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March, 2013

  • Jim Hill

    Huffington Post -- Vocal cast for Disney's "Planes" includes a "Top Gun" cameo, top names from stand-up comedy

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    Huffington Post -- Vocal cast for Disney's "Planes" includes a "Top Gun" cameo, top names from stand-up comedy So how did Klay Hall wind up as director of Disney's "Planes" ? First there was this train derailment ... Or should I say: First an earlier project that Hall was going to helm -- one built around a talking steam train -- got derailed. "This must have been June or July of 2009. I was just finishing up directing 'Tinker Bell and the Lost Treasure...
  • Jim Hill

    Are Disney's new interactive queues actually encouraging theme park Guests to be more destructive?

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    Figment's Friend sent me a rather anxious e-mail last week. This JHM reader wanted to share a bit of news coming out of WDW's Magic Kingdom which had really upset him: Did you see what happened to that portrait of Tony Baxter which was hung in the new interactive queue of Big Thunder Mountain ? Disney had to remove this painting within 48 hours of it being hung because of the way that Guests had been defacing it . I can not believe how disrespectful these people have been to this Imagineering...
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    "Hatch! Brainstorming Secrets of a Theme Park Designer" takes you inside the development of Twilight Zone Tower of Terror

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    Chris sent me an e-mail earlier this week in regards to the "Unofficial Guide Disney Dish" podcast that I do with Len Testa , where he asked: "Where do you get all of the stories that you tell on these podcasts? I'm a big Disney history buff. But you always seem to have these behind-the-scenes stories that I've never heard before. Where do you get your material?" Thanks for the kind words, Chris. As to where I get the information that I used in those "Unofficial Guide...
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    Ever dream of becoming a theme park designer? USA Network's "The MOMENT" may give you a second shot at your dream career

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    "Life is what happens when you're busy making other plans." The late John Lennon included that line as part of his lyrics for " Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy) ." And that sentiment is as true today as it was back in 1980 when John originally wrote that line. Maybe even more so. Let's face it: When we're young, we all have these plans in our heads about how our idealized lives & careers are supposed to go. But then unexpected things happen. Obstacles suddenly crop...
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    So what drove WDW officials to greenlight the Disney Springs project? The traffic tie-ups and tough parking situation that Guests regularly encountered at Downtown Disney

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    So why exactly did Walt Disney World 's November 2010 plan for Pleasure Island (i.e. turn the center-most section of Downtown Disney into Hyperion Wharf , "a nostalgic yet modern take on an early 20th century port city and amusement pier" which was supposed to have "stylish boutiques and innovative restaurants" as well as "thousands of lights" that would then "transform the area into an electric wonderland" at night) morph into the far more ambitious Disney...
  • Jim Hill

    When it comes to D23's Fanniversary events, it's all about making those connections

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    So what does it actually take for D23 to pull together those Fanniversary events that they've been presenting around the country for the past few weeks? According to Jeffrey Epstein, spokesman for the Official Disney Fan Club, it takes a solid six months of behind-the-scenes effort to produce each of these two hour-long annual presentations. Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved "We know that D23 Members are already incredibly knowledgeable when it comes to The Walt Disney...
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    Huffington Post -- Mickey Mouse gets a retro makeover for the Disney Channel's new series of 2D animated shorts

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    Huffington Post -- Mickey Mouse gets a retro makeover for the Disney Channel's new series of 2D animated shorts In Hollywood, it's customary for stars of a certain age to periodically go under the knife. Freshen up their look every now and then, if you will. In Mickey Mouse 's case, when The Walt Disney Company recently decided it was time for their corporate symbol to get back into the animation game, they drew their inspiration for a brand-new series of 2D shorts from a number of different...
  • Jim Hill

    From concerts to cels, attraction openings to book signings, there's a mighty busy Mouse-related week coming up

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    Never mind March coming in like a lion. This month is really more a mouse, given all of the Disney-related events that are going to be happening all over the country in the coming week. Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved Like what? Well, for starters, today through Monday, March 11th, internationally recognized artist Larry Dotson will be appearing at Epcot 's Art of Disney . And if you'd like to purchase one of his paintings and/or get Larry to sign one of his canvases...
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    Huffington Post -- Jack McBrayer says goodbye to Kenneth on NBC's "30 Rock" and hello to Disney's "Wander Over Yonder"

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    Huffington Post -- Jack McBrayer says goodbye to Kenneth on NBC's "30 Rock" and hello to Disney's "Wander Over Yonder" When " 30 Rock " officially wrapped production back in December, it saddened sitcom fans to think that they weren't going to be able to see Kenneth Parcell anymore. But as it turns out, no one's going to miss this perpetually cheerful character more than Jack McBrayer , the talented comic actor who portrayed that NBC page for the past...
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    Shanghai Disneyland's Enchanted Storybook Castle promises to be the most tricked-out structure ever built at a Disney theme park

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    To honest, there's wasn't a whole lot of really-for-real news that came out of today's Annual Meeting of Shareholders of The Walt Disney Company in Phoenix, AZ. Chairman and chief executive officer Robert A. Iger spoke with great enthusiasm about the slate of films the Studio would be releasing over the coming year. Iger also told the crowd at the Orpheum Theatre about his recent trip to Walt Disney World, where Disney's big cheese then got to test-drive one of the MagicBands which...
  • Jim Hill

    Disney's "Sofia the First" gets a second season, while ABC's "Zero Hour" times out

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    Television is a very weird business. How do I know this? Because as I write today's story, I'm looking at an e-mail that the nice folks at Disney Junior sent me yesterday afternoon. Giving me a heads-up that " Sofia the First ," their new animated series which is built around Disney's first little girl princess, just got picked up for a second season . Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved Mind you, anyone with half a brain in the industry knew that this renewal...
  • Jim Hill

    Huffington Post -- Joe Roth reflects on "Oz The Great and Powerful," looks forward to "Maleficent" in 2014

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    Huffington Post -- Joe Roth reflects on "Oz The Great and Powerful," looks forward to "Maleficent" in 2014 It's every screenwriter's nightmare. To be in the office of one of Hollywood's most powerful producers, pitching all of your script ideas. Only to then have that mover-and-shaker repeatedly say "Nope. Not interested." But that's exactly what happened back in 2009 to poor Mitchell Kapner . The screenwriter of "The Whole Nine Yards" was in...
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    What should Radio Disney call the statuette that the Disney Design Group created for its April 27th awards ceremony?

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    Okay. So the Tony Awards are named after Antoinette Perry , who was an actress, director & producer. Not to mention being a co-founder of the American Theatre Wing . And according to Hollywood legend, the Oscars was named by Margaret Herrick . In her role as the first librarian at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences , Margaret was among the first to see the golden statuette which MGM artists had created for this industry awards ceremony. And as she gazes at that little bald man (who...
  • Jim Hill

    Theme Park University website now offering insights about how the themed entertainment industry actually works

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    The Internet is really a wondrous place. Especially if you're a young person who's considering a career in animation. If you've ever considered becoming a character designer someday, you can always swing by Tom Bancroft 's Character Mentor Studio or Stephen Silver's blog and then pick up some good practical tips. Likewise if you've dreamed of becoming an art director, you should definitely be bookmarking Mike Peraza's sites . The same goes with Mark Evanier 's News...
  • Jim Hill

    Huffington Post -- As Broadway's "Mary Poppins" gets ready to close, regional productions of this acclaimed Disney musical begin popping up all over

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    Huffington Post -- As Broadway's "Mary Poppins" gets ready to close, regional productions of this acclaimed Disney musical begin popping up all over As any good Mary Poppins fan will tell you, when the wind shifts from the East to the West, it's then time for that practically perfect nanny to pack up her carpet bag and fly off for parts unknown. Well, I'm not sure which way the wind is blowing in New York City these days. But since Disney and Cameron Mackintosh 's Mary Poppins...
  • Jim Hill

    Disney isn't horsing around when it comes to Sofia the First toys

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    Pam dropped me a note on Wednesday to ask: I was wondering if anyone knows whether or not Disney will start producing Minimus the flying horse from Sophia The First in a figure form for the public to be able to purchase? Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved You're talking -- of course -- about the character that was introduced in "One of the Princes," the very first episode of "Sofia the First" to air on the Disney Channel and Disney Junior . And to my way...
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