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  • Locations: Orlando, United States
  • Program Terms: Jan Term
Dates / Deadlines:
Dates / Deadlines:
Term Year App Deadline Decision Date Start Date End Date
Jan Term 2021 10/02/2020 ** Rolling Admission 01/06/2021 01/12/2021

** Please double check brochure below for official program dates.
Fact Sheet:
Fact Sheet:
Minimum GPA: 2.0 Program Type: Jan Term
Program Description:

Animating Life: The Art and Science of Animation from Disney to Pixar

“Animation can explain whatever the mind of man can conceive. This facility makes it the most versatile and explicit means of communication yet devised for quick mass appreciation.” - Walt Disney


Group photo in Disney Animation has become an important art form not only for entertainment in film and television but also in medicine, video gaming with Avatars, and forensics. This course will first explore the history of animation from the early 20th Century and the work of the Disney Studios through the computer animation technology of the Pixar artists and motion capture technology in video games. Then a brief introduction to anatomy and human motion for artists will provide the basis for establishing the twelve basic rules of animation. In the 1960’s, Disney introduced “Audio-Animatronics” that paved the way for creative theme park rides but also provided clues to instrumentation for prosthetics. This course will look at the technology of the audioanimatronic figures. Finally, the use of animation in medicine from 3-D anatomy teaching software to diagnostic modeling technology will be explored. The field of forensics has also used animation to re-construct crime scenes and we look at the detail that must be created to predict outcomes. To enhance the learning experience, the class will travel to Walt Disney World and have a guided tour of the Parks to see the use of audio-animatronics in creating an interactive ride and be able to work individually with animators.


Walt Disney World Resort, Orlando, FL


Travel dates: Jan. 6 - Jan 12, 2021
On-campus meetings:
The course will meet the first week of classes and the student will be introduced to the science and art of animation through its history, methods and scientific basis. This first week will involve lecture, readings, quizzes and independent projects. Then the class will travel to Walt Disney World where they will learn from Disney Cast Members through the Youth Education Series Program (Y.E.S.) how animation and audio-animatronics is used throughout the Parks. Additional assignments will include viewing and interpreting the use of audio-animatronics in various applications in the Magic Kingdom Park and animation in the Hollywood Studios Park where they will work one-on-one with a Disney animator. Each student will keep a journal of the Orlando experience. On returning to the classroom the final week of class, dimensional animation and animation in other fields will complete the course schedule.

The class will travel to the Walt Disney World Resort on Southwest Airlines. Transportation to and from BWI Airport will be provided by McDaniel transportation. At the Orlando Airport we will take Disney Magic Express to and from our resort. Lodging will be at the Port Orleans Resort (a Moderate Disney Resort) and will include the Disney Dining Plan. Students can room individually, or in a double, triple, or quad. Trip cost will vary depending on the number in your room. Each student will receive a 7-day Park Hopper Ticket to enjoy the "magic" everyday of our stay.


By the end of the course the student will be able to:
  • Understand how realistic human motion is created by animators
  • Learn about basic Biomechanics (the physics that governs all of human motion)
  • Understand the twelve basic laws for animators
  • Be able to create the idea for a character animation of their own
  • Identify the principles of storytelling, character development, script writing and story boarding and be able to explain how they are used to develop animation.
  • Appreciate the technology of audio-animatronics
  • Draw a animated character with the help of a Disney artist
  • Use anatomy animation in the classroom 


Students on RideTentative program fees: $2,400 plus the $30 Jan term fee.  Students will be refunded any unused funds.

The price includes: transfers to and from both airports (BWI and Orlando), airfare on Southwest Airlines, lodging at a Port Orleans Resort, the Disney Dining Plan, a 7-day Park Hopper ticket and four Y.E.S. Tours of the Magic Kingdom. There will even be some “magical extras” courtesy of your chaperones.

Student participation at the Walt Disney World Resort is self-paced. Most students travel around the Parks in small groups. There are required class activities on four of the seven days we are at Walt Disney World. These activities last around 4 hours each. All other times students are independent to fulfill the requirements of the class at their own pace. The instructor will present each student with a list of activities that they are responsible for completing during their 7-day stay.

  • Students must have Sophomore class standing or higher or be a First Year Honors student.
  • First time enrollees have priority.


Application deadline: Oct. 2, 2020
Final withdraw for full refund deadline is Oct. 16, 2020.

The class is limited to 20 students. The faculty leader provides final approval for students to participate

For more information contact
David Petrie
Tracy Fleming

Curious to learn about a past session of this class?  Check out this article about the 2013 program!