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November, 2012

  • Jim Hill

    Universal's Islands of Adventure gets ready for its annual Grinchmas Wholiday Spectacular

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    So what's Christmas-time like in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter ? Given that holiday magic is kind of different from the sort of magic that they practice up at Hogwarts, Christmas in Hogsmeade is a somewhat understated affair. There's a wreath on the door at Zonko's and some garland around the top of that shop's windows. Photo by Jim Hill And the same sort of thing is going on at Honeydukes . Photo by Jim Hill But beyond a few small seasonal touches on some food ... Photo by...
  • Jim Hill

    Disney Electric Holiday window display brings some high tech Xmas cheer to NYC's Madison Avenue

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    So have you been following this whole Disney / Barneys Electric Holiday controversy ? If not, let me do a quick recap: Back in August, when Barneys New York first released some concept art for the special holiday windows that Disney artists & animators would be creating for this luxury retailer's Madison Avenue flagship store, the Internet kind of lost its mind for a while there. Copyright Barneys New York / Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved People got one look at Minnie, Daisy...
  • Jim Hill

    The Gaylord Palms' Christmassy DreamWorks Experience translates into lots of holiday face time with the "Shrek," "Madagascar" and "Kung Fu Panda" characters

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    Francis T. sent me this e-mail yesterday: I know that you mostly write about Disney. But my eight year old has recently discovered the Dreamworks animation movies and is now completely obsessed with Shrek . We're headed to Orlando next month. So I was wondering if you had any recommendations about where I could take Ian so that he could then be guaranteed plenty of facetime with his new favorite character. Copyright DreamWorks Animation, LLC. All rights reserved Dear Francis T. First of all,...
  • Jim Hill

    Will New Fantasyland's flying dragon fare better than Epcot's "Skylaidescope" & "Surprise in the Skies" ultralights?

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    Have you been following that "Believe in Fantasy" thing that the Disney Parks Blog has been doing over on Tumblr ? If not, you may want to head on over there now and get in on the fun. You see, Gary Buchanan & Co. are using the bread crumb technique when it comes to promoting that flying dragon which will soon begin buzzing around the Magic Kingdom 's New Fantasyland area . "Which flying dragon?," you ask. Surely you remember that story which the Bakersfield Californian...
  • Jim Hill

    Huffington Post - New SpongeBob SquarePants song urges shoppers not to be jerks this holiday season

    • 3 Comments
    New SpongeBob SquarePants song urges shoppers not to be jerks this holiday season So who's responsible for the catchiest holiday song to come along in years? Would you believe Michael Vick and South Carolina Rep. Joe Wilson (who -- you may recall -- shouted "You lie!" at President Obama back in September 2009 as our Commander-in-Chief was addressing a joint session of Congress)? Strange but true, folks. During a recent phone interview, Tom Kenny -- the actor / comedian / songwriter...
  • Jim Hill

    Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa gets ready for some big changes in 2013

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    Greetings from Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa ... Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved ... which -- now that this hotel's 45 foot-tall Christmas tree has been set up in the lobby ... Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved ... and the Gingerbread House is once again open for business -- ... Photo by Diana Zalucky. Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved ... this deluxe Disney World hotel is THE place to stop if you're in need...
  • Jim Hill

    Looking back at the 2012 edition of IAAPA's Attractions Expo

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    Over the past week or so, I've gotten a number of e-mails from JHM readers about this year's Attractions Expo . People wanting to know more about what it was like to wander the floor of the Orange County Convention Center after the International Association of Amusement Park & Attractions had taken over the place. Photo by Jim Hill Surreal doesn't even begin to describe this experience. I mean, it's like someone took the world's greatest amusement park and then -- after lifting...
  • Jim Hill

    Rafikis from around the world come together as "The Lion King" celebrates its 15th anniversary on Broadway

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    It was quite the night at the Minskoff Theatre last night. As both the creatives and former cast members of Disney's "The Lion King" came together for a one-night-only event which celebrated the 15th anniversary of the Broadway production of this acclaimed musical . There were lots of tender moments over the course of the evening. Take, for example, what happened just as "The Circle of Life" was getting underway. Julie Taymor -- this show's director, costume designer and...
  • Jim Hill

    "Celebrate the Magic" is a worthy follow-up to WDW's first castle projection show

    • 2 Comments
    I have to admit that I'm kind of a sucker for all of these castle shows that Disney has begun doing in the Magic Kingdom . Whether it's draping this iconic structure with over 200,000 lights to turn it into a wintery wonder for the "Cinderella's Holiday Wish / Castle Dream Lights" show ... Photo by Jim Hill ... or turning the entire front side of this building into a massive projection screen for last year's "The Magic, the Memories and You!" show. Speaking of...
  • Jim Hill

    Is Universal Studios Florida getting ready to Simpsonize the International Food & Film Festival?

    • 5 Comments
    Earlier this month when I was down at Universal Studios Florida for the " Transformers The Ride - 3D " press event, a longtime Universal cast member pulled me aside and suggested that -- as part of that trip -- I make an effort to swing by that theme park's International Food & Film Festival restaurant and get one last look at the place. Photo by Jim Hill For those of you don't remember: The IFF was that quick service restaurant at USF which was located between the Animal Actors...
  • Jim Hill

    From A(ttractions Expo) to Z(ebras on display at DAK), what's new in O-town this week?

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    It's been a very interesting week to be in Orlando. What with IAAPA 's Attractions Expo currently being loaded into the Orange County Convention Center . Photo by Jim Hill Out in the parking lot, all manner of sample amusement park rides are still being assembled. Photo by Jim Hill While inside the convention center itself, banners are being hung ... Photo by Jim Hill ... and exhibits & displays are being assembled on the show floor. Photo by Jim Hill As the OCCC gets ready for the tens...
  • Jim Hill

    Could 2013 be the year that FastPass+ finally goes live at Walt Disney World?

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    So how close are we to the official launch of Fast Pass+ at the Walt Disney World Resort ? "We're getting close," Bob Iger admitted yesterday as part of The Walt Disney Company's fourth quarter and full earnings webcast. This was the first time that Disney's Chairman & CEO has spoken to the investment community about the " ... new technology roll-out (that'll be coming online at WDW in the coming year which is) designed to enhance guest experience and advance &...
  • Jim Hill

    Pixar Animation Studios opens its doors this Saturday for annual Cartoon Art Museum fundraiser

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    Have you ever been to the Cartoon Art Museum in San Francisco? If not, you really should make a point of swinging by 655 Mission Street the next time you're in the Bay Area. Especially if you're an animation fan. Take -- for example -- the event that the Cartoon Art Museum is holding tomorrow night. Chris Butler -- the co-director & screenwriter of " ParaNorman " will be on hand from 7 - 9 p.m. And that CAM is currently presenting " The Art of ParaNorman ," an exhibit...
  • Jim Hill

    Huffington Post - Jane Lynch on how she almost Wreck-It Ralph-ed her career

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    Jane Lynch on how she almost Wreck-It Ralph-ed her career "I think I'm done. I don't know where I'll go or what I'll do. Maybe I'll just go somewhere and teach theater." This isn't how one expects Jane Lynch -- the Emmy Award-winning actress who plays Sue Sylvester, the aggressive cheerleading coach in " Glee , " and who can now be heard voicing the tough-as-nails Sergeant Calhoun in Walt Disney Animation Studios ' latest production, " Wreck-It...
  • Jim Hill

    It's official. "Transformers - The Ride 3D" to open at Universal Studios Florida for the Summer of 2013

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    It was a quiet, grey November day yesterday at Universal Studios Florida ... Photo by Jim Hill Which was kind of impressive unto itself. Given that the night before had been October 31st, Halloween, the very last night of operation for this year's edition of Universal Studios Halloween Horror Nights . Photo by Jim Hill Sure, as you wandered through the theme park yesterday, you'd occasionally come across a piece of set dressing that hadn't yet been pulled down & carefully packed away...
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