How Often Did Disney Reuse Its Animation? (Hint: Very Often)

This afternoon, I watched a video on Twitter that broke my brain. It was side-by-side scenes from Disney’s "The Jungle Book" and "The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh," and they...were...identical. Like, Christopher Robin and Mowgli were holding the same branch. Apparently, the fact that Disney has recycled animation in the past isn’t news, but it was news to my Twitter feed! YouTube channel Cartoon Hangover went into a deep dive of how and why Disney used to reuse a lot of their animation: In the early days of feature animated films, the practice of rotoscoping was applied to animated footage they already owned. It was meant to save time and money (though animators aren’t sure it did), and since the internet wasn’t a thing, they weren’t anticipating anyone being able to do comparisons of films made years, even decades, apart. Since 2010's "Tangled," every Disney film has been made with CGI, eliminating both the need for and obviousness of reused animation, but that doesn’t mean we aren’t going to go rewatch every single old film now and look for the similarities.

Brigitte Carreiro
by Brigitte Carreiro
Feb 9, 2021