Behind the Scenes of New Hollywood Studios Meet & Greet

Mickey and Minnie recently moved to a brand-new character greeting location at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. This classy couple can now be found around the bend of Commissary Lane, living the dream as A-list Hollywood stars. To make the titular characters feel at home, Walt Disney Imagineering and Walt Disney Parks & Resorts Creative Entertainment rolled out the red carpet. A lot of details have been included in this completely new character greeting location.

In addition to the detailed movie sets where Mickey and Minnie greet Guests, the area also features sparkling chandeliers, marble accents and glittering wallpaper that would impress any silver-screen star.

When it came time to add some character to the hallway, the team turned to Lon Smart, who has brought characters to life for Walt Disney Animation Studios and Creative Entertainment. Lon’s experiences animating for the screen and creating character artwork for Disney Parks were combined in a series of unique, eye-catching posters.

Lon worked with Show Director Tom Vazzana and Walt Disney Imagineering Art Director Alex Grayman to develop a story and visual vocabulary for the artwork. The “Red Carpet Pictures” studio is a figment of Mickey and Minnie’s imaginations. The two of them are living their dreams of being movie stars, so each of the posters show them in classic film roles.

Lon researched and identified vintage movie posters that could inform and inspire his designs.

“The star of the show is really the color and the text,” he explained, pointing to the titles of classic Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers designs. Lon’s creations draw from the vintage images, but introduce the Disney characters as the stars, and even feature landmarks of the Disney Parks and Hidden Mickeys in the backgrounds.

The seven different posters showcase the characters in true Old-Hollywood style, but through the magic of animation, elements of the posters can come to life. Lon explained that it was a dialogue between himself and other creators to decide how much movement should be included. Using his experience as an animator for Walt Disney Animation Studios, he traditionally animated each of the posters by hand, using one of the original animation desks from the studio.

This animation technique, assisted by computer software for the painting and clean-up, made for a time-consuming process, but a completely original and authentic final product. All of the posters present different moments of movement, such as the characters dancing, waving, blinking and kissing. Each movement includes 12 frames of animation per second.

The posters take center stage at the entrance to “Red Carpet Dreams,” as well as the hallway between Minnie and Mickey’s movie sets. Each poster lights up on a monitor placed behind a frame, allowing it to look like a traditional poster but perform as animated moving portrait.

“The real charm is that they are just posters,” said Lon. “As you walk by, they appear to be ‘normal posters,’ but if you catch the animation, you might question if it’s real. And if you blink, you might miss it. They play off of the idea of our imaginations and dreams, and I think that’s really at the core of everything we do.”

PHOTOS: © 2016 Walt Disney World Resort. All Rights Reserved.

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