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October, 2011

  • Jim Hill

    Why For were Tweedle Dum & Tweedle Dee banned from the Disney theme parks?

    • 20 Comments
    Jeannine B. writes in to say: I have a friend who worked in the Character Department at the Magic Kingdom back in the 1980s. She has lots of great stories about what it was like to be a member of the Zoo Crew back then. But one of the stranger ones that my friend tells is about when Michael Eisner wouldn't allow the walk-around versions of Tweedle Dum & Tweedle Dee to appear in the theme parks for a few years. Did that really happen? And if so, do you know the story behind that story? Dear...
  • Jim Hill

    Will WDW's new $10-per-person cancellation fee prevent Guests from continuing to abuse the Resort's dining reservations system?

    • 46 Comments
    So what's the deal with that new dining reservations policy which The Walt Disney World Resort put in place earlier this week? Which states that ... If a Guest cancels within one day of the reservation or if the dining party is a "no show" for the meal, a cancellation fee of $10 per person will be charged to the credit card used at the time of booking. Now some will tell you that this is yet another example of Mickey being greedy. But that isn't really what's going on here....
  • Jim Hill

    Huffington Post: Jim Hill - "Disney Studios is still struggling with controversial cartoon characters from its past"

    • 7 Comments
    "Disney Studios is stiIl struggling with controversial cartoon characters from its past" A buck-toothed, squinty-eyed Chinese cook. A pickaninny centaurette who shines hooves. A tar baby. A red-faced Indian Chief who says "Ugh" and "How." Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved What do these characters all have in common? They were created by Walt Disney Productions artists for inclusion in feature-length animated films that this Studio released in the...
  • Jim Hill

    Vacationing at Walt Disney World without going to a theme park?!

    • 4 Comments
    Here's an idea that - I know - will shock you theme park fans out there. But there are people (lots and lots of people, I might add) who actually go to Disney World to relax. Seriously, these are the folks who look at the Walt Disney World Resort and don't just see theme parks. They see 24 different resorts, each with their own signature restaurants, pools and amenities. Not to mention 5 world-class golf courses as well as a wide variety of on-site retail and entertainment opportunity. Copyright...
  • Jim Hill

    Kick Buttowski's Halloween episode features some great Disneyland gags

    • 0 Comments
    For a little while there, as I was watching the Halloween episode of " Kick Buttowski - Suburban Daredevil " (which premieres tonight on Disney XD between 7:30 - 8 p.m. ET/PT), I thought that I had stumbled upon this genuinely cool theme park history-related story. Mellowbrook at night. Please note that the Boston skyline looms in the distance. Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved To explain: Sandro Corsaro - the creator of this Emmy-nominated series - once told me that...
  • Jim Hill

    Disney World's history or horticulture: Which talk would you prefer?

    • 0 Comments
    This is going to seem kind of counter-intuitive. But if you're in the Orlando area this weekend and want a genuinely memorable Mouse-related experience, don't go to a Disney theme park. Seriously. Instead - on Saturday evening - make your way over to the Holiday Inn at Downtown Disney . Where - starting at 6 p.m. - you can then take sit on a meeting of the World Chapter of the Disneyana Fan Club . A WDW cast member preps perennials backstage at the Resort's tree farm. Copyright Disney...
  • Jim Hill

    Disney's "The Muppets" soundtrack mixes fun new songs with old favorites

    • 32 Comments
    Okay. If you're a longtime reader of JHM and/or if you saw that two part Jim Henson's creative legacy story that I posted on the Huffington Post last week, you already know that I'm kind of a Muppet geek. Which is why - when Walt Disney Records sent me a digital review copy of Disney's "The Muppets" original soundtrack yesterday evening - I literally dropped everything that I was doing to then go give it a listen. Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved Why...
  • Jim Hill

    Huffington Post: Jim Hill - "I get to walk off into the sunset with Johnny Depp?"

    • 1 Comments
    "I get to walk off into the sunset with Johnny Depp?" Of course, if you had asked Kevin McNally back in 2002 (when he initially auditioned for the role of Joshamee Gibbs in The Curse of the Black Pearl) if he thought that the first Pirates of the Caribbean would spawn a top grossing film series, he'd have laughed in your face. Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) and Joshamee Gibbs (Kevin McNally) are unpleasantly surprised to find themselves at the gates of St. James Palace rather than...
  • Jim Hill

    Greg Ellis wonders if his "Pirates of the Caribbean" character will be returning for the fifth film in this series

    • 8 Comments
    Do you remember how much fun it was to play dress-up when you were a kid? Which is why you'd think that getting to play a character like Lieutenant Commander Theodore Groves in Disney's " Pirates of the Caribbean" films would be a lot of fun as well, right? Greg Ellis visits the on-set costume department for Disney's "Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Trides." Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved Well, think again. As Greg Ellis (who's played...
  • Jim Hill

    Why For Central Florida never actually became Hollywood East

    • 15 Comments
    Earlier this week, Steve B. wrote in to ask: Dear Jim, When the Disney-MGM Studios theme park opened, it was promoted as a working studio. Both live action and animation were being produced there. There was discussion in the news about the high costs in California driving production out of that state and into places like Florida. Today, the working studio idea is a thing of the past, the animation building no longer features real animators working on future films, the sound stages are being converted...
  • Jim Hill

    Epcot brightens up its International Food & Wine Festival by bogging down

    • 3 Comments
    It's once again Food & Wine time at the Walt Disney World Resort . Photo by Angela Ragno Now in its 16 th year, Epcot 's International Food & Wine Festival is in full swing. For the next five weeks, foodies will eagerly be eating their way around World Showcase, sampling cuisine from 6 different continents. New for 2011 is the Caribbean International Marketplace. Which is serving up tapas-sized portion of Ropa Vieja (which is a slowly braised beef) with White Rice. Not to mention...
  • Jim Hill

    Why For did Epcot's Future World not turn out as WED had originally planned?

    • 10 Comments
    Epcot Enthusiast wrote in this week to say: I saw a Tweet today that said that you and Len Testa were touring Future World and World Showcase recording stories for a new " Unofficial Guide Disney Dish with Jim Hill" podcast. Epcot is my very favorite WDW theme park. Could you please share some stories about rides and attractions that were planned but not built at that theme park? Dear Epcot Enthusiast, To be honest, it's kind of hard to know where to begin with EPCOT Center. There are...
  • Jim Hill

    Steve Jobs (1955 - 2011) : The smart, stubborn guy who helped to make Pixar possible

    • 8 Comments
    I was sitting at my personal computer, working on a story about Pixar (I was putting together a promo piece for the Cartoon Art Museum 's annual " Spend the day at Pixar Animation Studios" benefit in December) when I learned that Steve Jobs had passed away. Which -- given that this one man played such a huge part in the development & creation of personal computing and Pixar -- was doubly coincidental, don't you think? Anyway ... Given that Steve had been battling pancreatic...
  • Jim Hill

    Roger Allers & Rob Minkoff look back on the making of Disney's "The Lion King"

    • 6 Comments
    You did hear the big news yesterday, right? That -- on the heels of the phenomenal success of " The Lion King 3D " (which blew through the $80 million barrier at the domestic box office yesterday afternoon ) -- Walt Disney Studios is now planning limited theatrical engagements for four other animated features . What's more, these movies -- for the first time ever - will be screened in 3D. The quartet of classics which have been tapped for 3D treatment are: " Beauty and the Beast...
  • Jim Hill

    Disney World officials still hope that the Flamingo Crossings project will eventually take flight

    • 18 Comments
    What with covering the opening of this year's International Food & Wine Festival at Epcot on Friday, attending Disney World 's 40 th anniversary celebration at The Magic Kingdom on Saturday as well as recording three brand-new "Unofficial Guide Disney Dish with Jim Hill" iTunes shows with Len Testa , it's been a busy couple of days. But before I left property and then headed back home to New Hampshire, I wanted to make one quick trip. I wanted to wander out by Western Way...
  • Jim Hill

    Disney World's 40th anniversary celebration entertains Cast Members as well as Guests

    • 3 Comments
    Since The Walt Disney Resort has long been associated with fairy tales, I'd like to borrow a turn-of-phrase from "Goldilocks and the Three Bears" to describe Saturday's 40 th anniversary celebration at the Magic Kingdom . It wasn't too long. It wasn't too short. It was just right. Photo by Angela Ragno The festivities actually started before this theme park opened for the day. As Guests entered the Magic Kingdom Saturday morning, they were each handed a 40 th anniversary...
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