What’s the best thing about having a doctor’s appointment in Orlando? Squeezing in a quick visit to Walt Disney World, of course! Last weekend, I made an overnight trip to the world. Having a limited amount of time, we focused in on Epcot. It was quite crowded with it being a holiday weekend, so I only had one goal in mind, in terms of attractions: to check out the Disney & Pixar Short Film Festival at the Magic Eye Theatre. The festival replaces our beloved Captain EO which closed last December. We were really bummed to say farewell to Captain EO, but understand Disney needs to keep moving forward. I decided to see what this film festival was all about.
After picking up our 3D glasses, we watched the preshow. The first part of the preshow covers Walt Disney’s creation of short films, which includes some voice overs and drawings from Walt. He discusses the Silly Symphonies Flowers & Trees, which tested out the use of Technicolor in cartoons and won the short film Disney’s first Academy Award. The second part of the preshow covers Pixar history. Several Pixar folks are interviewed and share stories about how the Luxo Jr. lamp was created and where the idea for Toy Story came from. I thought the preshow was very interesting and I love anything that explores Walt and the Disney company’s history.
After the preshow, we were ushered into the theater to the tune of Steamboat Willie, one of my favorite classic Disney tunes! There are three short films that play, including Walt Disney Studios’ “Get a Horse,” which infuses classic Walt Disney black and white animation with CGI. It also features archival recordings of Walt Disney as Mickey Mouse, which earns bonus points in my book. The folks in the theater enjoyed watching Pegleg Pete’s hijinx, and there was a little boy behind us that was laughing so hard it was infectious. Next up were Pixar’s lighthearted story of birds on a wire,”For the Birds,” and the quiet, yet visually stunning “La Luna.” Even if you have seen the Pixar shorts as movie releases, I would encourage you to see them here. My eyes often struggle to focus on 3D movies, but everything was crystal clear and visually beautiful. The 3D effects were the best I’ve seen at any Disney park.
I didn’t know what to expect from this attraction, and have to admit I may have thought about Captain EO once or twice during the short films, but I was pleasantly surprised by experience and will definitely return again. It reminded me of how enjoyable short films are. I hope that they rotate some different films into this attraction in the future.