ABC is hosting a magical 100th anniversary celebration of The Walt Disney Company on Sunday evening, and fans won’t want to miss it.
No matter the plans you have for Sunday evening, you’ll be happy you canceled them when you see what Disney has in store for the evening on an ABC special presentation of The Wonderful World of Disney.
The special, titled Once Upon A Studio, will debut Sunday night, October 15, at 8:00 p.m. Eastern as part of The Wonderful World of Disney: Disney’s 100th Anniversary Celebration!
“Once Upon a Studio” is the brainchild of directors Dan Abraham and Trent Correy, who developed the pitch in secret for eight months before presenting it to Disney Animation Chief Creative Officer Jennifer Lee in late 2021. From its inception, they knew the short would be technically complicated—but they always saw the reward in the risk.
“Because we built the pitch for so long, the short hasn’t actually changed much,” Correy says. “We changed characters out and tightened up the pacing, but structurally, it’s basically the same as the pitch. We got Bradford Simonsen and Yvett Merino on board as producers very quickly, and Dan and I were lucky enough to be able to write, storyboard, and direct it. So, we jumped into editorial and started making it.”
Their first step was to turn the storyboard panels into a rough cut to assess what they had. “I have a visual effects and live-action background, so I started mapping the milestones of when to line up and hire a crew to shoot the plates; we wanted to start attacking that at the same time we were getting the boards up,” Simonsen says. “And then Yvett and I were chatting every day about this massive cast and how we were going to bring them all back.”
“That alone was another logistical challenge because we had over 40 of the original voices come back,” Merino explains. “We did everything from recording in-person to recording over Zoom when people were out of the state or out of the country. It was such a testament to their experiences with Disney Animation because the pitch was literally, ‘We’re doing a short to celebrate 100 years. We have a line for you. Would you like to be involved?’ Everyone we reached out to said yes, and they did so without knowing anything.”
Earlier this year, Disney released a sizzle reel titled Traditions, and the less-than-two-minutes-long presentation brought on misty eyes to fans young and old who easily find themselves lost in the traditions, nostalgia, and magic of classic Disneyana.
The special presentation of Once Upon a Studio will also feature a brand-new take on the classic Disney lullaby, “Feed the Birds,” written by the Sherman Brothers and made popular by Disney’s 1964 Mary Poppins. Richard Sherman was back at the piano in Walt Disney’s old office to give the lullaby a magical update–one that surely Walt would love, as the song was among his favorite of all the classic Disney songs created for his films.
Don’t miss ABC’s special presentation of The Wonderful World of Disney: Disney’s 100th Anniversary Celebration! on Sunday, October 15, at 8:00 p.m. ET.