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by Military Diva

Have you ever wished you could learn to draw like Walt Disney or Ub Iwerks? Or maybe you’ve hoped to take home a more personal souvenir from your Disney World Vacation.

What if I told you that there was an experience where the entire family can sit in an air-conditioned building, receive guided drawing instructions, and take home a FREE souvenir?  Hard to believe? Maybe.  True statement? ABSOLUTELY!!

I can’t promise you will ever be able to create what Walt and Ub created, but I can promise you an engaging, out-of-the-ordinary park experience. Tucked away at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, guests can learn to draw at the cleverly named Animation Experience.

The Animation Experience is a seated “class” held several times daily at The Conservation Station. The class is led by a Disney Animator with step-by-step drawing guidance, cute anecdotes, and plenty of character!

So, how do you get to The Conservation Station and The Animation Experience?

Hidden away, north of Africa in Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park, is one of the most interesting spots in all of Disney’s Animal Kingdom. In fact, it’s hidden so well that guests can’t even walk there! In order to arrive, guests must locate the path between the Kilimanjaro Safari entrance and Harambe Fruit Market. The short walkway quickly leads guests to Harambe Train Station. Visitors must board a train and be transported through the backstage area of Kilimanjaro Safari. Guests are often treated to sights of the Caretakers at work or animals transferring between enclosures..

The short train ride ends at The Conservation Station, home to the backbone of education at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

Conservation Station train

To reach the Conservation Station, you must take the Wildlife Express Train to Rafiki’s Planet Watch.

Is there anything else to do at The Conservation Station?

Absolutely! As described on the Walt Disney World website, guests can “Explore a menagerie of furr-ific animal activities and experiences, including:

  • Veterinary Treatment Room
  • Get a close-up look at the place we care for the animals—and even glimpse a procedure in progress.
  • Nutrition Center
  • Watch experts prepare meals for the park residents.
  • Amphibian, Reptile and Invertebrate Windows
  • Creep over to see some tarantulas, scorpions, millipedes and snakes.
  • Science Center
  • Check out what our resident scientists are working on.

Naturally, our friendly animal experts are happy to answer all your questions.”

This area boasts a cute petting area, ample handwashing stations, and YES! you may actually see the “residents” receive routine or necessary Veterinary Care. It’s an extraordinary experience for sure! And while there, take a moment to sit and enjoy The Animation Experience-a delight for all ages!


Where exactly is The Animation Experience?

There is only one building located at The Conservation Station.  As you enter, you will see a desk staffed with a friendly Castmember. The lines (stand by and Lightning Lane) are located to the right of the desk. Typically, a list of experience times and an image of the character being drawn at the next show are posted.

Wildlife Express from Africa to Rafiki's Planet Watch, Animal Kingdom, Conservation Station

The colorful entrance to Conservation Station

What are the times for The Animation Experience?

  • Classes are approximately 25 minutes long
  • The Animation Experience is typically scheduled throughout the day, at 45-minute intervals
  • Actual times are posted under your Tip Board on your “my Disney experience” app and on the posted board at the entrance to The Animation Experience
  • Classes typically begin at 10:00 am and end at 4:45 pm.
Animation Experience

Show times for The Animation Experience can be found on your Tip Board

What should I expect?

Guests of both stand-by and Lightning Lane lines are greeted by a Castmember and instructed to take a pencil and a blank sheet of paper.  Young children are offered crayons and a coloring sheet. Guests are then directed to the seating area, meant to hold at least 50 artists!

Animation Experience

Don’t forget to grab your pencil and paper!

Each seat has a sanitized lapboard available and easy viewing of the two large TV screens used for instruction. As the show begins, the animator will guide you through every step of the process, making sure your lines are light when necessary and darkened at the proper time.

Animation Experience

This pre-drawn circle grid helps guests design their own professional rendering.

You will be treated to anecdotes and photos of the creators that brought Disney to life. You will be invited to interact (if you like). And you will have plenty of time to shade and perfect your design.

When finished, each member of your group will have a hand-drawn, personalized design to take home-reminding you of your experience.

Animation Experience

Learn to Draw at The Animation Experience

Our family has known about The Animation Experience but has always run past as we head to our next attraction. I strongly urge you to plan time during your next vacation to enjoy a few quiet, creative moments with your family. I never in a million years thought I would be able to create a cute image of Minnie Mouse. And I loved watching the awe in the faces around me, both young and old!

If you are interested in learning about more “hidden” or complimentary experiences that can enhance your vacation, consider contacting our sponsored Travel Agent. Patricia Payne with All for Dreams Travel is an independent agent with Gateway to Magic Travel, an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner.