Located in Fantasyland on the walkway from it’s a small world to Storybook Land is The Old Mill. Now, you might simply write this off as another quick service spot to grab a tea time snack or a cold beverage but that just wouldn’t do the Imagineers justice.
The Old Mill is a 9 minute short, produced in 1937 as part of the Silly Symphonies series that tells the story of a group of animals who weather an overnight thunderstorm that nearly destroys their home. While this may not sound impressive, it is in this short that the multiplane camera was first used, the invention of which earned Walt Disney a Scientific/Technical Academy Award. As with most Silly Symphonies cartoons, The Old Mill was a tester for new animation systems and it significantly improved upon such things as weather effects and realistic animal movement. These innovations and advancements in animation would then be used in future projects – the most famous being Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, released later that same year. In fact, many of the artists and animators who worked on The Old Mill also worked on Snow White.
While The Old Mill has gone through some changes over the years (it used to be a ferris wheel type ride but closed in 2000), it’s nice to see it’s still there, paying homage to the cartoons that laid the foundation for The Happiest Place on Earth.
Watch the full movie here: