A Suspended Animation special
When we think of animation, usually we think of theatrical or television releases but there are many other venues that feature animation – especially theme parks.
The Disney Cruise Line launched in 1998 and now has four ships in the fleet. Two of them, Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy, are a floating art gallery with the walls decorated by animation story sketches, film stills and posters from the many classic Disney cartoons that had a nautical theme from King Neptune (1932) to How To Be a Sailor (1944) to Alice’s Day at Sea (1923) that was the very first Disney Studio in Hollywood animated short ever made and more.
In addition, the two ships feature Magic Portholes and Enchanted Art. The “magic virtual portholes” in the interior cabins of the Dream and Fantasy are round 42 inch monitors showing the sea and any outside activity in real time thanks to a live feed from cameras placed on the outside of the ship.
To heighten that experience, there are approximately three-dozen different animation snippets that overlay the actual image every fifteen minutes of so. While watching the ocean, a guest might see the steamboat from Steamboat Willie (1928) chugging along or Captain Hook dropping down from the top of the porthole screen clinging precariously by his hook over the sea where the crocodile leaps up and snaps at the helpless pirate or Goofy, in a segment from the cartoon short Hawaiian Holiday (1937), blissfully sailing across the top of the horizon while lying prone on his surfboard until it suddenly drops out from underneath him and he drops into the ocean.
Primarily near elevators and staircases are approximately twenty-two pieces of “Enchanted Art” that seem to resemble artwork for animation cels, theatrical cartoon posters or vintage photos among other things. They are actually LCD screens coated with an anti-glare so they blend in with the regular artwork and equipped with facial recognition sensors that sense someone looking for an extended period of time at the artwork, so it springs to life showing one of three different variations.
Two posters next to each other are for the Silly Symphonies Flowers and Trees (1932) and Birds in the Spring (1933). With a little patience, you can see a flock of black birds fly from one poster to another and then back again. One photo shows Walt sketching on a large piece of blank paper on a drawing easel and then the sketches come to life with brief animation from the first three Mickey Mouse cartoons: Plane Crazy, Gallopin’ Gaucho, and Steamboat Willie.
A painted cel from the classic Disney animated feature, Bambi (1942) depicts Thumper the Rabbit on a tree log looking at the young Bambi. One version has a butterfly land on Bambi’s nose making Thumper laugh so hard he rocks backward. Another version has the butterfly fly off of Bambi’s nose and tickle Thumper’s tummy and then it land on Bambi’s tail. The third version has Flower the skunk pop up from the underbrush while Bambi blows off the butterfly from his tail and it ends up on Flower’s nose. A laughing Flower falls back into the underbrush at the start of the next scene to start the cycle again.
Many of you will never have the opportunity to take a Disney cruise but here are a few out-of-the-ordinary pieces of Disney animation you might never have seen that relate to the Disney Cruise Line.
Shipped Out is the sixty-fourth episode and the sixth episode in season 4 of the Disney Channel Mickey Mouse Cartoons. It debuted August 25th, 2017 and is included in the Mickey Mouse cartoon rotation shown on the stateroom television. Written by Darrick Bachman, Paul Rudish, Dave Wasson and directed by Wasson.
It tells the story of an exhausted Mickey Mouse and Minnie taking a cruise vacation to relax. They have booked the all-inclusive V.I.P. experience so red-headed, perky cruise director Erica (voice of Illya Owens) and her subordinates force them into a variety of high energy “fun” activities including bungie jumping, gourmet food stuffing, rock climbing, paint ball, participating in a stage show and more.
While the ship has the colors of the DCL ship, the experience is meant to parody the offerings on the Royal Caribbean cruise line due to the inclusion of the FlowRider, the bowl slide, the SkyFly and more that exist on that cruise line but not on the DCL. In the end a disasterous fireworks demonstration while parasailing leaves Mickey and Minnie happily secluded on a deserted island where they can relax as the ship sails away.
Safety Smart: Boating Safety is a major priority on DCL with the crew receiving extensive and continuing training. Safety Smart: On the Go! Is a series of animated shorts based on the Wild About Safety episodes featuring the characters of Timon (voiced by Bruce Lanoil) & Pumbaa (voiced by Ernie Sabella) offering safety tips.
These episodes are sold by Disney on DVD for use in classrooms. As Disney states: “The two loveable characters will teach students in kindergarten through third grade the importance of always being on the look-out for safety problems. Together with Timon and Pumbaa, students will learn a variety of safety lesson that will help themselves and others avoid injuries.
Basically Timon does not know or follow safety procedures and Pumbaa must teach him.
In a two minute interstitial Safety Smart: On the Go! short devoted to boat safety, a DCL cruise ship is shown frequently in the background and references are made to safety measures on a cruise ship including the importance of life jackets.
This short series is displayed on television monitors in the lobby of the resorts in Walt Disney World and Disneyland to prepare younger guests for their cruise. These educational short films were produced by Disney Educational Productions, Duck Soup Studios and Underwriters Laboratories. The series is directed and produced by a writer for this site Dave Bossert, and written by Douglas Segal. The music is composed by Mark Walters.
Checkin’ In With Goofy. In February 2011, DCL released a two minute promotional webtoon done in Flash animation entitled Checkin’ In With Goofy. It is done in the style of the classic “How To…” animated shorts featuring Goofy to show people how easy it is to check in to embark on a Disney Cruise done in the style of the classic “How To” Goofy shorts.
The narrator is Corey Burton imitating John McLeish the original narrator for the 1940s shorts. (It is posted on YouTube as “Goofy Presents How to Take a Disney Cruise”).
The premise of the cartoon is that Goofy has a nightmare that there is so much paperwork to fill out at the terminal that he literally misses his ship. In reality, the cartoon points out the required paperwork can easily be done at home on the internet including picking a boarding time.
When Goofy is filling in his cruise paperwork he is standing between the characters Roger and Anita from 101 Dalmatians. There is a Hidden Mickey head on Goofy’s computer. According to his check-in information, Goofy lives at the same address where the Walt Disney Animation Studio in Burbank is located. As the ship pulls away, the audience can see that it is the Disney Dream.
For more information about animation related things on the Disney Cruise Line and the history of its creation like Michael Eisner wanting an oil tanker outfitted as a five story floating theme park to travel to ports around the world, make sure you pick up a copy of my latest book Hidden Treasures of the Disney Cruise Line.