Free Magical Extras that No One Knows About: Animation Experience at Animal Kingdom

Everybody knows about the free celebration buttons that you can get at Guest Relations, but did you know that there are more magical free extras at Disney World? One of the most unknown is the Animation Experience in Animal Kingdom. Scroll though to learn more about this free extra and see the evolution of my Simba drawing at my last visit.

What is it?

The Animation Experience is an opportunity to sit (in air conditioning!) with a Disney animator and learn how to draw a Disney character. Because this is in Animal Kingdom, of course they are all animal characters! Each day will feature one character. We have seen Bruce, Scar, Tick-Tock Croc, Shere Khan, and young Simba featured. As of February 2022, the “Fab 5” will be featured as well! That’s right! Now you can learn how to draw Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy, and Pluto as well.

Where is it?

This right here is the reason that no one knows about this gem: you have to take a train to get there. In Animal Kingdom, there is a train that will take you to a remote part of the park called Rafiki’s Planet Watch. Here you can visit the Affection Section to pet goats and pigs, check out the animal medical station to see animals actually getting treated, and of course, take part in the Animation Experience.

When is it?

Check the My Disney Experience app for times daily. Be sure to leave enough time to take the train over to Rafiki’s Planet Watch. That being said, you do not need to get there as early as you would for one of the more popular Disney experiences. Because it is so out of the way, you will find that you will not be fighting for your place in line.

Here is my finished drawing. The best part of this souvenir? It was FREE!

The Experience

Be sure to get there early so you have a chance to read about some of Disney’s most revered animators. Cast members will give you a blank sheet and a pencil WITHOUT an eraser. The session is only 25 minutes long, so no time for starting over.

The cast member will walk you through step by step to help you create your favorite character. I am no artist, and my little Simba was starting to resemble the real one… somewhat. During the process, the cast member was funny, making jokes, and telling behind the scenes stories. This was, by far, the best part of our Animal Kingdom day that day!

Who would enjoy this?

If you love Disney history and trying new things, you have to check out the Animation Experience at Animal Kingdom. The best part: when you are finished with your FREE class, you get to leave with a souvenir of your drawing!

Being that this is a quiet experience that involves sitting still, older children and adults are the target audience. They will appreciate the history and the jokes. If you do have smaller children, however, don’t worry! They are welcome as well, and cast members will provide them with Disney coloring sheets and packs of crayons.

Which Disney character would you want to draw?


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