Walt Disney Animation Studios Reviews | Glassdoor

Walt Disney Animation Studios Reviews

Updated December 22, 2018
61 reviews

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Walt Disney Animation Studios President, Pixar and Disney Animation Ed Catmull
Ed Catmull
34 Ratings

Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • "Fun work environment: lots of relevant industry events, screenings, and weekly team building activities" (in 7 reviews)

  • "Some really, really great people here" (in 5 reviews)

Cons
  • "The hours can get pretty long, especially during crunch time" (in 3 reviews)

  • "Diminishing bonus perks (like Disneyland block out dates getting worse)" (in 2 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. Helpful (2)

    "Big company, but great if you find your niche"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Engineer in Burbank, CA
    Current Employee - Engineer in Burbank, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Walt Disney Animation Studios full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    -Interesting and challenging projects
    -Work with other industry leaders across the massive Disney corporation
    -Work with rockstar artists (do other artists have their own instagram hashtag?) and industry renowned technical folk
    -Ambitious future plans
    -Fun work environment: lots of relevant industry events, screenings, and weekly team building activities
    -Open environment for publishing work and ideas, encouraged to attend various festivals, conferences, and industry shows. Open Houses to shmooze with other industry folk.
    -People generally seem positive and dedicated
    -Rolling opportunities to pitch new risky ideas
    -Decent compensation and benefits for the work-life balance, though not at the $$$ level with the 5 Big Tech companies. But at least you don't need to shower after slinging ads or selling/leaking personal information to nefarious organizations.
    -Work on movies at an iconic company with an almost 100 year celebrated legacy
    -You feel like the end product really does make the world a better place: at work are posted childrens' letters on recognizing bias and racism after Zootopia, Pacific Islanders visited after Moana to describe the positive impact it had on their communities.

    Cons

    -Loss of some good people over the past couple years, with some voids left unfilled
    -It's a big company and it can feel like one
    -Minimal QA and build support available for the technical folk
    -Diminishing bonus perks (like Disneyland block out dates getting worse)
    -Your friends will never stop asking you for cheap Disneyland tickets

    Advice to Management

    -Upcoming streaming business can help address historically stagnant career advancement opportunities
    -Minimize administrative overhead
    -Keep taking risks and trust your employees!


  2. "Supportive environment for growth as an artist"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Burbank, CA
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Burbank, CA

    I have been working at Walt Disney Animation Studios full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    - family oriented
    - lots of resources within the company to help you grow as an artist
    - generous sharing of knowledge among employees across departments to help each other out
    - generally safe and respectful work environment

    Cons

    - hourly rate is lower compared to other studios

    Advice to Management

    - create more opportunity of growth for everyone

  3. Helpful (3)

    "Not a good place for good engineers"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Senior Software Engineer
    Former Employee - Senior Software Engineer
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Walt Disney Animation Studios full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    Fun environment. Nice building with art everywhere. Interesting activities, movie screenings, etc. People will be impressed that you work there. You're surrounded by spectacularly talented artists. You get to work on movies, and pretty decent ones too. Hours are good. You get into the Disney parks for free (well in theory -- there are a whole lot of blackout dates). Pay is OK. Wrap parties are fun. Some opportunities to get sent to conferences and such. Some really, really great people here.

    Cons

    The artists are the stars here, and if you're not one you're second tier. It's not terrible, but you will probably be jammed in a weird corner of the basement, and you won't get a shout out at wrap parties or anything. This is a company by artists, for artists.

    The tech management over the last few years is a real problem from the CTO on down. They talk a good game about doing big things and I think they mean well, but they're indecisive, there is a crazy amount of micromanagement, and they play favorites so you better be real good at politics. Quality of engineering is inconsistent. Chances for advancement or promotion are rare. Initiative is mostly not rewarded. There are still some really great engineers here but the quality of the staff is decreasing as many of the really good engineers have gotten fed up and left.

    It's too bad because this could be a great engineering org, but instead it's very medium tier and slowly getting worse as the talent leaves. If you're a mediocre software engineer, you could do worse. The paycheck is steady. If you're really good though, you can honestly do a lot better (not just a FAANG, you have lots of options), make a lot more money and work in a place that appreciates you.

    Advice to Management

    If you actually want a world class technical staff, show them some trust instead of trying to micromanage every tiny thing. Find the people who actually make impact, give them some room to actually do some useful work and support them, and get out of their way. If you don't care, then keep doing what you're doing. Lots of recruiters hitting up your engineers.


  4. Helpful (3)

    "Where careers come to die"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Walt Disney Animation Studios full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    Casual dressing/environment, opportunity to work with creative minds, brand/name/product recognition, beautiful building, good benefits and perks

    Cons

    Extremely political in all sense! Catering to their “soft skills” becomes a full time job, no place for career growth and opportunities (unless you win their popularity contest), lack of accountability and direction, and an overall sense of lack of appreciation to employees

    Advice to Management

    If you are part of the executive group and reading this you already know what you need to do because every person that have left this place have told you why we left! Stop being so arrogant and not caring to improve and change because you can have a replacement in days! Talented people with deep understanding of the craft leave because we need opportunities to continue to grow our career, to feel appreciated, and maybe even get some raises!


  5. Helpful (1)

    "Amazing experience but work was punishing"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Programmer in Burbank, CA
    Former Employee - Programmer in Burbank, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Walt Disney Animation Studios full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Some of the most talented and creative people in the industry work here. I learned a lot in short space of time and felt privileged to be a member of my team. Being at the fount of Disney's creative output felt very special and the company goes out of its way to make the studio an inspiring place to work. The perks were good (if often food-related) and employee bonuses were also welcome.

    Cons

    Coming from the UK, I found the 10 days accrued vacation and the endless overtime very hard to adjust to. While the latter was optional, I felt like it was needed to meet production deadlines and make the salary feel competitive.


  6. Helpful (2)

    "Animation Studio"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Production Artist in Burbank, CA
    Former Employee - Production Artist in Burbank, CA
    Positive Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Walt Disney Animation Studios full-time (More than 8 years)

    Pros

    Competitive pay. Creative environment and talented co workers. Nice perks .

    Cons

    Management fosters a culture of fear of losing your job. Very cliquish. Mixed bag of cool people and a-holes. Very corporate.

    Advice to Management

    Encourage creativity and cooperation and quit promoting psychopaths.


  7. Helpful (5)

    "Two faced management. Too much politics, very little focus on progress."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Walt Disney Animation Studios full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    None. There is potential and the place is full of talented individual contributors. Management decisions are however shady and counter productive.

    Cons

    Way too much focus on feeding egos and too little on improving the status quo.

    Advice to Management

    Better accountability for top management.

  8. Helpful (7)

    "Going from good to bad"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Tech Worker in Burbank, CA
    Former Employee - Tech Worker in Burbank, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Walt Disney Animation Studios full-time (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    Upper mgmt has turned around studio and gets the human condition.

    Cons

    New CTO has isolated himself from tech workers. Managers micromanage engineers. If you like agile, here's the place to work. Great top management probably not long before retiring.

    Advice to Management

    Trust your tech workers, so stop meeting twice a day to manage them.


  9. Helpful (15)

    "Toxic workplace"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Walt Disney Animation Studios full-time

    Pros

    Pay is marginally better than most other TV studios in town. Some colleagues are top notch talent.

    Cons

    Cliquish - G-d help you if you aren't from CalArts. Women and minorities are not promoted. No communication between directors and teams. People hire/promote their unqualified friends while talented people languish in lower positions. Budget cuts (really Disney???) are endemic leading to massive layoffs in a single production. Turnover high, morale low. Bullying has led to many talented people leaving. The most dysfunctional workplace I have encountered to date.

    Advice to Management

    Hire better collaborators as directors - it's a television production, not a one-person show. Allow artists to add their voice to your work - why else have you hired them? People are not cogs in your machine. Communicate better at earlier stages of production so you don't have major rewrites and reworkings at late stages of the game. Promote women and nonwhite people. Stop protecting bullies.


  10. Helpful (1)

    "artist"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Art Director in Burbank, CA
    Former Employee - Art Director in Burbank, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Walt Disney Animation Studios full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    Great creative atmosphere and design process.

    Cons

    None really eccept for top heavy art reviews.

    Advice to Management

    Top heavy in design reviews