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

June, 2013

  • Jim Hill

    "it's a small world" dolls are among the big surprises unveiled at Disney Consumer Products' annual Holiday Preview Party

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    It was brutally hot in New York City earlier this week. As I inched my way down the entrance ramp to the Lincoln Tunnel this past Monday afternoon, the exterior temperature gauge in my rental car said that it was 98 degrees outside. Yikes! Well, no wonder I could barely see the nearly-completed One World Trade Center (aka the Freedom Tower ) as I looked out across the Hudson. Photo by Jim Hill Which is why it was a trifle bizarre -- after parking the car and then hiking along sidewalks that were...
  • Jim Hill

    Bob Iger and Disney Studio veterans pay tribute to Annette Funicello during soundstage naming / dedication ceremony

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    There's a perhaps-apocryphal story that's often told about Annette Funicello & Walt Disney. This one starts out back in the Spring of 1955 when the Studio has almost completed casting " The Mickey Mouse Club ." But they're still looking for that one special kid to round out the cast of this soon-to-begin shooting television series. Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved About this same time, Disney is dragooned into attending a dance recital at Burbank's...
  • Jim Hill

    While Disney prepares to head "Into the Woods," earlier attempts at turning this Stephen Sondheim show into a movie musical wound up in the weeds

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    There's been a lot of news lately about "Into the Woods," Walt Disney Pictures' big holiday release for 2014 . What with Jake Gyllenhaal & Chris Pine recently signing to play the Princes in this big screen adaptation of Steven Sondheim's Tony Award-winning musical. Not to mention Emily Blunt agreeing to play the Baker's Wife , while Les Misérables star Daniel Huttlestone & Anna Kendrick have been in talks to play Jack and Cinderella, respectively. Given that...
  • Jim Hill

    Steven Spielberg phones it in at the grand opening of Universal Studios Florida's "Transformers: The Ride - 3D"

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    I wanted to share a few photos (as well a quick, cute story) from last week's grand opening media event for " Transformers: The Ride - 3D ." Photo by Nancy Stadler The Universal Orlando Resort invited myself, Nancy and Angela to the pre-opening party. Where -- no matter what direction you looked in -- you saw Transformers . There was an Optimus Prime & Megatron in ice sculpture form ... Photo by Nancy Stadler ... an Autobots symbol carved into the side of a watermelon ... Photo...
  • Jim Hill

    Universal Orlando's still-under-construction Cabana Bay Beach Resort will have cross-generational appeal

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    So who here misses the Jersey Shore? And no, I'm not talking about that horrible reality television show with The Situation & Snooki . I'm talking about the REAL Jersey Shore . Places like Wildwood, NJ which -- thanks to some very smart doo wop preservationists -- still have that authentic late 1950s / early 1960s look. Wildwood, New Jersey back in the day Well, if you're the type of person who now drives your kids around in a mini-van but still finds yourself pining for the sort...
  • Jim Hill

    Swim like Scrooge in a miniature version of McDuck's money bin

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    We've gotten a lot of very nice e-mails over the past few days in response to JHM's E3 2013 coverage . With most of these notes expressed the exact same sentiment over & over again (i.e. "Boy, that all looks really, really cool. I wish that I could get access to a super fun event like that"). Well, as it turns out, you can. You see, even though this year's E3 officially vacated the Los Angeles Convention Center back on Friday morning, there are a few off-site satellite exhibits...
  • Jim Hill

    "Oliver and Company" Studio Replica now on sale at Disney's Soda Fountain and Studio Store

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    Disney's Soda Fountain and Studio Store is going to the dogs. And the cats. In honor of the upcoming 25th anniversary of the November 1988 release of " Oliver and Company ," this Hollywood Boulevard hotspot (which is located right off of the lobby of the El Capitan Theatre ) is now offering a special commemorative animation cel setup that S/R Labs created which then pays tribute to this Walt Disney Animation Studios production. Copyright Disney - S/R Labs. All rights reserved "Given...
  • Jim Hill

    "Get A Horse!" gets a standing ovation in its world debut at the Annecy Animation Festival

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    Okay. Let me say -- right from the get-go -- that I know that this story is going to be kind of annoying. And I apologize in advance for that. But I'm not presently at liberty to share a lot of what I know about this presented-by- Walt Disney-Animation-Studios short. Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved But below, this is a shot of the audience at the Annecy Animation Festival in France that was lucky enough to get to see the world debut of Mickey Mouse in "Get A Horse...
  • Jim Hill

    "Everything by Design" offers a detailed look at the development of Disney World's never-built Mediterranean Village Resort

    • 5 Comments
    Jody R. tossed me a note over this past weekend, praising last Tuesday's "Building Tall" story , saying that ... ... it's articles like this that keep me coming back to Jim Hill Media, that keep me listening to that podcast you do with Len Testa . Your ability to continually uncover pieces of information about the Disney Company that I had never heard before. Thanks for your kind words, Jody. But to be honest, I'm not the only one out there who's doing this sort of stuff...
  • Jim Hill

    Universal Orlando celebrates National Donut Day by treating 100 guests (and a certain fat guy in New Hampshire) to a free Lard Lad donut

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    I swear to God this story is true. Let me set the scene first: It's Friday, June 7th. And thanks to Tropical Storm Andrea , it's a cold, very wet day out here in the woods of New Hampshire. Photo by Nancy Stadler Anyway, via Skype, I'm doing a podcast with the guys who run Dis After Dark . And we're all talking about Springfield at Universal Studios Florida . How we've all seen the pictures online that were taken earlier this week inside of Moe's and Krusty Burger. And how...
  • Jim Hill

    Who was that masked beaver-duck? "Phineas and Ferb: Mission Marvel" trailer debuts on the Disney Channel Friday night

    • 2 Comments
    There are a lot of reasons to tune in to the Disney Channel on Friday, June 7th. Chief among these being that there's a brand-new episode of " Phineas and Ferb " premiering on at 9 p.m. ET / PT. Of course, as exciting as it's going to be to hear improv comedy master Wayne Brady do a guest spot on this acclaimed animated series (Wayne will be voicing the Danville City Hall guide disrupts Candace's lunchtime date with Jeremy in the "Where's Pinky?" portion of tomorrow...
  • Jim Hill

    Disney's "Get A Horse!" to be screened next Tuesday at Annecy Animation Festival

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    Hey, guys! Check out this cool poster for Walt Disney Animation Studios , "Get A Horse!" Just so you know, this never-before-seen short is making its world debut at the Annecy Animation Festival in Annecy, France. And to quote the WDAS press release that I received earlier this morning, "Get A Horse!" stars ... ... the one and only Mickey Mouse and featuring Walt Disney himself as the voice of the iconic character. This black-and-white, hand-drawn short follows Mickey, his favorite...
  • Jim Hill

    "Building Tall" reveals the challenges that Tishman Realty & Construction faced while building EPCOT Center

    • 2 Comments
    Since sinkholes are back in the news again in Central Florida , Hungry Howie was inspired to drop me a line earlier today to ask about the sinkhole that almost swallowed EPCOT Center back during the construction of that theme park: For years now, I've been hearing stories about EPCOT's sinkhole. Where exactly was this thing located? Is it still there? Was Disney able to stabilize this thing or is it someday going to swallow that theme park? To get a definitive answer to your question, I grabbed...
  • Jim Hill

    Huffington Post -- SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment bets big on Aquatica San Diego

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    It's Texas Hold 'em time among Southern California's top tier tourist attractions. Disneyland Park kicked off the latest round of theme park poker earlier this year when it opened Fantasy Faire (a mini-land which celebrates the Disney Princesses ) as well as by premiering its new " Mickey and the Magical Map " stage show. Then Knott's Berry Farm upped the ante by expanding its Boardwalk area with three new rides in addition to unveiling its newly enhanced Timber Mountain...
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