The Magic of Disney Animation was a show and tour at Disney's Hollywood Studios, Florida that opened along with the park on May 1, 1989, and closed permanently on July 12, 2015. At the time, it was not announced what would happen to the building and the animators. In December 2015, the building began housing the Star Wars Launch Bay.
Originally, when the park first opened in 1989, the Feature Animation pavilion of the attraction, designed originally by award winning experience designer Bob Rogers and the design team BRC Imagination Arts, included four connected experiences which explored the legacy of Disney animation. The tour commenced with the short film entitled "Back to Neverland," in which veteran newscaster, Walter Cronkite and comedian Robin Williams guided guests through the different stages in animating a feature-length film by turning Williams into an animated character in the form of one of the "Lost Boys" of Peter Pan. Following that introductory film, guest would witness the process of animation, first-hand, from elevated, glass-enclosed walkways within Disney's actual animation studio. The third segment was a short film in which Disney Animators described the joy of the art of animation. A finale film entitled "Classic Disney" presented a montage of key moments from classic animated Disney films.
The attraction now has one main showroom, where a Disney animator shows guests how the characters in Disney animated films are chosen and designed, with the help of Mushu, the dragon from Disney's Mulan (voiced in the show by Eddie Murphy's sound double, Mark Moseley.) Mulan was the first of three films produced by the former Orlando, Florida division of Walt Disney Feature Animation, which was headquartered in the building before being closed in 2004. After guests leave the showroom they are led to an area with interactive games and a chance to meet characters from the latest Disney animated pictures. There is also a section called The Animation Academy, where guests can draw their favorite Disney characters, under the guidance of a Disney Animator. Several original cells from classic Disney films as well as several of the Academy Awards won by Disney films are on display at the attraction.
Inside the building which housed the attraction, are the former production facilities of Walt Disney Animation Orlando. Some of its productions include:
- Ink and paint for The Little Mermaid (1989)
- Two of the three Who Framed Roger Rabbit spinoff cartoons; Roller Coaster Rabbit (1990) and Trail Mix-Up (1993)
- The Be Our Guest sequence from Beauty and the Beast (1991)
- Off His Rockers short (1992)
- The concept design and animation of Princess Jasmine from Aladdin (1992)
- The "I Just Can't Wait to Be King" sequence from The Lion King (1994)
- Mulan (1998)
- John Henry short (2000)
- Lilo & Stitch (2002)
- Brother Bear (2003)
- My Peoples (cancelled)
List of meetable characters over the years
- Sorcerer Mickey Mouse (2004?-2015)
- Mr. Incredible, Elastigirl and Frozone (2004-2015)
- Chicken Little and Abby Mallard (2005-2006)
- Lewis and Wilbur Robinson (2007)
- Remy and Emile (2007-2008)
- Bolt, Mittens and Rhino (2008-2009)
- Carl Fredricksen, Russel and Dug (2009-2010)
- Lots-o'-Huggin' Bear (2010-2011)
- Winnie the Pooh (2011-2012)
- Wreck-It Ralph and Vanellope von Schweetz (2012-2014)
- Minnie Mouse (2013-2015)
- Hiro Hamada and Baymax (2014-2015)
- ↑ "Disney-MGM Studio Theme Park: "Back to Neverland"".. BRC Imagination Arts.
- ↑ "An insider's visit with theme park designer Bob Rogers".. themeparkinsider.com (January 13, 2009).
- ↑ "Back to Neverland"..
- ↑ "Animation World Network: BRC Imagination Arts".. awn.com (November 1, 1996).
- ↑ "Back to Neverland".. brcweb.com.