Thursday, January 8, 2015

#20 - Animation Academy

Category: Interactives/Memorabilia
Category Rank: 1

Park: Hollywood Studios
Park Rank: 2

Disney World has many hidden gems within it.  Favorite places and attractions that aren't every family's cup of tea, but will be yours.  One of those for us is the Animation Academy within Hollywood Studios.

This unique exhibit is just part of the "Magic of Animation" exhibit within the Studios.  It includes a show about animation (skip it) as well as a gallery of original art (which is okay to walk by).  There also is a nice meet-and-great area, where they tend to put their newest characters (we missed the Big Hero Six meet and greet during our October trip by a week).  We consider it the only redeeming part of the attraction.  Interestingly enough, it looks like this pales in comparison to its Disneyland counterpart, which has a far-more impressive building.

The attraction is very simple; every 30 minutes of the day the park is open (I think... I've never been there right away in the morning), there is a class.  You and up to 50 others, depending on how much they cram in during a session, get to draw a character under the direction of a Disney animator.  And no, this is not someone pretending to be an animator, like the "ski pro" at the local ski lift; they know their stuff, and they tend to be there a lot.  I think we have had 3 different instructors despite having drawn over a dozen characters.

The drawing is a simple pencil drawing... no colors available.  They emphasize typical drawing principles: starting with guidelines and geometric shapes, light lines first and darken in once you are sure you have the lines correct, etc.  It actually is a great class and very enjoyable.

Well... typically enjoyable.  We have gone since our very first trip, and we often have tears by our kids over how their drawings turned out.  I think they are finally old enough where that's no longer a problem, but it is a reality to account for if you have younger kids.  The irony is, their drawings are actually very good for their age... much better than the random scribbles that passes as Fridge-worthy art in school.  It just is a problem when they see their family members draw even better drawings.

Oh well.  It still is a great experience.  It fits in that "interactive/memorabilia" category, as you can take the drawing with you.  Because it is special for our family (it is the only non-thrill "must do" every time we go to the Studios), it earns our ranking as #1 interactive, and in the top 20 overall.

This is taken outside the academy, at the "guess the character" game
that takes place on a television screen.  And yes, this is a picture of
Hailey sitting on my lap.  No idea why she chose to do this...
I feel I need to justify it a bit more than saying "this is our favorite".  I really can't believe this event isn't more popular.  I mean, it can't bring through a 1000 people an hour like most rides, and yet the line is less than other rides.  Sure, it is "educational", in the sense that you can learn from it.  And many people don't go to WDW for the education.  Which is a shame, because it is fun and nostalgic as well.  Getting to hang with an animator is a pretty memorable experience.

That's the thing about this attraction.  It provides a "science-station" type of interactive experience that a) the whole family can enjoy, b) is quite fun, and c) screams "Disney!".  If I were in charge of WDW (my next blog), I would love to see more experiences like this as a fun alternative to the hectic line-budging day of thrill rides.  But, I'm having trouble of thinking what some other ones would be.

We go for another resort at #19.  This resort is probably the hardest one for me to rank, as I'm not sure how to size up its plusses and minuses.  It is the grandest of all the resorts in WDW, and one we visit on every trip.

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