Celebrate Aviation History Month + Giving Disney’s PLANES It’s Wings #DisneyPlanesBloggers

Thank you to Disney for providing trip expenses to Disney’s Toon Studios during National Aviation Month. All thoughts and words are my own.

Disney's Planes

I come from a town where aviation plays a big part of life. We are home to some of the biggest airforce and navy bases, as well as home to the famous Blue Angels. We also have the Naval Aviation Museum which we love to visit as a family. This month, is Aviation History Month, and so when I had the chance to go to DisneyToon Studios and get a behind the scene’s look at Disney’s PLANES it was like getting to have my cake and eat it too!


I mean have you ever thought about how animated movies are made?  I know I haven’t, I know a lot of work goes into them but what really happens to make characters like these, come to life?

Disney's Planes

That is just one of the things we were lucky enough to find out during our trip to DisneyToon Studios.  We had a chance to sit and talk with Thomas Leavitt  and Jason McKinley who were responsible for “Giving Disney’s Planes It’s Wings”.  It was jaw dropping how things go from concept to making it so life like on the screen.  They are part of the Pre-Vis Development department….try saying that 3 times fast!

Planes 2

Photo credit: Disney

We found out that they actually needed a Flight Supervisor for Planes and some of how they take the movie from storyboards to the big screen. Here’s what they had to say

We need flight supervisors because flying is really hard. We found that we needed a specialized team because of the difficulty of making the flying look as real as possible. The mandate from Klay Hall, the Director, and John Lasseter, the Executive Producer is that when the planes are on the ground they had to be characters. But when they had to be as realistic to physics as possible. So we developed a specific flight team that did nothing but fly. Thomas is our number one Artist and is responsible for some of the really wonderful shots you see. So, we are going to show you the process that we went through in taking the story, from putting the script into storyboards and then how we manipulated it so you get the final product you see in the film.

The artists will draw the series of panels to get the beads of the film. Editorial will then take those panels and do what’s called an Animatic. An Animatic tries to time out as best they can how long they think the sequence will take. So you can see how that basically gives you an idea of how the sequence is gonna’ progress. Where he’s turning, what he’s doing. Our job now is to make it look more cinematic. More like the real movie.


Photo Credit: Disney

It was so amazing to see the sketches and each step following that, until you reached the actual scene from the movie. To see a sketch become what you see on the big screen (or on DVD) was AMAZING. It took about 3.5 years for Disney’s PLANES to come to life, that is from concept to finish! That’s also with a TON of people working on it, can you imagine, if it were just me, I think the movie would not make it to theaters before I was gone of the earth. Talk about putting some work in!

However, I can honestly say each of the people we talked to (more about that later in the week), LOVED their job. They work on part of the movie, trash that work, start over, and continue until they get it perfect. This was their baby and seeing how proud they were and everything that went into this just made me like the movie that much more!

Disney Planes Wings

Photo Credit: Disney

So, next time you are watching one of the animated movies, take a little time to think about how much work went into it, and if you are anything like me, you will appreciate it even more than you already do! Try envisioning it with Disney’s PLANES, which soars onto DVD November 19!

You can learn more about Planes on Facebook or at the Planes website!

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Toni is a professional lifestyle blogger living on the sunny Florida Gulf Coast. She has a passion for Disney, Travel, Fashion, Cooking, Tech, Family Fun Ideas, Reviews, Giveaways and loves being able to share that with her readers!


  1. 1

    I never would have thought they’d need a flight supervisor just for animation. Fascinating!

  2. 2

    This is so interesting!

  3. 3

    I need that monitor setup for my home computer. I could just work from bed!

    SO cool to see all the behind-the-scenes details and how much attention is paid to getting the facts right, even for an animated movie.

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