Welcome to Jim Hill Media - Entertainment News : Theme Parks Movies Television

January, 2001

  • Jim Hill

    Why "Western River" Went South -- Part 1

    • 1 Comments
    On Saturday May 20th, 1,400 Disneyland fans will gather in New Orleans Square to take part in the special ticketed "Celebrating the Pirates of the Caribbean" event. These folks will have paid $85 apiece for the privilege of paying tribute to what many call the greatest theme park ride ever created. As part of the evening's festivities, these guests can attend a panel discussion featuring many of the folks who helped create this legendary attraction. These Imagineers are sure to reveal many never...
  • Jim Hill

    Why "Western River" Went South -- Part 2

    • 0 Comments
    OUR STORY SO FAR: Master Imagineer Marc Davis was hoping to build on the lessons WED had learned while creating Disneyland's "Pirates of the Caribbean." But - for a while there in 1967 - it looked like the Imagineers wouldn't get the chance to build any new attractions, as Roy O. Disney toyed with the idea of selling the company off to the Westinghouse Corporation. Eventually, Roy came to his senses and declared that Walt Disney Productions was not for sale. He also announced that the company *WOULD...
  • Jim Hill

    Why "Western River" Went South -- Part 4

    • 0 Comments
    OUR STORY SO FAR: In 1969, Master Imagineer Marc Davis convinced Roy Disney and WED head Richard Irvine to take on the most ambitious theme park attraction Walt Disney Productions would ever attempt to produce. "Western River Expedition" - a comical journey through the old West - would have made use of every trick Imagineering had in its book. The ride would feature dozens of audio animatronic figures as well as eye-popping special effects. To top it all off, "WRE" would be housed in the largest...
  • Jim Hill

    Why "Western River" Went South -- Part 5

    • 0 Comments
    OUR STORY SO FAR: Roy Disney personally okayed development of "Western River Expedition (WRE)," a massive new attraction for WDW's Magic Kingdom. Marc Davis - the Imagineer who dreamed up the original concept for the ride - wanted "WRE" to be the most ambitious theme park ride Walt Disney Productions had ever built. Those lucky enough to have seen Marc's concept drawings and / or view the model of the show say that this water based audio- animatronic extravaganza would have truly set the standard...
  • Jim Hill

    Why "Western River" Went South -- Part 6

    • 0 Comments
    OUR STORY SO FAR: If you've read Parts 1 through 6, you've already have a pretty good understanding of the history of "Western River Expedition." At least from the Marc Davis point of view. So there's no need for me to do yet another recap. But please be aware that Imagineering is a highly collaborative place. People of all ages - from all walks of life - work there. And these folks don't always get along. Imagineers often have disagreements about how certain theme park attractions should be constructed...
  • Jim Hill

    Why "Western River" Went South -- Part 7

    • 0 Comments
    OUR STORY SO FAR: 75 years of films, TV shows and videos have taught us that all Disney stories end happily, right? Well, not this time, kiddies. After five years of hard work and planning, Marc Davis watched as his dream project - "Western River Expedition," an audio animatronic extravaganza that could have been the best thing WED ever did - slowly fell from favor. But what could Marc do? Times had changed. Where once Disney theme park guests had gone gaga over elaborately themed attractions like...
  • Jim Hill

    Superstar Limo: What Went Wrong?

    • 0 Comments
    Given that it's been over two years since this DCA attraction was last open to the public, many people have forgotten how horrible Superstar Limo was. More importantly, why this Hollywood Pictures Backlot ride wound up being so bad. In a revamped version of a July 2001 LaughingPlace.com series, Jim reveals all the embarrassing details....
  • Jim Hill

    Why "Western River" Went South -- Part 8

    • 0 Comments
    OUR STORY SO FAR: Marc Davis was tired. Tired of the excuses he kept getting as to why "Western River Expedition" (WRE) wasn't getting built. Tired of having his other new attraction ideas never make it off the drawing board. Most of all, Marc was tired of repeating himself. So - when Davis was asked to do yet another version of Disneyland's "Pirates of the Caribbean" attraction for Tokyo Disneyland - Marc decided it was time to pack it in. So Davis retired from Walt Disney Productions in 1978, preferring...
  • Jim Hill

    Why "Western River" Went South -- Part 9

    • 0 Comments
    Before you hit the trail, check out a few more stories about the greatest attraction that never was ! A NOTE TO READERS: You know, you'd think - after eight long, drawn out chapters - you people would have had enough of "Western River Expedition." (I know *I* have.) But - judging by all the notes that keep turning up in my mailbox - you folks still have a lot of questions about this proposed WDW attraction. So - before we officially say "adios" to Thunder Mesa - I'm going to try to tie up a few loose...
  • Jim Hill

    Why "Western River" Went South -- Part 10

    • 0 Comments
    I spend weeks writing articles about Disney theme parks that haven't opened yet. Months researching attractions that never made it off the drawing board. A lifetime collecting never-before-revealed stories about Disney animated features. None of that matters anymore. After the ton of mail I received last week from you folks, I now know what turns on DIG readers. Grabs your attention. Sends chills racing up your spines. Not stories about corner cutting or staff in-fighting. Not items about soon-to...
  • Jim Hill

    An Elephant's Tale

    • 0 Comments
    They say "an elephant never forgets." Well, neither does Jim Hill. In this classic from the archive, he fills you in on the bizarre fate of Big Red, that enormous fake pachyderm who used to play such a crucial part in the "Kilimanjaro Safaris" ride at Disney's Animal Kingdom theme park. ...
  • Jim Hill

    Tale of a Dragon

    • 0 Comments
    As Jim recovers from the inagural run of the JimHillMedia Walt Disney World tours, we dip into the deep fires of hell ... okay, the archives ... for this classic piece. Did the discovery of photos of nasty looking knights really give Disneyana fans a true sneak peek of Animal Kingdom's future? Or did it just reveal a forgotten piece of the park's past? Jim Hill peels back the armor to give us the real inside scoop. ...
  • Jim Hill

    Remembering "Light Magic" -- Part 1

    • 0 Comments
    In the first installment of this series, Jim Hill exposes Disneyland management's genuinely odd attitude when it comes to discussing this ill-fated streetacular. He also reveals some of the other ideas that Disneyland's Entertainment staff supposedly toyed with as possible replacements for the "Main Street Electrical Parade." ...
  • Jim Hill

    Remembering "Light Magic" -- Part 2

    • 0 Comments
    In the second installment of this series, Jim Hill talks about the weird role that Tinker Bell & a miniature helicopter played in the development of "Light Magic." He also discusses how Michael Eisner's interest in "Riverdance" may have accidentally helped nudge this troubled MSEP replacement project even further off track....
  • Jim Hill

    Remembering "Light Magic" -- Part 3

    • 0 Comments
    As Jim Hill continues his "Light Magic" saga, he takes a moment to explain the Disneyland Entertainment Office's side of the story. Why they did what they did. How "Tinker Bell's Light Magic"'s somewhat strange storyline ended up the way that it did....
  • Jim Hill

    Remembering "Light Magic" -- Part 4

    • 0 Comments
    As Jim Hill rolls out Chapter 4 of this continuing series, he gets to the real meat of the matter: How technical snafus and mis-leading PR pretty much tripped up this "streetacular" before "Light Magic" even had its world premiere....
  • Jim Hill

    Remembering "Light Magic" -- Part 5

    • 0 Comments
    Before Jim Hill gets started on the story of the "Light Magic" ill-fated annual passholders party, he reveals which well intentioned divisions of the Disneyland Resort, while trying to be supportive of the "streetacular", actually sent the show to its doom. ...
  • Jim Hill

    Remembering "Light Magic" -- Part 6

    • 0 Comments
    Jim Hill finally gets around to discussing what actually happened during the "Light Magic" ill-fated annual passholders premiere party. He also reveals certain elements that Disneyland's Entertainment staff dropped from the "streetacular" at the last minute. Weird little things that might actually have saved the show....
  • Jim Hill

    Remembering "Light Magic" -- Part 7

    • 0 Comments
    It's crunch time for "Light Magic"'s production team. Jim Hill walks you through the "streetacular"'s final week of previews and rehearsals as the bad news begins to spread about Disneyland's new street show....
  • Jim Hill

    California Misadventure -- Introduction

    • 0 Comments
    Find out all about Disney's California Adventure's origins, the wheeling and dealing it took to get the park off the ground, the struggles, the setbacks... as well as the problems that potentially lie ahead for the project in this article series classic from Jim Hill....
  • Jim Hill

    California Misadventure -- Part 1

    • 0 Comments
    Find out all about Disney's California Adventure's origins, the wheeling and dealing it took to get the park off the ground, the struggles, the setbacks... as well as the problems that potentially lie ahead for the project in this article series classic from Jim Hill....
  • Jim Hill

    California Misadventure -- Part 2

    • 0 Comments
    In Part 2 of this fan favorite from the JimHillMedia.com archives, learn how the Walt Disney Company pitted the cities of Long Beach and Anaheim against one another in the race to see which community would serve as home to the corporation's next Southern Californian theme park....
  • Jim Hill

    California Misadventure -- Part 3

    • 0 Comments
    In Part 3 of this fan favorite from the JimHillMedia.com archives, learn about the greatest stateside theme park that the Walt Disney Company never built: Westcot. ...
  • Jim Hill

    California Misadventure -- Part 4

    • 0 Comments
    In Part 4 of this fan favorite from the JimHillMedia.com archives, learn what happened when Mickey's Orange County neighbors got hot under the collar about the Disneyland Resort's expansion plans....
  • Jim Hill

    California Misadventure -- Part 5

    • 0 Comments
    Here's another present to slip under the tree: the final installment of Jim's April 2000 MousePlanet classic. Read it for yourself and decide how many of Hill's predictions came true....
Page 1 of 2 (41 items) 12