animationresort-icon animationresort-icon

A Storyboard Chandelier and Dining Amidst Background Art

I haven’t pinpointed what it is exactly about Disney World’s Art of Animation resort that simultaneously fascinates and annoys me. Somehow it manages to romanticize the art form–a chandelier made of storyboard drawings–while decontextualizing the artwork to the point where it becomes wallpaper for a hotel lobby. The restaurant area of the resort promises guests can enjoy their food “while dining among background art from the featured films.”

Perhaps what’s missing from the Art of Animation resort is recognition of the creative process. This resort could have been a wonderful opportunity to enhance the public’s appreciation for the hard work that goes into making an animated film. Instead, it appears that animation art serves only as the gimmicky backdrop to a generic hotel experience.

  • Bugzy

    I have no clue of budget for the hotel but wouldn’t it have been a better idea for Disney to spend that cash on creating actual animated films rather than pretending that they do?

  • Gobo

    As a kid who loved Disney animation, if I had the opportunity to stay at a resort that featured concept art, color scripts, and rough animation drawings as the decor, I would have been enthralled. I don’t see how showing guests the animation process through walls that take them through the steps of how animation evolves isn’t “recognizing the creative process”. It’s explicitly showing them the process of animation and celebrating it in its rough form. If folks see that as “gimmicky” and “generic”, I think they’re trying really hard to be cynical.

    • I have to agree with Gobo – Families/Kids love animation. The small ‘peek behind the scenes’ this resort provides gives enough of a look for the general public. I honestly think that showing any more would shatter the illusion.

      Ever meet your favorite radio personality? Trust me, you don’t want to. They never look the way they sound. Same principle applies to this.

      • Not sure I agree with you; As a kid looking into the Disney animation creation process WAS pure magic to me personally.

  • I’ve heard arguments that, at this point, Disney is really more an IP firm that happens to own some generators of creative content, like Marvel, Pixar, ABC and Jim Henson Studios. That would certainly fit with this hotel, where the art forms the backdrop of a “generic hotel experience”.

    However, I don’t really see what’s so bad with the hotel. Art of Animation is one of Disney World’s budget hotels. It needed decor. This is a pretty cool idea, so far as it goes.

    • stavner

      Most media corporation is like that.

  • Toonio

    I agree with your point Amid.

    Short changing the countless hours of hard work of many artists by putting their work in a hotel hallways only reinforces the idea that their art must be cheap if it’s here, else why is not in a gallery of some sort or in a pavilion like in the parks.

    There is a place for everything and I doubt many guests will stop by any piece and truly appreciate it while rushing to the parks in the early morning, or coming back to their rooms all tired after a long day of lines.

    • Nic

      My understanding is that it’s a tribute. Tributes are literally the exact /opposite/ of ‘short changing’

      It feels like a tribute to art and amazing films. I can’t see how a child wouldn’t love staying here. The point of animation is to enthrall the viewer, isn’t it? Ultimately? What better way than to bring the viewer into a world made entirely of illustration?

      I feel like people are looking for a reason to be insulted.

    • In a pavillion??? A gallery of some sort???? Sure that would be a big hit, because the process is only really interesting to hardcore types. Everyone else can believe cartoons are crafted from sunshine and jelly giggles… the sordid truth is not for the public at large

      Animation reality tours-
      ‘over here we have the seat which the animator occupied for 14 hours a day 6 days a week for most of his working life pausing briefly to attend the divorce hearing’…. ‘what’s that little johnny?’ ….’yes those are stains made from tear pools’… ‘ok everyone gather together because now we’re going to talk about deep vein thrombosis…’

    • dbenson

      I’d be very surprised if there were any original pieces anywhere in the resort — the idea seems to be to make the images huge to fill all the walls and spaces of an airport-sized facility. Still, I give them points for avoiding the totally generic look of what’s really a gigantic motel.

  • victoria

    If I had my chance I would steal that little mermaid sketch right off the wall!

  • Rand McNally

    Those tour guides wear hard hats because even kitsch art might be dangerous.

  • Felix Sputnik

    All Animation art has it’s place, and most of it was really never meant to be seen, hence the word visual development.
    It is a rather recent phenomenon, that the wider public has become enthralled with what is basically work in progress.
    I often like it… sometimes more so than the finished result.
    I doubt however that any of it was ever meant to lead people through the “art of animation storyline” to the “individual and personal arrival experience” of a hotel staffed with people dressed in a “pen and ink kind of initiation into the story”.
    Whatever conceptual art might be for, I doubt it’s for this.
    All that stuff like this does to me is, it makes me feel slightly nauseous…
    …much like a Thomas Kinkade painting.

  • B.Richards

    As a child growing up in So Cal in the 50-60’s Disneyland had an “Art of Animation” Corner, a shop that sold cels from the last release. They were $1.25 each or $1.75 with a printed background. The was an “older” woman, like an old librarian that ran it. We would go about 4x a year to the Park. I would spend most of my day combing through the boxes, like an old record bin, selecting the one cel in a key pose I could afford to take home. Over the years I had collected 50. They were formative images.This experience was the highlight of all my Disneyland trips. The current update on this uses the work that is inspirational, thought provoking, and shows the hand and mind process enlarged to a degree that results in some of its integrity and intimacy being lost to serve an entirely different purpose. I feel anything that promotes drawing as concept and the hand as an extension of the mind is a positive however. I hope the children that experience it gain encouragement for their own efforts from it and the parents remember it as part of their own lives. Here it may reach an unfamiliar audience that does not buy the “Making of…” books. It is hard to keep positive when viewing the work in this context but I hope for the best. It’s great wallpaper but a skewing of the idea it is a “tribute”. It is marketing.

  • Woodrow

    I’m going with “fascinates” rather than annoys. One of my favorite Disney Park experiences is drawing characters with the animators and carrying away my little piece of art on the pegged paper. That is for me a part of my fascination with everything I read about that is behind each frame of the completed work. Then I like to spend significant time examining the displays that have been so artfully placed in the adjacent hallways. To have that expanded in one of the value resorts and made accessible to families even on their down times throughout the days of their stay is, I think, a plus.

  • jordan reichek

    I can imagine walking in there for a lot of us would be a lot like Robert Johnson’s reaction to walking into the House of Blues.

  • It’s a hotel. It must serve the functions of a hotel first. Then on top of that if it allows any one a little glimpse into the world of animation and gets some young people interested and excited about pursuing animation as a career that can only be a good thing.

  • Was My Face Red

    God, just think what an entrance hall that really looked like an animator’s imagination would be like.

  • Come on now, the animation process is boring as all bloody hell. I have been working in it for long enough to know that. A roller coaster ride it isn’t.

    this clip attached sums up your none animator’s interest in the ‘process’

    what’s next, behind the scenes at disney’s accounts department???

    • wever

      Gee wiz. Who is this comedian?? Animation takes people to do it. People with the patience and dedication to do this boring stuff no matter what medium you’re working in! With this attitude, there won’t be any more animation!

      • I am this comedian. I am the guy who makes it. I am the person dedicated to this boring stuff. Without MY weary humour getting me through it then I won’t make the lots and lots of animation that I make all day every day. Thanks for pointing out the bleedin obvious though… really, people make animation??? I guess that accounts for all the people I have seen in studios all these years … i thought they were just folks interested in what goes on behind the scenes in an animation studio.

        The animation process is mind numbingly boring to the layman same as making films, same as recording music in a studio… be uncrinkling your brow little fella. I love animation

      • wever

        O _ O

        …….. oh.

        I keep forgetting this is the internet where anybody and everybody can comment!

        “I heard what you said about me. You know NOTHING of my work. How you got to be the president of anything is unbelievable!” “Won’t it be great if life were like this?”

  • Pedro Nakama

    And of of the rejected artwork is printed on the rolls of toilet paper.

  • KB

    I think that is really neat and would like to stay there.

    You know what would be a great addition to this experience is if a guest could go from their “art of animation” hotel and go to one of the theme parks like “Disney’s Hollywood studio’s ” and actually get to view inside a working animation production studio on the lot.

    What’s that you say? They had one? A really really good one that made films like “Mulan” and “Lilo and Stitch?” And they closed it? Why on earth would they want to do that?

    • wever

      Oooooooooooooooooooo! Buuuuuuuurn!

      That decision will stain their name for all eternity.

  • It is seldom the true story that sells papers…

    The public gets what the public wants, isn’t it so?

    Anyway, a place dedicated to the Art of Animation is great PR and recognition although it’s not showing the full picture.

    I would love to go, I’m sure I would get lots of inspiration and motivation.

    Happiness is the meaning of life!

  • It isn’t the true story that sells papers…

    The public gets what the public wants, isn’t it so?

    Anyway, a place dedicated to the Art of Animation is good PR and recognition of the animation process although it doesn’t tell the whole story.

    I would love to go. I’m sure I would be both inspired and motivated to do some more grinding work…

    Happiness is the meaning of life!

  • Anthony F. Schepperd

    You can’t pay tribute to art without paying tribute to the artists. Maybe it bothers you because there seems to be no indication of who drew these pieces. That bothers me.

    • Mike Russo

      Because the general public visiting the hotel is really going to care…?

      • optimist

        Whether they’d “care” or not, credit should be given. Because it’d be honest and classy to do so.

  • tim g

    gimmicky or not….the important thing is that this art work WILL BE SEEN….not hidden away in some vault, where it has no purpose but collecting dust…..although it would be neat to see individuals recognized by their worsk….i am just happy to see the work out and about and not locked up in a “vault”.

  • Bob Harper

    Disney has a building at California Adventures dedicate to the process of animation. And nobody but us animation geeks go there. It’s practically deserted when me and my kids go.

    For the general public, I think they kind of got this right at this resort. It will probably cause those who are truly interested to ponder and ask questions. This seems like a good gateway, and a way of embedding that imagery into the psyche of their guests without boring them.

  • Great

    Jebus, so many buzzwords. I wonder if they really know what they’re talking about

  • Tom

    Meh, I wouldn’t criticise it.. for members of the public who don’t know all the intricacies of an animated feature.. this is quite a fun jovial way to spur interest. Its easy to be a cynic but atleast they’re trying.

    “Characters can come out from the desk and interact with the guests, appropriately”. Kinda wish they acted innapropriately… Mickey flipping the bird and what not.. Make for a more unique experience.

  • So here’s the point: We’re planning a trip to Orlando in October. In going over hotel options with my kids, guess which one zoomed to the top of the list. Yep, the new one dedicated to animation.

    Old fuddy duddy animation fans may find the hotel tacky, but it’s just what some kids hope to see when they go to Disney World.

    Me, I don’t care. I lived in Orlando for years, so I’ve already seen lots of the Disney hotels. This trip is for the kids, and we may just stay at The Art of Animation. In fact, I actually think it looks kinda fun. My wife initially was pushing for a more sophisticated one, but even she sees the kid appeal in the new one.

  • To pinpoint what I think might be annoying Amid – or any animation lover – about this resort is that it looks like all of that artwork is uncredited. Period. Hopefully I am wrong, and they will provide information about the animators who created the drawings on the wall in the video (and elsewhere in the resort), but unfortunately the subversive intention might be to allow patrons to think that Walt himself created the works – or that his lackeys don’t need naming.

    If the artwork is credited, then that’s fantastic, because that’s exactly the kind of information I would want if I was going to stay at an Art of Animation resort. If you went to an Art of Painting resort, and lo, there are paintings but no title placards to identify them, you’d think that was silly, right?

  • Roland Denby

    This resort isn’t being built for people who actually work in the field of animation. It’s for the fans. With that in mind, I think it’s a wonderful idea. Otherwise, I might agree — to a degree — with some of the criticism. What bothers me, is that they seem to be focusing on the Pixar stuff and not the classic Disney animated films. For that reason, as a fan, I would not bother staying there. My interest, as a kid, and even now as an adult working in the animation field, was the classic 2-D movies.

  • Roland Denby

    I should add, that as a kid, I couldn’t have cared less who drew the artwork. Not having the art credited is something — understandably — that the artist would be pissed off about. But again, this resort isn’t for the professional, it’s for the little kids that will get a kick out of seeing a 40-foot tall Nemo.

    If they had a hotel like this when I was a kid, and it was devoted to the Hanna-Barbera shows I loved to watch, I probably would have moved in permanently. LOL!