Starting with a Mouse

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“I only hope that we never lose sight of one thing: that it was all started by a mouse.” – Walt Disney

Welcome to “Ink and Paint in the Parks!” Although he achieved great success and acclaim in many fields of entertainment, it was through animation that Walt Disney first left his mark on the world. Beginning with Mickey Mouse and Snow White and continuing all the way to the latest blockbuster films from Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios, the company that Walt founded has enchanted moviegoers of all ages with this unique art form for over 90 years. Since the opening of the original Disneyland in 1955, Disney’s theme parks and resorts have offered their guests even more ways to experience these beloved creations.

Today Disney’s animated characters take many forms all over Florida’s Walt Disney World Resort including audio-animatronics, topiaries, statues, murals, signs, hidden tributes, or appearing live in shows or meet-and-greet opportunities. Through this photo blog, I hope to share photos of many of these references to Disney animation legacy, both big and small, as well as supply history or trivia to give a broader context to these aspects of the parks and the films that inspired them. That being said, I cannot think of any more fitting way to start this blog off than with a mouse.

This sculpture featuring Mickey Mouse, which stood in front of the original entrance to “The Magic of Disney Animation” at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, recalls the most unique collaboration between Disney’s theme park and animation divisions. While the most recent iteration of this attraction featured animation-related presentations, exhibits, and character meet-and-greet opportunities, originally this space was home to a working animation studio complete with a tour where guests could watch actual Disney animators at work.

From the park’s opening in 1989 until 2004, Walt Disney Feature Animation Florida created sequences for animated feature films like “Beauty and the Beast” and “The Lion King” before going on to produced entire films of their own including “Mulan,” “Lilo and Stitch,” and “Brother Bear.” While the studio has unfortunately long since closed, the continued popularity of the films they helped create, some of which have gone on to inspire theme park attractions of their own, stands as a testament to the many artists who once worked within the park.

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