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

November, 2011

  • Jim Hill

    "Walt and the Promise of Progress City" covers an awful lot of Disney-related real estate

    • 13 Comments
    "You know Dasher and Dancer and Prancer and Vixen ..." Well, if you're a Disney history buff, then you must already know about Walt's land searches of the early 1950s. As Disney tried to find just the right spot in Southern California for his family fun park . Likewise if you're a fan of the history of Walt Disney World , then you already know about the Old Mousetro's multi-year hunt for the proper place to build the East Coast version of Disneyland. Which took Walt from...
  • Jim Hill

    Why the words "Walt" & "Pictures" have been clipped off of that new "Disney" logo

    • 53 Comments
    Dave dropped me a note last night which reads: Jim, We saw " The Muppets " over the weekend (fun film, by the way), and noticed that the familiar castle logo at the beginning of the film now just says "Disney," instead of " Walt Disney Pictures ." We also noticed this for the trailers for " Beauty and the Beast 3-D " and " Brave " that preceded the movie. Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved Was this a sudden change? Why are they...
  • Jim Hill

    How the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights made its way from Arkansas to Walt Disney World

    • 2 Comments
    Picture this: It's late June of 1995. And the folks in charge of Disney-MGM Studios are racking their brains, trying to come up with some sort of signature holiday event for that theme park. "The Magic Kingdom had Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party and Epcot had its Candlelight Processional ," John Phelan , show director for Disney Creative Entertainment remembered. "We wanted to stage something similar at the Studios, give people a really strong reason to come out to that...
  • Jim Hill

    Disney might-have-beens will be up for bid in Profiles in History's "Icons of Animation" auction

    • 0 Comments
    With the arrival of Black Friday, the 2011 holiday shopping season is now officially underway. And if you're struggling to come up with the perfect gift for the Disneyana collector and/or the animation enthusiasts on your Christmas list ... Well, you might want to consider checking out the catalog that Profiles in History just put online for its December 17 th "Icons of Animation" auction . Copyright 2011 Profiles in History. All rights reserved Because - as you look through these lots...
  • Jim Hill

    Looking back at Walt Disney World's very first Thanksgiving Weekend

    • 1 Comments
    Earlier this Fall, Disneyana fans could be heard all around the Web griping about the Company's plans for Walt Disney World 's 40 th anniversary. Or lack thereof. "I don't get it," (or words to that effect) was the constant refrain that you saw online. "Why isn't Disney making a bigger deal about October 1, 2011? You'd think that they'd want to celebrate the 40 th anniversary of WDW's opening." The only problem with that scenario is that ... Well, there...
  • Jim Hill

    "Jason's Disneyland Almanac" is a ridiculously detailed, highly entertaining & informative read

    • 3 Comments
    In the Stadler / Hill household, it's kind of a tradition that - as Thanksgiving rolls around - we reach for the latest edition of the Old Farmer's Almanac and then find out what sort of winter we're in for up here in New Hampshire. But this year, given that we're still four weeks out from the official start of Winter and - to date -- we've already had two significant snowstorms ( The system that blew through last night dropped three inches of ice & snow in our neck of the...
  • Jim Hill

    Angus MacLane talks about the little story details that made a big difference with Pixar's latest short, "Small Fry"

    • 5 Comments
    When the development team that was working of Disney's " Beauty and the Beast " wanted to get the look of the Beast's castle just right, what did they do? These artists toured the Loire Valley in September of 1989, visiting many of France's famous chateaus. And when the " Lion King " development team wanted to make sure that they really captured the look & feel of the African savannah, what did they do? They spent a week exploring Hell's Gate National Park...
  • Jim Hill

    The Mouse goes Hog Wild, as every division at Disney does what it can to promote "The Muppets"

    • 14 Comments
    You know that " The Muppets " is opening in theaters this Wednesday, right? Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved I mean, how could you not? Given that - for weeks now - virtually every division of The Walt Disney Company has been doing what it can to get the word out about this new Walt Disney Pictures release. Don't believe me? Okay, then let's take a quick stroll around the corporation and see what the various divisions at Disney have been doing to promote Miss...
  • Jim Hill

    Why For did WDW wave "Buh-Bye" to Seven Seas Lagoon's Wave Machine?

    • 10 Comments
    TikiTerry writes in to say: I've really been enjoying all of these Disney World history stories that you've been sharing with JHM readers lately. So I was wondering if you could maybe talk about the Polynesian Resort 's wave machine. How long did it work? Where was it located? Why did Disney shut it down? TikiTerry - Wow. That's a lot of questions. And - to be honest - there aren't a lot of answers out there. Mostly because the team that opened Walt Disney World was genuinely...
  • Jim Hill

    Huffington Post - Jim Hill: "Since Disney Has Yet to Make Her a Princess, Megan Hilty Settles for Being a Fairy"

    • 0 Comments
    "Since Disney Has Yet to Make Her a Princess, Megan Hilty Settles for Being a Fairy" Some people complain about the commute that they have for work. But not Megan Hilty . Of course, if your work took you from Oz to Broadway to Neverland and then back again, would you ever complain? Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved I got to talk with Ms. Hilty late last week while she was taking a break from shooting " Smash ." Which is this ambitious hour-long musical drama...
  • Jim Hill

    Want to see where Walt Disney grew up & vacationed? D23 will take you there in 2012

    • 20 Comments
    You know what they say: the third time's the charm. As D23 mapped out its plans for 2012 ... well, Steven Clark knew that it was going to take more than just charm to make the third year of operation for the Official Disney Fan Club memorable. "Heading into Year No. 3, we felt that it was time that D23 did some different types of events," Clark explained in a recent phone call. "We wanted to create events that go 'beyond the berm' and really take Club members to places...
  • Jim Hill

    How many of you strolled down Disneyland's Afternoon Avenue and experienced "Disney Afternoon - Live!"

    • 16 Comments
    Picture this: It's the Fall of 1990. And after a highly successful summer (with attendance levels at the Happiest Place on Earth reaching record highs thanks to this theme park's 35 th anniversary celebration as well as the popularity of the Party Gras Parade ), Disneyland management is now facing a very serious problem. According to this theme park's construction schedules (which has the Imagination River Spectacular - later renamed Fantasmic! -- premiering in May of 1992 and Mickeyland...
  • Jim Hill

    Shorts like Pixar's "Small Fry" help extend the shelf life of Disney's biggest franchises

    • 8 Comments
    Here's an interesting question for all of your Pixar trivia buffs out there: Which "Cars" film do you think was seen by more people? The original from 2006 or this summer's sequel (which was released on Blu-ray and DVD on November 1st). And the answer is ... neither. Truth be told, but the "Cars" -related production that's been seen by the largest audience to date isn't the original "Cars" or "Cars 2." But - rather - is Pixar's "Cars...
  • Jim Hill

    Will "Puss in Boots" box office success translate into strong sales for DreamWorks Animation's Fine Arts program?

    • 7 Comments
    How can you resist a face like this? Copyright DreamWorks Animation, L.L.C. All rights reserved American moviegoers clearly couldn't. Which is why - for two weekends in a row - DreamWorks Animation 's " Puss in Boots " was No. 1 at the box office . Given that "Puss" has -- so far -- pulled in an estimated $83 million during its domestic run (not to mention selling an additional $39 million worth of tickets overseas), industry insiders are now wondering if these "Boots"...
  • Jim Hill

    Why For was the Excavator never built at Disney's Animal Kingdom Park?

    • 7 Comments
    Fluffy-Not-Fat sent me a new Why For question earlier this week, saying: As a longtime fan, it's great that you've begun writing theme park history stories again. Those stories were always my favorite part of your site. So now that I've kissed your butt a little, I was wondering if you'd take a request: I'm a coaster enthusiast. And I'd love to see a story on JHM about the coaster which was supposed to be one of Dinoland U.S.A.'s opening day attractions that never got...
  • Jim Hill

    How Maggie Parr created her painting for the Disney Gallery's "A Grand Circle Tour of the Disney Trains" show

    • 1 Comments
    So what it take to create a killer canvas like this? Well, it takes time, talent and a friend who really knows their way around a train. "Right on Time" by Maggie Parr. Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved Luckily, artist & designer Maggie Parr has all three of those things. But when she was working on the two pieces that will be showcased at this Saturday's "A Grand Circle Tour of the Disney Trains" event (which will be held from 9 - 11 a.m. at the Disney...
  • Jim Hill

    Did Disneyland inspire the Universal Studio Tour in Hollywood? Or was it actually the other way around?

    • 17 Comments
    What with James Cameron's tour of Disney's Animal Kingdom on October 17 th (which was then followed by this Academy Award-winner's visit to Universal's Island of Adventure on October 18 th ), the Web has once again been a-buzz with stories about how The World of Avatar is supposed to be Mickey's answers to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter . More importantly, how Disney's now-decades-long grudge match with Universal shows absolutely no sign of abating. (L to R) James Cameron...
  • Jim Hill

    Remember the good old days at Disney? They weren't quite as good as you remember

    • 9 Comments
    And how was your weekend? Nancy and mine was going great there for a while. On Saturday, we were getting ready to celebrate her ... er ... 29 th - yeah, that's it - 29 th birthday when a freak October Nor'Easter came through and dropped two feet of snow on us. We did okay through most of Saturday. But then - just before midnight - the power went out. And then didn't come back on 'til yesterday afternoon. The snow is still on the pumpkins but the frost is at least off the bumpkins...
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