The Walt Disney Company is a multi-headed hydra that has become the undisputed king of building franchises. One of the elements that Disney has that makes them so successful compared to other studios is its theme parks. Disney is able to make rides based on movies and movies based on rides. They also promote new films inside the parks in other ways, like adding walk-around characters in the park when a new movie or show debuts or by simply making movie previews attractions in the park, but Disneyland Resort has added something entirely new ahead of the release of Pixar’s Elemental which may be the greatest piece of cross-promotion ever.
Rather than simply offering a short preview of Elemental inside the theater that hosts Mickey’s Philharmagic at Disney California Adventure, as has happened many times before with many Disney movies, an animated short entitled Elemental Connection debuted on Friday night June 2 ahead of the new and improved World of Color - ONE, and like the nighttime spectacular, the short will be projected on screens made of water, making for one of the more unique presentations of an animated short that I can think of.
This is great because not only will it introduce guests at Disneyland Resort to the characters and world of the upcoming Disney movie before its release, but it does it in a way that you simply can’t get any other way. It’s one thing to see the Elemental trailer in a theater or online or to see a new animated short on Disney+, but you have to go to Disney California Adventure to experience this piece of animation in this way. So it not only may interest theme park guests in the film but it could draw those interested in the film into the theme park as well.
More on Elemental
It opens the door to a lot of other opportunities to promote movies in creative ways. We could see short pieces of animation from Disney's upcoming animated movie Wish projected on Sleeping Beauty Castle before a fireworks show. Walk-around characters from a movie could be integrated into Fantasmic, if the show returns to Disneyland before they actually appear on the screen.
I certainly hope we see a lot more of this sort of thing going on in the parks. Getting to see a special scene from an upcoming movie is nice, but integrating these preview opportunities into the attractions just adds a little something extra that is likely to make this Elemental short a lot more fun.
While it’s debuting a couple of weeks before Elemental's release date, hopefully, it will stick around for the summer so that after people have become fans of the movie they can still check out this extra piece of animation after the fact is they can’t get there any sooner.