3-D Animation

Disney's Prep & Landing

Distributed by: Walt Disney Animations Studios

Reviewed by Melissa Minners


            Just when it seems that all of the new cartoons about Christmas are simply remakes of animated Christmas specials past, a new animated special arrives with a completely original take on things.  After seeing the promos for Disney’s Prep & Landing, I knew I just had to be seated in front of the television with a mug of my favorite cocoa when it aired on December 8, 2009 on ABC.

            It all begins with Wayne (Dave Foley), an elf with a very special job.  Wayne is a member of an elite unit of elves whose job is to prepare each house for Santa’s (William Morgan Sheppard) landing on Christmas Eve.  After having worked this job for 227 years, Wayne has become bored with making sure the fireplace is unlit upon Santa’s arrival, not a creature is stirring, and the stockings are hung by the chimney with care.  He doesn’t take any joy at preparing the tree for the presents to be placed beneath it or prepping the roof for the landing of the sleigh.  No, Wayne is looking for a new position at the North Pole, one in Naughty List Intelligence.

            Unfortunately, Wayne is too good at his job to be let go.  And so, once again, Wayne is forced to don the Prep and Landing gear, this time with a new partner, a rookie Christmas elf in training named Lanny (Derek Richardson).  Wayne is so disappointed at being assigned to what he feels is a go nowhere job, he slacks off, refusing to train Lanny and allowing himself to be seen by a little boy named Timmy (Mason Vale Cotton).  When this little indiscretion threatens to ruin Christmas for Timmy, Wayne wakes up to the realization that his job is truly important after all.  But is it too late to save Christmas for Timmy and his family this year?  Not if the elves of Prep and Landing have anything to say about it!

            Bravo to Walt Disney for this truly original Christmas special.  So this is how Santa delivers his gifts without any mishaps!  The animation was completed in the style of Toy Story and Shrek, the characters drawn in 3-D lifelike animation.  The story itself was entirely enjoyable for people of any age.  Much like the Shrek films, children will love the animation and the main story, while adults will love the tongue in cheek references to all things Christmas and vaguely disguised adult humor.  I found myself laughing often and wishing the show weren’t only a half hour in length. 

            Happily, there are more adventures to be found with the elves of Prep & Landing at http://www.disney.go.com/partners/prepandlanding/ such as the actual Prep & Landing special itself, plus Tiny’s Big Adventure, Operation Overview, North Pole Commercials and more.

            Disney’s Prep & Landing has been added to the list of animated Christmas specials I must watch every year to help get me in that holiday spirit.  Check out Prep & Landing today at www.disney.go and make it a special part of your holiday season.


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