Olaf's Frozen Adventure is a holiday special spun off from the Walt Disney Animation feature film Frozen. Directors Kevin Deters and Stevie Wermers-Skelton, who previously directed the Prep & Landing specials, directed the project, with Roy Conli as the producer, thus making it the first animated Frozen project not to be directed by Jennifer Lee and Chris Buck, or produced by Peter Del Vecho. With Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez not returning to compose the songs, Kate Anderson and Elyssa Samsel took over.
Although intended as a television special, Olaf's Frozen Adventure made its debut appearing with screenings of Pixar's Coco from November 22th through December 7th of 2017 in the United States. It was quickly removed from the theatrical showings due to negative reception regarding the film's length (even though Disney's last theatrical featurette, 1990's The Prince and the Pauper, was ten minutes longer), and made its televised premiere on ABC on December 14th. In the United Kingdom, the special was shown with screenings of Frozen on November 25 and 26.
It is Christmas time in the Kingdom of Arendelle, and the castle is buzzing with excitement. It is also Queen Elsa and Princess Anna's first holiday since Elsa became Queen, and the sisters are going to throw a surprise party for the entire kingdom. Olaf, full of Christmas spirit, could not wait for the celebrations to begin. The courtyard is soon filled with the townspeople. Kristoff and Sven wheel in the giant Yule Bell, which Anna and Elsa ring to officially announce the holidays to begin. However, instead of entering the holiday party, all the townspeople walk away as the castle doors open. The villagers are going home to enjoy their family traditions, and they did not want to intrude on Anna and Elsa's traditions. Kristoff tries to cheer up Anna and Elsa by sharing a tradition that he and Sven have always enjoyed with the Trolls. Sven brings in a mud troll named Flemmy, which everyone must lick the forehead to make a wish. However, Anna and Elsa are not keen to lick the troll. Following Anna and Elsa into the ballroom, Olaf wants to know about their favorite family tradition. Sadly, Anna and Elsa do not believe they have one, especially after the gates were closed and the two sisters became distant from each other. This makes Elsa blame herself for them not having a family tradition, and sadly leaves the room. Olaf does not like seeing Anna and Elsa upset, and suddenly comes up with an idea to find them a tradition.
Accompanied by Sven and taking Kristoff's sleigh, the two friends go into the town asking people about their family traditions. The first thing he sees is a family who make candy canes together each year. Olaf likes the family's tradition, especially when he is given a candy cone and instantly gets a sugar rush when he replaces his nose with it. However, there are still many more to find. Going from house to house, Olaf learns all about the different things families do together for the holidays. He puts something from every household onto the sleigh, and soon it is overflowing with wonderful traditions for Anna and Elsa. It is nearly dark by the time they get to Wandering Oaken's Trading Post and Sauna. Oaken greets Olaf and Sven, who both join the Oakens in their holiday tradition; relaxing in the family sauna. Afterwards, Olaf and Sven head back to the castle with a sauna on the sleigh. There are very pleased with all the traditions they found. As they make their way through the mountains, a hot coal from the sauna tumbles out and falls into the pile of traditions, setting the whole sleigh on fire. The burning sleigh drags Olaf and Sven down the mountainside. They are flung to opposite sides of the ravine as the sleigh goes over the cliff and explodes in the snow below. The traditions they found are gone, except for a fruitcake. Olaf tells Sven he will meet him back at the castle, and skips off into the dark woods. In the distance, Sven hears the howling of hungry wolves chasing Olaf. He races back towards the castle to get help.
Back at the castle, Elsa feels bad about walking away from Anna, and decides to go and look for her sister. She finds her in the attic, looking through her old trunk from her childhood. She wants to know what is in Elsa’s trunk, and finds it only full of gloves. Elsa lifts out a row of gloves and smiles slyly to herself as she spots something. She reaches into her trunk and pulls out a small wooden box with two tiny bells on it. She hands it to Anna and tells her to look inside. Anna opens the box, and her face brightens.
Meanwhile, Sven arrives back at the castle. He bursts into the stables and tries to tell Kristoff that Olaf is in danger, but does not understand. Anna and Elsa appear in the doorway, and instantly know what Sven is trying to say. Anna takes charge and orders everyone to gather for a search and rescue. Anna, Elsa, Kristoff, Sven, and an Arendelle search party head into the mountains in search of Olaf. Anna and Elsa call for their friend several times, but get no reply. Suddenly, the sisters hear a sad, familiar voice. Anna and Elsa look around and see a carrot sticking out of a large pile of snow. After pulling him out of the snow, Olaf tells them everything that had happened. He tells Anna and Elsa about the traditions he lost, and was sorry that he could not give them one. Anna shook her head, saying they did have a tradition. Anna shows Olaf the box, and inside was full of artwork of him. There were drawings and a sculpture. Elsa tells Olaf that it was him who brought them together and kept them connected when they were apart. Every year, Anna would make some artwork of Olaf and slip it under Elsa’s door. Elsa would then keep it all in a box. The sisters both treasured the artwork, because it reminded them of their childhood and of how much they loved each other. Olaf is delighted and surprised, because he now knows that Anna and Elsa had a holiday tradition after all; he was their tradition.
Kristoff, Sven, and the rest of the search party gathers around, overjoyed to see Olaf safe and sound. Elsa wants to do something special to celebrate. She uses her magic to create a sparkling ice tree, and decorates it with lanterns from the search party. She also makes a star of ice around Anna's small Olaf sculpture. Then Olaf hangs it on top of the tree. Elsa and Anna are happy and grateful to be with family and friends. Elsa looks around and thinks Arendelle has a new tradition, to which Anna agrees and thanks Olaf.
- "Ring in the Season"
- "The Ballad of Flemmingrad"
- "That Time of Year"
- "When We're Together"
The special was released on DVD in the United Kingdom on December 7, 2017, exclusively at Tesco stores.
On December 14th, 2017, ABC premiered the special as an episode of The Wonderful World of Disney, with the following edits made for commercial time:
- The opening Disney and Walt Disney Animation Studios logos were deleted, although the closing logos is still shown.
- At the beginning of the second act, the sleigh has just arrived on the first house of Arendelle. Olaf's line, "House number one," is cut.
- At the end of the third act, when the snow transition occurs, it fades out instead.
- The last act begins in the forest, thus deleting the audible part in the town of Arendelle and most of the pan down from the moon shot.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 John Lasseter talks Olaf's Frozen Adventure, debuts first look
- ↑ Disney announces Frozen holiday special
- ↑ ABC to Air FROZEN Holiday Special in 2017; Idina Menzel, Kristen Bell & Josh Gad to Return!
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 The Making of Frozen: A Return to Arendelle
- ↑ ScreenRant.com: Disney Pulling Frozen Short Before Coco
- ↑ Olaf's Frozen Adventure gets a new trailer as Disney unveils special plans for its November launch
- ↑ Joy for Frozen fans as Disney confirms spin-off DVD that goes on sale TOMORROW