If you visited Disney MGM Studios back in 1989, this is the sign you would have seen as you entered the park.
I remember going to Walt Disney World and Disney’s MGM Studios shortly after it opened back in 1989. It was exciting to visit a new Walt Disney World park that was based around movies. It even had a working Animation Studio.
I loved visiting The Magic of Disney Animation attraction where you got to see how animation was done and where you could see actual animators working on an upcoming Disney animated movie.
At the entrance, while waiting for the attraction, guests could see Animation art and awards.
To start the tour, guests were seated in a large auditorium to watch a short feature. Walter Cronkite interviewed Robin Williams who was posing as a guest at Walt Disney World. Robin then proceeded to talk about his favorite Disney animated movie.
Here’s a video of the History of the Disney MGM Studios that includes this clip with Robin Williams and Walter Cronkite. Walter Cronkite appears about 2 minutes and 40 seconds into the video.
This attraction used Robin Williams to show how cartoons were created. It was a great way to start the animation studios tour. Robin became one of the Lost Boys with Peter Pan and became the star of Back To Neverland.
After this film, guests walked through a hallway where they could look through glass windows and see real animators working on the next Disney animated move. After that, guests saw a video of animators talking about the joy of animation and then they entered the Disney Classic Theatre to see clips from past and future Disney animated features.
Finally, as with all good Disney attractions, everyone exited through the gift shop.
This studio produced some great animation: Roger Rabbit shorts: Roller Coaster Rabbit and Trail Mix-Up, the Be Our Guest sequence from Beauty and the Beast , Mulan, Lilo & Stitch, and Brother Bear.
Unfortunately, the working Disney Animation Studio was closed in 2004. The Magic of Disney Animation Attraction later evolved and added The Animation Academy where a Disney animator would show guests how to draw a Disney character. My family got to do this and really enjoyed it. Our drawings did not look like the animator’s version, but they were fun to do.
The attraction closed on July 12th, 2015.
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