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

November, 2013

  • Jim Hill

    There were lots of tiny tots with their eyes all a-glow at Sesame Place's "A Very Furry Christmas"

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    SuperGrover22 wrote in yesterday with a Why For question: Copyright Ballantine Books. All rights reserved I just finished reading your review of Brian Jay Jones ' " Jim Henson: The Biography ." Can you please explain why Michael Eisner seemed so eager to get his hands on the Sesame Street Muppets? Disney had all of its own characters plus it was about to acquire all of the classic Muppets. Wasn't that enough? Why For did Eisner keep trying to persuade Henson to hand over the Sesame...
  • Jim Hill

    What role did Great Wolf Lodge play in the development of MagicBands for Walt Disney World?

    • 4 Comments
    Pauline S. dropped me a note the other day to ask: I've read lots of stories lately about all the testing that's being done at Disney World for MagicBands . And while there's been a lot written online about how everyone's WDW vacation experience will supposedly be changed forever once the entire resort is wired into this system, I have yet to hear anything about where the idea behind MagicBands actually came from. Do you know why Disney decided to implement this system in Orlando...
  • Jim Hill

    Huffington Post -- This "Little Mermaid" has legs: Disney Legend Jodi Benson looks back on 25 years of voicing the character of Ariel

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    It's often been said that good things come to those who wait. But no one knows that axiom better than voice actor Jodi Benson . Who had to wait a full year after handing in her " Little Mermaid " audition tape before Jodi then learned that she had won the role of a lifetime. The Lunt-Fontanne Theatre on the Fall of 1986 "Back in the Fall of 1986, I was appearing in ' Smile ,' a Broadway musical that Howard Ashman had written with Marvin Hamlisch . Given that Howard and...
  • Jim Hill

    Huffington Post -- Theme entertainment professionals "Go Go" to Orlando for IAAPA's Attractions Expo

    • 1 Comments
    So how exactly do theme park attractions get created? Well, if you're talking about the rides & shows found at the Disney Parks , those are mostly the work of Walt's fabled Imagineers. Or if you're talking about The Wizarding World of Harry Potter (which -- even as you read this -- is expanding beyond Islands of Adventure 's borders over into Universal Studios Florida ), that impressive project was shepherded by the small-but-mighty team at Universal Creative . But what about...
  • Jim Hill

    Remembering Diane Disney Miller (1933 - 2013)

    • 5 Comments
    If you're looking for someone to thank for two of Walt Disney's greatest triumphs -- Disneyland Park and " Mary Poppins " -- take a moment right now to think about the late Diane Disney Miller . Miller -- who passed away earlier today following complications from a fall -- played a key role in both of these projects. When quizzed about how the Happiest Place on Earth came into being, Walt was quick to share the story of how ... ... Disneyland really began when my two daughters were...
  • Jim Hill

    Huffington Post -- In honor of Mickey's 85th anniversary, check out this clip from Walt Disney Animation Studios newest short, "Get A Horse!"

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    Even though today is Mickey Mouse's 85th anniversary, this Disney icon looks like he hasn't aged a day. Especially if you watch this classic cartoon character capering in his newest ground-breaking theatrical short, " Get A Horse! " As you can see by the clip which accompanies today's article (which is a special anniversary present that Walt Disney Animation Studios is sharing with JHM & Huffington Post readers), the opening section of "Get A Horse!" deliberately...
  • Jim Hill

    Jingle Cruise is a bungle in the jungle, thanks -- in large part -- to the way this new holiday overlay has been promoted

    • 19 Comments
    So where exactly -- in the great holiday scheme of things -- does Disneyland Park 's latest attempt at a seasonal overlay fall? Is the Jingle Cruise that Xmas gift which you've always dreamed of getting or more of an itchy sweater? Changing a single letter makes a really big difference at this Adventureland attraction. Photo by Jim Hill To be blunt, this holiday overlay is kind of a half-baked fruitcake. By that I mean: The creative concept behind the Jingle Cruise itself is sound. And the...
  • Jim Hill

    Tim Gunn is having a royal ball voicing Baileywick on Disney Junior's hit series, "Sofia the First"

    • 1 Comments
    Given that Disney Junior 's " Sofia the First " is supposedly set in this fantasy world filled with costumed balls & formal ceremonies, it only made sense that Enchancia's newest princess (who -- prior to her mother marrying King Roland -- had just been a regular kid, the daughter of the kingdom's shoemaker) would really need some help when it came to deciding which gown to wear for what occasion. "And since there was always going to be this aspect of 'Sofia the...
  • Jim Hill

    "Jim Henson: The Biography" takes you behind-the-scenes during Disney's first attempt to acquire the Muppets

    • 3 Comments
    So when Jim Henson finally signed the Muppets over to The Walt Disney Company, where exactly did the deal go down? New York City? London? LA? Nope. According to Brian Jay Jones , the author of " Jim Henson: The Biography " ( Ballantine Books , September 2013), this fateful meeting actually happened in Lake Buena Vista, FL. on August 24, 1989. Where ... Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved ... just after dark, Jim and the three Disney chiefs headed to the Portobello Yacht...
  • Jim Hill

    Marvel Studios' "Thor: The Dark World" is the sort of sequel that you wish Hollywood would serve up more often

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    You'd think that -- given that this Walt Disney Pictures release is built around a beefy Marvel superhero who wields an enormous hammer -- that " Thor: The Dark World " would be muscle-bound and plodding. But looks can be deceiving sometimes. For this sequel to 2011's " Thor " & 2012's " Marvel's The Avengers " is surprisingly light on its feet. Copyright 2013 Marvel. All rights reserved Director Alan Taylor (who's probably best known these days...
  • Jim Hill

    Winter comes early to NYC as the Times Square Disney Store gets "Frozen" over

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    Employees of the Times Square Disney Store were somewhat surprised when they came into work on Tuesday morning. Overnight, the exterior of this store had taken on an icy blue hue. Photo by Nancy Stadler And who's that just inside the entrance, greeting customers as they walk in off of Times Square ? Photo by Jim Hill Why, it's Olaf , the snowman character from Disney "Frozen." And even though we're still officially three weeks out from when this new Walt Disney Animation Studios...
  • Jim Hill

    Huffington Post -- How SeaWorld keeps the body clocks of its Antarctic penguins on South Pole Time

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    You know that out-of-sync feeling you have for those first few days after Daylight Savings Time? Where your internal body clock is telling you that it's one time while the light levels outside are telling you that it's an entirely different time? Well, then imagine how tough it must be to be an Antarctic penguin on display in Orlando. Where -- because you're now living in the Northern Hemisphere rather than the Southern -- you're a full six months out-of-sync. And because the light...
  • Jim Hill

    Monday Mouse Watch: How the team behind Disney's "Get A Horse!" uses breakthrough technology to create the look of a 1928 short

    • 1 Comments
    When a forger is trying to make a document look older than it actually is, they'll sometimes use tea or tobacco to stain the paper that this item is printed on. And when a furniture maker is trying to make a table or a dresser look like an authentic antique, they'll sometimes beat on that item with a length of chain in order to weather the wood. But when it comes to making a brand-new animated shot look as though it had been produced 85 years ago ... Well, no one in Hollywood had ever done...
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