Disney has created a live tour to showcase how animation really happens. A new film has been developed, starring Mushu (of Mulan fame), that outlines the basics of animation to give everyone a framework. This film is mildly entertaining and has a few laughs. During the film, which interacts with the Disney artist, the artist will "talk" with Mushu and explain various elements of animation to the crowd. Once the demonstration is over, guests walk down a corridor and can view art from various Disney films, both new and old, and see how scenes are created along the wall of the corridor.
After this gallery, guests have the option of going to the Animation Academy, where guests can draw their own Disney inspired cartoons, experience some kiosk-based entertainment, meet characters from a current Disney film, or exit through the Animation Gallery, which is a gift shop.
The Magic of Disney Animation has had more changes than the Tower of Terror, as it's been retooled numerous times. The current version is meant to mimic that of the version shown at Disneyland. Due to the closing of the Florida based animation studio a number of years ago, the main attraction here, which was seeing real animators at work, is gone now. Instead, you have an animator who demonstrates various elements of animation still and he or she shows you how animation happens, but it's not nearly as informative or entertaining as the old show.
The film in the Magic of Disney Animation, starring Mushu, is entertaining, however, the two films that used to be shown in this attraction, were more entertaining in my opinion, but the Mushu film still has some good laughs. Mostly, this attraction is usually a major commercial for their next movie. Be aware that you will be walking the entire time and although you will be seated for portions, most of it is walking so keep it in mind. The wait time is usually no more than 10 or 15 minutes. If you arrive just as they've sent in a group, you'll have to wait the full 15 minutes or so for the next group. It's probably best to just leave and come back later in the day and see how much longer until the next tour.
After the film and demonstration, there's a self guided walking tour where you can see artwork from the latest Disney film as well as see what a typical animation studio might look like. Aferwards you enter an area filled with interactive games and characters to meet. It's a great location to find characters and meet them as lines tend to be manageable and it's indoors so no heat wave to deal with like being outside.
One of the most under rated and best hidden attractions at Hollywood Studios is the Animation Academy. The premise is an artist teaches you how to draw Disney characters and whether you are young or old, this is a lot of fun. Even adults who do not consider themselves artists by any means are to enjoy it. Give it a shot and try it out once. Animation Academy classes start at 10:30am and are offered every 30 minutes, at the top and the bottom of the hour. The last class is offered at park closing time and we've found that classes are less crowded towards the end of the night.
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