I think it’s fair to say that everyone who loves Disney also loves art. You may be thinking, “Huh? I could never spend an afternoon in an art museum,” but that’s not exactly what I’m talking about here. The Disney Company was founded on art, with “it all started with a Mouse,” and has grown to not only include the art of films, but also art you literally live and play in.
Being a self-proclaimed artist myself, on my last trip to Walt Disney World I took it upon myself to find the top 5 places every art lover should visit when traveling to Walt Disney World. In no particular order. . .
1. The Magic of Disney Animation at Disney Hollywood Studios
All of the Disney purists, which yes, includes me, are groaning as they read this thinking about how great the old video with Robin Williams was and how simply magical it was to walk through the studio and actually see animators working on films that were soon to be released; but I’d argue this is still a must-see for any art lover. The attraction celebrates the process of creating an animated film and showcases the many changes that have occurred over the years. There are some great hands-on elements that allow children of all ages (meaning everyone, because who isn’t a kid when at Disney!) to take part in a step in the animation process. Of course, the Animation Station is a mandatory stop when visiting, as you get the chance to learn to draw a Disney character from a Disney artist. My favorite part however, does not come until you are exiting the attraction. There are several rooms that highlight different films from the past and present and discuss drawing techniques used, influences of the art, and the artists themselves. Even if you are not interested in the other parts of The Magic of Disney Animation, take a moment and walk through this section. I promise you will learn something new!
2. Epcot’s France Pavilion
This one seems like a no-brainer, as there are artists lining the “streets of Paris” and Impressions de France showcases architectural beauties such as the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe, and Versailles, just to name a few. However, it makes my list because of a certain interesting fact I came across recently. Next time you are making your way from the United Kingdom and crossing the bridge into France, take a moment and look at the canal area that borders the right side of the pavilion. Has it ever seemed familiar to you, but you’re not sure why? That’s because it was inspired by pointillism artist Georges Seurat’s famous painting “A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte.” So next time you’re traveling the world, be sure to bring up the painting on your smartphone and see the resemblance.
Most people stop in for the great music or food, but the House of Blues company is actually known for having the largest private collection of Folk Art on permanent display with about 6,000 to 7,000 pieces in their venues. The House of Blues at Downtown Disney has 637 pieces that were created by approximately 100 artists. One of the most striking pieces is the Mr. Imagination’s Archway, located on the water side of the House of Blues. Also, the curtain on the stage is made of quilts sewn together. It is definitely worth taking a few minutes out of your day to explore!
I put this location on the list because of the design of the restaurant. Sitting down, you are surrounded by brightly colored mobile chandeliers that make me think of Matisse’s famous mobiles and large modern art paintings. The best part of the experience is the easels that are scattered around the restaurant. Guests have the opportunity to draw their own art and possibly become the “artist of the day.” Now if only they wouldn’t always choose the cute little kid over me . . .
5. Journey Into Imagination with Figment at Epcot
There was no way I could discuss art and Disney and not include Figment; I mean how cute does he look in his smock and holding his painter’s palette in the last scene? Of course, I am really thinking back to the original ImageWorks on the second floor that allowed guests to “paint on the walls” and travel through the color tunnel, but I still think this is a must see if only for the fact that Figment is the symbol of creativity and imagination, two essential parts to any great piece of art. Additionally, the current ImageWorks does have some really fun elements that allow guests to enhance pictures and create their own music.
(Photos from the author’s personal collection and Artist’s Palette photo from Flickr Creative Commons – Sarah R.)
Do you have another spot to add to the list? Comment below and share!
Kelly Craig is currently obtaining her Masters of Arts in Arts Administration from Savannah College of Art and Design. She was born into a Disney loving family and has visited Walt Disney World over fifty times, Disneyland once, and cruised on the Disney Magic. During the moments she is not dreaming about her next Disney trip, Kelly is an artist and creative mind with great ambition and spirit. To connect with Kelly please visit www.karmaandkismet.weebly.com.