First up? Finding a new home — and some new love — for the Animation Academy.
We've long been fans of the Animation Academy, a hands-on demonstration where a Disney cast member leads visitors in drawing a Disney character. It's a unique theme park attraction in that every visitor becomes an active participant in the show... and those visitors get to create a free souvenir to take home.
In doing so, Animation Academy pays the most appropriate possible tribute to the art form upon which the entire Walt Disney Company was built — animation. Animation Academy makes the art of animation relevant and engaging to each visitor, creating a physical, pencil-on-paper connection between fans and beloved Disney characters. Want to see Disney Magic? Look around the room at the reactions on first-time visitors' faces as they see a Disney character emerge from the pencils in their hands, simply by following the cast member's instructions.
Walt Disney World's Animation Academy closed with the Magic of Disney Animation this summer. The attraction continues to operate at other Disney resorts around the world, including the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, but ought to have a home at Disney's largest resort, as well. Frankly, Animation Academy not only deserves a new home in Florida, it deserves a more prominent home, too. At Disney California Adventure and other Disney resorts, Animation Academy is tucked away inside an animation tribute pavilion that just doesn't offer much curb appeal to attract passing guests.
Animation Academy's intimate nature ensures that it will never be a high-capacity show, serving several hundred guests an hour at full capacity, instead of the 1,000+ per hour that Disney's bigger theater shows can handle. But this is the heart of the company. With some tweaks to the theater-style room used in Anaheim, instead of the classroom-style room once used in Florida, Disney could create a higher-capacity Animation Academy that could take a more prominent position in a reimagined animation pavilion at whatever Hollywood Studios becomes or... even better, taking over the space now used by the Captain EO theater in a redesigned Imagination pavilion in Epcot's Future World.
Wherever Disney puts it, the Animation Academy is a great attraction that deserves a new home at the Walt Disney World Resort. What do you think?Tweet
I couldn't agree more. The Animation Academy is one of my favorite attractions at DLR and one that I think is invaluable for all the reasons you mentioned. One idea I think could take the academy to the next level is adding or supplementing the academy to include a Pixar-led computer animation course, which would teach guests how to create computer animated characters in real time. Of course,the technical aspects of an attraction like this would limit the appeal and probably call for a longer presentation time than the current hand-drawn classes that the Academy offers. But the idea of learning to create 3-d character models in a short time is something that would be really enjoyable and enticing. Perhaps they could even have the option to upload their creation to an app or e-mail it to themselves or even have the option to have it 3-d printed for a nominal fee. Just a few thoughts.
I imagine DHS will face the same dilemma. Is it even worth the effort with Star Wars coming soon? Mickeys Philharmagic already has the animation covered. Animation was similarly explored in other attractions like Turtle Talk, Nemo, and Laugh Factory.
Actually, Animation Academy is still in one other place Disney Quest...oh wait....
I would politely disagree that philharmagic, turtle talk and laugh floor got "animation covered." Philharmagic focuses more on music and the other two are interactive meet-and-greets. Yes, the characters are animated, but how are those characters animated? How were they brought to life? That's where Animation Academy comes in.
Yes, Disney doesn't make hand-drawn animation anymore, but that's how they got started, what they stuck to for decades, and what they're still most famous for. To completely ignore hand-drawn animation just because Disney doesn't make them anymore would be the equivalent of ignoring hand-written literature classics such as The Odyssey and Romeo And Juliet just because no one writes them anymore.
We actually did kinda decided for ourselves that we prefer cg over hand-drawn animation. Look at how many people saw Princess And The Frog and the 2011 Winnie the Pooh reboot compared to Tangled, Wreck-It Ralph, Frozen or Big Hero 6.
And before you say anything about Winnie the Pooh not being relevant I would like to point out that Big Hero 6 started as an obscure Marvel comic.
Exactly why they should still do it.
"To completely ignore hand-drawn animation just because Disney doesn't make them anymore would be the equivalent of ignoring hand-written literature classics such as The Odyssey and Romeo And Juliet just because no one writes them anymore."
Not only is this analogy irrelevant since you are comparing personal works of literature to a modern giant media corporation, but it is also incorrect since there are still many writers who put pen to paper and create stories. Ever heard of JK Rowling?
"We actually did kinda decided for ourselves that we prefer cg over hand-drawn animation"
Maybe CG movies makes a lot of money, but lets not forget that Walt Disney was an artist and storyteller first, and capitalist 2nd. Actually his 2 greatest creations were warned against by his advisors as financially dangerous: Snow white and the seven Dwarves, and Disneyland. Animation is an art and I don't think there is an artist who got into it to get rich.
I think you're missing the point about literature. Yes people write, but the point is more on the understanding, comprehension, and respect for literary history. Harry Potter may be a best-selling series, but its not The Odyssey or The Divine Comedy or Moby-Dick. The point is that exposing people to the history and process of animation gives people a historic and cultural framework of the Disney company and brand as a whole (just like exposing people to classic literature prepares them for an understanding of literary history, criticism, and appreciation).
Also, I know that artists care about more than just money. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if there are some within the Disney Company who would love to make a return to hand-drawn animation. Unfortunately, they're not the ones who have the control. That would be the studio executives, the ones who really pull all the strings. And they're definitely in it for the money. And if you want to bring Walt into the equation, then I should just come out and say that I don't think he would mind the the transition to cg all that much. Yes, he was an artist and a storyteller, like you said, but even more so, he was an innovator. His favorite part of his job was that he always got to push the boundaries of what was possible. This was the same guy who pretty much rid us of silent cartoons and created the first amusement park that wasn't just another midway experience. So why not transcend to an entirely new form of animation? I still really miss the old hand-drawn cartoons, and think they should always be considered as an important part of both cinematic and television history, but I think there's still some new possibilities with cg that have yet to be explored.
I'll give you this, Daniel, I didn't know that JK Rowling hand-wrote her books. As if I didn't have enough respect and admiration for that woman already!
The debate is all wrong. CG is a tool, just like the original cells. The artist can and do hand drawn sketches that are later translated to CG or hand drawn cells in the original method. Therefore, an Animation Academy should be updated to discuss how animated hand drawn sketches are translated to story boards and then to CGI. It would be an amazing exhibition. Nonetheless, I still don't think much people will care.
To be fair, you can't make that judgement for another 2700 years.
Granted the mention of Moby Dick does make me think that SW should build a Dark Ride themed after that book and dedicate it to PETA and what doesn't happen to whales at SW.
This article has been archived and is no longer accepting comments.
The only downside to the attraction was, as you mentioned, the limited capacity. Our family would have loved to have spent more time learning to draw characters, but the reality of opportunity cost (e.g. missing Fastpass times) was a bit too great to overcome. Would love to see this in an expanded theater!