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  • Blog Post: Why Clint Eastwood was a last minute addition to Disney-MGM's "Great Movie Ride"

    Greetings from the woods of Northern Georgia. Nancy and I are still down in this neck-of-the-woods. Her Dad's funeral was on Monday, so we're still in the process of dealing with a lot of family obligations. And given that my laptop went belly-up on Super Bowl Sunday ... Well, filing new stories...
  • Blog Post: Between working with WDI and a new stage show, 2010 was loaded with "Great Moments" for John Tartaglia

    What's the weirdest place you ever got a job offer? Because I bet John Tartaglia has you beat. Let me set the scene for you. It's September of 2009. And the star of " Johnny and the Sprites " - having a fun few days exploring & experiencing the inaugural D23 Expo - was over at Disneyland...
  • Blog Post: Figuring out what was wrong with Disney's original Abraham Lincoln AA figure

    Back in the late 1950s, when Corky Wilds was working for Mitchell Camera Corporation , he'd make the trek from his home in North Hollywood out to Glendale. "This was before the highway got built. So the only way to get to Mitchell Camera's offices in Glendale was to drive up Riverside Drive...
  • Blog Post: Marvelous Mechanized Magic Kingdom event to look back at the history of Audio-Animatronics

    "This is the latest thing we've done ... Audio-Animatronics," Walt (Disney) said. "We are using the new types of valves and controls developed for rockets. That way we can get extremely subtle motions." "About that word," I said, "Audio-Animatronics." "It's...
  • Blog Post: Keep an eagle eye out for The Haunted Mansion’s Hatbox Ghost

    While I was out at Comic-Con last month, I was slipped a preview copy of the Fall 2009 issue of Disney twenty-three magazine . Which features a terrific cover story, “Celebrating 40 years of Frights & Delights at Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion.” Copyright 2009 Disney. All Rights Reserved This 10 page...
  • Blog Post: Arrrr you ready for an all-Pirates edition of Why For?

    R. Noble writes in to ask: Jim – I just read your article about Disney’s decision not to go forward with that “Pirates of the Caribbean” character dining experience at the Magic Kingdom . That is very disappointing news for me personally. My kids are obsessed with Disney's “Pirates” movies as well as...
  • Blog Post: Does WDI plan on gagging our next Commander-in-Chief as part of the 2009 redo of WDW's "Hall of Presidents" ?

    While some of us are obsessing about the impact that today's primaries may have on the upcoming presidential race ... The Imagineers are already looking ahead. Nine months ahead, to be exact. To that period immediately after the U.S. has selected its next Commander-in-Chief. Which means that it will...
  • Blog Post: WDI's X-Scream Makeover of WDW's Haunted Mansion: Part 5

    Picking up where we left off ... As our Doom Buggy exits the Attic, it then descends into the Graveyard. Where diehard fans of Walt Disney World 's version of the The Haunted Mansion will notice that something 's different about this portion on the attraction. But -- that said -- they'll probably have...
  • Blog Post: WDI's X-Scream Makeover of WDW's Haunted Mansion: Part 4

    Picking up where we left off ... By now, I'm sure that you've all heard about the neat effect that's just been installed in Walt Disney World 's version of the The Haunted Mansion . Where Madam Leota's head now magically floats above the table, calling " ... in the spirits, wherever they're at." Of course...
  • Blog Post: WDI's X-Scream Makeover of WDW's Haunted Mansion: Part 3

    Picking up where we left off on Tuesday ... I know that this is going to sound a bit bizarre. Particularly given that -- back in 1955 -- Walt Disney built an entire theme park for just $17 million . But $30 million doesn't go as far as you might think these days. Which is why WDI really had to pick...
  • Blog Post: Why "Western River" Went South -- Part 3

    OUR STORY SO FAR: Roy Disney had officially put the word out. He wanted the Imagineers to come with attractions for Walt Disney World that would blow the doors off of anything the company has built in Disneyland. Master Imagineer Marc Davis was glad to hear this, for - having just completed the original...
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