Two talents I wish I had been blessed with are the abilities to draw and sing well. Unfortunately, I was passed over for both. That is one reason I love the Animation Academy at Disney’s Hollywood Studios! After the 20 minute class, I felt like a decent artist, and I have the pictures to prove it. The Animation Academy is located in the Animation Courtyard outside of The Magic of Disney Animation building in Pixar Place.
Normally all I can draw are stick figures, so I was a little nervous about this experience. My husband is the creative one in the family. Classes run every 30 minutes on the hour and half hour starting at 10:30 a.m. until Park Closing. There is a small waiting area outside the double doors and a Cast Member will advise you whether you will make the next class. The room accommodates around 38 guests. All ages are welcome, but younger children may be frustrated if they are perfectionists.
When the doors open, it’s time to start! You are seated at long tables with individual work spaces. At each desk is a piece of paper and a pencil with no eraser! There are no erasers on purpose; it’s a sketch.
The instructors usually have a character chosen for the class, but sometimes they’ll take suggestions or have a vote. The instructor projects his or her drawing on a big screen and starts off drawing with simple shapes. You want to draw very light lines, because some lines cross over each other. You may be tempted to want to erase, but don’t worry, the character will become apparent soon. The class moves quickly, so it’s important to pay attention. There’s no time to check Facebook or Twitter updates.
Then it’s time to darken in your lines and start shading, so that your character takes shape. Voila, you will see your inner artist appear! Finally it’s time to put your signature on your masterpiece. That is an original! Each instructor has their own style, and I definitely connected with some more than others. My husband and I returned for additional classes, so we were able to experience four different instructors. It was reminiscent of our love for Toy Story Mania; once the class ended, we yelled, “Again!” and then ran to get back into line.
I’ll admit I did get frustrated sometimes. I wanted to erase some of my mistakes; sometimes I darkened when I shouldn’t have darkened. But by the end, I was ecstatic that my character was recognizable! This has become one of my favorite things to do at Hollywood Studios. I’m sure during rain storms and high heat, classes become more crowded. It was nice to sit down in an air conditioned building while 7 months pregnant. I think it is well worth a visit and makes for a fun, free souvenir. Keep your drawings safe though, or else your 2-year-old might take a pen to your artwork to add her own talents. Not that I know from experience.
Now for that other talent I lack… the story of my embarrassing audition for the American Idol Experience will come another day. For now, look at my drawing again. You can totally tell that’s Pluto! Definitely refrigerator worthy.