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7 must-see art shows on Disney Plus

The usual sources of creative inspiration may not be readily accessible at the moment so many creative types are looking closer to home. So far, that may have meant joining art classes online or social media challenges. But what about TV? 

While parents (in particular) are probably becoming pretty familiar with Disney Plus' kids films right now, you'll also find a generous spark of creative magic in the platform's behind-the-scenes documentaries. From Marvel to Sleeping Beauty, this is your chance to spy on the world's finest animators – and get your own creative juices flowing.

So, after you've taken a tour round the best online art galleries, turn on your TV and tune into these gems of inspiration. Don't have Disney Plus? You can try it now with a free seven day trial.

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01. One Day at Disney

One Day at Disney is a fascinating depiction of what it's like to work at Disney. The content comes in two forms: a feature-length documentary and an ongoing series of ten minute shorts, with each segment spotlighting someone who works at Disney. 

The film covers the vast range of jobs that exist behind the curtain at Disney, roles from animator to prop maker, theme park actor to railroad driver. With footage of CGI production and animation sketching to name just two creative processes, there's loads to inspire you here.

02. Waking Sleeping Beauty

Creative inspiration Disney Plus: Sleeping Beauty

A fascinating look into Disney's most tumultuous era (Image credit: Disney)

This documentary is a candid and somewhat uncomfortable watch, which shines a light on a turbulent time in Disney's history – the 1970s-1990s. With Disney's glory days seemingly behind it, the studio was sleepwalking into demise until a new management team implemented a massive shake-up of working practice that resulted in a new era of Disney magic. 

The dramatic reconfiguration of creative process at Disney resulted in animations such as The Lion King, Aladdin and The Little Mermaid, not to mention the advent of Pixar. Waking Sleeping Beauty introduces you to the talent behind the finished product, and the turmoil surrounding it.

If you enjoy making-of documentaries, watch out for Into The Unknown, the making-of Frozen II docu that'll be hitting our small screens later this year.

03. The Pixar Story

Talking of Pixar, this fascinating film takes us behind the scenes in the early days of the Pixar animation studio. Cartoonist Ub Iwerks's granddaughter, Leslie, tells the story of Pixar in a format that's packed full of interviews, behind-the-scenes footage of film making (a highlight is seeing Tom Hanks and Tim Allen in the recording studio for Toy Story), and up-close footage of artists, too. There's loads to learn about creative process and the challenges the studio faced to bring the finished films to our screens. 

04. Frank and Ollie

Creative inspiration Disney Plus: Frank and Ollie

Discover the creative processes of two of Disney's most prolific animators (Image credit: Disney)

Made in 1995, Frank and Ollie is about two of the leading animators at Disney. Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston worked at Disney from its early days until the 1970s, so were responsible for films such as Pinnochio, Lady and the Tramp, The Jungle Book, and many more. 

The insight into the animators' creative processes is captivating, with footage showing not only the drawing, but how artists would act and gesticulate in the mirror to expand on character form and personality.

05. Empire of Dreams

Creative inspiration Disney Plus: Empire of Dreams

Learn about the first three films (Image credit: Disney)

Fans of Star Wars will lap up this 2004 documentary about the first Star Wars trilogy. Featuring interviews with George Lucas and other key Star Wars creators, it explores the films in chronological order, with lots of explanation of the visual and special effects used in the film. 

A behind-the-scenes of The Mandolorian docu-series is expected to be released on Star Wars Day this year (May 4th, if you didn't know, because... well, work it out). It will be called Disney Gallery: The Mandalorian. Personally, we can't wait to find out more about how Baby Yoda was created.

06. Marvel 75 Years: From Pulp to Pop!

Creative inspiration Disney Plus: Marvel

Follow Marvel's journey from comic books to MCU (Image credit: Disney)

Follow Marvel's story from its creation in 1939 to the modern day, experiencing the highs and lows as the studio graduated from comic books to Marvel Cinematic Universe. Featuring exclusive interviews and unseen footage, it's creative inspiration for artists and comic book fans everywhere.

07. Forky Asks a Question

Forky may well be everyone's new favourite Pixar character, and he's back in this short series of animations. The confused piece of trash, sorry, toy, asks some of life's biggest questions, which are answered by a series of Toy Story characters. 

The universe's most profound questions have inspired some of the most famous pieces of art the world has seen, and Forky certainly deals with the big topics here. 'What is Art?', 'What is Love?', 'What is Time?' and 'What is a Friend?' are just a few examples that may inspire you create your own masterpiece.

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