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Your Disney Vacation Specialist
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Magic Monday: Animation Academy

It has been awhile since I have posted a new Magic Monday – so today’s post is inspired by my favorite dwarf, Dopey. Nope, we aren’t talking about Snow White – today we are talking about Animation Academy. Animation Academy is tucked away in the back of Animation Courtyard. Pass right under the archway that beckons with Disney Animation! Or you can enter through the store Animation Gallery.


Mel’s rendition of Dopey from Animator’s Academy

Animation Academy is presented every 30 minutes on the hour and half hour (starting half an hour after park opening) and it features a Disney animator teaching you how to draw a beloved Disney character. Can’t draw? Doesn’t matter – you don’t have to be a great artist to have fun. Trust me, I can’t draw a stick figure but I always have a blast learning how to draw a new character. They break down the drawing into the fundamental shapes – telling you how to use things like guide lines and reference points. So you never set out to create the perfect version of Pluto – you learn how Pluto is created using circles, ovals, and curves that are then joined together to create Mickey’s’ best pal.

When you enter the drawing studio you will take a seat on one of the swivel stools and each place will be outfitted with a drawing space, drawing paper and pencils. One thing that quickly gets noted is the lack of erasers on your pencils – uh-oh! The trick is to draw lightly and then once you are satisfied with your shapes then you darken them in. And all those little guide lines and extra light lines, well – they just add some character to your character. The animator running the class usually starts off by seeing how many people have done the class before and who you have drawn. Sometimes he or she will choose the character you are drawing based on the fewest number of people that have drawn it or by a vote of the class.

On my recent business trip to Disney one of the other agents and I made a stop into Animation Academy to try our hand at being Disney animators. The character for that class – Dopey! Now, were you paying attention when I said I couldn’t draw? No, I mean it! But my Dopey made me incredibly proud! So while we usually hang up the kids artwork from the class; mine usually gets relegated to the bottom drawer of my filing cabinet. But not Dopey! He looks, well, Dopey! It was a proud moment for me – so proud I texted a picture of my creation to my family and Dopey now proudly sits above my desk and greets me each morning with a smile.

Dopey was probably one in a million and I will never have another day like that at the Animation Academy – but I always have a blast and if anyone in your family loves to draw or just loves Disney characters – stop in and try your hand at being a Disney animator!

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