Bear Necessities

Easily the most successful productions coming out of Orlando in the 1990’s and early 2000’s were the animated films coming from the Florida unit of Walt Disney Feature Animation. From Roger Rabbit shorts to bits and pieces of feature-length films, they graduated to developing their own features with Mulan, Lilo & Stitch and Brother Bear. And so we were honored to interview one of the co-directors of Brother Bear, Aaron Blaise.

Aaron was among the first people to get hired for the Florida unit, and one of the last to leave, so it was great to have a chance to talk to him about life as part of a tourist attraction (in the Disney-MGM Studios), and the family that grew up together there, and the sadness when they eventually were shut down.

Nowadays, he’s trying to spread his art and animation knowledge online. Check out!




Aaron Blaise

 Aaron Blaise,

Co-Director – Disney’s “BROTHER BEAR”

From an artistic perspective, animals and nature in general were the first things Aaron started drawing from as far back as he can remember.  By age seven he knew most every species of duck in North America.  Later when he moved to Florida he fell in love with the wildness of the state. He spent the better part of his youth drawing, painting, tracking and photographing the wildlife in and around the area. 

Later Aaron graduated from the Ringling College of Art with a certificate in Illustration in 1989. He was then hired by Walt Disney Feature Animation where he spent 21 years helping to create some of the greatest animated films ever made. During that time he worked as an animator or supervising animator on “The Rescuers Down Under”, “Beauty and the Beast”, “Aladdin”, “The Lion King”, “Pocahontas”, “Mulan” and he was co-director of “Brother Bear” for which he earned an Oscar nomination for Best Animated Feature Film. Since “Brother Bear” he helped to develop several projects but ultimately left Disney to pursue an opportunity back home in Florida to help start up a new animation studio called Tradition Studios. 

Now, Aaron has revived his painting career and launched a new website where he spreads his love of animation knowledge.


Paul Meena

Paul Meena

UNIVERSAL STUDIOS EXECUTIVEAnother Big Get! Finally hooked us a big fish from Universal Studios.  Paul Meena is the former Vice President and General Manager of the  Universal Studios Florida Production Group, but he earned his stripes the hard way.  As a young man in...

James Ponti

James Ponti

Are you (or your kids) fans of the City Spies series??  Did you know that he got his start writing for many of the TV shows that were shot here in Orlando?

Rizza Germonto-Baker

Rizza Germonto-Baker

Rizza is a local gal (well, by way of Hawaii), having graduated from Dr. Phillips High School, University of Florida, and Full Sail University, where she earned a degree in Film & Television Production.