It was actually Marc Davis' masterful work on the Mistress of All Evil for Sleeping Beauty that led to his being assigned Cruella de Vil. But given that 101 Dalmatians was Walt Disney Animation Studios' first film to be set in a contemporary setting, well, Davis wanted Cruella to be a real departure from everything that he'd done with Maleficent. He wanted her to be the first modern-day Disney villain.
In the end Patrick Osborne and his storyboard artists did finally find a way to deliver on Feast's initial promise. But a lot of that was because of many of the behind-the-scenes creative decisions that they made as they rushed to put this new animated short together. Take, for example, Winston, the cartoon canine who serves as Feast's central character.
If you dropped by your local Disney Store during the 1989 holiday season looking to purchase some The Little Mermaid -themed merchandise, you'd have learned that what little had been ordered in advance had long since been sold out. Most likely, the only item that would have been left in stock was an Ariel doll with long blonde hair.