In a couple weeks, Disney will close its “Magic of Disney Animation” attraction at Hollywood Studios. This area of Disney World was always one of the better ideas I’ve seen at an amusement park, mixing a ride with an actual working animation studio that produced Mulan, Lilo & Stitch, Brother Bear, and bits of other Disney features. Cartoon Brew writes:
“It’s a bittersweet ending for an attraction that introduced many young people to the art of hand-drawn animation and inspired untold numbers of budding artists to consider animation as a career. One of the park’s original offerings after it opened as Disney/MGM Studios in 1989, it gave attendees the chance to watch Disney animators at work.”
Before I had kids, I visited the park in the late 1990s and spent some time watching the animators. I asked the park employee if I could hang out after the tour had continued on, just standing there looking through the glass as an animator shot a pencil test for some rough or cleanup animation for a scene from Tarzan. I’m not sure how long I stayed there; it could have been 15 minutes or it could have been an hour. But I remembered every detail from that animated scene when finally seeing Tarzan in the theater, and for years after until today.
By the time we could take our kids there, Disney had already closed down their animation studio in Florida, turning the ride into an empty shell of what it used to be. I wish my kids could’ve seen it as it was meant to be.