Special Guest 2018: Mike Peraza

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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.