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

January, 2012

  • Jim Hill

    Green screen & CGI make ABC's "Once Upon a Time" 's fairytale settings seem real

    • 12 Comments
    So are you watching " Once Upon a Time " yet? For Mouse House fans, half the fun of watching this acclaimed ABC Studios production is its funhouse mirror take on so many of Disney's animated classics. Take - for example - tonight's episode, "Fruit of the Poisonous Tree." Which introduced the Genie from " Aladdin " as well as some serpents from Agrabah that Jafar would have been proud of. Or - better yet - "Skin Deep," the episode of "Once Upon...
  • Jim Hill

    "Be Our Guest" features an unvarnished take on Disney Company history

    • 2 Comments
    I have to admit that It's been kind of amusing to watch the reaction (both here and elsewhere around the Web) that Tuesday's "What's really behind the sudden change in Disney Parks & Resorts' facial hair policy" story has been getting. With all sorts of would-be Disney scholars weighing on whether The Happiest Place on Earth actually had an official policy in place in regards to personal grooming when this theme park first opened to the public back on July of 1955. The...
  • Jim Hill

    What's really behind the sudden change in Disney Parks & Resorts' facial hair policy?

    • 15 Comments
    You're going to read a lot today about how - by revising their long-standing policy on facial hair - Disney Parks and Resorts is now turning its back on nearly 60 years of tradition. Which isn't entirely true. I mean, if Walt Disney himself really insisted that no one with a beard or a mustache be allowed to work inside of one of his theme parks, then how do you explain Sheriff Lucky and Black Bart ... Sheriff Lucky and Black Bart from Disneyland's 1957 souvenir guidebook. Copyright Disney...
  • Jim Hill

    Magic Kingdom presents an abbreviated "Dream," Blue Man Group regroups

    • 3 Comments
    January used to be the start of the slow season at the stateside Disney Parks. How so? So slow that - immediately after New Year's Day -- Disneyland Park wouldn't even open on Mondays & Tuesdays. Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved Which -- as far as the maintenance crew who worked at this Anaheim theme park was concerned - was a good thing. Given that - with no Guests in the Park underfoot for two days out of the week during the early Fall & late Winter ... Well...
  • Jim Hill

    Leaked plans for Universal's Harry Potter expansion totally upstaged Disney's Leap Year Day celebration announcement

    • 30 Comments
    Upstage: (verb) To divert attention or praise from; force out of the spotlight This wasn't how The Walt Disney Company envisioned 2012 starting out. After weeks of broadly hinting that the Mouse had something big in the works for Leap Year, Disney's PR department thought that Twitter & Facebook would be ablaze on New Year's Day with people talking about how they planned on attending those 24-hour-long " One More Disney Day " parties which will be held at Disneyland Park...
  • Jim Hill

    Wander the Cartoon Wastelands with Warren Spector in "The Art of Epic Mickey"

    • 4 Comments
    It's the rumor which has got the gaming community buzzing . That there's supposedly a "Disney Epic Mickey 2" in the works. Even better, that the next videogame in this critically acclaimed series (which will reportedly be available in the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and Wii formats) will allegedly allow players to chose between single-player and 2-player split screen mode. But before we start parsing the various rumors that are currently making the rounds (i.e. That "Disney Epic...
  • Jim Hill

    "Phineas and Ferb - Time Shift" hints at a fun new direction for this animated series

    • 11 Comments
    Back during the Summer of 2008, I got the chance to chat with Dan Povenmire & Jeff "Swampy" Marsh about their then-still new animated series, " Phineas and Ferb ." And as I was closing out our interview, before I turned off my digital recorder, I asked these very funny & talented men two quick questions: Dan Povenmire and Jeff "Swampy" Marsh. Photo by Rick Rowell. Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved JIM: The "Phineas & Ferb" theme...
  • Jim Hill

    Why For did Disney-MGM visitors never get the chance to "Journey to the Center of the Earth"?

    • 6 Comments
    In response to last week's "Universal Studios Florida's 'Jaws' attraction sails off into the sunset" article , A Bigger Boat wrote in to say: I really enjoyed your "Jaws" article. But I find it hard to believe that Universal would change the layout of their entire Florida studio theme park just because Disney was going to have a tram tour at MGM. The tram tour wound up being such a minor aspect of Disney-MGM . Why would something like that make Universal blink...
  • Jim Hill

    Updated edition of "Building a Dream" covers even more of Disney's world

    • 8 Comments
    Wow. Has it really been 15+ years since Beth Dunlop wrote " Building a Dream: The Art of Disney Architecture " ? Obviously Disney's world has gotten a whole lot bigger since 1996. Which is why I think it's terrific that Disney Editions recently decided to revisit Dunlop's book. Doing an extreme makeover, if you will, of this hyper-detailed look at the architecture of the Disney Parks & Resorts . Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved So how does this completely...
  • Jim Hill

    Are the Imagineers taking another shot at getting a shoot-the-chutes built at a Disney theme park?

    • 11 Comments
    It was supposed to be Disneyland 's first thrill ride: Monstro the Whale ... Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved Which - in much the same way that Dumbo the Flying Elephant ... Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved ... was just a Disneyified version of that amusement park favorite, the spinning rockets -- ... Disneyland's Monstro the Whale was supposed to have taken that classic early thrill ride, the shoot-the-chutes ... ... and given it a Pinocchio themed...
  • Jim Hill

    "it's a small world" composer looks back on his big career at Disney

    • 7 Comments
    It wasn't always easy directly working for Walt Disney. Sometimes you found yourself dealing with some very weird assignments. "My brother and I were in our office one day when we got a phone call. 'Walt wants you down on Stage 4,' " Disney Legend Richard M Sherman recalled during a recent phone interview. "So we hurry on down there. Walt greets us at the door and then leads us to some seats on this darkened soundstage. And he then says 'Okay. Turn it on.' And we're...
  • Jim Hill

    Disney Channel surpasses Disney Studios when it comes to creating characters, brands and franchises that the Company can really cash in on

    • 12 Comments
    It's one of those generally accepted beliefs about The Walt Disney Company. That the fortunes of the Mouse House are directly tied to how well the Studio's movies do at the box office. More importantly, how successfully the characters from Disney's live-action films - not to mention those animated features which WDAS & Pixar produce - can then be merchandised. That's what ultimately determines how much money pours into Mickey's pocket on an annual basis. Jay Rasulo, Executive...
  • Jim Hill

    Debby Ryan of "Jessie" has always wanted to wield a wand on the Disney Channel

    • 4 Comments
    Most little girls - as they are growing up - would stand in front of the mirror and sing into a hair brush, pretending that they're a pop star. Not Debby Ryan . When she was a little kid, Debby would stand in front of her mirror and practice doing a wand ID for the Disney Channel (You know? When a famous Disney character or a performer from one of this cable network show draws that Mouse Ears-shape in the lower left-hand corner of your TV screen and then says " You're watching the Disney...
  • Jim Hill

    New William Kallay book reveals "How Tron Changed Visual Effects and Disney Forever"

    • 4 Comments
    It's the sci-fi cult classic that spawned a pricey sequel last year. Not to mention being the jumping-off point for a brand-new animated series which will debut on Disney XD later this year. "Tron: Uprising," which is due to debut on Disney XD later this summer. Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved But you gotta ask yourself: Would " Tron " have become a really-for-real blockbuster back in 1982 if Walt Disney Productions opted to go a different way with this...
  • Jim Hill

    "Work It" doesn't work, while "Cougar Town" fans work overtime to get ABC to finally schedule this sitcom's third season premiere

    • 5 Comments
    Mrs. Rabbit: Thumper! Thumper: Yes, mama? Mrs. Rabbit: What did your father tell you this morning? Thumper: (clears throat) If you can't say something nice... don't say nothing at all. Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved " Work It ," that new high-concept comedy which premieres tonight (8:30 - 9 p.m.) on the ABC Television Network is ... Well ... er ... um ... Oh, to hell with it. This genuinely unfunny sitcom makes me really, really , REALLY miss " Cougar...
  • Jim Hill

    Universal Studios Florida's "Jaws" attraction sails off into the sunset

    • 15 Comments
    It's time to say "Good-bye" to " ... the mistake on the lake." Copyright Universal Orlando. All rights reserved That's what the skippers who worked on "Jaws" used to affectionately call this Universal Studios Florida attraction. Which will be closing later today to supposedly make way for a brand-new Harry Potter "land" for this theme park . But before they drain Amity Island's 5-million gallon lagoon and then send all seven of the sharks which...
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