Disney’s Art of Animation resort is the newest addition to the value resorts and is a great place for families to call home during their vacation stay. But you don’t have to book a room to take in the fun atmosphere there. Wander the grounds to see the terrific themed areas and to find a cool learning opportunity.
Head straight to the back of the resort, past the Big Blue Pool and playground area, to Hourglass Lake. There you’ll find a 1.38-mile trail around the lake (sponsored by New Balance) that’s suitable for walking or jogging. It’s great for getting in some exercise or taking in the sunset, but this trail also provides some fun facts to learn on your way.
Signposts along the trail share info and trivia about the four Disney films that are represented at the resort. These facts range from how characters got their names to the type of equipment that was used to animate the films. And it doesn’t matter which direction you choose to head on the trail; there are different facts going in both directions.
The trail is great for film buffs. Be aware that there are smoking areas situated at a couple of spots along the trail. It also connects to the trail at Pop Century, making a full loop around Hourglass Lake.
***UPDATE: This attraction has closed to make way for Star Wars Launch Bay. Please enjoy this article as a bit of Disney history.
Tucked away at the back of Animation Courtyard, beyond Voyage of The Little Mermaid and Disney Junior – Live on Stage!, lies The Magic of Disney Animation. Inside this building, a once fully operating animation studio for Walt Disney Pictures, you can experience all things animation.
A good portion of the space is dedicated to character greeting and interactive games, but wander around and you’ll find some pretty cool learning opportunities, too.
The Production Gallery is an exhibit space that features working animators’ desks (you might even get to see them creating character sketches) and a display wall giving a sneak peek at upcoming films now in production. You can also watch a short film that explains how some of your favorite Disney characters came to be. Cast members in this area can impart lots of neat information about past and future animation – just ask!
The Animation Academy is another fun experience where you can learn to draw a Disney character from an actual animator on site. There are usually lines for this experience as seating is limited during each session.
One of our favorite spaces in The Magic of Disney Animation is the Animation Gallery. It’s a self-paced, walk-through exhibit with rotating displays pertaining to certain aspects of animation. Currently on display is “Setting the Scene,” a fabulous exhibit all about backgrounds and layouts from iconic Disney films. You can learn about the artists’ jobs in creating these important parts of film and also why they choose the techniques they do.
The Magic of Disney Animation is a great spot to interact with cast members. They have a lot to share about Walt Disney, his famous films, and the history of animation.
FL Sunshine State Visual Arts Standards:
VA.2.F.2.1, VA.3.F.2.1, VA.4.F.2.1, VA.5.F.2.2, VA.5.F.2.3, VA.68.F.1.3