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It’s Never Too Late to Animate

Animation offers a medium of story telling and visual entertainment which can bring pleasure and information to people of all ages everywhere in the world. ~

~Walt Disney

There is a place in Disney’s Hollywood Studios where you can bring your favorite Characters to life with one stroke of a pencil.  Even better, you don’t have to get to rope drop to take advantage of this special entertainment.  Known as the Animation Academy, you can find this special place located inside the The Magic of Disney Animation building next to the Little Mermaid Show and Playhouse Disney. You can get to the class after the Animation tour, or go through the Gallery next to it through the back entrance.

My family and I are simply in love with this class, taking it several times a vacation.  We learned that you don’t have to be perfect to be an Artist.   First off, drawing with a eraserless pencil is almost freeing of all judgment. You can’t erase anything, so what you draw will be in its rawest of forms- and THAT is what makes it beautiful.  Your effort on paper is what makes it such a fun and crazy class.  Whether you have been fighting the heat all day in the Park, or just got in, sitting in the air-conditioned room is a welcome sight. 

The classes run about every 30 minutes, and they start usually around 10 a.m.  Seating is available in the waiting area where you can also guess which characters are being drawn on screens above you. There is usually a Cast Member standing in this area as well to answer any questions you may have, keeping the time, and making sure there is enough room for everyone getting in line.

Once the lights flash outside the doors, you may enter and take a seat.  Help everyone out and slide all the way down your row, these classes tend to fill up, so leaving a seat open is just an annoyance and leads to everyone having to move over anyways.  If you enter the room and there are no stools available, they will show you to the front row where they will provide you a lap desk to draw on instead.   If your children are to small to draw, or you have a person in your party not interested, make sure they sit behind you then, and not at a light desk spot.

Choice of the character is usually up to the Cast Member teaching the class, but I have been in most classes where they have taken a vote between 2 different characters.  If you are repeating a character you have already done, I highly encourage you to go ahead and draw anyways- it never hurts to keep practicing.  Listen closely to the teacher, and if you have little children with you, make sure to keep them under control so the Cast Member can teach everyone else.  The class moves along quickly, and is timed.  He/she won’t be able to stop and start like a normal class, they show you each circle and line to make, and you just have to, as Crush would say,  “Go with the Flow.”  Remember, it won’t be perfect, so have fun with it. Besides, look at is as a free souvenier, or one that cost you the park admission, whatever makes you feel better.

Once the class is done, there is usually time to show off your masterpiece to your neighbors and the teacher.  If you get lucky, the teacher may even sign his over to you. It never hurts to ask, as I did in 2007.  The guy was great and I love to look at his drawing.

On one particular trip, we were fortunate enough to meet Timmy Britt, a great Cast Member who had taught one of our classes. He was friendly, smart, and just a nice guy. After one of our classes, we saw him after and stuck up a conversation.  He loved the girls drawings and encouraged both of them to pursue Art School in some fashion.  His advice and enthusiasm towards Kyra especially, would lead her to take up classes in the art field at a Charter School here in town.  So as you can see, the Animation class holds a special place in our hearts.

We framed our favorites in the living room. I hope you can check out the class yourself and enjoy it on your next vacation. If you have taken it already, we would love to see your drawings!! Post them on our “The Relocated Tourist” Facebook fan page.  We hope you enjoy checking out our art work from over the years- we have loved every single one of them.


  1. We love the animation class! I keep telling myself that I’m going to frame our artwork as well! We bring along a mailing tube to keep our treasures in good shape. I hear a Pringles can works too!
    Happy Drawing!


  2. Amy, thank you for sharing this wonderful piece of information. I like the Stitch drawings.
    We’ve done the tour but never the class. My 9yr old daughter, Savannah, loves drawing or should I say any type of art. Shes been drawing the wimpy kid cartoons lately. Theyre really neat. I just bought her a DS game for her report card & you get to draw people among other things that play in the game…I will have to take her & my son to this when we go this year.


  3. Amy,

    This is the favorite attraction for 3 of the 5 of us in our family!! It is extra special in that it allows us to take a little piece of the magic home and also have some direct interaction with Disney artists. All of your pictures are very good! Much talent! That’s exciting about your daughter being inspired to take art classes from your Charter School. Love the way you framed them, too, and would love to know where you found your frames? They are perfect for setting off the artwork while not distracting from the art itself.

    When we were at WDW for 11 days last September, we let the two of our three kids who love to draw take class after class one day (with a R-n-RC break thrown in for my 17 y-o son). They had a ball, and we have a stockpile of drawings!

    Of course, it is my dream to be a Disney artist… just have to figure out how to do it from 9 hours away as hubby can’t move. (Wouldn’t look right for a pastor’s wife to livce 9 hours away from her hubby, now would it?) Hubby says he would love to drive one of the Friendships one day… so there’s hope. 🙂

    Great feature!


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