The Best Way to Spend the Day in the Parks?

April 11, 2016, 12:09 PM · We recently asked readers "if you could spend all day on one theme park attraction, which one would it be?"

Readers replied with multiple picks for Men in Black Alien Attack at Universal Studios Florida, as well as for Disney's Splash Mountain, Kilimanjaro Safaris, Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, and the Disneyland Railroad. But my pick wasn't a ride — it was a drawing class.

Disney's Animation Academy celebrates the heart of the Walt Disney Company by connecting visitors with that tradition in the most engaging way imaginable. In the Animation Academy, you don't just watch Disney animation. You create it — following the step-by-step instructions of a Diseny cast member.

Okay, nothing any guest sketches in this fun little character animation class will ever make it to the big (or even small) screen. But those sketches do make for delightful (and free!) souvenirs of your park visit. That's all why I wrote about Animation Academy in my Orange County Register column this week.

You can find Animation Academy in the Disney Animation building in Disney California Adventure's Hollywood Land. At the Walt Disney World Resort, the Animation Academy in Disney's Hollywood Studios closed last year along with the rest of the Magic of Disney Animation pavilion, but I believe you can find one still in the DisneyQuest in Disney Springs. There's an Animation Academy at Hong Kong Disneyland and another in the Art of Disney Animation pavilion at Walt Disney Studios Park in Paris, too.

Read Robert's Column:

Replies (13)

April 11, 2016 at 12:36 PM · I gotta say... On our first and only trip to Disneyland (and CA) ever, the Animation Academy was a complete surprise and a highlight of our trip.

Also, we got to draw Mickey Mouse! I see people showing pictures of the experience drawing almost every other Disney character there is. We feel super lucky we found the experience and proudly display our hand drawn Mickeys!

April 11, 2016 at 12:49 PM · I'm not sure I could imagine spending an entire day on a ride, anyway. But if I had to pick, and if it were still around, Horizons would be my go-to. ;)
April 11, 2016 at 3:06 PM · This was an available activity the last time we sailed on the Disney Cruise Line in December, 2014, and on each of the four preceding cruises. I hope they still do this.
April 11, 2016 at 3:14 PM · Great. Now I can't stop dreaming about having the time, money and proximity to spend an entire day on one theme park attraction...

First thought was I would choose between Men In Black and DHS' Tower of Terror, but the spinning and drops, respectively, would take a toll over the course of a day. So I'm throwing my purely hypothetical support behind the Disneyland Railroad.

April 11, 2016 at 3:41 PM · I'd visited California Adventure a couple times before, but I had always given the Animation Academy a skip. I couldn't see the attraction to it. But with an extra day visiting the parks this time around, I made a point to experience attractions I never had before and so I stepped into the Academy theatre.

And it was a thorough delight. Surprisingly engrossing, personally rewarding and honest to goodness fun. I can now see why people line up for repeat visits to this unique experience. And I'm now kicking myself for not choosing to try it sooner.

April 12, 2016 at 4:39 AM · MIB and Horror Makeup Show.
April 12, 2016 at 7:27 AM · Didn't you say Frozen is for 8 year old girls? Well, drawing animation is for 8 year old boys and girls. I wouldn't mind taking my kid to both enjoy Elsa and Anna and drawing some characters, but I'll never do it myself.

I do recall visiting California Adventure a lot when I was single and buying a beer and enjoying watching the bands play at Pacific Wharf. I also went to Disneyland a lot when they had bands play at the Tomorrowland Terrace. They seemed to have cut the bands at Disneyland, which is a shame.

If you're a passholder and don't need to go on rides, best to enjoy the full circuit of shows and parades.

April 12, 2016 at 8:19 AM · Got stuck on Splash Mountain for over an hour and was late to our reservations at Victoria & Albert's. That is no longer an attraction I would like to spend the entire day on!! ;)
April 12, 2016 at 12:20 PM · Nice pick, Robert. I have yet to experience Disney's Animation Academy at DCA. Last time I was there I was so focused on getting on rides that I missed this awesome attraction. Will make sure to check it out next time I am there!
April 12, 2016 at 12:51 PM · Sarah Warner- Disney was doing you a favor by helping you to miss your reservation for Victoria & Albert's! That restaurant does not deserve your hard earned money.
April 12, 2016 at 2:33 PM · MIB would be an awesome attraction to ride all day. Every time I get off that ride I always wanna get right back on to try and improve my score.

It would also be fun to ride Simpsons several times throughout the day. I've been on that ride God knows how many times and I'm still finding all these clever little jokes that I didn't notice before. Although the ride's roughness might be a little too much for some people to ride all day.

I don't know if this technically counts as sticking to just one attraction, but spending an entire day at WWOHP would make for an enjoyable experience.

WDW also has a crapload of attractions I wouldn't mind riding all day.

In MK, there's my favorite ride, Splash Mountain, with it's incredible theming, catchy tunes, and that big drop.

Haunted Mansion would also be good because, well, it's the freakin Haunted Mansion!

In Epcot, I'd probably do Test Track just to see how many crazy designs I can come up with.

Or I could do something that already takes up 50% of my time at Epcot nowadays, just walking around World Showcase and admiring all the beautiful designs of the pavilions. Plus eating food. Lots of it.

DHS there's three obvious choices: Star Tours for it's multiple scenarios, Tower of Terror for the drop
sequence, or Midway Mania for the same reason I gave for MIB.

And as for DAK, I agree with the rest of the general population on this one; Kilimanjaro Safaris.

Now, about the Animation Academy, I'll confess, I never got the chance to do it. I just always passed it by. One time a few months before it closed down, I wanted to try it just to do something different. I got to see the little show with Mushu, but my party had no interest in seeing the Animation Academy. And now if I wanna experience it myself I have to fly out all the way to either California, Paris or Hong Kong. What lesson did I learn? Carpe diem.

April 12, 2016 at 11:00 PM · The attraction I would wish to ride for an entire day would be Spaceship Earth. I love the music, the history, even the smells of smoke. I would love to truly soak in each section.
April 13, 2016 at 5:13 AM · My husband and I love to go on the rides but we also like to spend time visiting other attractions at the various theme parks. Every time we visit the Walt Disney World Resort we used to go to the Animation Academy. I was pretty sad when it shut down last year. I am surprised that it closed as it was always super busy with long lines to get into the sessions.

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