Description And Comments

Note: As part of the Frozen Fun promotion, Animation Academy is currently only featuring classes on how to draw Olaf the snowman. There is no word on when or if the other Disney/Pixar characters will return to the schedule.

The Disney Animation building houses a total of ten shows, galleries, and interactive exhibits that collectively provide a sort of crash course in animation. Moving from room to room and exhibit to exhibit, you follow the Disney animation process from concept to finished film, with a peek at each of the steps along the way. Throughout, you are surrounded by animation, and sometimes it's even projected above your head and under your feet!

Because DCA's Animation building is not an actual working studio, the attraction does not showcase artists at work on real features, and the interactive exhibits are more whimsical than educational. Sorcerer's Workshop, for example, is an interactive exhibit where you can act and sing with various cartoon scenes through a touch-screen computer interface.

The Animation Academy, hosted by a Disney cartoonist, teaches you how to draw a Disney character; if you have any artistic inclination, you may consider it DCA's best-kept secret and find yourself taking the class repeatedly, as a Salt Lake City reader suggests:

[Animation Academy] turned out to be one of my absolute favorite things. I did it four times in a row and would have gone more if I wasn't starving. I plan to devote quite a bit of time to it on my next trip. I don't think you give it enough credit in your book.
And from a Sammamish, Washington, mom:
I agree with the reader comment that you do not give enough emphasis to the Animation Academy drawing classes. I took three, and they were the highlight of the trip. I have no drawing ability whatsoever, but following along with the instructor I was able to make a pretty decent Donald, a passable Mickey, and a Pooh Bear, although he looked like he was in a car accident. My 4-year-old loved drawing along, my husband loved it, and my 2-year-old loved scribbling on her paper and drawing board. It was fun for the whole family.

Turtle Talk with Crush is also located here, featuring the 152-year-old sea turtle from the Disney/Pixar film Finding Nemo. Originally developed for the Seas pavilion at Epcot, Turtle Talk with Crush was the first attraction to incorporate the technology of real-time animation. Here, Crush answers questions, jokes, and makes conversation with guests in real time. The animation is brilliant, and guests of all ages list Crush as their favorite Animation-building feature.

Both Sorcerer's Workshop and Animation Academy provide a good foundation on the animation process and will enhance your appreciation of the other exhibits. Finally, for a WOW! moment, be sure to check out the amazing zoetrope (no, don't worry, it's not that thing that the urologist threatened you with).

Touring Tips

On entering the Animation building, you'll step into a lobby where signs mark the entrances of the various exhibits. Look up in the lobby for a moment at the ultra-hi-def oversized projections of animations in process, including Disney and Pixar's latest hits. It takes 40-55 minutes to do all the interactive stuff and see everything. You probably won't experience much of a wait for the Disney Animation offerings except on weekends and holidays. Even then, the Animation building clears out considerably by late afternoon.

Special Comments

Quite amusing, though not very educational

Blog Posts on Animation Academy
Observations from Disney California Adventure - April 30, 2014

Special Needs

Other Attractions in Hollywood Land

Touring Plans with Animation Academy

What is a Touring Plan?