The Magic of Disney Animation

Animation Courtyard, Hollywood Studios

  • Land: Animation Courtyard
  • Type: Exhibit
Where: Animation Courtyard
Experience: Fun For Everyone, Indoor
Duration: 20 minutes

The Magic of Disney Animation is an informative 20-minute show at Disney's Hollywood Studios theme park where Guests of all ages are invited to discover the process of creating animated characters. Go behind the scenes of animated Disney classics like Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast and The Lion King for a look at how Disney animators create your favorite characters. Join Mushu from Mulan and a real Disney animator as together they illustrate-in a humorous and an easy-to-understand way-the basics of creating animated characters and character development.

The Magic of Disney Animation 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 by Eddie Murphy.

Inside the building which houses The Magic of Disney Animation, is the site of several Walt Disney film productions. Among them include Lilo & Stitch, Mulan, Brother Bear and two of the three Who Framed Roger Rabbit spinoff cartoons, Roller Coaster Rabbit and Trail Mix-Up.

The Tour

The tour begins with visitors sitting in an area featuring a live artist. The 10-minute segment, called "Drawn to Animation," features the artist interacting with an animated version of the tiny dragon Mushu, from 1998's popular feature Mulan. After hearing about the importance of character development and watching a humorous video with some Mulan artists, guests will visit the area that overlooks what USED to be the workspace of Walt Disney Feature Animation Florida. The Cast Member in this segment talks briefly about animation, and answers a few questions. Unfortunately, the real Disney animators were all laid off in early January 2003, and the entire animation process relocated to Disney's California studios, so there is nothing much to see when you are released from that part of the tour. After the cast member's talk, visitors have the chance to visit a number of interactive activities or to sit for 15-20 minutes at a Mickey-themed animator table and create their own Disney character art at the Animation Academy, under the guidance of a Disney artist.

The Sound Stage - In this hands-on activity, young animators can play with various sound effects and create their own soundtrack for an animated scene.

Digital Ink and Paint - As these workstations you can add color to an animated scene, and create your own atmosphere.

You're a Character - In this booth, you can visit with Lumiere (of Beauty and the Beast fame), who will ask you a series of questions and tell you which Disney character you are most like.

Animation Gallery - On display are copies of the Academy Awards won by Disney animators, along with drawing from famous films. Animation cels, books, and other collectibles are also for sale here.

Touring Tips

  • After the show, embark on a guided walk to a special landing and snap a picture of the former studios of Walt Disney Feature Animation Florida. After a brief discussion about animation with your guide, take some time to join in a number of different workshops that bring the magic of Disney animation to life.
  • There is also a section called The Animation Academy, where guests can draw their favourite Disney characters, under the guidance of a Disney Animator. The instructor gives away the character that he draws during the class, normally to children, but don't be afraid to ask him for it! Classes start at 10:30 and are held every half hour. Classes are held until park closing and are generally less busy later in the day.
  • There is a character meet and greet spot, which usually features characters from the latest Disney animated features, inside this building, in the area of the interactive activities. Also, along nearby Mickey Avenue, there are character greeting stations.


  • It originally contained a short film starring Walter Cronkite and the voice of fellow Disney Legend Robin Williams, guiding guests through the different stages in animating a feature-length film.
  • This attraction underwent a major rehab in November 2003, and then another minor rehab in October 2004.
  • The film featuring Robin Williams and Walter Cronkite was made in Anaheim, California, not at the Disney's Hollywood Studios in Orlando.


This tour was updated again in October 2004 to include more interactive activities. Prior to November 2003, the Animation Tour had the following format: After winding your way through corridors decorated with animation sketches of some of Disney's most popular movies, you enter the theater to watch a short film featuring Robin Williams as a tourist and Walter Cronkite, who attempts to explain how animation is created. After Robin is converted into an animated Lost Boy and plays with Peter Pan, you'll meet a Disney animator who shares some animation basics and does a few quick sketches, then allows for a brief question-and-answer session. The tour guide then moves your group on past the animators' workspaces, where guests can peek in and watch animators at work at their computers and drawing boards. You may also catch a few quick glimpses of whatever the newest project is - currently there is artwork and signage for "The Emperor's New Groove" and the upcoming "John Henry." The tour concludes with another short film montage, featuring many Disney films and the people who animated them.


Touring Details

  • Best: Before 11am, after 5pm

Animation Courtyard Attractions