The Magic of Disney Animation closing at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

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It’s a little bit of a shocking move, but Disney’s Hollywood Studios has announced that one of its original attractions, The Magic of Disney Animation, will be closing on July 12. The exact reason for the closure is uncertain. It might be a separate smaller project or it might be part of a larger vision to remake DHS with new Star Wars and Pixar themed attractions. But it’s closure was not expected to be a part of either project.

Update: One Man’s Dream now expected to close as well.

The closure means that meet and greets with both Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse are being relocated. Mickey will reportedly move to the animation courtyard temporarily and Minnie will join the other main Disney characters back out in the central plaza in front of the Chinese Theater. Eventually Mickey is going to have a new home near the Studio Catering Company. The location Mickey used to have near Backlot Tour is now the home to the third track to Toy Story Midway Mania, which doesn’t have an opening date yet.

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Also going away are the Mushu animation show, the interactive exhibits, and the very popular Animation Academy. The Animation Gallery store is expected to remain open until sometime in August.

Admittedly, the attraction has lacked something ever since the windows closed on the animation studio and all the animators were moved back west, and they stopped playing the fun “Back to Neverland” movie about animation starting Robin Williams and Walter Cronkite, but it was still very popular.

Removing this big tribute to the Walt Disney Studios’ historic core business of animation, makes me wonder exactly what direction the new version of Disney’s Hollywood Studios is going to take. How big a change should we be expecting when the announcement is finally made? What do you think?

Previously: Meeting Mickey & Minnie at the Magic of Disney Animation.

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25 thoughts on “The Magic of Disney Animation closing at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

  1. Rina

    So very disappointed by this! Our family loves all parts of this. I will definitely miss Animation Academy. Loved the interaction with animators.

  2. Ashling

    This makes me so sad! My family and I love this attraction. I hope they’re planning on reopening it somewhere else, especially the Animation Academy.

  3. Jenny

    We told my 9-year-old niece about this last night, and she burst into tears. It was her first broken heart about a Disney attraction that is closing. Her dream right now is to be an animator at Disney. She said, “I’ve been working so hard on my drawings. Who will I show them to now?” John, do you have any suggestions on how we could accomplish this? My thought was to take her to DHS Guest Relations, explain that she just wanted to show someone how hard she’s been working on her drawings, and either privately ask them to give her a “good job!” or ask them who she can show them to. I know it sounds a little unusual, but it’s very important to her, and we’d like to make it happen. If there’s another place in the parks you’d suggest we visit instead for her to show her drawings to an animator, I’m very open to any suggestions you might have. We are sad we won’t get to have one more class before it closes (next trip is over Halloween), but we head to Disneyland next summer for the first time ever, and at least their Animation Academy is still open. It will be sad, though, to see this attraction close for good.

    1. Charles

      Hi Jenny … I would try calling Guest Relations before your trip. The person who first takes your call likely won’t be the person you want to talk to, but they may be able to point you in a good direction. If that doesn’t take you far enough, I’d try Guest Relations at Hollywood Studios (it’s immediately on the left as soon as you enter the park).

      Another idea might be to see if you can connect with a Disney Animator or Cast Member on LinkedIn.com. They might be able to provide you with some helpful insights.

      Good luck to you and your talented daughter. Tell her to keep up her good work!

    2. Meggyc

      It’s not quite the same, but the Art of Disney stores (There’s one in Epcot and one in Downtown Disney) usually have an artist on duty drawing sketches Disney characters for sale. These cast members, from my experience, are very friendly and I’m sure they would be supportive if your niece wants to show off her artwork. Just be considerate if they seem busy. And while this is NOT guaranteed, I know that at least Epcot’s store used to have an “Guest Artist of The Day” where a guest with interest in art is chosen to sit at the artist’s table and draw a character of their choice. It’s then displayed for the rest of the day. It’s a nice experience, but only one artist is chosen per day. (And this was a few years ago, so this may not be offered any more.)

    3. Colleen Hale

      My daughter always takes her drawings to show the animator in Epcot at the Art of Disney store in Future world. They are usually talkative and always supportive. They have a book that includes drawings from other guests where you can also leave a drawing.

  4. Christine Cantrell

    Very sad. Disney seems to be changing a great deal of things that I feel Walt would not approve of. Just because this wasn’t a thrill ride didn’t mean anyone who really loves Disney didn’t enjoy Mushu and the amazing experience this attraction have people. So very sad.

  5. Mushu

    It’s a common misconception that the Animation Academy cast members are animators. Though some of them studied animation in university, they are not “Disney animators” who work on films or create practical animation of any kind. The drawing class is their job: they are more akin to art teachers than animators. The entire Magic of Disney Animation building has been misused real estate ever since Walt Disney Feature Animation moved out of Florida, and the long overdue closure of this attraction presents truly exciting opportunities for the location.

    1. Frank Borcherding

      Walt Disney is rolling-over in his grave. The one thing that first made Disney was animation, and an attraction that highlighted animation is being closed. So sad for me to hear, the same day, that an attraction for the NBA is being built. I don’t know what else to say.

  6. Mike Johnson

    So sad to hear. I agree, overall it needed a pick me up, but losing the drawing class is a huge blow. I hope this doesn’t go the way of the old “Who wants to be a millionaire” attraction, ie Disny shuts it down with promises of something new, but something new never seems to come.
    Overall DHS has been going down, not up, in attractions and needs some big time help, and quick!

  7. Charlie

    Boooo!!! This was a real gem… Granted, it lost some of its shine as the animators left and they discontinued the film with Robin and Walter. But the Animation Academy was a winner, even if not staffed by “real” animators… It was hands on and truly interactive in the very best sense of the word.

  8. Kevin

    Definitely disappointing. We were already planning on visiting the animation academy on our next trip.

  9. Marie koloch

    I have a trip planned in sept to WDW the highlight of our day at Hollywood studios is the interactive drawing class , I am very upset they chose to close it – & they r going to close the Walt disney exhibit hopefully still open when I go in sept – I wonder about direction of the company when such decisions r made!!!

  10. Mike

    Now I’m extra glad that I stopped in during my last visit, since I won’t be able to return until after it’s closed.

  11. Storm

    Somehow, all these years, we had missed the art class, but we were so excited about finding it this trip. So much for that…
    But more upsetting is the loss of the character meets there! I know it wasn’t specifically mentioned, but, if Mickey is moving, I can’t imagine they’ll somehow keep the others.
    Some of our favourite memories have been our pics with the Incredibles and Ralph and Vanellope, and I’ve been having visions of a pic with Baymax – “be-dl-edl-edl” – but now that may be an epitaph for that dream. :'(
    I haven’t told my wife yet – I’ll wait a bit. Those are the tears I’m not ready for.
    Is there anyone at DHS we can voice our sadness to?

  12. Kubs59

    The essence of Disney is in the creativity and the story telling. I hope the core thought of “One Man’s Vision” is not lost in a balance sheet. Attention to detail and giving something real back to those who enjoy the art is at the heart of the WDS core. Giving up on that reduces the offering down to just another amusement park. For with Walt it all started with a story, and a mouse and his group of friends, … never forget to pass along those stories and the tools to tell them! There in lies the true way unlock those treasures!

  13. Mike

    Pretty disappointing news. My daughter is finally old enough to appreciate this and now it will be gone before we are able to visit again. I have to trust they known what they are doing and that the core of the attraction will emerge elsewhere.

  14. Tom

    Wow, the first time I saw this attraction back in the 90’s it put a lump in my throat and a tear in my eye. I loved it. Upon subsequent visits to the park I sought out this attraction. I’m VERY sorry to see it go. I can only hope something similar but even better would open as an attraction in the future.

  15. Kathy

    We are so upset that the Gallery is closing. Over the years, we made a point each trip to visit with David (artist) and have purchased many of the prints. Hopefully, he will be moving to another location.

  16. Disney Mike

    I’m guessing that the majority of people who are disappointed in this closure never experienced the original attraction, back in the early days of the Studios. When it was part of the Backlot Tour.

    The sad part happened a decade ago when they laid off all the animators and stopped using the facility as an actual animation studio. It’s never even been CLOSE to the same since then. We used to go every time we went to WDW, but since the removal of almost everything — especially the Robin Williams/Walter Cronkite movie — we’ve only gone in a handful of times.

    This is land that desperately needs to be redeveloped. I’d like to see an homage to animation kept in that section of the park, but in a much smaller facility. If they could incorporate the Stitch interactive attraction from Disney Studios Paris, that would be even better, because that’s an AWESOME attraction. It’s like Turtle Talk with Crush, only using Stitch to interact with the audience in real-time.

  17. Elizabeth

    I’m so incredibly disappointed by this. Being an aspiring Disney animator, The Magic of Disney Animation was my favorite part of Hollywood Studios. Especially the Animation Academy. Hoping that they will incorporate this back into a new area of the park. Drawing Scrooge McDuck my first time visiting this attraction was the highlight of my entire trip. Looking at the artists completed drawing and looking down to see a copy of that that I had done myself was such a magical experience for me. I hate that guests will no longer be able to experience the pride of drawing such legendary characters, especially those who aspire to do it as a career. I hate the Hollywood Studios overhaul and I am incredibly disappointed that such incredible attractions are closing while attractions like Lights, Motors, Action! remain in the park. I understand that the company relies on the popularity of their attractions to keep them operating, but I feel like that is all that the company has taken into account when deciding on what to take out and what to bring in. *cough* Frozen *cough* There are so many people who love Disney simply for the classic feeling of magic and wonder that Walt Disney introduced to the world. I’m praying that the company doesn’t start selling out, but it’s looking like that’s the way it’s going.
    And, to take out One Man’s Dream, the ONLY attraction WDW has dedicated entirely to Walt, is such a huge blow. This is the most upsetting news I have heard. Taking out Maelstrom, Backlot Tour, American Idol Experience and the Sorcerer’s Hat all had somewhat justifiable explanations. But, to take out One Man’s Dream and The Magic of Disney Animation absolutely breaks my heart. I hope Disney can redeem themselves by taking out such meaningful attractions.

  18. Lisa

    I can’t believe they close down something their paying guests want and enjoy. This is another stupid move by Disney. Hey decision makers at Disney, try closing down the junk with no lines. Get your head out of your posterior. Bring the Animation Academy back!

  19. Bryant Euans

    Very upset with this move as well. I have seen the magic of Disney animation from the start. Starting back in 1989, 1991, 1994, with my mom and dad. and then 1995 with my girlfriend and then some years later with my own family. 2003, 2010, and 2012. My mom and dad took us a lot when we were kids and it seems Disney always changes things for the bad. Changed the tiki tiki tiki birds which was a disappointment and they finally brought the original back. I know the animation studio is not the same as what it was originally. But when the started the animation academy. My family loved going in and trying to draw new characters. We still have all of our own drawings we did while we were there. I usually would bye a couple of the magic of Disney animation cels while there. This is a great disappointment and hopefully the animation academy and gLlery store will be relocated.

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