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Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Tip Tuesday: The Animation Academy

Welcome to another Tip Tuesday!

This week, I want to showcase a hidden treasure at Disney's Hollywood Studios -- the Animation Academy. This is located in the animation building on the upper level towards the exit to the Art of Disney store.

There are two ways to get to the Animation Academy. The first is the go through the main entrance and watch the Magic of Disney Animation presentation. Afterward, you will go into the huge postshow area where you can meet-and-greet several characters. The other way is to go into the Art of Disney Animation store (to the left of the entrance to the Magic of Disney Animation), go through the store and just walk into the museum beyond.

It's very likely the doors will be closed when you arrive at the entrance to the Academy. If you can, go ahead and sit (or stand) as close to the doors as possible. I'll explain why in a minute. In the meantime, watch the monitors and try to guess which characters are being drawn. It's a good way to pass the time.

There are several presentations each day, so be sure to check a times guide for specific show times. The experience runs around 30 minutes and only around 35 guests can participate in each show, so you'll want to make sure you're as close to the entrance as possible when the doors open.

Once you make it inside, take a seat at a drawing table. You will see a sheet of drawing paper and a pencil (with no eraser) waiting for you. After a few brief introductions, the castmember will ask the audience which character they would like to draw. Usually the artist doesn't draw the same character twice in a row (expect, perhaps, Mickey Mouse in different looks).

My daughter and I went to two back-to-back sessions. In the first session, we (tried) to draw Flynn Ryder. I have to say this was very difficult. I have a completely new appreciation for just how difficult and overwhelming it must be to put together a hand-drawn cartoon short, to say nothing about an animated feature film!

For the second session, my daughter requested to draw Mickey Mouse. The castmember (Corbie), was very patient and took her time explaining each drawing motion and how to make each line. What makes this experience so great is that you get to personally try your hand (literally) at being an animator. At the end, you have a great keepsake - your drawing! Best of all, it's free.

Here's my attempt at drawing Mickey Mouse, but, alas, it's nothing like...

... a trained artist! Corbie was very nice and gave my daughter her drawing!

I highly recommend giving the Animation Academy -- it's a lot of fun, it's something way too many guests walk right by.

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