In 1933, Disney released a Silly Symphony that, more than any prior entry in the series, stressed character animation. It starred three characters that looked alike, but didn't act alike at all. Veteran Disney animator Albert Hurter designed the lead characters and the villain, and story man Ted Sears wrote the lyrics to a song that would become Disney's first song hit, with Pinto Colvig (best known as the original voice of Goofy) helping compose the song. All of Disney's "stars" of animation had specific tasks in this one, which at first cause no excitement at all when premiered at Radio City, but when it hit the neighborhood theaters, its popularity increased tremendously. Maybe it was the Depression and the need for something "happy" to lift the spirits, but whatever the reason, "The Three Little Pigs" was definitely an animation classic!
Disney wasn't going to sit on his laurels after this, though. He continued pushing his crew to make his cartoons even more sophisticated, and in 1934 (just one year later), he released "The Flying Mouse," which is notable for many things, but pay particular attention to the lighting of each scene!
Lastly today, here's "The Grasshopper and the Ants," which not only showed that Disney wasn't afraid to raid old Aesop's Fables, but also that he could adapt and succeed!
But Disney wasn't satisfied with just making great cartoon shorts, which were costing him more and more to make (and taking longer and longer to make money from). He had this eye on making a feature-length animated movie!