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There’s More to Animation than Disney

March 8, 2024

I was walking to class yesterday when I overheard an interesting conversation between two guys in the hallway.

Let me preface this by saying that when you work at Student Activities, the word “Coffeehouse” doesn’t just ring a bell. It rings all the bells. Whether you’ve been painting the decorations that are carefully mapped out to be placed throughout the Vines Center, or you’ve been developing the graphics and video content that contributes to the digital aspects of the show, I think it is safe to say that “Coffeehouse” is a bit of a buzz word for the Student Activities staff. So, while I wasn’t intent on eavesdropping, I did do a double-take when I overheard the following:

“Are you going to the Coffeehouse Disney thing?”


Let me first acknowledge the insane grip Disney has on the animation industry. I could never deny it, even if I wanted to. The material Disney has produced, be it with Pixar or Walt Disney Animation Studios proper, is I’m sure what we all grew up on. Naturally, when we hear about a show that is themed around that specific medium of storytelling, we gravitate toward an understanding that Disney will be the most heavily represented.

But that grip is loosening. For whatever reason, Disney has had much less of a monopoly on Animated filmmaking since the transition to 3D animation became popularized. And since then, we’ve seen the rise of the Minions, How to Train Your Dragon, and everyone’s favorite meme sensation, Shrek. There’s also the long-standing history of international animation, including Studio Ghibli. (Although technically, Disney did have the American rights to the Studio Ghibli brand for a bit- and is still the distributor for home copies of the studio’s films.)

Can you imagine a world where the only animated movies that exist would be the Disney ones? Does the question “Ya like jazz?” mean nothing to you?

I don’t want to miscommunicate that it’s wrong to be an avid Disney fan. Feel free to do that- we love Disney around here. But don’t limit yourself to consuming just what Disney owns and has made. There is so much more out there.

Think of animation as an art form. (Because it is.) As a patron of the arts, you can’t limit yourself to just one artist. After a while, you’ll begin to see your artist’s work as the standard, and anything different will never measure up, not because it’s worse, but because it’s different. And just like anything else in life, eliminating new experiences and being uncomfortable with the unknown will only limit yourself from personal growth. That’s because animated films are powerful, just like their live-action counterparts, in how they change our minds and challenge our perspectives.

All that to say, Disney may be the leading brand for animation, but that doesn’t mean Coffeehouse: Animated is synonymous with Coffeehouse: Where Dreams Come True. (How’s that for a blast from the past?) There are so many other studios, artists, stories, soundtracks, and iconic characters that have nothing to do with the House of Mouse- so get excited to sit back and enjoy a show dedicated to all the animated media you consumed as a kid- and not just the films that could be played on the Disney Channel.

Coffeehouse: Animated takes to the Vines Center stage on March 23rd. That’s just around the corner, so grab those last-minute tickets here!


Luke is a sophomore studying Digital Media: Video Production. He is a Videographer with Student Activities, and has a passion for Nintendo franchises, movie soundtracks, and the digital arts.