Walt Disney Animation Studios Reviews | Glassdoor

Walt Disney Animation Studios Reviews

Updated April 27, 2017
52 reviews

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3.7
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Walt Disney Animation Studios President, Pixar and Disney Animation Ed Catmull
Ed Catmull
27 Ratings

52 Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • Great company, Great benefits, Working with talented people (in 9 reviews)

  • Silver pass is amazing if you love Disneyland/world, have kids, have a pulse ;) (in 4 reviews)

Cons
  • Also, middle management has gotten over-inflated in size and sense of importance (in 4 reviews)

  • Sometimes there are really long hours (in 3 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. Helpful (10)

    "Technical director"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Technical Director in Burbank, CA
    Former Employee - Technical Director in Burbank, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    Seems to be freedom to develop your skill set as a technical artist. I really loved my job.

    Cons

    Nepotism and sexism reigns supreme. There isn't enough racial diversity either. Caucasian and Asian males make up the demographic. This really shows a lot about a company and the underlying ethics. Most of the women that work in the company are in the HR department or secretarial roles and don't have a glimpse into the other departments and how they might be suffering from lack of diversity.

    Advice to Management

    Communicate. If someone is weak in an area tell them before cutting them off- people are eager to improve and rise to the challenge. Otherwise it comes off as nepotism. Hire more diverse employees. Otherwise it comes off as racism. Hire more women for creative roles. Otherwise it come off as sexism. Be good to those who are eager to be the best for your company versus the power hungry.


  2. Helpful (2)

    "Technical Director?"

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

    I have been working at Walt Disney Animation Studios full-time

    Pros

    The ability to put on my headphones and just forget about everything

    Cons

    Our department is run by Grump old white MEN. I am represented by one token supervisor who doesn't drive my ideas or issues forward. When I present my worth to the leadership I get pushed aside. Almost like I've been patted on the head

    Advice to Management

    Look hard and long in the mirror and know that most of us can't stand you. You are old and can't see that we are people also


  3. Helpful (3)

    "scale of 1 to 10- 10 being extremely satisfied. I am at 6. Just right of neutral"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Cartoonist/Animator in Burbank, CA
    Current Employee - Cartoonist/Animator in Burbank, CA
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Decent pay and perks. Free amusement park entrance is the best perk out of all.

    Cons

    Difficult to move up. Very cliquey. Unqualified people seem to get promoted because they are friends with the right people. Qualified people are left in middle management positions to rot.
    Communications is horrible. Information is limited, you feel kept in the dark about projects that youare working on. There is no loyalty. Employees are just drones. HR is two faced and can't be trusted.

    Advice to Management

    Transparency, straightforwardness. Integrity. Do what you say you are going to do and just be honest. The corporate culture breeds insecurity and paranoia about having a job or soon getting laid off. It is a toxic place to work.


  4. Helpful (8)

    "Childhood Dreams Broken"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

    I have been working at Walt Disney Animation Studios full-time

    Pros

    The benefits are good. The perks are decent, if you qualify for a Silver Pass (not everyone does). There are some decent and kind human beings in the company, but they are few.

    Cons

    Be prepared for a top down culture that encourages bullying and enables some seriously sociopathic behavior from show creators and "creatives". The lower on the ladder you are, be prepared to be treated poorly and no one will help you or stop it or report it. Moving out of lower positions is often blocked or made discouragingly difficult.

    Advice to Management

    There should be zero tolerance for bullying. No one should be allowed to abuse (verbally and in at least once instance physically) crew members. No one should be allowed to defame those that work under them because they're mad someone wants to leave their show.


  5. Helpful (1)

    "All hail Pixar!"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Burbank, CA
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Burbank, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    * You get a silverpass to the parks...if you're full-time non contract
    * Disney Animation is an awesome name to drop when talking to people not in the movie industry
    * Much better balance of work to life ratio then most studios/vfx houses
    * Got to love the history of the place!

    Cons

    * Since Pixar took over WDFA is pretty much the red headed step child.
    * Production is really click oriented. Skills are fine but connections are better.
    * With the production of money losing picture after money losing picture the moral isn't the best.
    * How long can WDFA survive without producing a picture that makes any money? Thus, most don't expect too many future opportunities at Southside (a reference for the real FA vets out there).

    Advice to Management

    The stories coming out of WDFA are nowhere near the quality of the ones coming out of Pixar. Is it the legacy of Disney that constrains or is it the Story department?


  6. Helpful (4)

    "From Software"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Burbank, CA
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Burbank, CA

    Pros

    There is a pretty good interaction between software and production, at least in some departments. Software gets to sit mixed in with production unlike some other studios. No one shares a desk but you do sometimes share offices, and sometimes have to work from a cubicle. The upside really is getting to work closely with the artists though and not being segregated as a separate unit that just releases software and is thought of as "those guys".

    Cons

    Production is still king. Even when it comes to areas where clearly they know little, and you know best, they will trump you and dictate the approach. It is always clear who is in charge and that can make things difficult when it comes to creating the best software for the job. The artist might always know what they want, but they might not always know how it should be designed, created, and delivered to them. Some things should be left to software to handle.

    Advice to Management

    Stop cutting costs in software and technology while continuing to spend big money in production. It hurts morale that there are no perks left for the software group while there are weekly "happy hours" for production. It also hurts that there is "down time" with off-site fun activities for production but that time is always spent by software to "redouble our efforts" to get even more cool tools ready for production when they get back to work. Some equality in these perks and in down time (time to recharge) would go a long way to making everyone feel like they are on the same team.


  7. Helpful (1)

    "Fun, but fickle"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Burbank, CA
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Burbank, CA
    Recommends
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    The work itself is creative and enjoyable. The potential for long term employment is better since the projects are longer than the typical VFX house project.

    Cons

    Young, cheap talent is sought after. Age and experience is not highly regarded. You are only as good as your latest job. Of all the good qualities of an employee: speed, innovation, reliability, dedication, practicality, accuracy etc., etc, flash reigns supreme. The management can often be naive.

    Advice to Management

    The greatest motivator for an artist (aside from salary!) is personal feedback that is specific and real from someone "in the know". General praise is generally void of any real meaning.


  8. Helpful (1)

    "OK"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Assistant in Burbank, CA
    Former Employee - Assistant in Burbank, CA
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Working with such creative people.

    Cons

    No flexibility and career advancements.

    Advice to Management

    People won't stay just because they get to work for the mouse. Be more fair with benefits.


  9. Helpful (2)

    "It's a lot like high school"

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

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

    Pros

    Studio is full of top-notch artistic talent and it's great to rub elbows with the greats. Everyone is on a first name basis.

    Cons

    It's very clickish, like high school. Sometimes it's not enough to do a good job- you have to click with the right folks to get promoted.

    Advice to Management

    Help your employees by teaching them and mentoring them. Tell them what they are doing right and what they can improve on and help them soar.


  10. Helpful (3)

    "Good place, but watch your back"

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

    I have been working at Walt Disney Animation Studios full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Good studio, good artists. There have been lots of new artists recently. It is headed in a better direction than it was in the past 10 years

    Cons

    tough to trust others and a bit secretive. Lots of backbiting and talk behind closed doors. A difficult work environment unless you have a network of friends within the system


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