If a visit to the Taste of EPCOT International Festival of the Arts is on your must-do list, let me take a few moments to highlight an experience that's being offered this year for the budding artist in all of us.
Animation Academy is being offered this year in the America Gardens Theatre, and during the roughly 30-minute hands-on workshop, guests will learn how to draw a beloved Disney character. Don't worry; no artistic skill is required.
I stopped by on the first day of the festival to take part in trying my hand at a little sketching. I'd never participated in the various animation activities that have been offered in years past in the Walt Disney World parks, so I was looking forward to finally stopping and trying my hand at it.
As guests wishing to take part in the workshop approach the theatre, they'll be directed to a queue. After waiting a few minutes, I was ushered along with the other waiting guests into the theatre. We were directed to choose a clipboard that was pre-loaded with a piece of Festival of the Arts Animation Academy-branded sketch paper. We were then offered a Disney World-branded golf pencil (how cute is that?) and asked to take a seat.
The seating in the theatre incorporates the physical distancing measures that we've seen throughout Disney property. We were asked to find a seat between the 6-foot distancing stickers. I found a seat and settled in.
When the workshop begins (twice daily at 12:30pm and 1:30pm), a Disney sketch artist takes the stage, greets the crowd, and announces which Disney character will be drawn during the workshop. Fidel was the sketch artist when I attended, and I thought that he did a great job of stepping all of us through the process.
Please note that there is no eraser on the little pencil that you're given for the class. This is something that I, at one point during the activity, bemoaned, but that's part of the beauty of the experience, right? All of the guests in attendance are learning together, and everyone's sitting in a huge outdoor theatre in the middle of Walt Disney World learning how to draw a Disney character. If that isn't fun, I don't know what is.
The character that we drew during the workshop that I attended was Donald Duck, and while my Donald isn't the most spectacular rendition of the ornery duck that I've ever seen, it was so much fun getting to learn how to draw him. The sketch artist's actions are projected onto three large screens so that everyone seated in the theatre can follow along.
Of course, the final step to finishing your sketch is to sign it, like all artists do. Look at what you've done!
On our way out of the theatre, we were asked to leave our clipboards in a large blue bin. I would imagine that the clipboards will be thoroughly sanitized before being reused. Guests can keep their sketch as well as the small pencil.
If you'll be attending the festival in the days ahead, I highly recommend adding a stop at Animation Academy during your EPCOT day. It's included in the price of your park ticket, it's memory-making fun for all ages, and you'll have a souvenir to hang on your fridge that you created. How great is that?
Have you participated in an Animation Academy workshop in the past? Will you add a stop to your next Disney trip?