Sometime a company's work load can be quite large, and you don't want your best staff members (Disney's Los Angeles unit, known today as Walt Disney Animation Studios) to waste their time on TV shows when said staff members are best off working on Major Movies, and that's why the other studios are here.
Units of Disney:
Los Angeles area units
Their first studio, the Disney Brothers cartoon Studio opened in 1923 on Kingswell Avenue in Los Angeles. In 1926, the studio, now called the Walt Disney Studio, moved into a larger studio on Hyperion Avenue. In December 1939, the crew began to move into a more spacious studio up in Burbank, a move completed by May 1940. In 1985, the animation crew was ousted from the old building on the studio lot and was moved into some warehouses in Glendale. In 1995, a new feature animation studio (named the Roy E. Disney Animation Building as of 2010) opened in Burbank across the street from the old lot, where the unit is housed today. See also Dream Quest Images, a VFX studio absorbed into this branch in 2002.
See Disneytoon Studios for more.
This is actually Disney's second animation studio to be based in Vancouver (see Walt Disney Animation Canada below).
The studio worked on segments from various full-length features, and was the main production facility for Mulan, Lilo & Stitch and Brother Bear, as well various shorts, including two cartoons starring Roger Rabbit and commercials featuring Disney's properties. The studio closed in January 2004.
- The Little Mermaid (1989; ink and paint)
- Roger Rabbit Shorts
- Roller Coaster Rabbit (1990)
- Trail Mix-Up (1993)
- The Prince and the Pauper (1990; ten minutes of animation)
- The Rescuers Down Under (1990; ten minutes of animation)
- Beauty and the Beast (1991; ten minutes of animation, including the "Be Our Guest" sequence)
- Off His Rockers (1992)
- Aladdin (1992; ten minutes of animation; also did the animation for Aladdin (Virgin Games))
- The Lion King (1993, twenty-two minutes of animation, including the "I Just Can't Wait to be King" sequence)
- Pocahontas (1995; eighteen minutes of animation)
- The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996; four minutes of animation)
- Mulan (1998)
- Mickey Mouse Works (1999) — One short: "How to Haunt a House"
- Tarzan (1999)
- John Henry (2000)
- The Emperor's New Groove (2000) — Clean-up animation
- Atlantis: The Lost Empire (2001)
- Lilo & Stitch (2002)
- Brother Bear (2003)
- 101 Dalmatians: The Series (Digital Paint for Toon City on "A Christmas Cruella")
- Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas (with the Australian unit)
- An Extremely Goofy Movie (layout assistance; uncredited)
- Mickey Mouse Works — Some shorts, including the Pluto Gets the Paper shorts "Street Cleaner" and "Bubble Gum"
- The Lion King II: Simba's Pride (Additional ink and paint)
- The Little Mermaid II: Return to the Sea (with the Australian unit and Wang Film Productions)
- Mickey's Once Upon a Christmas ("A Very Goofy Christmas" and "Gift of the Magi" segments)
- Return to Never Land (Their last project; with the Australian unit)
- Winnie the Pooh: A Valentine for You
Notable staff in the Japanese unit include Saburo Hashimoto, Shigeru Yamamoto, Sawako Miyamoto, Kazuyoshi Takeuchi, Hiroshi Kawamata, Yukio Okazaki and Tsuguyuki Kubo.
Productions by Disney Japan:
- 101 Dalmatians: The Series (15 episodes) List
- 101 Dalmatians II: Patch's London Adventure
- Adventures of the Gummi Bears: All of Season Five and 9 episodes of Season Six. With the Australian unit and (for the segment "Friar Tum") Guimaraes, replacing TMS Entertainment.
- Aladdin and the King of Thieves: Done with Disney Australia.
- Aladdin: The Return of Jafar: The first of the Disney Direct to Video sequels, done with the Australia unit. Japan animated the second half of the film.
- Aladdin: The Series (16 episodes) List
- Bonkers (14 episodes) List
- Buzz Lightyear of Star Command: The Adventure Begins (with Jade Animation and Pixar)
- Buzz Lightyear of Star Command (2 episodes)list
- Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers (22 episodes) List Replacing TMS.
- Cinderella II: Dreams Come True: An aborted TV series that became a direct-to-video movie.
- Darkwing Duck (13 episodes, with Atelier Bwca, Studio Jack, Tama and Jade) List
- Gargoyles (19 episodes) List
- Goof Troop (5 episodes) List
- Hercules: The Animated Series (seven episodes, with various additional production facilities) List
- The Hunchback of Notre Dame II
- The Little Mermaid: The TV series, season 1 and the first half of season 2.
- Mickey's Once Upon a Christmas: "Stuck on Christmas" segment with Anime Workshop Basara. Movie with the Canadian Unit and Toon City.
- Mickey MouseWorks: Disney Japan's shorts were also re-broadcast on House Of Mouse.
- Mighty Ducks: The Animated Series (one episode)
- Mulan II (With support by Jade and Wang Film Productions)
- The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh: One short, To Catch A Hiccup
- Piglet's Big Movie
- Pocahontas II: Journey to a New World: With the Canadian unit, Spaff Animation and Character Builders.
- Pooh's Grand Adventure
- Pooh's Heffalump Movie: Their final production
- Raw Toonage
- TaleSpin (with Hanho Heung-Up, Jade and Tama)
- The Tigger Movie: Done with TMS (Telecom unit), Tama and other studios.
- Nightmare Ned (the credits list Shigeru Yamamoto as animation supervisor)
Notable animators in the Australian unit include Bob Baxter, Adam Murphy, Kevin Peaty, Lianne Hughes, Andrew Collins, Ian Harrowell, Alexs Stadermann, Pieter Lommerse, Ryan O'Loughlin, Bernard Derriman, Robert Mason and Lily Dell.
Productions by Disney Australia:
- 101 Dalmatians: The Series - 7 episodes. List
- Adventures of the Gummi Bears - 8 episodes from the Sixth Season. List: A Gummi's Work Is Never Done, Tuxford's Turnaround, Patchwork Gummi, Queen of the Carpies, Rocking Chair Bear, May the Best Princess Win, The Rite Stuff and the first half of the King Igthorn two-parter.
- Aladdin and the King of Thieves - Done with Disney Japan.
- Aladdin: The Series - 10 episodes. List
- Bambi II
- Brother Bear 2
- Bonkers - 13 episodes. List
- Cinderella III: A Twist in Time - The unit's final production, done with Toon City.
- Darkwing Duck - 10 episodes. List
- Gargoyles - The episode "Seeing Isn't Believing".
- Goof Troop - 26 episodes. List
- A Goofy Movie (with Walt Disney France). They handled An Extremely Goofy Movie completely on their own outside of some uncredited layout assistance from the Canada unit.
- Hercules: The Animated Series: Two episodes: "Hercules and the First Day of School" (layouts only; actual animation by Toon City) and "Hercules and the Dream Date".
- House of Mouse - A few Mickey's Mouse Works shorts.
- The Jungle Book 2 - Done with Toon City.
- Jungle CubsList
- Lady and the Tramp II: Scamp's Adventure
- The Legend of Tarzan
- Lilo & Stitch 2: Stitch Has a Glitch
- The Lion King 1½ - Done with Toon City.
- The Lion King II: Simba's Pride - Done with the Canadian unit and Toon City.
- The Little Mermaid II: Return to the Sea - Done with the Canadian unit and Wang.
- Mickey, Donald, Goofy: The Three Musketeers - Done with Toon City.
- The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh: Their first production. Most of the series after season 1, with TMS, Hanho and Wang.
- Quack PackList
- Return to Never Land - With the Canadian unit and Wang.
- Aladdin: The Return of Jafar - Done with Disney Japan. Australia animated roughly the first half of the film, while Japan handled the second half.
- Tarzan 2 - Done with Toon City
- Timon & PumbaaList
- A Winnie the Pooh Thanksgiving
- Winnie the Pooh: A Valentine for You (CGI animation)
Features and shows:
- Atlantis: The Lost Empire
- Darkwing Duck — 3 episodesList
- DuckTales the Movie: Treasure of the Lost Lamp (Their first project, with assistance from the London unit and uncredited studios in China and Spain)
- The Emperor's New Groove
- Fantasia 2000 ("Firebird Suite" segment)
- Goof Troop — 5 episodesList
- A Goofy Movie (with the Australian unit)
- The Hunchback of Notre Dame
- The Jungle Book 2 (additional production; with the Australian unit, Tandem Films, Toon City and Spaff Animation)
- Raw Toonage — One He's Bonkers short, "Petal to the Metal"
- Runaway Brain
- TaleSpin — 6 episodes (with Lapiz Azul S.L.)List
- Treasure Planet
- Winnie the Pooh and Christmas Too
Tropes associated with Walt Disney's various animation units:
- Animation Bump: The Los Angeles, Japan and Australia units are the biggest examples, but all are known for this. This is Disney, after all.
- Depending on the Artist: Most evident in the episodes animated by the Australian studio, unsurprisingly because of the studio's emphasis on expressive animation and less on remaining completely uniform from scene to scene.
- Medium Blending: The North American units are known for this.
- Return of Jafar is frequently accused of this, not so much for the bad animation, but rather the abrupt change in how the movie looks: Around the thirty minute mark, the animation suddenly switches over from the Australia unit to the Japan unit, and remains that way for the rest of the movie. This resulted in much different looking animation in the second half. (The change occurs when Abis-Mal climbs over the palace walls.)
- "Darkly Dawns The Duck", the two-episode pilot movie for Darkwing Duck, was handled the same way, with the Australian unit handling the first half and the Japanese unit handling the second half. Disney would avert this with Goof Troop and Bonkers by having the Australian unit animate both halves of their pilots.
- Gargoyles's "Seeing Isn't Believing" is also guilty of this. Though it does make up for it with its fluid animation.
- As well as the two Freelance Animators New Zealand sub-contracted episodes - Darkwing Duck's "Heavy Mental" and Goof Troop's "Meanwhile, Back at the Ramp".
- Signature Style: For the Japanese unit, bouncy characters and crisp, mostly precise linework. For the Australian unit, deranged eyes when a character is angry, very specific mouth movements, and wrinkled faces in certain poses. For the French unit, it seemed that they've used a combination of tactics that were found in the previous two studios such as the wrinkled faces and specific mouth movements (Australian) and the bounciness (Japanese), likely stemming from the Brizzi brothers's work on the likes of Spartakus and the Sun Beneath the Sea and Asterix Versus Caesar.