Ever since Walt Disney opened Disneyland in 1955, many of the world’s most popular theme parks have offered the opportunity for guests of all ages to come face to face with their favorite cartoon characters. Some of the ways they are showcased in the parks may be immediately recognizable, such as rides, statues, topiary, murals, or even the characters themselves appearing in a live show or parade. Others time they may only be referenced through more subtle details or hidden tributes that may require a second look. However, all of them serve as a testament to the enduring impact the art of animation has had on the big screen, television, and popular culture in general, not to mention all the joy and laughter it has brought generations of fans.
Every week, I’ll be sharing photographs featuring many of the ways, both past and present, that the various theme parks, resort hotels, and other destinations at Florida’s Walt Disney World Resort celebrates the 90+ year legacy of Disney animation, including the works of Pixar Animation Studios and Lucasfilm Animation. Additionally, monthly “Beyond the World” articles will take a look at how animated characters and stories are represented at some of Central Florida’s other theme parks on the second Thursday of each month while “Muppet Monday” articles will serve to spotlight the role of Jim Henson’s lovable puppet characters in Florida’s theme parks on the last Monday of each month. In addition to photographs, all of these blog post will include a little bit of history and trivia along the way in order to give a broader context to these aspects of the theme park experience and the animated works that inspired them. Enjoy, and have a toon-tasic day!
Why “Ink and Paint”?
The title of this blog refers to the process used to create animation cels. The Ink and Paint Department at studios such as Walt Disney’s was comprised of talented women who would trace the animators’ drawings onto transparent sheets of celluloid in ink and then paint them on the back. Each of these cels would then be placed on top of a painted background and photographed one at a time to produce each frame of film seen on screen. While digital methods have long since replaced this physical act of inking and painting onto cels, the term “ink and paint” continues to be synonymous with the process of animation and its history.