The Magic of Disney Animation
Opened: Newest iteration opened October 1, 2004
Location: In the very back of Animation Courtyard.
Extra Magic Hours: No
Type: Educational show and exhibit
Similar To: Unique
Scary Factor: Zero. This educational exhibit offers no thrills or frightening images.
What to Expect: The Magic of Disney Animation no longer features a tour of a real animation studio because there is no working studio to show. Disney closed it in 2004 and consolidated animation in Anaheim. Instead, visitors enter the attraction and watch a faux-animator sketch Mushu the dragon from Mulan while s/he explains the animation process. Next, a cast member shows visitors what was once the animation studio and fields a few questions. Finally, there is an optional sit-down area where guests can sketch a Disney character with the guidance of an animator. There are also several other exhibits to check out to help pass the time until the animator finishes with the previous group or you’re ready to head back out and face the crowd. After the presentation, visitors exit into the gift shop area where there are usually characters to meet and greet.
When To Go: Visit after you’ve already completed most of the headlining rides and attractions. The show is air-conditioned and relaxing and provides a nice break from the sun in the afternoon.
Expect to Wait: Waits that exceed ten minutes are rare. If for some reason a large group has arrived and the wait is longer, find something else to do and return in 30 minutes.
Length: The initial interaction with the animator lasts about ten minutes which is followed by another five minute presentation by an additional cast member. You will then have the opportunity to sit for an additional 15 minute lesson on animation. Altogether, expect this attraction to take about 20 minutes.
Commentary: The Magic of Disney animation was better when it featured a live animation studio, but the current iteration is still as interesting as it is relaxing. I recommend visiting in the afternoon to get out of the heat. The best part of this attraction, by far, is the optional sit-down with the animator where you’ll have the opportunity to learn a bit about how difficult it is to animate a character and draw one of your own. I would highly recommend doing this if there’s room. It’s also a nice, free souvenir to take home. Overall, The Magic of Disney Animation isn’t a “must-do,” but it will provide a nice break from the ruckus of the Studios and will probably make most kids swear they’re going to grow up to become a Disney animator.