More than any other backstage peek, this tour truly takes you inside the magic as you follow the many steps of 2-D animation, an art expected to be totally replaced in years to come by computer-generated films such as the Disney/Pixar blockbuster Toy Story. You begin in a small theater with a performance of Drawn to Animation, in which an actor plays the role of an animator interacting with Mushu, the wisecracking character from Mulan. Depending on when you visit, new characters from upcoming Disney films may be introduced near the end of this show.
Then you enter a creative zone to play with computer touch screens. You can voice your favorite character and discover which one is most like you. Watch for popular costumed Disney toon stars to appear in this area for autographs and photos.
The final stop is the Animation Academy. Children and adults can participate as an artist explains how to draw the Disney character du jour—your sketch is your souvenir.
As you exit, don't miss the collection of drawings and cels of characters from Snow White, Fantasia, and other classics. Here, too, are the actual Academy Awards that Disney has won for its animated films. The entire experience can take 15 to 30 minutes or more if you play at interactive exhibits or take part in the Animation Academy. For people with disabilities: Wheelchair accessible, has reflective captioning and equipped for audio-description devices. Come early or late. To test your talents at Animation Academy, go there first or get in line quickly after the Drawn to Animation show. Toddlers may get bored.
Animation Courtyard, Walt Disney World, Florida, 32830, United States