Disney stopped 2D animation based on a faulty assumption.

When Pixar was new and getting popular off of its early films like Toy Story, Disney was losing it’s audience. They were making a series of animated films with each on doing worse than the last. They had passed their prime.

What was their conclusion?

People want 3D animated movies using computers, rather than 2D animations. The technology was the problem according to Disney. They later brought in Ed Catmull, the President of Pixar, to consult on how to do that. It was quickly discovered that they had lost their ability to tell compelling stories. That corporate processes of producing a movie had triumphed over creative processes. In looking for a scapegoat for that, they turned to the medium.

In every industry, there is something fundamental. Something that must stay consistent while nearly everything around it can be allowed to change. In a restaurant for example, it might not even be the food itself. That along with the decor, the staff attire, all of it can change, what can’t change is the high standards, cleanliness, and excellent service.

Disney forgot that a great story is the fundamental assumption of their business. If you fix a problem, and don’t see a leap forward in your work, it’s likely you weren’t fixing a fundamental, you were simply working on something you perceived to be wrong.