For children -- and adults -- who love to create artwork, Walt Disney World offers several different venues where cast-member artists teach guests how to draw Disney characters. These experiences are free (with paid admission, where applicable) and usually don't require a long wait, which makes them a perfect activity in between FastPasses and show times.
"Frozen" fans will be happy to know that some of their favorite characters have been added to the choices at the Animation Academy inside The Magic of Disney Animation at Hollywood Studios. Guests now can learn to draw Elsa, Anna and Olaf. (Don't worry: If your budding artists is not going to be at the theme park any time soon, he or she still can learn the techniques from Disney character artist Brian James Fichtner in the videos below.)
Both of my children enjoy the drawing sessions, and recently they asked to join in the fun again. Drawing classes are offered every 30 minutes on the hour and half-hour. The classroom inside the Magic of Disney Animation is quite large -- everyone in our queue got a seat on the first try -- and the setup is fun, with each student sitting on a stool at a slanted drawing board, just like a "real" artist.
We found out that, at the Animation Academy, the character subjects are selected based on guests' requests. However, if a character already has been drawn that day, the cast-member artist likely will opt for a different member of the Disney family to keep things interesting for repeat visitors. (This is different from Animation Academy inside Disney Quest at Downtown Disney, where the classes take place on the hour and there is a posted schedule of which characters will be the artists' subjects.)
The artists guide guests through the process of drawing a character, line by line. And the pencils they provide purposely do not have erasers. As the cast member explains, they want guests to understand these drawings are sketches. The pencil strokes are done lightly until the end, when the guests then go over their finished products with bolder markings.
Speaking of finished products, each guest leaves the Animation Academy with a pretty cool souvenir. Guests are invited to autograph their work at the end of each session, but they also could visit the subject of their sketch for a character signature if that character is in the park.
If you missed the class for the character you really wanted to be able to draw on your own, Walt Disney World sells books that teach visitors how to create Mickey Mouse and his pals from scratch.
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