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Jim Hill Jim's musings on the history of and rumors about movies, TV shows, books and theme parks including Disneyland, Walt Disney World. Universal Orlando and Universal Studios Hollywood. 2522
PODCASTS Directory of Disney Dish podcasts with Jim Hill and Touring Plans Len Testa 68
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  • PODCASTS

    Universal Joint Episode 3: A Night of Joy, Horror and Raptors

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    It's a night full of joy, horror and raptors, as Dustin Fuhs & Jim Hill talk about hard ticket events that have been held at the Universal Parks & Resorts. On the latest "Universal Joint" podcast, these two also talk about USF's still-under-construction new nighttime lagoon show as well as the changes that are coming to USH's "Jurassic Park -- The Ride."
  • PODCASTS

    Looking at Lucasfilm Episode 3: Going Solo

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    On the latest "Looking at Lucasfilm," Dan Zehr talks about the out-of-this-world experience he had at the Hollywood premiere of "Solo: A Star Wars." More importantly, who he encountered on the red carpet. Meanwhile, Jim Hill wonders where those two "Ewok" TV movies fit in the overall "Star Wars" chronology as well as shares stories about lessons that Ron Howard learned on the sets of "The Andy Griffith Show" & "Happy Days" that Howard...
  • PODCASTS

    Fine Tooning With Drew Taylor Episode 3: CinemaCon and Tribeca

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    On this episode of "Fine Tooning with Drew Taylor," Jim Hill & Drew Taylor talk about all of the animation-related news that came out of CinemaCon & Tribeca this year. Among the topics they touch on are Don Hahn's new documentary about Howard Ashman, the murderous matriarch that "How to Train Your Dragon 2" almost had, and the "Black Cauldron" -inspired ride that the Imagineers wanted to build at Disneyland Park.
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    Marvel Us Disney Episode 10: Spoiler Heavy Look at Avengers: Infinity War

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    After chatting about Feld Entertainment's "Marvel Live ! Age of Heroes" arena show, Jim Hill and Aaron Adams launch into a spoiler-heavy discussion of "Avengers: Infinity Wars." Among the topics these two touch on are how the next couple of Marvel Cinematic Universe movies will help properly set the stage for "Avengers 4." Plus Jim & Aaron review which now-dead characters are obviously going to be resurrected.
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    Looking at Lucasfilm Episode 2: Recon on Solo & Does Recasting Always Work?

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    In the second installment of their new series, Dan Zehr & Jim Hill cast an eye on the tricky topic of recasting. Why -- for example -- replacing Richard Harris with Michael Gambon as Dumbledore did work on the "Harry Potter" films but why having Meryl Streep replace Carrie Fisher as General Organa in the "Star Wars" movies probably wouldn't work at this point-in-time. Zehr also talks about his recent trip to LA, where Denny's execs revealed what was in the cards for...
  • PODCASTS

    Marvel Us Disney Episode 9: "Avengers: Infinity War" Looks Like a Smash Hit. Why Hulk No Smash?

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    With the release of "Avengers: Infinity Wars" less than a week away, Jim Hill & Aaron Adams talk about all of the fan events Walt Disney Studios has been staging around the world to help raise awareness of this Marvel Cinematic Universe film. Aaron & Jim also discuss the Stan Lee situation and wrap up their making-of-the-Hulk-movies series.
  • PODCASTS

    Universal Joint Podcast Episode 1: A Look Back at What Was and Forward at What Will Be

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    In the debut episode of this brand-new podcast series, Jim Hill & Dustin Fuhs discuss Universal Orlando's Endless Summer Resort as well as look back at when the Bates Motel was the only structure you could see out on the Universal Studios Florida construction site. These two also share some Universal Studios Escape-related stories and pass along some Dragon Challenge-related info. Now available on DisneyDish.Bandcamp.com credits released April 20, 2018 Hosts: Jim Hill and Dustin Fuhs Fabulously...
  • PODCASTS

    Looking at Lucasfilm Podcast Episode 1: The Saga Begins (Audio)

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    Looking at Lucasfilm Episde 1: The Saga Begins (Audio) In the introductory episode of this new podcast series, Dan Zehr of "Coffee with Kenobi" and Jim Hill talk about the latest news out of the land of Lucas. Among the topics discussed is Frank Oz's terrific interview with Mark Hamill at the 92nd Street Y, the preview of Batuu that will be included in "Thrawn: Alliances," as well as John Boyega bulking up as he gets ready to shoot Episode 9. Released April 13, 2018 Hosts...
  • Jim Hill

    Halloween Horror Nights to feature "Stranger Things" -inspired mazes at Universal Studios' theme parks in Hollywood, Orlando & Singapore

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    Universal Studios' theme parks are full of strange & wondrous things. State-of-the-art rides, shows & attractions based on super-popular film & television franchises like " Fast & The Furious " and " The Simpsons ." Not to mention fun things to eat & drink like Krusty Burgers , Butterbeer and Voodoo Doughnuts . But will visitors who journey to the Universal Studios parks soon find themselves craving some Eggo frozen waffles ? To be honest, that depends...
  • PODCASTS

    Marvel Us Disney Episode 8: Marvel News Round​-​up for March 2018

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    Marvel News Round​-​up for March 2018 Jim Hill and Aaron Adams discuss the latest Marvel Entertainment-related headlines, including when James Gunn will be shooting the live-action footage for EPCOT's new "Guardians of the Galaxy" indoor coaster as well as when we may be seeing a "Black Panther" sequel released to theaters.
  • Jim Hill

    Remembering David Ogden Stiers (1942 - 2018)

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    David Ogden Stiers was the sort of guy who forced you to step up your game. Just ask Alan Alda. Who had - for the first five years that "M*A*S*H" was on the air - had Larry Linville (who played the weaselly Frank Burns) as Hawkeye Pierce's comic foil. But when Linville opted out of continuing to play this craven character as this Emmy Award-winning series was heading into its sixth season on CBS ... The powers-that-be at 20 th Fox Television division decided to do something different...
  • Jim Hill

    The "Snow White" that wasn't: Why Disney took a pass on a Joe Papp production that would have had Linda Ronstadt starring as the Fairest in the Land

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    Now through February 7th (in honor of the 80 th anniversary of the general release of the studio's first full-length animated feature), Disney is presenting "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" at the El Capitan Theatre. To help sell tickets to this extremely limited engagement (How limited? Just six days. Then the El Cap tosses The Fairest in the Land out on her fanny to make room for its Throwback Thursday presentation. Which - fittingly enough [given that the opening ceremonies for...
  • Jim Hill

    Where Disney failed, Studio Ponoc succeeds with its debut animated feature, “Mary and The Witch’s Flower”

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    If things had gone a little different at Walt Disney Animation Studios back in the early 1980s, it wouldn’t have been J.K. Rowling who first introduced the world to the idea of a school that then specialized in teaching wizardry and witchcraft. But rather, it would have been another English author – Mary Stewart – who would have been credited with popularizing this concept. Thanks largely to “The Little Broomstick,” a movie that the Mouse House came within inches of...
  • Jim Hill

    Looking back at the colorful show business career of original Mouseketeer Doreen Tracey

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    Doreen Tracey - who passed away last Wednesday while being treated for pneumonia at a hospital in Thousand Oaks, CA -- had a complicated relationship with The Walt Disney Company. Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved How so? Well, this story that Jennifer Armstrong shared in "Why? Because We Still Like You: An Oral History of the Mickey Mouse Club" (Grand Central Publishing, October 2010) should give you some idea of the challenges that this performer faced in her post...
  • Jim Hill

    20th Century Fox Home Entertainment commemorates the 70th anniversary of "Miracle on 34th Street" with Christmas ornament sweepstakes

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    If 20 th Century Fox Home Entertainment had actually followed tradition (i.e., that your 50 th anniversary is supposed to be golden, your 60 th anniversary is diamond, etc.), they'd have done something platinum to commemorate the 70 th anniversary of the release of "Miracle on 34 th Street." But instead of platinum, 20 th Century Fox opted to go with helium. As in: Pay tribute to this much-beloved holiday classic by recreating one of the giant balloons that can be seen floating in the...
  • Jim Hill

    "The Lion King: Twenty Years on Broadway and Around the World" reveals how close this hit show came to not happening

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    "We can't do this. This doesn't work." This is what Michael Eisner - the then-Chairman and CEO of The Walt Disney Company - told Thomas Schumacher, Peter Schneider and Julie Taymor back in August of 1996. That the stage version of Disney's acclaimed animated feature, "The Lion King," which this trio had been developing at that time wasn't even remotely ready for Broadway. Which is why - as Michael Lassell recounts in his terrific new behind-the-scenes book, "The...
  • Jim Hill

    How "Prep & Landing" prepared Kevin Deters & Stevie Wermers-Skelton for "Olaf's Frozen Adventure," Disney's latest holiday special for ABC

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    When Mouse House managers wanted Christmas to come to Arendelle, they knew exactly who to turn to: Kevin Deters & Stevie Wermers-Skelton. Who are basically Walt Disney Animation Studios' in-house specialists when it comes to holiday specials. After all, Kevin & Stevie are the talented team who rode herd on "Prep & Landing." Which was WDAS' very first foray into creating a Christmas special for television. That 2009 production was so well-received that it not only took...
  • Jim Hill

    Disney World rings in the holidays with a skillful mix of old favorites and new seasonal attractions

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    Greetings from Orlando. Where Nancy and I are right in the middle of a whirlwind working trip. Things got underway bright & early this past Saturday morning with the kick-off of the first-ever Disney Dish Podcast fan weekend. Organizing by the very nice folks at Storybook Destinations, this three day-long event was full of fun holiday-themed activities like Ugly Christmas sweater contests ... Photo by Nancy Stadler Len Testa and I also recorded our first live-in-front-of-an-audience (at a Disney...
  • Jim Hill

    Chip 'N' Dale make more mischief with "Nutty Tales" shorts on Disney Channel & Disney Junior

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    Over the month of November, Disney will be spending some serious cheddar on its Big Cheese. But that's all because Mickey Mouse will be celebrating his 89th birthday on November 18th. As part of the lead-up to his big day, Mickey has begun traveling around the globe. Making stops in places like London so that he can then surprise some of his biggest fans (and - of course - share these encounters on Disney's official Mickey Mouse Facebook page). Which is all well & good. But Mickey isn't...
  • Jim Hill

    Halloween version of California Adventure's "Guardians of the Galaxy" ride really challenged Disney's Imagineers

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    When "Star Tours" originally opened at Disneyland Park back in January of 1987, one of the things that most excited theme park fans about this motion-based simulator is that its ride film could supposedly easily be changed out. Which meant that - once the cabin of the StarSpeeder 3000 had been reprogrammed to move in concert with a new ride film - Guests could then experience a brand-new Star Wars-inspired adventure. Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved In fact, according...
  • Jim Hill

    Jody Dreyer's "Beyond the Castle" reveals how many behind-the-scenes decisions were made at Disney during the Eisner era

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    What makes a Disney Princess? In this post-"Frozen" period, that may seem like a pretty silly / simple-to-answer question. But as Jody Dreyer - the former Vice President of Corporate Synergy at the Walt Disney Company - recounts in "Beyond the Castle" (Zondervan, September 2017), there was a time in the not-too-distant past when Mouse House managers really struggled to come up with an adequate answer to this query. Copyright Zondervan. All rights reserved Mind you, prior to February...
  • Jim Hill

    As "Baymax Returns" proves, Happy Endings get harder to come by as Walt Disney Animation Studios productions move from the big screen to television

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    Whatever happened to "Happily Ever After" ? It used to be - when a Walt Disney Animation Studios production came to a close - you could count on that story being neatly tied up. With the villain being vanquished and the hero & heroine getting hitched. But now that a number of the more recent WDAS releases are opting to continue their tales (thanks to new animated series that Walt Disney Television is producing), Happy Endings are much harder to come by. Take - for example - poor Pascal...
  • Jim Hill

    How swinging between stand-up routines led to Lea DeLaria appearing on Broadway as well as voicing Miss Fritter in "Cars 3"

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    When she first started out in stand-up back in 1982, Lea DeLaria - who now proudly describes herself as " ... an actress, singer, comedian and professional lesbian" (though not necessarily in that order) -- could have never imagined the path that her 35 year career in entertainment would follow. Lea's first unexpected turn came back in November of 1998 when she played Hildy in the hit revival of "On the Town." Which was when Ben Brantley of the New York Times declared that...
  • Jim Hill

    Ernie Sabella shares his 25-year history of voicing Pumbaa the warthog for Disney's "The Lion King"

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    So how exactly did Ernie Sabella wind up with " ... the greatest gig of my life" (i.e., being cast as the voice of Pumbaa the warthog in Disney's "The Lion King") ? To hear this Broadway veteran talk, it was all because Nathan Lane doesn't like to work alone. "In early 1992, Nathan & I had been cast in a revival of 'Guys & Dolls.' He was playing Nathan Detroit. I was playing Harry the Horse," Sabella recalled during a recent sit-down interview...
  • Jim Hill

    The longish path that "Catch My Breath," Paul Briggs' picture book took to be published by Disney Hyperion

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    How long can you hold your breath? I ask this question because Paul Briggs wound up holding his "Breath" (i.e., "Catch My Breath," that charming picture book which Briggs wrote & illustrated. This is also the 48-page hardcover that Disney Hyperion sent out into stores late last month as the most recent installment of its Walt Disney Animation Studios Artist Showcase series) for over five years. "I initially submitted my pitch for a children's book back in early 2012...
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