Prep & Landing (officially known as Disney Prep & Landing; sometimes listed as Prep and Landing or Wayne and Lanny the Christmas Elves in Prep & Landing) is an Emmy Award-winning computer animated television special produced by Walt Disney Animation Studios. It premiered on ABC on December 8, 2009 at 8:30 PM ET/PT, while in Canada, it debuted on CTV on December 10th. The original airdate was to have been December 1st; however, a speech at the United States Military Academy by US President Barack Obama postponed the debut for a week. As of 2017, the special also airs annually on Freeform as part of the 25 Days of Christmas.


SPOILER: Plot details or story follow.
Prep landingwaynelanny

The setting is a high-tech command center at the North Pole, where an elf named Magee (voiced by Sarah Chalke), the North Pole Christmas Eve Command Center Coordinator (NPCECCC for short), pairs Wayne (voiced by Dave Foley), who after working tirelessly on Prep & Landing for 227 years, doesn't receive an expected promotion to be the Director of Naughty List Intelligence as his partner, Peterson, won the job. Instead, Magee partners Wayne with Lanny (Derek Richardson), an idealistic rookie who has an undying enthusiasm for Christmas, to prepare the world for the annual trip of Santa Claus (code named "the Big Guy").

Wayne, feeling bitter about not receiving the promotion, decides to slack off during a mission and permits Lanny to do all of the work, which is disastrous. However, they get more than they can bargain for when a young boy named Timmy Terwelp captures them in action, enabling Lanny to respark the spirit of Christmas in Wayne.


"This is the most tinsel job ever."

Meanwhile, Miss Holly, Santa's assistant gives a briefing back at the North Pole on the trip, and Magee gets word of a storm over Section 7, where Lanny and Wayne currently are. Magee calls out a code of "figgy pudding" (the equivalent of "code red"), canceling a visit by Santa to Timmy's house, but Wayne decides to override Magee's call to pass by and visit the house anyway. However, prep is lost when their tracking and landing device is lost in said snowstorm so they improvise from a display using an inflatable Santa snow globe, and save Santa's sleigh from disaster. In the end, Santa gives Wayne a snowglobe with a miniature version of Timmy's house, and they see him enjoying Christmas... and turns down a promotion to being in charge of Nice List Intelligence.

Spoilers end here.


Prep and Landing poster
Prep & Landing Poster

Prep & Landing was originally pitched by director Chris Williams as a short film for the newly re-opened theatrical shorts program at WDAS. Liking the idea, John Lasseter (Chief Creative Officer of Disney Animation) decided that it would work best as a television special, and ABC executives, who were keen to repeat the success of the 2007 DreamWorks Animation special Shrek the Halls, approved the project.

Following Williams' directorial debut on the short film Glago's Guest, he was moved on to co-direct the feature film Bolt. The special continued production under the control of co-directors Kevin Deters and Stevie Wermers-Skelton (who also directed the Goofy cartoon How to Hook Up Your Home Theater).



Magee in her office (with the tree from A Charlie Brown Christmas in the background).

  • A scene from Mickey's Christmas Carol is shown on the television of Lanny and Wayne's assigned house in tribute to John Lasseter's first stint at Disney, and Timmy Terwelp's name is a tribute to Tiny Tim.
  • Santa's sleigh is codenamed "Rosebud", after the sled of Orson Wells' titular character in Citizen Kane.
  • The latitude and longitude of Timmy Terwelp's residence (N 34' 9' 20" / W 118' 19' 23") are in actuality that of The Walt Disney Company's world headquarters in Burbank, California; however, the map shows the Ohio Valley instead.
  • Director Kevin Deters' hometown is Quincy, Illinois, home to Deter's Dairy. During a scene in which Wayne is "being naughty" and making himself a drink, the milk carton Wayne is using has the Deter's logo.
  • The tree from A Charlie Brown Christmas can be seen in Magee's office.
  • A station wagon with the license plate "12501 WED" is the birthdate of Walt Disney (December 5, 1901).
  • The German Shepard who was getting dusted to sleep in the prologue was a recolored version of the titular character of Bolt, which was completing production as Prep & Landing was being made.
  • The image of Goofy used in Timmy Terwelp's bedroom comes from the poster for How to Hook Up Your Home Theater.
  • The scene of Christmas Eve prep is all shot from an elf's point of view, which is why Santa's face is never shown onscreen.
  • The home of Timmy Terwelp seen in the snowglobe is actually based on co-director Kevin Deter's boyhood home, and a giraffe in Terwelp's bedroom represents a plaything that one of his children plays with.
  • As Wayne prepares to enter Santa's office, Miss Holly is typing the lyrics to "Jingle Bells".


Other then the above-mentioned pre-emption due to the Presidential speech, two ABC stations did not air the original premiere. WFAA in Dallas pre-empted the special and A Charlie Brown Christmas beforehand to air a Christmas-themed prime time special of their Good Morning Texas program, while WKRN in Nashville opted not to air the shows but broadcast a contractually obligated weekly Tennessee Titans show hosted by head coach Jeff Fisher. The shows aired both in other time slots; the most prominent being at 3:35 AM CDT in Dallas the following late Friday night/Saturday morning (December 18/19, 2009).



Concept art of the main characters, Wayne and Lanny.

The premiere showing on ABC drew over 20 million viewers December 8, 2009. This ended the 35-year reign of Rankin/Bass' Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer as the number one Christmas Special according to ACNielsen.

Awards won

Annie Awards (2009)

  • Best Animated Television Production
  • Best Character Design in a Television Production - Bill Schwab
  • Best Production Design in a Television Production - Andy Harkness

Primetime Emmy Awards (2009)

  • Outstanding Animated Program (30 minutes or less)
  • Outstanding Individual Achievement in Animation - Andy Harkness (art director), William M. George III (background key design), and Joe Mateo (storyboard artist)

Spin-offs and sequels

  • A two-minute short titled Tiny's Big Adventure, originally released on Disney's official website, finds Tiny, an aide, helping Magee out by trying to make a pot of Yuletide Joe, but winds up destroying the break room by accident.
  • A seven-minute short, Operation: Secret Santa, premiered alongside the special's broadcast on December 7, 2010 on ABC at 8 PM ET/PT. Betty White joined the voice cast playing Mrs. Claus.
  • In 2011, ABC debuted a sequel, Prep & Landing: Naughty vs. Nice. This new special reveals that an undercover member of the Coal Elves is Wayne's brother, Noel.
  • Also in 2011, Kevin Deters wrote an 8-page comic story, Prep & Landing: Elves Assemble, in which Wayne and Lanny prepare Avengers Mansion for a visit from Santa. Notably the first official crossover between Disney and Marvel Comics following Disney's acquisition of the latter company, it was illustrated by Joe Mateo and appeared in Avengers #19, Marvel Adventures Super Heroes #20, and Marvel Adventures Spider-Man #20.
  • In a 2011 interview with Disney's insider website, Dieters and Wermers-Skeleton stated that a third special was in the works.[1] However, due to the ratings for Naughty vs. Nice not being high enough, production on it was abandoned.


A DVD of the special, which also included the two aforementioned spin-off shorts, was released by Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment on November 22, 2011. The special was then featured alongside its sequel, Prep & Landing: Naughty vs. Nice, on the Prep & Landing Totally Tinsel Collection DVD and Blu-ray, released on November 6, 2012.



The cover to the storybook adaptation.

A printed adaptation was published by Disney Press in 2009, and plush toys, pins and ornaments have been made available at Disney Stores during the Christmas season. In 2011, Hallmark had a line of Prep and Landing-related toys and ornaments.



The cast and crew of Prep & Landing (from left): Derek Richardson (Lanny), Dorothy McKim (producer), John Lassiter (executive producer), Dave Foley (Wayne) with his daughter Alaina, Stevie Werners-Skelton (writer/director/Rev-Up Elf), Sarah Chalke (Magee), Kevin Deters (writer/director/Brian) and Stephen McPearson.

Voice actor Character
Dave Foley Wayne
Derek Richardson Lanny
Sarah Chalke Magee
Mason Vale Cotton Timmy Terwelp
Kasha Kropinski Miss Holly
Adam Shapiro Coal Elf #1
Peter DeLuise Dancer
W. Morgan Sheppard Santa Claus
Nathan Greno Dasher
Hayes MacArthur Thrasher
Kevin Deters Brian
Lino DiSalvo Gristletoe Joe (a.k.a. "Nancy")
Stevie Werners-Skelton Rev-Up Elf
Peter Jacobson Waterkotte


  1. Yuletide Adventure Continues, Disney Insider, retrieved 8 December 2011.

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