Attraction Spotlight: Animation Academy

Our instructor at the Animation Academy.

Our instructor at the Animation Academy.

As someone not particularly artistically-inclined – at least when it comes to drawing – I’ll admit, I’d never set foot inside the Animation Academy at Disney California Adventure until a friend dragged me in by bribing me with the promise of learning how to draw the Cheshire Cat from Alice in Wonderland!

And the result was a super-fun experience that I highly recommend!

It all begins outside the Disney Animation Building in Hollywood Land where a board lists the various characters being taught for the day (classes run on the half hour) – choices may range from Fab Five characters like Goofy or Pluto or, of course, Mickey Mouse. But there are other popular characters such as a selection from The Nightmare Before Christmas or Olaf the snowman to more random characters like one of my favorites, the Cheshire Cat.

Let me state emphatically that you do NOT need any art training (or talent!) whatsoever to enjoy this attraction. The Cast Member instructor will show you everything you need to do to turn out a drawing of a beloved character.

I had serious doubts about my ability to do this, but was pleasantly surprised by the results!

When you first enter the room for this experience, there is stadium seating and a drawing board, paper and pencil waiting for you. Grab a board and settle in and let the class begin!

The dreaded blank page.

The dreaded blank page.

The Cast Member will explain to you that every character is really just a series of lines and shapes and if you just know where to put those lines and shapes, you can create a drawing of your own.

Our instructor talked us through the design of the Cheshire Cat. These explanations do run briskly, though, without time for questions, so you just do your best to keep up.

Class in progress!

Class in progress!

In the end, you wind up with your own drawing to take home with you (for free!) and proudly display on the refrigerator – or tuck away in a closet to practice more for next time!

All ages are welcome and everyone’s participation is encouraged.

My final result – not bad, I think, for a first attempt!

My final result – not bad, I think, for a first attempt!

This is another great way to spend some time inside on a hot or rainy day at the park. Give this experience a try and I think you’ll be happy that you did!

Mousertainment Memorandum: This attraction also used to be offered at Disney’s Hollywood Studios at the Walt Disney World Resort, but was closed last year to make way for the Star Wars Launch Bay. So if you’re looking for a place to learn to draw Disney characters, then Disney California Adventure should be your destination!

Have you attended the Animation Academy? Which character did you draw?


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