watch the first trailer for it right here.
This short will feature a mix of old and new Disney animated icons. Some were voiced by their original actors in new recordings, others using archival audio from classic films. Returning voice actors include Jodi Benson as The Little Mermaid’s Ariel, Paige O’Hara as Belle from Beauty and the Beast, and Kristen Bell, Idina Menzel, and Josh Gad from Frozen. Even Dwayne Johnson pops up as Maui from Moana. In terms of archival footage, you can hear Bobby Driscoll as Peter Pan in the trailer. The film also uses archival audio of Sterling Holloway as Winnie the Pooh. Even Robin Williams as the Genie shows up, using unused recordings from Aladdin.
Ultimately, some 400 animated characters from a century of films appear in this short film. So it’ll invite repeat viewings to see just which characters made the final cut. They premiered Once Upon a Studio in June at the Annecy Film Festival, and it debuts on broadcast on October 15 on ABC’s The Wonderful World of Disney: Disney’s 100th Anniversary Celebration. It feels like this one will be a real treat for all true Disney animation fans.