This week, Disney Blogs is focusing on a decade that is considered one of Walt Disney Animation Studios’ most enchanted, the 1990s.

Building off of the incredible reception of 1989’s The Little Mermaid, the company launched a series of hit animated films. Among them were Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, The Lion King, and Hercules, all of which featured the work of talented animator, Andreas Deja. Raised in Germany, Andreas encountered Disney animation as a young boy and became obsessed with the artform. By his twenties, he had made his way onto the staff at Disney, and he soon established himself as a go-to supervising animator for feature films.

If you’re a Disney fan, you’re almost certainly a fan of Andreas, who was supervising animator for the characters Gaston, Jafar, Scar, and Hercules. We recently spoke to Andreas and asked him about this incredible decade and the characters he helped bring to life.


Disney Insider: What was it like working for Walt Disney Animation Studios in the 1990s, now often referred to as a “Renaissance” for the company?

Andreas Deja: It was a fantastic time. The success of The Little Mermaid from 1989 catapulted Disney Animation back into the consciousness of moviegoers. I remember a teenage boy telling me that he thought The Little Mermaid was a great date film. I knew then that our animation could reach not only families and kids, but any age group.

With each film we gained more experience and confidence. During the early 1990s we were given one year to animate a movie. You moved to the next project, and again, 12 months. This schedule became very stressful to the crew, so after meeting with management, it was decided that after Aladdin we would have two teams working side by side on individual films. Each unit would now have 18 months to finish the animation. The Lion King and Pocahontas both benefitted from this relaxed schedule.

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