Mike Peraza is an award winning designer with over 35 years of experience creating magic for the Walt Disney Studios, Walt Disney Television, Walt Disney Comics, and Walt Disney Imagineering. He has worked with legendary film makers Tim Burton (classmates at CalArts), Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, Don Bluth and 8 of the 9 “Old Men” at Disney. He has also served Warner Brothers, SONY, Bluth Studios, Universal, MGM. From working as Art Director. for Disney’s “The Little Mermaid” on the big screen, designing“DuckTales” for the small screen, or drawing pages for Disney comics and children’s books, Mr. Peraza’s talents have helped shape the animation world, and usher in the fabled Disney Renaissance.
Born and raised in New Orleans, Mike knew he wanted to be an artist from a very early age. His animation work for a local TV station solidified this dream and he set out west to attend the prestigious California Institute for the Arts, a university that Walt Disney himself established. Tuition fees proved too costly and he planned to leave. Disney Legend Jack Hannah, Dean of the Disney Program intervened, offering him a full scholarship along with a job as Teacher’s Assistant enabling him to stay and study the craft he loved in addition to getting to know each Disney Instructor on a close one-on-one relationship. At the end of each year, students showed their films to an amazing audience including Ron Miller, Lillian Disney, Diane Disney, Frank Thomas, Ollie Johnson, Ward Kimball, Woolie Reitherman, Chuck Jones and other animation notables. Afterwards Mike found a note inviting him to come and work for The Walt Disney Studios, his dream job.
Mike went on to have a hand in the concepts of animated features for film, TV and games including projects such as: “Fox and the Hound, Mickey’s Christmas Carol, The Black Cauldron, Dragon’s Lair, Space Ace, The Great Mouse Detective, TRON, The Little Mermaid, Return to OZ, Ducktales, Chip and Dale, Rescue Rangers, Talespin, Goof Troop, Darkwing Duck, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast, Thumbelina, Stuart Little, Anastasia, Ice Age and others. Mr Peraza’s recent assignments for Walt Disney Imagineering include CARSLAND, New Fantasyland and Shanghai Disney Resort where he teamed up with Tim Burton to design Wonderland. Along with his wife, Patty, and daughter, Kimberly, Mike Peraza donates much of his time raising awareness for Epilepsy, and hopes that one day his contributions will help facilitate a cure for this debilitating illness so those children as well as adults suffering can enjoy a better life.
Patty Peraza realized a love of creating artwork at an early age and took multiple art classes in high school, including signing up as the first female allowed in the drafting class. The instructor refused her entry to the all male class. Fortunately the principle knew her from the honor society and realized her goal of going on to art school, overriding the instructors denial. Made the Deans List while attending the University of Delaware as a graphic design major. It was there that the Dean informed her about the Disney Animation program at California Institute of the Arts. She applied was accepted and made the move to California. Patty was fortunate to receive a scholarship from the Disney family to attend the college. While there she was taught by Disney Legends Jack Hannah, Ken O’Connor, Elmer Plummer, T Hee and design expert Bill Moore.
Patty has the distinction of being the first female hired by the Walt Disney Studio from Cal Arts. Her first assignment was working on the motorcycles for the original motion picture Tron. From there she inbetweened on features along with various Epcot projects which resulted with being promoted to breakdown, then assistant animator. One of her early opportunities to animate came on Mickey’s Christmas Carol. She was still classified as an assistant animator but enjoyed animating cigar puffs from Pete, whispy snow gusts, candle flame lighting by Jimminy and much more. Along with many of the top animators at the studio she was asked to help with the big push to get EPCOT ready for its opening. She was also assigned to animate all effects single handedly for Meet The World for Tokyo Disneyland. These were animated on 3 Cinemascope fields! When Ron Miller viewed her animation of the earthquakes, volcanic eruption and storms forming the island of Japan, he immediately promoted Patty to full animator. She became the first female effects animator at the Walt Disney Studios and at that time the only female animator in both the character and effects animation department.
She also was able to animate on other full length animated features including The Black Cauldron and The Great Mouse Detective. Patty was then asked by Disney management to serve as project lead for a newly proposed film based on the traditional story Beauty and the Beast working closely with Don Hahn and Mel Shaw. In addition to features she animated effects for television commercials for Disney with Glenn Keane doing the character. She also animated effects for live action features including Bill and Teds Excellent Adventure and Warlock. Patty animated effects for Dale Baer Studio, Film Roman and Warner Brothers. While raising a family, Patty somehow found time to work on numerous television and direct to video projects including Ducktales, Talespin, Garfield, Tom and Jerry, Rover Dangerfield, and Proud Family. She currently creates “Art for the Park” with original creations sold at Disneyland Art Gallery and throughout the Disney company.