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Disney "Prep and Landing: Naughty vs. Nice" is that rare sequel that equals

Disney "Prep and Landing: Naughty vs. Nice" is that rare sequel that equals

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Over the past 50 years, there have been a number of sequels to beloved holiday specials produced (EX: Rudolph's Shiny New Year in 1976, Rudolph & Frosty's Christmas in July in 1979 and Frosty Returns in 1992 come immediately to mind) ...


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... but there has never been a really great one.

Until now.


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Let me be blunt here: Disney "Prep and Landing: Naughty vs. Nice" - Walt Disney Animation Studios' extremely entertaining follow-up to its 2009 Emmy Award-winning TV production - is the "Godfather II" of holiday specials. In that it takes everything that audiences loved about the first "Prep and Landing" (which finally threw a spotlight on that elite group of elves who stealthily get each home ready for Santa's annual visit) and then wittily extends, expands & enhances that universe.

Mind you, if you're going to the D23 EXPO later this week, you'll be able to catch the world premiere of "Prep and Landing: Naughty vs Nice" this coming Friday from 12:45 - 1:45 p.m. What's more, "Prep and Landing" 's director Kevin Deters & Stevie Wermers-Skelton as well as this holiday special's producer Dorothy McKim will be on hand to talk in great detail about this sequel-that-equals was developed.

But if you can't make it to the Anaheim Convention Center this week ... Not to worry: The folks at Walt Disney Animation Studios have been kind enough to share all sorts of production art from "Prep and Landing: Naughty vs. Nice" with JHM. Which is why I'm now pleased give you your very first glimpse of  the Christmas Tree Server Farm ...


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... which is where Thistleton (who is basically the Bill Gates of the North Pole) ...


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... and his crack team of hi-tech elves keep track of every human children on the planet. To be specific, who's on Santa's nice list and who's on the Big Guy's naughty list.

Because (as everyone knows) naughty kids don't get presents. They get coals in their stockings. What's more, these lumps of coal gets placed there by some of the more mysterious folks who work for Santa: His Coal Elves.


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Now - of course - we've seen these characters before (albeit briefly) in the original "Prep and Landing" as well as in last year's stocking stuffer "Prep and Landing - Operation Secret Santa."


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But over the course of "Prep and Landing: Naughty vs. Nice"  ... Well, this is the first time that we've ever gotten the chance to board that Christmas ornament-shaped gondola ...


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... and then taken the North Pole's Skyway-like transportation system over to Coal Town (which is where all the elves who work on Santa's lump-of-coal collection units work).


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Once we disembark that gondola, we then get to meet the Coal Elves. Who - after a hard day of work - like to head on over to their favorite bar, Christmas Carol's ...


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... so that they can then blow off some steam by knocking back a few mugs of eggnog and/or by riding the electric reindeer.


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"And why does a holiday special like 'Prep and Landing: Naughty vs Nice' take us to the bar where the Coal Elves hang out?," you ask. Well, I don't want to give too much away here. Especially ahead of this Friday's "Christmas in August" presentation (which will be hosted by the Disney Geek himself, D23's own Jeffery Epstein). But what I can do is tell you is that this new Walt Disney Animation Studios production introduces us to this solid-looking North Pole citizen ...


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... who has some pretty mad skills when it comes to the rotary sparkle blaster as well as the coal air cannon.


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But as what this guy's relationship might be with Wayne & Lanny (more to the point, the crucial role that a toy snowmobile plays into "Naughty vs Nice" 's storyline) ...


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... Sorry. But I'm not going to spoil everyone's Christmas present. Especially those folks who are smart enough to make their way to Stage 23 this Friday afternoon so that they can then catch the world premiere of Disney "Prep and Landing: Naughty vs. Nice" ...


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... which (because I was lucky enough to get to see the work-in-progress version of this holiday special back in June) I can tell you is just as smart, just as fun, just as charming and - in a lot of ways - even more exciting & entertaining than the original "Prep and Landing."

So don't make the mistake of missing out on this extra-special presentation at the Anaheim Convention Center later this week. Because - if you do - you'll be sure to have a blue Christmas-in-August.

For further information on the D23 EXPO, head on over to the Official Disney Fan Club website and then check out the master schedule for this three-day-long celebration of The Walt Disney Company.

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