Disney's 'The Princess Academy' (cancelled animated short film; 2009)
Disney’s The Princess Academy was a cancelled 2D animated short film, written and directed by Olivier Ciappa, and with art by David Kawena. The short film would’ve contained female heroines from both well known and obscure Disney and Pixar projects interacting together in the same setting. Due to the Disney Animation hand drawn studio closing its doors, Ciappa and Kawena saw no point in continuing the project, and shelved the film.
Very little is known about the plot of the film. Most of what is available is concept art and completed storyboards, so we can only assume what the plot is about. One piece of concept art features an unnamed little girl dressed as a princess, who could be the main protagonist of the short. Some sources have stated that the Academy itself would act as some sort of boarding school for new princesses, however, this has not been confirmed. What we do know is that the short would’ve contained numerous references to Disney and Pixar films. From the concept art shown, the film would’ve featured an abundance of cameos from different Disney heroines, who are having a wonderful time dancing and spending time together. For fans of Disney Princesses, it surely would’ve been a joy to watch.
Production started for the film around 2009, after the release of The Princess and The Frog. Early on into production, eight-time academy award winning composer Alan Menken agreed to work on the project, as long as it would be greenlit by Disney in the future. 
In 2013, Disney completely gutted their hand drawn animation department, firing almost all of their veteran 2D animators. This was a shock to Kawena and Ciappa, who had been working on The Princess Academy for years now. As stated by Kawena:
After months working on it, with hundreds and hundreds of storyboards and concept art, the Disney Animation hand drawn studios closed its doors. So there was no point for us to even show that project.
With no other options, the film was cancelled.
Out of the hundreds of concept art and storyboards for the film, only a few have been posted online by Kawena and Ciappa. Due to the film being cancelled very early on, it’s doubtful that any animation was completed for the project. We also know very little about the plot of the film, as Kawena and Ciappa have been very secretive about it. Also, since composer Alan Menken only agreed to work on the project if it was greenlit by Disney, it’s unlikely that any original songs were completed. Still, thanks to the concept art that is available, we can enjoy what could’ve been one of the biggest collaborations in Disney history.
- An article about the film from The Disney Wiki Retrieved 28 Jul '20
- An article about the production of The Princess Academy. Retrieved 28 Jul '20
- An archived news article about The Princess Academy. Retrieved 28 Jul '20
- A blog post about the film. Retrieved 28 Jul '20