Walt Disney Feature Animation Florida, a division of Walt Disney Feature Animation, opened in 1989 with 40 employees. Its offices were in the backlot of the Disney's Hollywood Studios theme park and visitors were allowed to tour the studio to observe animators at work from behind glass-paneled overhead breezeways. The company had primarily animated Mulan, Lilo & Stitch, and Brother Bear.
Walt Disney Animation placed Max Howard in charge of starting up its Florida animation studio in 1988. Walt Disney Feature Animation Florida began operations in May 1989. The division was originally planned to work on featurettes and shorts that they could do on its own. 70 animators including Disney veteran supervising animator Mark Henn were hired by 1990. After doing its first work, the Roger Rabbit short, Roller Coaster Rabbit, the division was enlisted to help finish The Rescuers Down Under and work on its companion featurette, The Prince and the Pauper. On October 7, 1992, the Florida unit was incorporated. On April 22, 1998, Walt Disney Feature Animation Florida moved to a new $70 million facility at Disney's Hollywood Studios. In June 1998, the Florida division's first feature film, Mulan, was released. The unit continued as a division with its corporate form was merged out on September 30, 1999. Andrew Millstein took charge of the division as senior vice president and general manager of production in 2001 transferring in from The Secret Lab.
In January 2003, Disney initiated a reorganization of its theatrical and animation units to improve resource usage and continued focus on new characters and franchise development. Additionally, Feature Animation was transferred under the Walt Disney Studios in January 2003. In June 2003, 50 animators were laid off after Brother Bear finished up production. The division was developing A Few Good Ghosts until it was canceled on November 15, 2003. On January 12, 2004, Disney Feature Animation President Stainton announced the shut down of Walt Disney Feature Animation Florida.
Some laid-off animators were offered transfers to the main studio while most chose to stay in Orlando or were recruited to work for rival animation studios. Other animators created their own startup studios. Legacy Animation Studios was formed by Eddie Pittman along with 15 artists previously laid off from the company. Laid off animators Travis Blaise, Todd Gilbert and Matt Gunther formed their own company, Magnetic Entertainment. Millstein was tapped to head up Florida's replacement and Pixar sequel division, Circle 7 Animation.
This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The article or pieces of the original article was at Walt Disney Animation Florida. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with Disney Wiki, the text of Wikipedia is available under the GNU Free Documentation License.