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  • Jim Hill

    Huffington Post -- The extremely hard lessons that the themed entertainment industry learned from Hard Rock Park

    • 1 Comments
    For music fans, it's all about being able to say that they were there at the Newport Folk Festival when Dylan went electric . For baseball fans, it's being able to say that they were at Dodger Stadium when Sandy Koufax pitched his perfect game . But when it comes to theme park fans, what do they brag about? These folks like to say that they actually got to experience Hard Rock Park . Copyright HRP USA LLC. All rights reserved Six years ago this week, that ill-fated theme park opened off of...
  • Press Releases

    Two Disney Hits Anounce New Ticket Policies Effective April 21, 2014

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    Aladdin Begins Ticket Lottery Newsies to Institute General Rush Policy (NEW YORK, NY) Two Disney Broadway hits announce new ticket policies beginning April 21 providing access to affordable tickets for same-day performances, with minimal time commitment for guests. Aladdin Following two months of sold-out houses and critical acclaim, Aladdin will offer a limited number of tickets via lottery at the New Amsterdam Theatre (214 W 42 nd St.). Beginning two and a half hours before the performance, patrons...
  • Jim Hill

    Disney, Marvel, Star Wars & ABC fans will find lots of wonderful presentations to attend at WonderCon 2014

    • 1 Comments
    After spending the better part of yesterday wading through W2s & 1099s (Quick question: If you have a dependent who actually wear Depends, does that then count as two deductions?), I can't tell you how nice it is to be sitting here paging through the Quick Guide for WonderCon Anaheim . I mean, given how easy this 21-page booklet is to understand, it just can't have been written by some brainless bureaucrat. A real human being who's actually been to the Anaheim Convention Center before...
  • Jim Hill

    Pilot program at Disney Reservation Center uses info from your previous WDW vacations to better tailor your next trip to the Resort

    • 11 Comments
    "I'm not going wear a MagicBand . I don't like the idea of Disney being able to track every single move that I make in one of their theme parks. And the fact that the Mouse is now going to keep track of my purchases -- learn what my likes & dislikes are -- really, really bothers me." That's basically been the battle cry of the tinfoil-hat crowd ever since The Walt Disney World Resort first revealed that My Disney Experience / FastPass + was in the works. This paranoid bunch...
  • Jim Hill

    "Despicable Me Minion Mayhem" is the latest step in Universal Studios Hollywood's reimagining of its Upper Lot

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    By now, you've probably already heard that Universal Studios Hollywood 's version of " Despicable Me Minion Mayhem " opened on Friday. Copyright 2014 Universal Studios. All rights reserved And as you might expect, there was the usual hoopla ... Gru is joined onstage by Miranda Cosgrove, Dana Gier and Elsie Fisher, the three talented young ladies who voiced Margo, Edith & Agnes in "Despicable Me" and "Despicable Me 2." Photo by Shelly Valladolid ... that now...
  • Jim Hill

    Huffington Post -- Disney's skillful mix of high art & low clowning helped make "Aladdin" the surprise hit of this season

    • 1 Comments
    It was June of 1913 that Florenz Ziegfeld, Jr. moved his legendary Follies over from the Moulin Rouge to the New Amsterdam Theatre . And for the next 14 years, this NYC landmark was not only home to the most beautiful costumes, sets & showgirls in the city, it also played host to an amazing array of clowns. We're talking legendary comics like W.C. Fields , Ed Wynn , Eddie Cantor and Will Rogers . Which is why it's kind of fitting that Disney "Aladdin" has now set up shop at...
  • Jim Hill

    While the US downsizes from Disney Stores to Disney Shops, Shanghai is getting the largest Disney Store in the world

    • 12 Comments
    So what exactly is going on with the Disney Store these days? The reason I ask is ... Well, it wasn't all that long ago (October of 2009, to be exact) that The Walt Disney Company announced that it would be reinventing all 340 of its stores in the United States and Europe. We're talking floor-to-ceiling redos that supposedly drew their inspiration from what Steve Jobs had done with the Apple Store. Well, these rebranded "Imagination Park" Disney Stores soon began popping up around...
  • Press Releases

    High Octane Fast & Furious Thrill Ride Races onto the Scene at Universal Studios Hollywood

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    Electrifying New 3D-HD Attraction Features Original Cast from Universal Pictures' Global Blockbuster Film Franchise, Summer 2015 Universal City, California, April 8, 2014 - Pulse-pounding, adrenaline-inducing action will become the finale of Universal Studios Hollywood's world-famous " Studio Tour " with the summer 2015 introduction of the gripping, high speed, 3D-HD thrill ride, "Fast & Furious-Supercharged," inspired by Universal Pictures' most successful film...
  • Press Releases

    Disney's Beauty and the Beast Celebrates Its 20th Anniversary on Stage with the First-ever International Tour

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    Original Broadway creative team reuniting to bring acclaimed production to over 12 countries in two years Production set to open in Istanbul in October 2014 In celebration of Disney's Beauty and the Beast 's 20 th anniversary on the stage, Disney Theatrical Productions, NETworks and Broadway Entertainment Group announce the first-ever international tour for the title. The English-language tour will open at Istanbul's Zorlu Center in October 2014 and will tour to diverse international...
  • Press Releases

    Universal Studios Hollywood Makes Unprecedented Investment in Biggest Line-Up of New Attractions in Its History

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    Dramatically Altering Universal Studios Hollywood Footprint to Reimagine Destination with Innovative Thrill Rides and Immersive Lands Project Represents Biggest Five-Year Line-Up of New Attractions in Universal Studios Hollywood History, Solidifying Theme Park 's Long-Term Commitment to Tourism and Economic Vitality in Los Angeles Universal City, California, April 8, 2014 - Reaffirming its position as the #1 tourist destination in Los Angeles with one of the most progressive and exciting theme...
  • Jim Hill

    Huffington Post -- For Imagineer Joe Lanzisero, Hong Kong Disneyland's "Mystic Manor" is a high point of his career

    • 2 Comments
    You know what they say: If you want to get something done, ask a busy person to do it. Joe Lanzisero, Senior Vice President - Creative, Walt Disney Imagineering. Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved Back in 2007, it's arguable that no one person was busier at The Walt Disney Company than Joe Lanzisero . As a Senior Vice President - Creative at Walt Disney Imagineering , Joe was riding herd on all of the Tokyo Disneyland & Hong Kong Disneyland Resorts' theme parks. Not...
  • Press Releases

    Disney Turns Up the Heat in "Planes: Fire & Rescue" New Trailer

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    "Planes: Fire & Rescue" is a new comedy-adventure about second chances, featuring a dynamic crew of elite firefighting aircraft devoted to protecting historic Piston Peak National Park from raging wildfire. When world famous air racer Dusty (voice of Dane Cook) learns that his engine is damaged and he may never race again, he must shift gears and is launched into the world of aerial firefighting. Dusty joins forces with veteran fire and rescue helicopter Blade Ranger and his courageous...
  • Jim Hill

    It's wall-to-wall construction walls as WDW's Downtown Disney is gradually transformed into Disney Springs

    • 1 Comments
    Has it really been eight months since we last peeked over the fence to see how construction of Disney Springs was going ? Photo by Jim Hill Earlier this week, Nancy, Angela & I drove over to Walt Disney World to see how the reinvention of Downtown Disney is progressing. And as we took to the Epcot exit off of I-4 ... Photo by Jim Hill ... it was hard not to notice all of that construction ... Photo by Jim Hill ... & timber clearing that was going on in the stretch of forest between the highway...
  • Press Releases

    New Fairytale Characters are Revealed in the New Banner for Disney's "Maleficent"

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    Copyright 2014 Disney Enterprises. All rights reserved. "Maleficent" explores the untold story of Disney's most iconic villain from the classic "Sleeping Beauty" and the elements of her betrayal that ultimately turn her pure heart to stone. Driven by revenge and a fierce desire to protect the moors over which she presides, Maleficent cruelly places an irrevocable curse upon the human king's newborn infant Aurora. As the child grows, Aurora is caught in the middle of the...
  • Press Releases

    Share Your Favorite Universal Orlando Moments and Potentially Be Featured in a Future Universal Orlando Ad Campaign

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    Guests Can Tag Their Photos and Videos on Twitter, Instagram and Vine Using #UniversalMoments for a Chance to be Featured in a Future Ad Campaign Universal Orlando Resort has launched a new online campaign asking guests to share their favorite Universal Orlando moments and potentially be featured in a future Universal Orlando ad campaign. Guests can participate by sharing their favorite moments through photos and videos on Twitter, Vine and Instagram using #UniversalMoments. © 2014 Universal...
  • Press Releases

    Breaking News: Kelly Osbourne Joins the Cast of Disney's "THE 7D," a Contemporary, Comedic Take on The Seven Dwarfs, Premiering This Summer

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    Stellar Voice Cast includes Jess Harnell, Leigh-Allyn Baker, Bill Farmer, Maurice LaMarche, Kevin Michael Richardson, Dee Bradley Baker, Scott Menville, Stephen Stanton, Billy West and Paul Rugg Rocking Soundtrack by YouTube Sensation Parry Gripp Kelly Osbourne has joined the cast of Disney's "The 7D," an animated series that delivers a comedic new take on the Seven Dwarfs. Produced by Disney Television Animation, the zany and broadly appealing series will be presented on three Disney...
  • Jim Hill

    When it comes to Universal's Cabana Bay Beach Resort, it's the little details that are going to go over big with baby boomers

    • 7 Comments
    Don't expect to find a lot of moderation when you visit the Cabana Bay Beach Resort , Universal Orlando 's first-ever moderate resort. Photo by Jim Hill The folks at Universal really went all out to make their newest on-site hotel a celebration of the family vacation circa 1958 - 1962. That time when Mom, Dad & the kids would all climbed in the station wagon and then drive on down to the shore. Where the family would then spent a week swimming & sun-bathing while they stayed at this...
  • Jim Hill

    Huffington Post -- Mae Whitman doesn't want to Tinker with the way Disneytoon Studios runs its "Fairies" film franchise

    • 1 Comments
    It was early 2008 when Mae Whitman got this mysterious call from her voiceover agent, Melissa. Mae Whitman at the world premiere of "The Pirate Fairy" on the Walt Disney Studios lot back on March 22, 2014. Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved "She was telling me that Disney had this very important project but that they wouldn't tell Melissa what it actually was. All she knew that that they were eager for me to come in and audition for this part," Whitman...
  • Jim Hill

    Ease on into the 2014 convention season by experiencing Emerald City Comicon

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    Please forgive me for fusing two entirely different Howard Ashman lyrics together. But I wanna be where the people are somewhere that's green. Yeah, if I had my druthers, I'd leave the frozen wasteland of Southern New Hampshire (where -- God help us -- it's supposed to snow again tomorrow night) ASAP and then catch a direct flight for Seattle. Where -- once I landed -- I'd immediately beat feet for the Washington State Convention Center , so that I could then surrender myself to the...
  • Press Releases

    Disney's "FROZEN" Becomes Highest Grossing Animated Film Ever

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    This weekend, Disney's "Frozen" officially became the highest grossing animated film of all time, and with $1,072.4 million worldwide, it has also entered the list of the top 10 biggest films of all time. The Walt Disney Studios' seventh billion-dollar release, "Frozen" has earned an estimated $398.4 million at the domestic box office and $674 million internationally. "Frozen" is the first billion-dollar film for Walt Disney Animation Studios and its first film...
  • Jim Hill

    After 22 years, Lella Smith checks out as Creative Director of Disney's Animation Research Library

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    When Lella Smith 's 10-year-old godson, Rey, found out she was retiring from the Walt Disney Animation Research Library (ARL) , he was incredulous. "Why would you do that auntie?," he said. "You've got the coolest job in the world!" Smith has been the Creative Director for the ARL, the little-known department of the Mouse Factory once described by Disney CEO Bob Iger as "... the most important department in the Company." The ARL is the repository for all the...
  • Jim Hill

    Huffington Post -- How Disney "Aladdin" went from being a diamond in the rough to Broadway's newest hit

    • 1 Comments
    When the reviews for Disney "Aladdin: The New Musical Comedy" finally came in last night, with the New York Times praising this production for its " ... relentless razzle-dazzle and its anything-for-a-laugh spirit," there was no one on this planet that was more pleased & relieved than Chad Beguelin . After all, it was Beguelin who - 5 years ago - was among the first artists Disney Theatrical Productions reached out to when it was looking to turn "Aladdin" into a...
  • Press Releases

    The Walt Disney Family Museum Presents Leading Ladies and Femmes Fatales: The Art of Marc Davis

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    April 30 - November 3, 2014 Exhibition Celebrates Award-Winning Work by one of Walt's infamous Nine Old Men Marc Davis, visual development for Sleeping Beauty, ca. 1959;Collection Mike Glad; © Disney San Francisco, CA , March 25, 2014 - The Walt Disney Family Museum is excited to present the exhibition Leading Ladies and Femmes Fatales: The Art of Marc Davis . On view in the museum's Theater Gallery from April 30 to November 3, 2014, this exhibition co-curated by the museum's director...
  • Press Releases

    Disney Legends & Luminaries Celebrate Theme Park Favorites of Yesteryear at D23 Destination D: Attraction Rewind

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    FROM AMERICA SINGS AND IF YOU HAD WINGS TO DISNEY'S GROUNDBREAKING PARTICIPATION IN THE 1964-65 WORLD'S FAIR, GUESTS WILL ENJOY PRESENTATIONS, SCREENINGS, UNIQUE SHOPPING, AND MUCH MORE, NOVEMBER 22 AND 23 AT WALT DISNEY WORLD RESORT BURBANK, Calif. - March 26, 2014 - Walt Disney once said, "We keep moving forward-opening up new doors and doing new things-because we're curious. And curiosity keeps leading us down new paths." It's in that spirit that guests this fall will...
  • Jim Hill

    Should Disney have made "The Cheapest Muppet Movie Ever Made" instead of "Muppets Most Wanted" ?

    • 19 Comments
    As its box office totals continue to trickle in, you just know that there have to be people back in Burbank who are disappointed with the way " Muppets Most Wanted " performed this past weekend. Racking up just an estimated $16.5 million in ticket sales . Which doesn't compare all that well with the $29 million that " The Muppets " earned over the 2011 Thanksgiving weekend. So what exactly happened here? Was it just as Kermit & Fozzie musically foretold in "Muppets...
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