Extraordinary Magic in Everyday Life
2 weeks ago, we delved into some of Disney’s movies that best represent the joy and fun that summertime brings. (Craig in the comments pointed out that I forgot Summer Magic—and he’s absolutely right, how could I have missed that one?!)
One aspect (of many!) that I love about Disney is its commitment to animated shorts, not just as something in the past that gave the studio its start but as something that continues to this day. Shorts, particularly if they’re in an ongoing series, are a way to spend time with familiar characters, and limits our minutes with them so that we have to get to the point rather quickly. It’s a unique way to approach the story, with enough time to settle in but still keeping to a schedule that keeps the pace moving quickly. Continuing our celebration of summer, here are the top five Disney cartoon shorts that sum up summertime the best:
5.) Summer (1930) Available on: Walt Disney Treasures: Silly Symphonies Volume 2
A Silly Symphony short was created for each of the four seasons, and this one celebrates June, July, and August with appropriate nothingness. There’s not much to a plot to anything and its gags rely heavily on quick visual jokes (like many of the early shorts) rather than story-driven laughter. But that doesn’t keep Summer from being fun to watch. There’s dancing caterpillars, hardworking ladybugs, and a spider who likes to stomp his feet on the ground in time to music. What more could you possibly ever want?
4.) Donald’s Failed Fourth (1999) Available on: Walt Disney Treasures: The Chronological Donald Volume 4
Let’s face it: We all have grand plans for how we will so patriotically and extravagantly celebrate our nation’s birthday… and hardly ever do things turn out as we pictured in our head! We see Donald Duck experience this firsthand here, with much frustration as expected. This short was created by Walt Disney Television Animation for the TV series Mickey’s Mouse Works. It follows Donald setting up a nice picnic for him and Daisy to enjoy as they watch the 4th of July fireworks. Easy enough, right? Not when you’re Donald Duck!
3.) Hawaiian Vacation (2010) Available on: Cars 2 and Pixar Short Films Collection Volume 2
The very first entry in the ongoing Toy Story Toons series of shorts (of which we will see the next entry, a television special, this October on ABC! Woo!!), this cartoon debuted theatrically with Cars 2. With shorts, Pixar is able to continue to give audiences more time with the Toy Story characters we all love so much without the pressure or intimidation of making another sequel. It’s a perfect compromise.
Anyway, the stereotypical summer paradise is a trip to Hawaii, and even though this short takes place during Bonnie’s winter break, it still has summer written all over it. When Bonnie leaves all her toys at home when her family heads for Hawaii, the gang creates a tropical getaway of their own right in her bedroom. The gags come quick and in heavy supply as we get fast glimpses of our favorite Toy Story personalities. I wish the toys could come over to my house and create a makeshift Disney World in my room!
2.) Hawaiian Holiday (1937) Available on: Walt Disney Treasures: Mickey Mouse in Living Color
Ok, so Disney characters like to go to Hawaii a lot. Here, though, it’s the real deal and not pretend. This short reminds me of the Polynesian Resort so much—it has that same relaxing tone you feel as you enter the hotel’s vast lobby and stroll out into the beachside courtyard, the view of the Castle beckoning you further. Another admirable quality of Hawaiian Holiday is this: it’s one of the only times you’ll see all five of Disney’s famous Fab Five together in the same cartoon. Mickey, Donald, Goofy, and Pluto all had their own cartoon series, so as odd as it sounds to us now, it was very rare for them (along with Minnie) to all be featured in the same production. Each of their personalities gets to shine individually as we see them vacation together, a rare gathering of animation legends.
1.) Camping Out (1934) Available on: Walt Disney Treasures: Mickey Mouse in Black and White
Perhaps the most pleasant part of summer is simply kicking back and enjoying the great outdoors. That’s exactly what Mickey and pals intend to do in this short, but things naturally go a bit awry (as tends to be the case with them, it seems). When Mickey, Minnie, Clarabelle Cow, and Horace Horsecollar go out for a nice camping trip, their tranquility is foiled by something that gets the best of a lot of our outdoor summer activities: mosquitoes!
I’m not shy about my love for this cartoon. My favorite instances of Disney animation are black-and-white Mickey cartoons, and this is my favorite of those, so by extension this is what I dub the single best piece of Disney animation ever. It’s funny, but its story comes first. It stars the studio’s most famous headliner, whose personality is intact perfectly. The music is catchy and makes you want to tap your toes the whole time (and makes me really miss Toontown!). Camping Out just a fun fest from beginning to end and a real pleasure to enjoy.
Blake is a college student focusing on Creative Writing and Media Studies. He enjoys making his family of six watch the parade on Main Street and then sprint to Frontierland in time to see it again. You can follow Blake’s random Disney ramblings on Twitter at @blakeonline, or at BlakeOnline.com.