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Here’s How Olaf: Once Upon a Snowman Fits Into the Frozen Cinematic Universe

Olaf with no nose

Frozen is a magical movie, not just because it enchanted children all over the world, but because it spawned an entire universe of featurettes,  shorts, movies, and more that continued the Arendelle story. Today saw the Disney+ Release of Olaf: Once Upon a Snowman, which fits neatly into one of the blank spots in the Frozen canon. Here’s how it all fits together for you as a viewer looking for the most comprehensive and chronological Frozen experience.

First, start with Frozen, and if you feel like it, pause after “Let it Go” and pop over to Olaf: Once Upon a Snowman or watch it right after. Once Upon a Snowman is a very cute short that follows Olaf from when Elsa creates him during “Let It Go” to when he meets Anna and Kristoff. It’s all about how Olaf finds himself, sometimes quite literally, and remembers his name because, you know, water has memory.

Where to next? You might think it’s as simple as Frozen 2 but no, it’s actually a bit complicated! In terms of release, two different shorts came out between Frozen and Frozen 2: Frozen Fever and Olaf’s Frozen Adventure. They’re about, respectively, Anna’s first post-Frozen birthday and the sisters’ first Christmas after opening the gates. Anna’s birthday is in spring, and Christmas is in, well, winter so … yeah, Olaf’s Frozen Adventure comes before Frozen Fever.

Oh, and to watch Frozen Fever, you’re going to need to hop off of Disney+ and over to Netflix, which is the only spot it’s currently streaming because of rights nonsense. It’s the final short in the Walt Disney Animation Studios Short Films Collection, and you have to fast forward an hour to get to it.

Then head back over to D+ for Olaf’s Frozen Adventure (which is honestly quite sweet!).  I’m honestly not sure how the lego Frozen shorts fit into all of this, so … take then or leave them, they’re also on Disney+. You can also enjoy the official Arendelle Castle Yule Log on Disney+ as well! Then you can watch Frozen 2 knowing you’ve experienced the entire canon.

And what about after you’ve finished Frozen 2? Well, you’ve finished crying and want to cry some more, stay on Disney+ and enjoy the really excellent behind the scenes documentary Into The Unknown: The Making of Frozen 2.

Now, do you have to watch this way? Not at all! But does it help to get a few of the deep-cut jokes in Frozen 2 if you’ve enjoyed the rest of the canon? Yeah. And heck, some of you are watching these to keep your kids occupied so, don’t you want to fill up as many hours as possible with Frozen content as possible?

If you’re still jonesing after that, there are twenty Olaf shorts made in quarantine all available yon youtube. And we’re holding out hope for Frozen 3

(image: Disney)

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Jessica Mason (she/her) is a writer based in Portland, Oregon with a focus on fandom, queer representation, and amazing women in film and television. She's a trained lawyer and opera singer as well as a mom and author.