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Why For were there so few stories on JHM this week?

Jim Hill

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Why For were there so few stories on JHM this week?

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I got a lot of e-mail this week similar to this note from Leonard S. Which says:


Only four articles last week. Now only two articles this week. That's not the Jim Hill I know. The guy who posts five articles every week, even over the holidays.

You feeling alright, Jim? Trouble at home? If not, what's with the suddenly erratic posting schedule?

Dear Leonard S.

Honestly, I'm fine. The reason that things have been a little flukey at JHM over the past week or so was that I was traveling. For the first time in nearly 18 months, I got down to Walt Disney World. Where I checked out nearly all of the new rides, shows and attractions on property as well as taking in Epcot's 25th anniversary celebration.

Copyright 2006 Disney / Pixar. All Rights Reserved

Trust me. Over the next week to 10 days, once I translate all of my chicken scratch notes back into English, you guys are in for a treat. There are some really terrific stories headed your way. An in-depth look at WDW's fantastic Haunted Mansion redo (This is virtually a new ride, folks. The next time you're in Orlando, you have to have to HAVE TO go over to the Magic Kingdom and check it out). Plus an article about "Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor," a much maligned (on the Web, anyway) show that really deserves a second look. Plus a story about Marty Sklar's Epcot origins talk. Plus a fun little piece about how last Monday's Epcot 25th Anniversary celebration really came about.

But -- before that can happen -- I first have to answer a few more of your e-mails, like this note from Kelsey P. Which reads:


By now, I'm sure that you've heard about that hotel that Disney is planning on building in Hawaii . Can you give JHM readers a preview about what this resort will be like?

Dear Kelsey P.

Actually, when it comes to this Hawaiian project, I'm feeling a little blue. (Blue ... Hawaii ... Get it? ... What's the matter? Aren't there any Elvis fans who read this site?)

Anyway ... The reason I'm blue is that I've actually had this story for weeks now. No, seriously. My ex-wife, Shelly Smith (AKA the Fabulous Disney Babe for all of you Internet old-timers out there) actually lives in Hawaii these days. She and our darling daughter, Alice, have a cute little apartment in Honolulu. And over a month ago, Michelle told me that rumors were running rampant that Disney was up to something on the Island. That the Mouse had supposedly bought this huge piece of land and was planning on building some sort of Hawaiian resort out there.

Now if I had been a smart ex-husband, I would have listened to Michelle and immediately run that info by my sources at Disney to see if there was any truth to this rumor. But as longtime readers of JHM will tell you, no one has ever accused me of being particularly smart.

Copyright 2007 Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved

So I actually sat on this blockbuster bit of news that Shelly handed me. No, worse than that. I immediately lumped this Disney-is-building-a-resort-in-Hawaii story in with all those Mickey-is-building-a-theme-park-in-Texas rumors that have been floating around for over 10 years now. Just dismissing the whole thing as wishful thinking on the part of some dweeb that lived out on Oahu.

And then -- earlier this week -- the story breaks. And I then feel like a complete ass.

So the moral of this story is ... Listen to your ex-wife. Or your present-day wife. Or your significant other.

More importantly, don't automatically dismiss some outrageous sounding Mouse-related rumor just because it sounds like wishful thinking. After all, this is the Walt Disney Company that we're talking about here. A corporation that has founded its fortune on wishes, dreams and magic. And if anyone's going to be able to turn wishful thinking into rock-solid reality, it's going to be the Mouse.

FYI: One aspect of this story that's currently being woefully under-reported is the crucial part that the Disney Cruise Line will play at this new Hawaiian resort. But the nice folks over at DVCNews.com (Which is this snazzy new website that reports on the Disney Vacation Club side of the Mouse House) have done a bang-up job of connecting the dots. You can read their story about the DCL component of this DVC project by clicking on this link.

And -- finally -- DreamwerkSucks writes in to say:

I hated last week's article about "Bee Movie." This is a Disney website. Why would you want to go and bore your readers with an article about some stupid new Dreamworks movie? I don't care about stuff like that and I bet that most JHM readers feel the same way that I do. So please stop posting these boring articles about outside stuff and just stick to writing about the Mouse, kay? And more upbeat stories, please?

Dear DreamwerkSucks,

Sorry. No can do.

Look, the Walt Disney Company doesn't operate in a vacuum. It's actually in competition with corporations like NBC Universal, Paramount / DreamWorks and Fox. Which is why I think -- in order to keep things in perspective -- that it's important to sometimes post articles that talk about what Mickey's competition is up to.

Take -- for example -- the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and that Simpsons simulator ride that Universal is readying for installation at its Florida resort. If you don't think that Mouse House officials are paying incredibly close attention to both of these projects (With a particular emphasis on what impact -- if any -- that these two attractions will have on WDW attendance levels starting in 2008) ... Well, you're either naive or high.

You gotta remember that -- in spite of all that talk about wishes, dreams and magic -- the Walt Disney Company is a really-for-real business. One where the people in charge pay very close attention to not only how much money they're making, but also how much money the competition is making.

Which is why I think that Disneyana fans should be paying attention to films like "Bee Movie." Just so that they can then be aware of the ripple effect that high profile projects like this can cause.

Trust me, if this DreamWorks Animation movie opens big on November 2nd and then stays strong throughout the rest of next month ... Well, Disney's going to see that as a real threat to "Enchanted." Which will then cause the Mouse to adjust its promotional campaign for this Kevin Lima movie accordingly.

Copyright 2007 DreamWorks Animation. All Rights Reserved

Of course, if you really can't stand articles about non-Disney-related subjects, DreamwerkSucks ... Well, there are lots of websites out there that only report on the Mouse. If you're primarily looking for upbeat pieces, may I suggest Blue Sky Disney and/or 2719 Hyperion? Those guys strictly work the sunny side of the street. Whereas I ... Well, not only do I like talking about Disney's competition, but I also have no problem when it comes to chronicling Mickey's mis-steps.

Which -- as DreamwerkSucks' e-mail points out -- turns a number of JHM readers off. But that said, I'm not going to pretend (as so many Disneyana fans do) that Mickey is the end-all and be-all. As long as Mouse House executives continue to keep close tabs on what the company's competition is up to ... Well, that's what I'm going to do too.

With the hope that stories like this will then help give the site's readers a sense of the bigger picture. The field that Mickey is actually playing on. Rather than the extremely narrow Disney-owns-the-only-theme-parks-worth-talking-about and there-are-no-other-animated-films-outside-of-the-ones-that-Disney-and-Pixar-produce view that some JHM readers seem to have.

Is that okay with you folks? I hope so ... Because that's the sort of coverage that's going to continue here at JHM.

Your thoughts?

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  • Glad you went to the 25th celebration Jim!  I'm looking forward to reading what you have to say about it.  The revamped Haunted Mansion is indeed awesome and I can't praise it highly enough.  Here's hoping Disney does the same for some more attractions instead of destroying classics like the Imagination pavilion.  A great moment prior to the 25th anniversary ceremony of Epcot was when the One Little Spark song with the Dreamfinder was played and many people in the crowd sang along!  

    "Two tiny wings, eyes big and yellow.

    Horns of a steer, but a loveable fellow.

    From head to tail, he's royal purple pigment.

    And there--Voila!--you've got a Figment!"

  • I like reading about the competition - those articles don't bother me in the least.

    I can't wait to read the HM article!  We were there just a few days before it re-opened - I'm sorry I missed it.

    Very interesting about DCL in Hawaii.  Not a lot of cruise lines in Hawaii.  It needs some competition.

  • More on the Oahu Disney timeshare story:


    Seems like the citizens of Hawai'i cannot purchase these timeshares from the islands. They have to travel to the mainland to do so.

  • Hey, Dad, you seem to have a bit of a spacing problem near the end of the article.

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