The Most Overlooked Attraction at Disney California Adventure

| April 15, 2011

In 2005, we stumbled across the Disney Animation building at Disney California Adventure (DCA) in its Hollywood Pictures Backlot area.

This attraction is easy to miss as you hurry down the street to ride Tower of Terror or catch the next Aladdin show, and is easily the most overlooked and under-appreciated attraction at all of DCA.  Now Disney has updated the attraction with new animated film elements as discussed in Disney Parks blog.

The Disney Animation building contains several mini-attractions. The most popular and what draws most people here is Turtle Talk With Crush, but there are numerous creative nooks and crannies to this attraction such as Sorcerer’s Workshop where you can create and view your own hand-drawn animation pieces. The Animation building is an indoor, air-conditioned space that is wonderful to go into on a hot California afternoon. However, be careful taking your kids into this building unless you have a lot of time available! During our first visit we stopped into Disney Animation on the way to see the Aladdin show. After 90 minutes everyone in my family was still fully engaged and I had to coax them out so we would not be late for the show.

The Disney Animation building at Disney California Adventure

So what is in the Animation building that is so engaging?

When you enter the building you walk into the Animation Courtyard. This is the major portion that has been upgraded and is shown in the first photo above. The courtyard is an inviting open space with chairs and couches from where you can watch Disney animated movie shorts on the giant screens all around you and just sit and talk or relax.

As mentioned already, Turtle Talk with Crush is accessed from the courtyard and is always enjoyable. Where my kids and wife and, well, I get absorbed is in Sorcerer’s Workshop. The Sorcerer’s Workshop has several sections that revolve around the animation process and offers creative, fun, interactive, hands-on exhibits. There is the “Magic Mirror Realm” room with animation examples and special paper where you can draw animated figures, put them in a special spinning animation device, and watch your drawings “come to life”. There is “Ursula’s Grotto” where short outtakes of classic Disney movies are shown and the people in your group can choose a character in the movie, read the lines, have your voices recorded and synced with the characters, and then have the classic movie outtake played back with your voices inserted. There is still another room “The Beast’s Library” where you sit at a screen and answer survey questions to determine which Disney character you are most like.

Entrance to Sorcerer’s Workshop

Magic Mirror Realm where kids like the one in the red hat can create their own animation

The Animation Academy is another section of the Disney Animation building. Here you can see how professional animation is done and get instructions on drawing.

The Character Close-Up shows original Disney artwork and how characters change over time.

Finally, do not miss the Toy Story Zoetrope – a 3-D animation device which, after pushing a button and watching the device start rapidly spinning, you can see the Toy Story characters in 3-D animation. My kids found this little gem on our last trip and searched me out in the building to make me go see it.

The Toy Story Zoetrope in the Disney Animation building when not spinning

The Disney Animation building is also a special treat for Walt Disney World regulars looking for things at Disneyland Resort different from Florida. Aside from Turtle Talk with Crush, you will not find anything like the Disney Animation building at Walt Disney World.

If your kids are old enough to venture on their own, let them have free reign at Disney Animation. They all will gravitate to different things here and, as I said earlier, will best be experienced if you have a generous amount of time. I recommend planning a minimum of 90 minutes here on your first trip. Especially when it is warm outside mid-day and we are looking for a place to cool off, this is the “go to” attraction at Disney California Adventure park for us!


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Category: Disney World

About the Author ()

I live in Colorado and have four sons in college and high school. By day I am a mechanical engineer. I have visited the Disney resorts in Paris and Tokyo. I grew up near Disneyland and started going there before I can remember.
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