Students win trip to Disney in California

Updated: 2014-10-16 11:45

By Luo Shanji in Los Angeles(China Daily USA)

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Students win trip to Disney in California 

Carol Choi (center), vice-president of marketing for The Walt Disney Company China, with the four Chinese golden prize winners of My Dream Mickey Future Artist Competition (from left): Zhu Sihan, Tong Wushuang, Huang Zhenglei and Ruan Wenjing on Tuesday in Burbank, California.  Huang Xilin / For China Daily

Four university students from China are living a Disney dream this week after winning a trip to the famous animation company and theme park in California.

The students won the golden prizes in the My Dream Mickey Future Artist Competition held in China earlier this year to commemorate the 90th anniversary of Disney. The students are finishing up a weeklong trip to the Walt Disney Co headquarters in Burbank and to Disneyland in Anaheim on Friday.

"I have loved making handcrafts since I was kid," Ruan Wenjing, 26, from Renmin University, golden prize winner of 3D artworks (amateur competition), told China Daily. "I wanted to use some materials to depict the love between Mickey and Minnie in my artwork."

Tong Wushuang, 21, from Wuhan University, the golden prize winner of 2D artworks (amateur), told China Daily: "I started reading the Mickey Mouse magazine when I was about 13 years old. I have been dreaming to be involved with the animation business or Disney ever since then."

Zhu Sihan, 24, of Xiamen University, golden prize winner of 2D artworks (professional), said: "Mickey Mouse is very popular on our planet. Therefore, I had the idea of using several planets to show the classic image of Mickey."

The other Chinese winner is Huang Zhenglei, 19, from Chinese Central Academy of Fine Arts, the golden prize winner of 3D artworks (professional).

The contest was centered on Mickey Mouse, the core character of Disney and the face of Disney culture. The trip also emphasized the historical heritage and animation creativity of Disney.

Mike Gabriel, director of Frozen, spoke to the students on Wednesday. "I was inspired by Sleeping Beauty when I was 5. Since then, I've wanted to become an animation director," he said. "I spent six hours every day practicing drawing." Gabriel's story is a manifestation of Disney's famous quote: "If you can dream it, you can make it."

On Tuesday, the students visited different buildings on the main campus of Disney headquarters, including the Team Disney Building with seven dwarfs on its facades, the Frank G. Wells Building, where the Disney archive is located, and the old animation building.

Carol Choi, vice-president of marketing for The Walt Disney Company China, invited the winners to lunch at the team building Tuesday. Choi asked them who their favorite Disney characters were and encouraged them to pursue their dreams.

The students attended the screening of the new Mickey Mouse series on Toon Disney Channel. After the screening, Paul Rudish, the series director, explained how he created and promoted the content.

"In the new serial shorts, Mickey travels to different cities across the world, including Beijing, and the content tries to resonate with the local audiences," said Rudish. Panda-monium, an episode in Season One, specifically talks about Mickey trying to take photos of a panda in Beijing Zoo.

The new Mickey series have received positive feedback since the premiere on digital platforms such as Netflix and Youtube, and Tudou and Youku in China. The Panda-monium episode is especially popular among teenagers in China. Some have suggested that Disney make a series specifically about pandas.

"Universal humor is what we use in the new Mickey Mouse series to appeal to audiences from different countries and different cultures," Rudish said.

Season Two of the new Mickey Mouse series will premier in China on Tudou and Youku in November. Rudish and his team are working on Season Three.

On Monday, the students learned how to draw Mickey Mouse in the Consumer Product function at Disney. They attended a presentation about the evolution of Mickey Mouse's image and the reasons for Mickey's popularity. The trip will conclude with a visit to Disneyland on Friday.

Huang Xilin contributed to this story.