LOS ANGELES – The Walt Disney Co. (search) said Monday it is closing its Orlando, Fla., animation studio and cutting more than 250 jobs as it shifts from hand-drawn animated films to computer-generated ones.
Some of the employees will be offered jobs at Disney's animation studios in Burbank, Calif., the company said.
Disney has been steadily reducing its animation department for the past few years, from a peak of 2,200 employees in 1999 to 600. The company also has been cutting back on its hand-animated films, which are more labor-intensive and cost far more than movies animated by computer.
The Orlando studio, opened in 1989, has animated some of Disney's more popular movies, including "Lilo & Stitch," "Mulan" and this year's "Brother Bear."
But Disney has had its most success with animated films it produces in cooperation with Pixar Animation Studio (search). Hits produced on Pixar's computers include "Finding Nemo," "Toy Story" and "Monsters Inc."