Once Upon a Snowman

TV review by
Emily Ashby, Common Sense Media
Once Upon a Snowman TV Poster Image
Mild scares don't dampen joys of darling origin story.

Parents say

age 5+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

age 4+
Based on 3 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Stands out for positive role models.

Educational Value

The show intends to entertain rather than to educate.

Positive Messages

Viewers see Olaf’s curiosity guide his journey of self-discovery, and he overcomes many obstacles to find out who he is. The story creatively entwines with that of Frozen.

Positive Role Models

Olaf’s generous spirit and ever-positive nature is on full display here as he always sees the best in people and situations, no matter how dire. His perseverance pays off in the end when he comes to remember his own sweet personality.

Violence & Scariness

Poor Olaf endures numerous accidents and calamities, including falling from cliffs, being chased by hungry wolves, being smashed by a door, and witnessing an explosion very nearby. Happily, though, he always escapes unscathed and (eventually) in one piece. 

Sexy Stuff

"Butt" on one occasion.


This short is the origin story of one of Frozen’s most recognizable characters and retells several scenes from Olaf’s point of view.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Once Upon a Snowman is a short origin story in which Olaf of Frozen fame (voiced, as always, by Josh Gad) comes to life and rediscovers his identity. The story is geared toward viewers who've seen the original movie; without that context, little of how it reframes familiar scenes from Olaf's point of view will make sense. Olaf's journey is one of much peril, and sensitive viewers may worry at seeing him tumble from cliffs, break into his separate snowman parts, be chased by hungry wolves, and so on. But his eventual success affirms the value of perseverance and of self-discovery and awareness.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 5-year-old Written byJonathan F. December 30, 2020

Cute short, makes your kid wishing to watch more.

Could be good to show after showing Frozen.
Adult Written byscarlettthedrag... December 13, 2020

who am I?

it a nice frozen short about what Olaf gets up to before meeting Anna and kristoff and is also trying to figure out who he is I would have preferred it to be a... Continue reading
Teen, 17 years old Written byJulia B. May 18, 2021

Cute short film for Frozen fans who are wondering about Olaf’s backstory

It’s adorable! I loved it, and I laughed so hard at some parts! I never knew that Wandering Oaken is an anagram (or should I say nag a ram) for Naked Norwegians... Continue reading
Kid, 10 years old November 4, 2020

Great fun for the whole family!

I absolutely loved watching this short film. It has light humor. Olaf does say "naked" but most kids will laugh at that alongside you. There is some v... Continue reading

What's the story?

ONCE UPON A SNOWMAN tells the story of how Olaf's (voiced by Josh Gad) rebirth as an animate snowman came to be within the Frozen storyline. The short opens as Elsa (Idina Menzel) scales the North Mountain after exposing her magic to her kingdom, which inadvertently brings to life Olaf, who’s standing just out of her sight. His ensuing physical and existential journey to discover his identity reveals tidbits of his personality and zigzags through and around other scenes from the movie.

Is it any good?

The breakout star of the Frozen stories gets his own spotlight in this adorable origin story whose only fault is being far too short for fans' liking. Innocent and joyful Olaf never disappoints, and Once Upon a Snowman is no exception. He’s immediately likable, being honest in his insecurities and ever willing to trust that even the most worrisome predicament will have a silver lining. In other words, he’s Olaf, even before he realizes who that is and what that means.

This short is exceedingly efficient with its time and manages to integrate Elsa, Anna (Kristen Bell), Kristoff (Jonathan Groff), the hungry wolves, and even Oaken (Chris Williams) -- who gets a very welcome and delightful new scene of his own -- into Olaf’s story. Frozen fans of all ages will want to watch to become better acquainted with this favorite character whose affinity for summer and warm hugs makes him so endearing.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how Olaf learns about himself in this story and what he discovers. How do his experiences help reflect his kind and generous personality? How does he feel once he remembers who he is? What aspects of your nature do you think it's important for people to know? 

  • How does Olaf persevere through everything that befalls him? Did any of his accidents make you worry about his safety? How does this story make them seem funny rather than scary?

  • Once Upon a Snowman tells part of the Frozen story from a new point of view. Does it change any of your impressions of the original movie? What value is there in being able to recognize different experiences and points of view in real life? 

TV details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love Frozen

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

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