My favorite Disney movie isn’t really represented in the parks. And that makes me sad. Very sad. My favorite Disney movie is Meet the Robinsons. It’s not considered a Disney classic. It’s not Cinderella or Snow White or The Little Mermaid. It doesn’t have a princess and prince. It isn’t based off of a fairy tale. So what does it have? What makes it so special?
While it isn’t a tale that the Brothers Grimm ever shared, it is based off of a book A Day with Wilbur Robinson by William Joyce. The movie doesn’t follow the story faithfully, in fact the main villain doesn’t appear in the book at all. But that’s okay, because while the book is good, so is the movie.
I don’t want to get too specific in the details of the movie because, unfortunately, not a lot of people have seen it. And I don’t want to ruin the surprise. Or should I say surprises. Because there are several twists and turns, some are predictable and some will shock you (in a good way).
So, how did I find this gem? Well, that’s the story. One of my favorite getaways is Shreveport, Louisiana. It’s about a 5 hour drive from where I live, and it’s a fun place to go for a couple of days. There’s a lovely casino there that will allow you to stay for a couple of days on their dime, and if you play your cards right (ha ha), they’ll usually pay for your food as well. It’s a relatively cheap vacation if you don’t bring too much money to gamble with. It’s great. But constant gambling can get a little, well, stale. And there isn’t a lot of other things to do in Shreveport. There’s a lovely science museum next door to the casino. There’s some shopping. And then there’s this little, tiny children’s art museum. I’ve searched and searched, but I can’t find the official name. And since I visited this tiny museum way back in 2007 (when Meet the Robinsons came out) I can’t quite remember the name. Frustrating, especially since they mailed fliers to me for years after that visit. Fliers I never really paid attention to. But back to the story.
So this tiny children’s museum had a tribute to local author William Joyce, in honor of the movie that had come out. There were lots of original drawings from Joyce’s books. There were concept plans from the movie. At that point, I hadn’t seen the movie. In fact, despite being a media junky, I hadn’t even heard of it. That’s how little of an impact it’s release had made. But as I walked through that tiny museum, I fell in love with the characters I saw. And then I saw the concept drawing that captured my heart. At some point, the animation department had floated the idea of changing the iconic first shot of Disney movies. You know the one. Where the audience flies over the lake toward Cinderella’s Castle. Only in this drawing, the castle had been drawn by William Joyce. He has his own signature style. I was fascinated by this castle. Ultimately, Disney decided against changing the castle, but that picture grabbed by imagination.
When I got home, I immediately found the only theater in town still playing the movie. And I fell in love. I bought the movie on Blu-Ray. I’ve listened to the director’s commentary, and if it’s playing on TV, I can’t pass it by. I love it. So in 2008, when we took our trip to Disney World, I was very sad that I couldn’t find a trace of the Robinsons in the park. The movie is all about the future. Tomorrowland is the perfect place for something from the movie. But, alas, there’s nothing there. Instead, we get that horrible Stitch’s Great Escape show/ride. Yuck!
I’m going to end this blog post with Walt Disney quote that ends the movie. Every time I see it flash up on the screen, I get a little misty eyed. (Depending on my emotional state, sometimes I even she a tear…). The full quote is long, but the main point is the motto for the movie…”Keep moving forward.”