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Creator / Disneytoon Studios

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Disneytoon Studios was one of Disney's animated studios. It was established in 2003 to produce Disney's Direct to Video sequels, though the studio technically dates back to The '90s under the name "Disney MovieToons" and then "Disney Video Premiere".

The studio's first work was DuckTales the Movie: Treasure of the Lost Lamp in 1990, however in 1994 they began working on what they are best known for: Direct to Videonote  sequels. Disneytoon has worked on dozens of Disney Animated Canon sequels, prequels, and interquels over the years. On top of that, they are also known for their Classic Disney Shorts-related films and their Winnie the Pooh films.

However, in 2007, new head honcho John Lasseter cancelled all of the direct-to-video projects that were in development—namely sequels to Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Dumbo, Pinocchio, The Aristocats, Chicken Little, and Meet the Robinsons, along with the upcoming Disney's Dwarfs and Disney Princess Enchanted Tales. Tinker Bell and The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Beginning were also put on hold for a while, as the studio shifted from Disney sequels and spinoffs to Disney Fairies and Planes.

In June 2018, Disney announced that they would be shutting down Disneytoon effective immediately, resulting in an untitled project dated for April 19, 2019, believed to be a third Planes movie, being cancelled. The closure was due to the continued decline of the direct-to-video market, Lasseter's unceremonious departure following allegations of sexual misconduct and later the arrival of Blue Sky Studios as a third animation brand for Disney (alongside their main feature animation division and Pixar) through its buyout of Twentieth Century Fox, in turn rendering Disneytoon redundant (although they would later end up shutting down Blue Sky as well).

The term "Cheapquel" originated with this studio, mocking the infamous sequels, though even fans of them freely use it since many of the films were made as quick cash-grab follow-ups.

For tropes exclusive to specific works, see their respective pages.

Animated films produced by Disneytoon Studios:note 

    open/close all folders 

    Classic Disney Characters 

    Disney Animated Canon 

    Winnie the Pooh 

    One Saturday Morning 

    Disney Fairies 
  • Tinker Bell (October 28, 2008)
  • Tinker Bell and the Lost Treasure (October 27, 2009)
  • Tinker Bell and the Great Fairy Rescue (September 21, 2010)
  • Secret of the Wings (October 23, 2012)*
  • The Pirate Fairy (April 1, 2014)*
  • Tinker Bell and the Legend of the NeverBeast (March 3, 2015)*


Tropes common in Disneytoon Studios works:

  • Animation Bump: Most of the studio's early sequels were a clear downgrade from the company's mainstream works, with almost television episode-level quality and budget. As the studio was reworked and animation transitioned to digital however, a lot of projects became far more polished and better at replicating the original films.
  • Art Shift: The animation quality and even the art style of their films is all over the place due to the various sub studios they were outsourced to, though the later films at least try to have a style of art and movement consistent with the look of the '90s/early 2000s Disney features. In part due to consolidating most of the work to either Disney Australia or Toon City (or both, depending on the film).
  • Breakout Character: A lot of Disneytoon's projects shifted Character Focus compared to the original films, giving more development to what were originally minor bit players. The Winnie the Pooh projects in particular gave Tigger, Piglet and Roo all individual films as the central character.
  • B-Team Sequel: All of the sequels they made fall into this, since they were developed by one of Disney's sub-studios (which were then outsourced to Disney's other animation outlets or outside studios like Toon City and Wang Film Productions in turn) rather than being done in-house. The main staff of Disney's feature animation department had little to no involvement with the bulk of the sequels either. In the case of the sequels to Disney's older films, such as Cinderella II and III, Lady and the Tramp II and Bambi II, most of the original staff were either retired or dead, so it wasn't like they could put the original teams for them back together anyway. Mitigating this is that several artists who worked on the mainline Disney features, such as Brian Pimental and Andreas Deja, occasionally did work on the sequels.
  • CamelCase: The studio's original name "Disney MovieToons". Additionally, Disneytoon's name was commonly stylized as "DisneyToon".
  • Canon Discontinuity: Most of the sequels produced by Disneytoon are not acknowledged by Disney as canon to the original movies. Whenever the original movies get followed up on or appear in crossover games, the events of the sequels are completely ignored; characters from the original movies never make reference to them, and characters who debuted in the sequels are entirely absent. The only movies to escape this treatment are The Lion King II: Simba's Pride (as characters from said movie appeared in The Lion Guard), Aladdin: The Return of Jafar (which was adapted into Kingdom Hearts II), and Pooh's Heffalump Movie (as Lumpy would later appear in My Friends Tigger & Pooh and Kingdom Hearts III).
  • Compilation Movie: A few of the films are this, usually because they are actually shorts from cancelled cartoon series cobbled together into a film.
  • Creator Backlash:
    • Roy Disney, John Lasseter and Steve Jobs did not mince words in saying that the Disney direct-to-video sequels were nothing more than cheaply made cash grab movies. John even made a point of halting production of any further sequels in 2007 (with the exception of the Disney Fairies spinoff series and Planes).
    • Animator Robin Steele, one of the co-directors on Kronk's New Groove, does not recall his experience at the studio with much fondness.
    —"And then there was that truly evil epoch called Disneytoon Studios, wherein actually solving script problems with storyboard work was a capital offense, when Disney executives figured that they were the REAL storytellers and directors were nothing but "hired wrists" who were brought on to know how to make animation out of the hash they were handed to work with. The day that I objected to the whole idea of a "cheerleading camp" in ancient Peru (because the writer's wife was SO TOTALLY into cheer camp), at a production meeting with the president of Disneytoon Studios, was the day I signed my death warrant therein. When I questioned the anachronism of the two, I was loudly accosted by said president, who screamed at me: "You're being unproductive, Robin! This movie doesn't even HAVE TO BE IN ANCIENT PERU! It could be in OUTER SPACE! You're not being a TEAM PLAYER!!!" There wasn't much creative logic going in there, in those days. "Put it in a jewel case and ship it" seemed to be the overriding principle."
  • Direct-to-DVD: The lions share of their filmography went straight to home video, though Return to Never Land and The Jungle Book II got theatrical releases in the US. Curiously, Bambi II got a theatrical release overseas, but went straight to video in the US.
  • Failed Pilot Episode: Infamously, three of the sequels (Belle's Magical World, Cinderella II and Atlantis: Milo's Return) are nothing more than thinly veiled compilation movies stitched together from leftover episodes made for aborted Disney TV cartoons.
  • Former Teen Rebel: Used in The Lion King II with Simba, The Little Mermaid II with Ariel, and Lady and the Tramp 2 with Tramp.
  • Inconsistent Coloring: Sometimes it's due to an Adaptation Dye-Job or being Off-Model, but character designs in the DAC sequels often differ from in the original films.
  • Interquel: Several of the sequels actually take place in the Time Skips of the original films, including both Beauty and the Beast sequel movies, Hercules: Zero to Hero, Tarzan II, Bambi II, and The Fox and the Hound 2. The Lion King 1 ½ is a prequel, interquel, and Perspective Flip rolled into one, and Lilo & Stitch 2: Stitch Has a Glitch is an interquel by proxy of having been released while Lilo & Stitch: The Series was still airing, with Disney explicitly stating that it takes place before that show's pilot movie.
  • Keep Circulating the Tapes: Surprisingly averted with most of them despite their Old Shame status. In addition to many of them currently being bundled on Blu-ray with their original Disney Animated Canon counterparts, some of them even have Blu-ray releases of their own, like Bambi II as late as 2017. Mitigating this further is that the bulk of the sequels are now available on streaming platforms such as Disney+. That being said, a good few aren’t so lucky:
    • Belle's Magical World, among the most maligned of the sequels, got its last DVD release in 2012 and hasn't even been released to Blu-ray like Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas was. The original VHS release, which does not have the Mrs. Potts segment added to the DVD release, likewise lingers in limbo. However, Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas did get a new Blu-ray re-release in 2016 along with the original movie for its 25th anniversary.
    • Neither Tarzan & Jane nor Tarzan II have received Blu-ray re-releases, though both are available on Disney+.
    • Hercules: Zero To Hero has it the worst out of all of them. It can only be bought on VHS. As in, ONLY on VHS. It never got a DVD release. Given it was nothing more than a compilation of episodes of the animated series with dubbed over stock footage bridging the episodes, which are available in their entirety on Disney+, it would be entirely pointless to re-release it by now anyway.
  • Kid-Appeal Character: A large bulk of sequels focus on a Spin-Offspring or one of the younger supporting characters of the original film, likely to appeal to the younger market instead of the usual family demographic. Bambi II for example chooses a midquel approach so as to utilise the more iconic fawn-aged Bambi, while their Winnie the Pooh works slowly but surely made the previous minor character Roo into the central focus.
  • Lighter and Softer: In general, the direct-to-video sequels tend to be softer and even more family-friendly than the originals. There are exceptions though, such as Cinderella III and The Lion King II, which are just as dark if not darker than the originals. Nearly all their Winnie the Pooh works also dealt with far more emotional and distressing plots than the Disney Animated Canon installments.
  • Mission-Pack Sequel: One common critique of the sequels is that several of them are midquel or side stories that either have little to no relevance to the stories of their predecessors and add little of anything significant or fresh to those films' worlds or lore. Some, like The Little Mermaid II, Return to Never Land and The Jungle Book 2 take it as far as outright rehashing their original film. Cinderella 2 and Belle's Magical World are probably the most infamous instances of this, and other films like The Fox and the Hound 2, Kronk's New Groove and even Bambi II get chided for being this. With this in mind, it's no surprise that when the sequels got parodied in shows like SNL and Family Guy, the biggest potshot taken is often that it was entirely pointless from a story standpoint to make sequels to films whose stories were designed to be self-contained and standalone in the first place.
  • Money, Dear Boy: It was no secret, even in-studio, that the main purpose of the direct-to-video films was to be blatant cash-ins on Disney's popular main line of movies.
  • Mythology Gag: Some of the sequels take notes from already existent spin-offs or even the material the original films were adapted from. Scamp's name and character from Lady and the Tramp 2 were derived from some Disney tie-in books and comics, same for Thumper's sister in Bambi II. The latter also reworks odd scenes from the original novel that weren't adapted in the original film.
  • Old Shame: The sequels are generally seen as this by Disney now. While Disney still re-releases some of them onto Blu-ray or in combo packs with their original movies (such as Bambi II), many have been allowed to fall out of print, such as Beauty and the Beast: Belle's Magical World.
  • Poorly Disguised Pilot:
    • The Return of Jafar, the first of the direct-to-video sequels, wasn't even planned as a movie—it was originally made as the first batch of episodes for the then-upcoming Aladdin TV series, but was recut into a feature-length direct-to-video film on orders from then-Disney CEO Michael Eisner.
    • Inverted with Tarzan & Jane, which is made up of three unaired episodes of Disney's The Legend of Tarzan TV series stitched together into a pseudo feature, but it came out after the series debuted and was still on the air.
  • Production Posse: In a majority of their movies, voice actors that commonly show up in them include Jim Cummings, Tress MacNeille, Rob Paulsen, Jeff Bennett, Frank Welker, Corey Burton, and Kath Soucie.
  • Recycled Premise: Nearly every sequel that involves Spin-Offspring is about the children of the original film's protagonist wanting to break away from their strict and smothering parents.
  • Remember the New Guy?: The direct-to-video films are prone to bringing in new characters who weren't mentioned in the original film but apparently are well-known to the cast. The amount of sequels and prequels that don't do this can be counted on one hand; Lilo & Stitch 2, in particular, not only introduces no new major characters whatsoever, but actually features less of the ones that appeared in the first film. (It does introduce Lilo and Stitch's tree house, though, which is not seen in any other work in the franchise apart from recreated flashbacks in the spin-offs Stitch!.)
  • Same Plot Sequel: This is common for many Disneytoon Studios sequels:
    • In The Little Mermaid II: Return to the Sea, Ariel's daughter Melody goes through pretty much the same plot as her mother in The Little Mermaid (1989), only with the land and the sea inverted this time: teenage girl wants to live in the other element, overprotective parent stops her from doing so, she rebels and makes a deal with a power-hungry sea witch.
    • Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas is technically a midquel; it expands on the events that happened during the song "Something There" in the original Beauty and the Beast. Ultimately it tells exactly the same story: Belle is captured by the Beast, and they eventually soften up to each other and fall in love.
    • Return To Never Land is a sequel to Peter Pan, and uses many of the same plot elements: a child (this time only one instead of three) ends up in Never Land, teams up with Peter Pan and gets pursued by Captain Hook. Hook is still pursued by a hungry beast this time, except it's an octopus rather than a crocodile.
    • The Jungle Book 2, the sequel to The Jungle Book (1967), still revolves around the dilemma whether Mowgli belongs to the jungle or the man-village, and Baloo still wants him to live in the jungle with him. Meanwhile, Shere Khan still pursues Mowgli to kill him.
  • Spin-Offspring: Several of the sequels are based on the offspring of the original film's protagonists. Most notably The Lion King II: Simba's Pride, The Little Mermaid II: Return to the Sea, Lady and the Tramp II: Scamp's Adventure and 101 Dalmatians II: Patch's London Adventure.
  • Stock Footage: Hercules: Zero to Hero is probably the most phoned-in of all the sequels, since its merely three episodes of the '90s cartoon series stitched together into a pseudo-feature—even its Framing Device is directly reused from an episode in the series, albeit repurposed in context.