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

May, 2014

  • Jim Hill

    Seven Dwarfs Mine Train literally puts a new face on the Disney theme park experience

    When it comes to the Walt Disney Parks & Resorts , it's kind of a tradition that good enough isn't really good enough. Case in point: " Pirates of the Caribbean ." When Walt Disney first envisioned bringing buccaneers into his first theme park in the late 1950s, he was thinking more of a walk-through attraction. A place where Disneyland Guests would first descend from street level in New Orleans Square and then stroll past this elaborately-themed dungeon which was to be filled...
  • Jim Hill

    Remembering when Ronald Reagan came to EPCOT Center to see the President's Inaugural Bands Parade

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    After having dealt with those record low temperatures that this past Winter's Polar Vortex whipped up, I have to admit that I am genuinely enjoying this year's belated (but much appreciated) Spring. But that said, I recognize that late 2013 / early 2014 wasn't the only time that things got really, really cold here in the US. One other time that immediately comes to mind is January 21, 1985. Which is when things got so cold in Washington D.C. that then-President Ronald Reagan was forced...
  • Jim Hill

    How is LEGOLAND becoming Florida's new must-see attraction? One brick at a time

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    Back when our grandparents used to visit the Sunshine State, there was always one place that they had to visit. And that was Cypress Gardens in Winter Haven, Florida . Started back in 1936 by Dick Pope Sr. and his wife Julie, this 170-acre park quickly became world-famous for its lush botanical gardens & elaborate water skiing shows. But with the opening of Walt Disney World in 1971, the center of gravity for Florida tourism suddenly shifted over to Orlando. And with fewer & fewer folks now...
  • Jim Hill

    Why not watch Pixar's latest short, "Radiator Springs 500 1/2," from the road this weekend with Disney Movies Anywhere?

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    Given that the Memorial Day Weekend is traditionally when Americans take their first road trip of the year, it's entirely appropriate that Disney Movies Anywhere has just rolled out a brand-new " Cars " short, "Radiator Springs 500 1/2." Copyright Disney Pixar. All rights reserved This film is the first in a brand-new series of Car Toons from Disney*Pixar, "Tales from Radiator Springs." And when I asked Rob Gibbs -- the director of "Radiator Springs 500 1/2"...
  • Jim Hill

    Teaser trailer for Disney's next animated feature, "Big Hero 6," will debut on Yahoo Movies tomorrow at 9 a.m. Pacific Time

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    So how do you follow Disney "Frozen," the top grossing animated film of all time ? That Academy Award-winning motion picture which then went on became a pop culture phenomenon ? The movie that taught people around the planet to "Let It Go" ? The quick answer is: You don't. Borrowing a page from Walt himself (i.e. " You can't top pigs with pigs "), Disney decided go in a very different direction with its "Frozen" follow-up. Which is why -- much in the...
  • Jim Hill

    Want to preview the original cast recording of Disney "Aladdin" ? Then head on over to EW & BuzzFeed

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    For those who are keeping tabs on these things ... Nancy and I are now in Week 1235 of dealing with the cold-that-won't-quit. So our mornings are spent snuffling. Our afternoons are spent hacking. And as for our evenings ... Well, they're mostly spent cleaning up after all of that snuffling & hacking. In the entire 55 years I've been on this planet, I've never honestly been this sick for this long. And given that all of this coughing & wheezing has completely fried my voice...
  • Jim Hill

    James Monroe Iglehart, the Genie from Disney's new Broadway musical version of "Aladdin," recalls the phone call that changed his life

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    2012 is not a year that James Monroe Iglehart looks back fondly upon. Mostly because he spent a lot of that year staring at his phone, waiting for it to ring. Adam Jacobs and James Monroe Inglehart in the 5th Avenue Theatre's 2011 production of Disney "Aladdin." "We had done the pilot production of 'Aladdin' in Seattle at the 5th Avenue Theatre in July of 2011. And then the powers-that-be at Disney went off to decide if they really want to bring this show to Broadway,"...
  • Jim Hill

    Disney's decades-long quest to turn "Don Quixote" into a full-length animated feature

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    " To dream the impossible dream ... " That's the first line from the hit song from " Man of La Mancha ." Which was the stage musical adaptation of Miguel de Cervantes ' seventeenth century masterpiece, " Don Quixote ." Image courtesy of S/R Laboratories Animation Art Conservation Center But in a weird sort of way, that line also describes Walt Disney Studios' attitude toward Cervantes's spoof of chivalry. You see, the Mouse tried four separate times to...
  • Jim Hill

    Remembering "Monster Planet of Godzilla," that theme park attraction which put you toe-to-toe with the Tokyo terror

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    You know it's going to happen, don't you? Given that " Godzilla " has been projected to earn as much as $75 million over its opening weekend , you can bet that -- come Monday morning -- some theme park fan, as they're telling their friends & family about this Legendary Pictures production, will then say "Wow! Wouldn't be great if someone built a Godzilla ride?" Well, as it turns out, 20 years ago, someone did actually did build a "King of the Monsters"...
  • Jim Hill

    Harry Potter cast members reunite to shoot new scenes for Universal Orlando's "Escape from Gringotts" thrill ride

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    Let's cut to the chase here: " Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts " (i.e. the feature attraction for Diagon Alley , that new Harry Potter-themed land which will be opening at Universal Studios Florida later this summer) isn't just a thrill ride. It's really " Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2.1 " According to Thierry Coup , the Senior Vice President of Universal Creative (i.e., the arm of Universal Parks & Resorts that designs all of the rides...
  • Jim Hill

    "Once Upon a Time," Disney wasn't always so careful when it came to the licensing of the Company's characters

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    I'm sure -- by now -- that you're heard that " Once Upon a Time " teased that Elsa from Disney "Frozen" will be coming to Storybrooke for Season 4 of this hit ABC series. Copyright American Broadcasting Companies, Inc. All rights reserved Now some of you out there (I'm sure ) will see this as a naked cash grab. The Mouse finding yet another way to make money off of this mega-hit Walt Disney Animation Studios release. But that's really not what happened here. As...
  • Jim Hill

    Storyboards reveal what Marvin Acme's funeral in "Who Framed Roger Rabbit" would have looked like

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    So when your winter cold (which wouldn't let go) becomes a spring cold (that just won't go away) suddenly mutates into the Black Plague ... Well, it's then finally time to do something. That -- in a nutshell -- is what happened here at JHM. Nancy and I have been trading the same cold back & forth since late February / early March. And in the middle of a work week that featured some pretty amazing professional opportunities (i.e., being allowed to cover this year's Actors Fund...
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