It seems like every few months, I am doing a post bidding farewell to something at Hollywood Studios. Recently, Disney fans have said goodbye to the Backlot Tour, the iconic Sorcerer’s Hat, the American Idol Experience, the Legend of Captain Jack Sparrow and now the Magic of Disney Animation building, which closes its doors today. I was honestly okay with the closure/removal of the all the rest, but the closing of the Animation building is stinging a little.
The building was once a working animation studio where guests could witness animators working their craft. In fact, Mulan, Brother Bear and Lilo & Stitch are some of the most famous Disney animated features which were almost entirely produced in that building.
Eventually, Disney Animation’s Florida division was shut down, but the building remained and featured a short film with Mulan’s Mushu showing guests through the process of Disney Animation. After the film, guests were invited to play at some of the interactive animation activities in the building. The building had various meet & greets such as Sorcerer Mickey, The Incredibles, Wreck It Ralph & most recently Hiro & Baymax from Big Hero 6.
But the best part of the Magic of Disney Animation was the Animation Academy which was a drawing class in which a Cast Member walked you through step by step how to draw a Disney character. Of all the times we went, I think we repeated drawing the same character once. It was always new and exciting because you never knew who the animator would choose as the lucky character to draw.
^^Husband’s Flawless Mickey^^
^^Mine…I like to call this Mickey’s Allergic Reaction^^
The Animation Academy was one of my absolute favorite lesser known attractions at Walt Disney World. Many times, we would bypass the Mushu movie and just enter through the back of the Animation Gallery store to just hop in line for the class which really never had too long of a wait. While my works of art were not always pretty, (as if you couldn’t tell) it was fun to feel like an animator and made you appreciate the hard work that goes into creating the animated Disney movies we all know and love. The class was a nice, quiet break away from the hustle and bustle of the park and I loved how they always enforced the fact that they do not provide erasers and there is no such thing as a ‘mess up’ or a ‘bad’ drawing. Speaking from experience, this really helped the non-artists/perfectionists/children with their self-esteem.
^^Vampire Minnie…although the Animator thought it was creative^^
Disney has confirmed that the Sorcerer Mickey meet & greet will be relocated to a new area near Studio Catering Company, however no mention was made of Hiro & Baymax or the Animation Academy nor what would become of the area, just that they are working on a new experience and details would be forthcoming. The Animation Gallery store will remain open until August.
With yet another closure at this park, it once again solidifies the fact that some big changes are coming to Disney’s Hollywood Studios and hopefully those details are finally revealed at the upcoming D23 Expo in August 2015. Whatever the changes may be, I surely hope they find a way to bring back the Animation Academy in some form or fashion somewhere in Walt Disney World.
Here are some of our other works of art thanks to the Animation Academy!
^^Buzz Lightyear. (Left – Mine / Right – Husband)^^
^^Grumpy (Left – Husband / Right – Mine)^^