Walt Disney Animation Studios

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Disney continues to evolve. I have faith.

Manager, Technology (Former Employee)

ProsOverall Disney is an enjoyable place to work, and I'd recommend it to you if you're interested. The company is well established, there are some of the best people in the world working there, and has a large amount of internal support for it's employees, including operations, training, technical support and human resources. Many people at Disney may not take advantage of all of these, but they are all there to make the company run smoothly. Benefits are better than average, including extras like a special annual educational reimbursement, tuition reimbursement, 401k, etc. Pay is good to mediocre, but not terrible (negotiate up front as much as you can, because pay raises are not normally very substantial since Disney Animation movies are not really making money). Overall, main benefits are:
Great people (friendly and skilled), great films, good employee support structure, good benefits, humane enough hours

ConsDisney's Animation division is the place where Walt himself started the company, by creating that well known cute little animated mouse we've all grown to love. Unfortunately, Disney today is an arm of a huge corporate megalith conglomerate multinational publicly traded media corporation, whose main purpose is to create IP for marketing, merchandising, theme park rides, and huge blockbuster hollywood animated films. Well, Disney has not been able to succeed at the "blockbuster" part (not even at profits that cover operating costs) for the last decade. This weighs heavily on the entire company, including executive management... especially since this is the place where Disney started! Pixar has done a fantastic job at generating IP for the company, though, pretty much replacing Disney Animation's role in this area from a marketing, merchandising and theme park perspective, and Pixar executives are now running Disney Animation as well. Disney Animation has gone from what was once purely born of creativity, inspiration, and the thrill to see new appealing characters come to life on the big screen, into what has been over-taken by the intense pressure to make profits by deploying strict corporate reporting hierarchies, flawed human resources practices, indecisive green-lighting and canceling of projects, nit-picking ideas stories and scripts until they are such vanilla fairy-tales so they differentiate from Pixar that they are no longer fun to watch and no longer edgy or applicable to today's audience, unable to establish a relationship with their own internal studio marketing group that will bring people into the box office, and even still some executives that don't know anything about animation. Pixar is at the reigns, though, now, (even though it's a part-time effort) and Ed & John continue to steer things into a much better direction, so hope still exists (but probably only for a few more unsuccessful films).
Overall, all of the "corporate" things are to be expected, though, and are fairly easy to navigate, dodge and avoid so they don't get in the way of your everyday life - so long as you know about them in advance and can be on the offensive. If Disney Animation can start making grosses even close to what Pixar does from the films produced, they can win back the love of studio marketing, theme parks and merchandising (so the profits trickle across the divisions based on their IP) -- if they can do this, then I would predict a long and prosperous life for the place where Walt Disney himself breathed the first breath of life into the company. If they don't... well, that's anyone's call, and ultimately, who knows what the board of directors would decide in terms of various actions and how they could effect stock prices. It seems like more and more aggressive actions keep taking place from a strategic perspective. It will be really interesting to see how this unfolds with Dreamworks, Fox, Pixar, even Sony now, and almost every other company making animated films grossing more at the box office than the world-famous Disney Animation is able to do.
Overall, main cons are:
Meetings, bureaucracy, politics, internal power struggles, unsuccessful films cause project-hire mentality and lots of stress on internal corporate relationships as well as executives & managers, and, still there are some bosses that don't know what you are talking about that are making major decisions without much understanding of the subject

Advice to Senior ManagementKeep trying! Keep steering the company in the right direction. I believe Disney still is the leader of animation and still has the ability to earn back that title with today's audiences.

    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • Approves of CEO

     

    Rewarding

    CG Animator (Current Employee)

    I have been working at Walt Disney Animation Studios full-time for more than 10 years


    Pros: Creative people and friendly work place. Cons: Hours can be long to finish projects. Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company… More
    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • No Opinion of CEO

     

    In 1994 the TV Animation Department was autonomous from the rest of the studio but we held our own

    Supervisor (Former Employee) North Hollywood, CA

    I worked at Walt Disney Animation Studios full-time for more than 5 years


    Pros: In 1993 -Our shows we edited were our shows, we… Cons: Due to that we stood on our own we weren't… Advice to Senior Management: Nothing from the years I worked there, it was perfectly… Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend More
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