When the initial idea of a commercial for the Disney World of Color show was presented to Motion Theory, we knew up front that the strength in our pitch was that we operate as a design, visual effects and production company, so we were strong in creative as well as the technical delivery. Very early in pre-production, the directors, Mathew Cullen and Christopher Leone, along with our design team, lead by Rham Bhat, the agency and Disney conceptualized the spot to create the overall look for the commercial. As soon as I saw the concept work, I realised that it couldn't be done as live action production with 3D enhancement. We were tasked with mixing animated Disney icons like Mickey Mouse - who was re-designed for the first time in 25 years - with a photo-real water show. We also established that we would rely on a mix between RealFlow and Houdini fluids to achieve our desired look.Read the whole article here.
This article from FX guide is full of details on the massive amount of VFX work that went into the launch commercial for Disney's World of Color: