I’ve written about the Animation Academy at Disney’s Hollywood Studios before. But, it being one of my favourite attractions, you’ll have to indulge me a second time – mainly because I want the chance to show off our latest drawings, but I also took some pics that I wanted to share.
As I previously mentioned, the Animation Academy is a part of the Magic of Disney Animation attraction. To get to it, you watch a film featuring Mulan that discusses animation and then you come out in the animation building. This area is currently host to a range of Disney characters that you can queue up to meet – exactly who varies. You will very often find Sorcerer Mickey here – and if that isn’t as good a reason as any to visit the building, I don’t know what is. Characters from The Incredibles are also pretty common – usually in the raised area – we’ve seen Mr Incredible, Elastigirl and Frozone in different pairings. We’ve also seen Minnie, Goofy and Pluto but more common here seems to be newer characters, for example we saw those from Up just as the film was released.
The film you see at the beginning of this attraction is fun and worth seeing the first time round. However, you really don’t want to have to see it every time if you plan of visiting the Animation Academy or these characters more than once. The good news is, that
you don’t have to. When you leave the academy, you come out into the Animation Gallery. You can turn right to go back into the animation building, or left to enter the shop and leave. Unlike in most ‘end of attraction’ shops there is no sign to tell you that you can’t enter back into the attraction again. It has a really open feel and you don’t feel like you’re breaking any rules by entering the building this way, through the gallery. So when we want to go to the Animation Academy, we tend to go in via the shop. We have not visited in peak season recently, and it may be to control numbers that they prevent you from doing this then, but it has certainly been possible on our last few trips.
A brief recap of the premise: the Animation Academy is a drawing class – a teacher at the front guides you though drawing a Disney character and you get to take the results home with you. Its really fun and even if you are really rubbish at drawing (like moi) you come out with at worst, recognisable results and at best, a drawing you can be proud of.
One thing I will say is that your enjoyment of the class and how good your artwork will be is very much dependent on how good a teacher you get. And by that I don’t necessarily mean how good an artist – I mean the teaching. The best ones detail exactly how to get the result that they’re producing on the projector in front of you. For instance, some will tell you that when you’re drawing a circle that you need to rotate from the shoulder – I found that quite useful. Others might tell you when to go soft and when to pencil in the darker lines, while others let you figure that out for yourself. I need step by step instructions so I like it when they give us this information. The worst teacher we had was when we were meant to be drawing Dale. She went through it far too fast and didn’t tell us what to draw (like, this should be a circle, this is a tear shape etc) just ‘now we do the ear’ etc which really wasn’t helpful at all. She actually had time to fit in drawing Chip afterwards for those that wanted to – and in my opinion it would have been much better to go slower with Dale than cramming in two characters into the 20 minutes.
So here you have it, these are our attempts from this time round – I warn you some are really quite awful! Mine, by the way, are the better ones, but I’ll leave it up to you to figure out which those are:
By the way, if you have very little kids who can’t sit still and are going to talk all the way though the class, bear in mind that not everyone in the room is going to think they’re as adorable as you do when they can’t hear the instructor! Please at least try to tell them to shut the hell up. But if your kids are old enough to sit through a class then I would 100% recommend this attraction. It is really quite different from anything else you’ll find at the theme parks, its a lot of fun and it also gives you a free souvenir – your drawing!