Legacy Content

Paris' Walt Disney Studios - Animation Inauguration and Legend Ceremony
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by Lee MacDonald
April 11, 2002
Coverage of the Inauguration of the Walt Disney Studios' Animation attraction and the Disney Legend ceremony.

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The Art of Disney Animation Inauguration

On March 14, we were enjoying a martini cocktail in Café Fantasia, the beautiful bar on the second floor of the Disneyland Hotel when Andreas Deja walked in with a companion. Deja is not only a senior member of the Walt Disney Feature Animation (“WDFA?) team, being lead animator on such classics villains as Scar, Jafar and Beast from the Golden Renaissance period, but also a collector and Disney enthusiast. Deja has worked at all three of WDFA’s production facilities and has recently completed work on Lilo for Disney’s tentpole summer release, Disney’s Lilo & Stitch.. His presence at the Grand Opening of the Walt Disney Studios park was no surprise and little did we know at that stage that his involvement was particularly critical for the dedication of the Art of Disney Animation attraction.

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On leaving the Moteurs….Action! Dedication, we were hurriedly whisked to the animation attraction for a special dedication ceremony hosted by Roy E. Disney. The marketing honchos from the park had invited 50 schoolchildren from the Marymount American school in a western suburb of Paris (Neuilly Sur Seine) to take part in the ceremony itself. The inauguration began in the lobby of the attraction, where historical artefacts from the history of animation can be found including a multi-plane camera used in Burbank until recently and gadgets such as the Zoetrope that helped define animation as an art form in the early twentieth century. The exhibits emphasise the European roots of animation, but combine this with the critical input of Walt & Roy O. Disney to the field. A short pre-show introduced by Roy E. himself and ably assisted by a flashback newsreel from the Disneyland television series by Walt was presented, before guests were invited to take their seats in the Walt Disney Classics theatre.

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