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  • Jim Hill

    How the Grinch gave Universal Studios Hollywood a Christmas to call its own

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    So now that the ball has dropped in Times Square and all those flower-covered floats have rolled through downtown Pasadena, that then means we can officially put the 2015 holiday season behind us ... right? Not according to the folks who run the Disney and Universal theme parks. Where Christmas will continue to be celebrated through January 3rd. Now before some baby boomer out there decides to play their " ... it wasn't like this when I was growing up" card, let me point out here that...
  • Jim Hill

    What would Walt have thought of "Two More Eggs," Disney XD's deliberately anarchic series of animated shorts?

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    It's a really interesting time to be a Disney fan. After all, in a year where " Star Wars: The Force Awakens ," " Avengers: Age of Ultron " and " Inside Out " helped Walt Disney Studios blow past the $5 billion box office barrier for the very first time in the Company's history, the Mouse Factory honestly doesn't look all that much like the outfit that the Disney Brothers started back in 1923. Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved Which is...
  • Jim Hill

    Winchester Mystery House puts a paranormal twist on the holidays with its "Spirit of Christmas" event

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    Are you looking for something a little different to do this holiday season? If so ... Well, given that one of the more popular tales to tell this time of year (i.e., Charles Dickens ' "A Christmas Carol" ) is just loaded with ghosts, maybe you'd be up for a visit to one of America's most haunted homes? To be specific, the Winchester Mystery House in San Jose, California. Which -- earlier this month -- kicked off a brand-new "Spirit of Christmas" event that allows people...
  • Jim Hill

    Don Hahn shines a spotlight on Disney Legend Richard M. Sherman with 'Songs of a Lifetime"

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    Given that he's the guy who produced " Beauty and the Beast ," the first animated film nominated for a Best Picture Oscar, as well as " The Lion King ," Don Hahn is used to getting the lion's share of the accolades. But these days, Don is more concerned about making sure that other Mouse House veterans get their moment in the sun. Take -- for example -- Disney Legend Richard M. Sherman , the surviving member of that Academy Award-winning songwriting team which provided...
  • Jim Hill

    By thinning "The Good Dinosaur" 's herd, Pixar Animation Studios wound up with a far better film

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    Given that -- this past weekend -- "The Good Dinosaur" was once again the No. 1 family film at the box office , there are a lot of parents on the prowl right now for toys that draw their inspiration from this new Pixar Animation Studios production And as luck would have it, there's a good number of "Good Dinosaur" -related playthings on the market right now. The Disney Store -- for example -- has a Jack the Ankylosaurus action figure which features swinging tail action .....
  • Jim Hill

    What goes on behind-the-scenes at Macy's before its Thanksgiving Day Parade can step off

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    So where are you right now when it comes to your Thanksgiving to-do list? You know, that running tab of things that you need to get done between now and tomorrow afternoon? Well, as busy as you may be, I'm betting that your Thanksgiving to-do list looks like a Post-it note compared to all of the tasks that the talented folks who work for Macy's Parade & Entertainment Group have to accomplish before 12 noon ET on Thursday. November 25th arrives. Copyright 2015 Macy's Inc. All rights...
  • Press Releases

    D23 Will Bring the Magic of Disney to Fans Across the Country in 2016

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    Member favorites return as Disney's official fan club expands offerings BURBANK, Calif. - December 1, 2015 - In 2016, D23: The Official Disney Fan Club will expand member events with more experiences on the East Coast and new twists on current favorites. D23 BEHIND-THE-SCENES EXPERIENCES : In 2015, D23 Members had the opportunity to explore hidden Disney gems-such as the Animation Research Library-while hearing stories from Disney luminaries such as Walt Disney Archives founder Dave Smith and...
  • Jim Hill

    Phyllis Smith talks about the joys of voicing Sadness for Pixar's "Inside Out"

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    So how exactly does one get hired to voice a character in a Pixar film? Well, to hear Phyllis Smith (i.e., the " Office " vet who voiced Sadness in " Inside Out ") tell the tale, it wasn't talent or luck that actually won her this part. But -- rather -- insomnia. (L to R) Jason Segal, Cameron Dias and Phyllis Smith in "Bad Teacher." Copyright 2010 Sony Pictures. All rights reserved " Jonas Rivera -- the executive producer of 'Inside Out' -- couldn't...
  • Press Releases

    Carly Rae Jepsen & Daughtry Set to Rock the Stage This Weekend At Universal Orland Resort’s 25th Anniversary Concert Series

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    CARLY RAE JEPSEN AND DAUGHTRY SET TO ROCK THE STAGE THIS WEEKEND AS THE FINAL TWO SHOWS OF UNIVERSAL ORLANDO RESORT'S 25 TH ANNIVERSARY CONCERT SERIES Orlando, Fla. (November 23, 2015) - Universal Orlando Resort's 25 th Anniversary Concert Series concludes this weekend with musical performances by GRAMMY-nominated singer-songwriter Carly Rae Jepsen on Friday, November 27 and GRAMMY-nominated rock band Daughtry on Saturday, November 28. Multi-platinum artist, Carly Rae Jepsen released her...
  • Jim Hill

    Everything's big about Universal Orlando's opening-in-2016 Skull Island: Reign of Kong

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    For nearly 30 years now -- ever since King Kong Encounter was first added to Universal Studios Hollywood 's tram tour back in June of 1986 and that 7 ton, 30 foot-tall animatronic figure began blasting tourists with his banana breath -- theme park goers have been going ape for this massive movie monster. Copyright Universal Studios Hollywood. All rights reserved Which is why -- when the East Coast version of this Hollywood must-see threw open its gates on June 7, 1990 -- one of Universal Studios...
  • Jim Hill

    Universal Orlando mixes hi-tech & simple tricks to serve up scares at Halloween Horror Nights 25

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    With October 31st just a few days away now, millions of people are in the process of putting the finishing touches on their home Halloween displays. All with the hope that they'll then be able to impress the neighbors and/or thrill some trick-or-treaters when they come a-knockin' on All Hallows' Eve. But what are the exact components of a truly successful seasonal display? To get a definitive answer to this question, I reached out to Mike Aiello , Director of Entertainment - Creative...
  • Jim Hill

    How Universal Orlando sets the stage for Halloween Horror Nights 25 in just 60 minutes

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    One hour. 60 measly minutes. That's all the time that Show Director Lora Wallace and her team are given to transform the streets of Universal Studios Florida . Change these highly themed but family-friendly thoroughfares into a setting better suited for the hundreds of scareactors who work the nation's premier Halloween event, Universal Orlando 's Halloween Horror Nights 25 . Copyright 2015 Universal Studios. All rights reserved So how exactly does Universal Studios Florida pull off this...
  • Jim Hill

    Disney plans "Descendants" sequel for 2017, will hold fan event at the Disneyland Resort this Saturday

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    It's one of those hard-and-fast rules of the Disney Universe. That -- Flora (i.e., The leader of the good fairies in "Sleeping Beauty" put it) once put it -- " ... evil die and good endure!" So how then to explain the success of Disney's "Descendants." This Disney Channel Original Movie -- which was built around the teenage sons and daughters of Disney's most infamous villains -- debuted back on July 31st and wound up being cable television's fifth highest...
  • Jim Hill

    How Eric Goldberg created the Genie Outtakes for Disney's Diamond Edition of "Aladdin"

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    Here's an interesting tidbit for all of your animation fans out there: An excerpt from the screenplay for Disney's " Aladdin ." To be specific, the scene where the Genie makes his dramatic entrance in this motion picture: Aladdin rubs the lamp with his sleeve. It glows slightly -- and then, POOF! Colorful smoke spews out of the spout. It eddies and swirls, filling the cave, taking shape and solid form -- Towering above Aladdin is the gigantic GENIE of the lamp. He is a hip, hyper...
  • Jim Hill

    Ariel Winter looks ahead, prepares for life after "Modern Family" and "Sofia the First"

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    Between recording dialogue for "Sofia the First: The Secret Library" and getting ready to take her College Boards in real life, Ariel Winter has really been hitting the books lately. Copyright American Broadcasting Companies, Inc. All rights reserved "I just took the SAT yesterday," Ariel admitted during a recent phone interview. "Which -- I have to admit -- kind of freaked me out." But given that Alex Dunphy (i.e., the character that Alex plays on ABC 's "...
  • Jim Hill

    How Universal Studios Hollywood uses Krusty Burger to keep theme park guests from peeking at Harry Potter

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    Tomorrow night, "The Simpsons" kicks off its 27th season on Fox with an episode entitled "Every Man's Dream." Coincidentally, West Coast-based fans of this animated Fox animated comedy have been dreaming for decades now about getting the chance to visit Springfield (i.e., that hyper-detailed burg that Bart, Lisa, Maggie, Marge & Homer call home). Maybe do a little shopping at the Kwik-E-Mart. Grab a Ribwich at Krusty Burger. Or -- better yet -- drop by Lard Lad and treat...
  • Shelly Valladolid

    "They Drew As They Pleased" is sure to please Disney history buffs & animation fans alike

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    Do you want to learn about what REALLY happened back in the day at Disney Studios? Sorry, but you probably won't get the complete picture from watching a certain four-hour television special . And Tom Sito is busy with his day job at USC's animation department . He tells the most balanced history of The Strike I've ever heard. Tom Sito & his excellent animation history book, "Drawing the Line: The Untold Story of the Animation Union from Bosko to Bart Simpson." No, in order...
  • Jim Hill

    Don't wear Green & Gold to Universal Orlando's Jurassic Park unless you want the raptors there to see red

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    Just a bit of advice to all your Green Bay Packers fans out there: On the heels of yesterday's season opener (when the Packers traveled to Chicago's historic Soldier Field (and then beat the Bears 31 to 23), you're probably feeling pretty proud right about now. Which is why -- most likely -- you're wearing Green & Gold today. Well, if that's really the case and you're currently on vacation in Central Florida, you may want to steer clear of the Jurassic Park section of...
  • Press Releases

    Disney's THE JUNGLE BOOK- New Trailer (Video)

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    Disney's "The Jungle Book" Directed by Jon Favreau ("Iron Man"), based on Rudyard Kipling's timeless stories and inspired by Disney's classic animated film, "The Jungle Book" is an all-new live-action epic adventure about Mowgli (newcomer Neel Sethi), a man-cub who's been raised by a family of wolves. But Mowgli finds he is no longer welcome in the jungle when fearsome tiger Shere Khan (voice of Idris Elba), who bears the scars of Man, promises to eliminate...
  • Jim Hill

    There's something fishy about Asher Blinkoff's voicework in "Hotel Transylvania 2"

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    When you're 6 & a 1/2, almost 7 years-old, you view the movie-making process differently than -- say -- your typical SAG-AFTRA member. Take -- for example -- Asher Blinkoff. The talented tot who's providing the voice of Dracula's grandson Dennis in Sony Pictures Animation 's " Hotel Transylvania 2 ." Copyright Sony Pictures Animation. All rights reserved What excites Asher most about making movies? Is it walking the red carpet with his fellow "HT2" cast members...
  • Jim Hill

    "Ant-Man" director Peyton Reed recalls working with Disney Legend Dean Jones

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    As the director of Marvel's most recent summer blockbuster, Peyton Reed has a lot to be thankful for these days. " 'Ant-Man' was a fantastic experience. The cast was amazing," Reed admitted during a recent phone call. "I'm really pleased with the way the finished film turned out. And I'm hoping that we get to do a follow-up." Peyton Reed (L) confers with Paul Rudd on the "Ant-Man" set. Copyright Marvel / Disney. All rights reserved Mind you, 20 year...
  • Jim Hill

    From beach house to the White House: How "Aladdin" 's Courtney Reed spent her summer vacation

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    After spending the last year & a half soaring high above the stage floor of the New Amsterdam Theatre aboard a magic carpet, Courtney Reed (who plays Princess Jasmine in the Broadway production of Disney's "Aladdin" ) was ready for some more down-to-earth activities. Courtney Reed & Adam Jacobs in the Broadway production of Disney's "Aladdin." Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved "I was looking forward to spending some time on the Outer Banks...
  • Jim Hill

    Macy's Parade Studio gets some major Buzz (Lightyear) going at D23 EXPO 2015

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    Can you believe it? This November (November 19th, to be precise) marks the 20th anniversary of the release of " Toy Story ." Copyright Disney / Pixar. All rights reserved D23 -- the Official Disney Fan Club -- wanted to do something special to commemorate this occasion. So they arranged for John Lasseter , Pete Docter , Andrew Stanton , Lee Unkrich and other Pixar Animation Studios veterans to come on down to Anaheim. Where -- as part of D23 EXPO 2015 (which officially gets underway today...
  • Press Releases

    Universal's Cabana Bay Beach Resort Announces Room Expansion

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    400 new rooms coming to Universal Orlando's incredibly popular retro-themed hotel in 2017 ORLANDO, Fla. (Aug. 31, 2015) - Universal Orlando Resort and Loews Hotels & Resorts are excited to announce an expansion of Universal's Cabana Bay Beach Resort. Four-hundred new rooms will be added to the retro-themed hotel due to its tremendous success and positive guest response since opening in March 2014. Opening in 2017, the expansion will consist of two additional towers that will be located...
  • Press Releases

    Star Wars: The Force Awakens Exclusive Look Using Instagram's New Landscape Orientation

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    BURBANK, CALIF. (August 27, 2015) - Today, Instagram announced that - in addition to square posts - you can now share photos and videos in both portrait and landscape orientation on their platform. With this update, Instagram users can upload widescreen video which will be more cinematic than ever. This morning, @StarWars released an exclusive look at their upcoming film, The Force Awakens, using Instagram's new landscape orientation. As part of this collaboration, Star Wars: The Force Awakens...
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