At Disney’s All Star Movies Resort, guests have the opportunity to stay in buildings themed to some of the most popular films Disney animated and live action feature films. Located at the center of the resort directly behind Cinema Hall is the Fantasia section. In addition to celebrating Walt Disney’s groundbreaking 1940 animated feature, this area also pays tribute to its 21st Century sequel “Fantasia 2000,” most notably its “The Steadfast Tin Soldier” sequence.
Set to Dmitri Shostakovich’s Piano Concerto No. 2, Allegro, Opus 102, the forth segment of the film tells the story of the love that blooms between a toy soldier who is missing one of his legs and a porcelain ballerina despite the intervention of a jealous jack-in-the-box. “The Steadfast Tin Soldier” began life as a short story by renowned Danish author Hans Christian Anderson in 1838. However, this was neither the first of last time Disney’s animators found inspiration in one of Anderson’s tales. Among other examples include the 1939 Silly Symphony short “The Ugly Duckling,” the 1989 animated classic “The Little Mermaid,” the 2006 short “The Little Matchgirl,” and the blockbuster 2013 animated feature “Frozen,” loosely based on his story of “The Snow Queen.”
In addition to being a charming story in the classic Disney tradition, “The Steadfast Tin Soldier” was also an important technological step for Walt Disney Animation Studios. The sequence was among the studio’s first projects in which the main characters were brought to life using computer animation. Given the limitations of computer graphic during the 1990s, the shiny metallic appearance of these vintage toys made them ideal subjects for the medium at the time. All three of the segment’s lead characters, including the Ballerina pictured above, can be seen depicted in larger-than-life form on one of All Star Movie’s “Fantasia” buildings.
Although it has never quite received the same level of praise as the 1940 original, “Fantasia 2000” continued Walt Disney’s ambitious vision of combining a concert experience with the limitless visual storytelling possibilities of animation. It also gave another generation of artists, under the guidance of Walt’s nephew Roy E. Disney, the opportunity to experiment artistically and technologically in ways that a more traditional feature film format might not have allowed. With its combination of timeless story and cutting edge computer graphics, “The Steadfast Tin Soldier” is a great example of what these filmmaker sought to accomplish in their own “Fantasia.”