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Art of Disney Animation

All started by a mouse? Not quite...

Discover the history and birth of animation, relive the best moments of Disney's animation legacy, see the creation of a classic character and draw on your imagination by trying your hand at a host of interactive animation experiments.

Combining theatre presentations with interactive exhibition rooms, Art of Disney Animation aims to take guests right from the birth of the animation technique to the creation of modern-day Disney characters.

Art of Disney Animation

Entering the pre-show room, a colourful mural wraps around the left side of the room charting early animation inventions — the Greek Urn, Magic Lantern, Praxinoscope and more, many you can try yourself — whilst to the right is a huge multi-plane camera with various exhibits and artifacts showing how Walt Disney and his team of animators refined and evolved the art form.

The Disney Classics Theatre is a seated cinema show playing a montage of great Disney and Pixar animation moments, touching on themes such as love, loss and rebirth, whilst the next room, Drawn to Animation, features a live host alongside dragon Mushu explaining how Disney creates its many characters.

In the final and largest room, a series of interactive "Animation stations" allow guests to try their hand at drawing Mickey Mouse, editing sound effects or designing their own Zoetrope animation, whilst the walls are lined with paintings and exhibits highlighting the work of European artists in the design and creation of Disney's classic films.

Whilst Art of Disney Animation is often considered a pale imitation of the larger Disney Animation pavilion in California, it has several unique features and much of the same interactivity to make it a worthwhile diversion for most visitors, one of few attractions in the park that truly fits its raison d'être, even if few guests return to see it over and again.

Guided tour through the history and process of animation, with theatre presentations and interactive activities.

  • Opening Date

    16th March 2002

  • Attraction Type

    Guided tour

  • Duration

    20 minute tour plus interactive exhibits

  • Capacity

    225 Guests per tour

  • Suitablility
    • Children 3-7
    • Children 8-12
    • Young Adults
    • Adults
    • Seniors

Trivia

  • The iconic, cone-shaped Sorcerer's Hat tower is based on the original at the Feature Animation Building of the Walt Disney Studios in Burbank, California; built in 1994 at the height of the so-called "golden age" of the period and designed by architect Robert A.M. Stern, known already at Disneyland Paris for his work on Disney's Hotel New York, Disney's Hotel Cheyenne and the Espace Euro Disney preview centre, which also featured a giant Sorcerer Hat.
  • Surrounding the Sorcerer's Hat are a series of Disney character statues, from left to right: Genie, Brer Rabbit, Donald Duck, Hercules, Tinkerbell, Mickey Mouse, Tarzan, Bachus, Mulan, Pinocchio and Dumbo.
  • Featured in the pre-show is one of only two remaining original multi-plane cameras — the invention which helped win Walt Disney two Oscars for Flowers and Trees and allowed for the layered animation effects seen best in Bambi and short film The Old Mill. The only other multi-plane camera in existence is at the Disney Studios in Burbank, California.
  • Animation inventions featured in the pre-show area include: Greek Urn (500 BC, Greece), Magic Lantern (1659, Netherlands), Thaumatrope (1825, England), Phenakistoscope (1832, Belgium), Zoetrope (1834, England) and Praxinoscope (1877, France). Most rely on a characteristic of the brain known as Persistence of Vision, which means we retain an imagine for slightly longer than our eyes actually see it.
  • In mid-May 2007 as part of the Toon Studio placemaking project, the Wendy, Peter Pan and Tinker Bell statues were installed on the Sorcerer's Hat, having been originally created as Castle decorations for Walt Disney World's Happiest Celebration On Earth in 2005. This project also saw the entire building, formerly a warm yellow matching Disney Studio 1, painted its current blue colour to create a greater sense of unity between the Toon Studio attractions.
  • Exclusive previews of upcoming Disney and Pixar animated films are shown at the end of the Drawn to Animation show and change regularly throughout the year, usually featuring the director or a lead animator talking about their project.
  • An Animation tour was in plans for the park right from its very beginning as Disney-MGM Studios Europe and was originally envisaged to be nearly identical to the exhibit at its sister park in Florida, which opened in 1989. This even included a working animation studio — indeed, right up to the reworked plans for Disney Studios Paris in 1999 it was planned to move Disney's existing Feature Animation studio in Paris to the resort, situated right next to the tour in the area now taken by Cars Quatre Roues Rallye. However, when Disney began closing its satellite studios and laying off animators, the move failed to go ahead and the Paris studio, based in Montreuil, Seine-Saint-Denis, closed in 2002. The Florida studio closed in 2003.
  • At Disney's Hollywood Studios park in Florida, guests can visit The Magic of Disney Animation which offers a broadly similar show and tour experience to Paris. Meanwhile, Disney California Adventure park has the simply titled Disney Animation building which allows guests to pick and choose which rooms or shows they visit from a central lobby, including several unique experiences such as the Beast's Library and Ursula's Grotto housing the interactive games found in the final room of Paris' tour.

Classic scenes from over 30 beloved Disney films are brought together in6 different languages at the Disney Classics Theatre

Tips

  • You can return at any time to the interactive area at the end of the attraction through the exit doors, so if you can't find a seat at the Animation Academy first time around or the rain begins to pour, head back to complete the exhibits!
  • From 2010, Art of Disney Animation has begun to frequently use scheduled performance times, which are posted both on the park Programme leaflet and the nearby Tips Board. Since the attraction always ran to a cycle of 15-20 minute presentations, this change simply allows you to maximise your time by aiming for a specific show time.

Advice

  • Scheduled performance times may apply - check Information Board or Programme.
  • Fully accessible.