So just what exactly is “The Magic of Disney Animation” and who is it for? It may be one of the most confusing attractions at Disney’s Hollywood Studios theme park in Orlando, Florida. Why? Well, not many people know what it is, is it a ride, an attraction, or a museum? Where does all this confusion come from? All these questions have answers.
For starters, some of the confusion stems from the limited information available about this Disney experience. In the Disney vacation planning kit that comes with your free DVD, and various other brochures, the attraction is simply described as such, “Enjoy seeing how your animated favorites are brought to life and learn to draw a Disney Character that you can take home.” Well, that doesn’t exactly clear it up. So I’ll just tell you. You stand in line near the, “Voyage of the Little Mermaid”. At the end of the line, you are ushered into a small theater. Once seated, you are treated to a funny and clever little one man show all about the process that a Disney animator uses to create characters for 2D animation films.
The performer speaking about this also interacts with an animated character. When I was little, it was the Genie from, “Aladdin”. Now it is Mushu from, “Mulan”. This short show is fascinating and full of behind the scene information. It’s almost like a firsthand live-action DVD special feature. I would recommend it for kids of all ages and people who love special features on DVDs and all Disney animation nuts.
However, it’s best to tell kids what to expect. Because at any Disney theme park, a line typically means a ride or an impressive or elaborate stage show. So they should be informed about the attraction. It’s one of my favorites, but a lot of people feel disappointment because they didn’t know what to expect. More detailed information can cure that.
But there’s more than just the live show. Afterward, you are released into a museum area, of sorts. Here you can take a look at some animation cells and pose with costumed characters that are typically on-hand for photos. You can also learn how to draw a Disney character. This area is similar to what you might experience at a children’s museum.
Again, when I was small, there were actual animators working on-site and a tour was led by another character voiced by Robin Williams. (A cat if I recall correctly.) Anyone who was there at that time may be disappointed in the seeming sparseness of the attraction now, and I can only hope that with the return of 2D animation at Disney (The Frog Princess, Rapunzel, etc.) they will beef up this area with more animation-related props and artifacts. I’d also like to see them bring another animator on-site that people could watch working as they browse the museum.
Similar to, “Walt Disney: One Man’s Dream”, The Magic of Disney Animation isn’t necessarily a must-see, and it would be best to think of it in the context of a museum experience instead of a theme park attraction. But it is great for cartoon buffs and those excited about the return to traditional 2D animation at Disney or Disney history.