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  • 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: WDI's X-Scream Makeover of WDW's Haunted Mansion: Part 2

    Picking up where we left off yesterday ... Audio is obviously an important component of the Haunted Mansion . Yet how many times have you been on this Magic Kingdom favorite and had your ride-thru ruined because the attraction's soundtrack was playing intermittently? Where one moment you'd hear Paul...
  • Blog Post: WDI's X-Scream Makeover of WDW's Haunted Mansion: Part 1

    Plussing . It's a practice at the Disney theme parks that reportedly dates back to the late 1950s. When Walt -- while he was visiting Disneyland one weekend -- supposedly overheard a mother tell her child: "We don't have to go on the Jungle Cruise again. We saw that ride the last time we visited this...
  • Blog Post: How Mickey Mouse almost got to play Christopher Columbus

    How are you supposed to celebrate Columbus Day anyway? I mean, I suppose -- if Walt Disney Animation Studios had actually completed that Mickey Mouse featurette back in the early 1990s (You know? That half-hour-long film in which the world's most famous mouse was supposed to have portrayed Christoper...
  • Blog Post: Why For were there so few stories on JHM this week?

    I got a lot of e-mail this week similar to this note from Leonard S. Which says: Jim, Only four articles last week. Now only two articles this week. That's not the Jim Hill I know. The guy who posts five articles every week, even over the holidays. You feeling alright, Jim? Trouble at home? If not, what...
  • Blog Post: Monday Mouse Watch: Is Mickey really getting ready to take on Chuck E. Cheese?

    It's been said that "Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery." Well, in the Walt Disney Company's case, imitation is also often a great way to start a lucrative new business line. Take, for example, that Tote a Tail line of plush that the Mouse introduced at the parks 8 months back. Which -- obviously...
  • Blog Post: Monday Mouse Watch : Down Under Disney Style

    Now that the Walt Disney Company has grown comfortable with the idea of allowing outside firms to operate eateries inside of its theme parks (Witness the Tutto Italia Ristorante that the Patina Group just opened in the exact same space that Epcot 's L'Originale Alfredo di Roma Ristorante used to occupy...
  • Blog Post: Why For aren't there more countries in Epcot's World Showcase area?

    Kathy T. writes in to say: In honor of the upcoming 25th anniversary of Epcot , I was wondering if you could share some stories about how that theme park actually came into being. Well, one part of the Epcot Center story that has (in my opinion, anyway) been woefully under-reported was all the wheeling...
  • Blog Post: Why For the Muppets didn't make it into Tokyo DisneySea

    Hirota K. of Yokohoma writes in to say Dear Mr. Hill -- I have been greatly enjoying your recent articles about Disney theme park attractions that were never built. Could you please share some stories about rides that were proposed but never built for my favorite theme park, Tokyo DisneySea ? Thank you...
  • Blog Post: What was it like to be at Disneyland and/or Walt Disney World six years ago today?

    When people usually talk about what happened on 9/11, the focus (for obvious reasons) is on New York City, Washington D.C. and that field just outside of Shanksville, PA. But -- that said -- it's also important to remember what happened immediately after those four planes crashed. That sudden surge...
  • Blog Post: Another Kingdom That Never Came: Disneyland expansion plans circa 1976

    Mike P. wrote in yesterday to say: I loved last week's "Why For " about all the pavilions and attractions that were planned for Epcot and Disney World but ultimately never built. But what about Disneyland ? Do you have any information about rides, shows and attractions that were proposed for the Disney...
  • Blog Post: Remembering Epcot Center's very first visitors

    25 years ago today, several thousand construction workers and their family members got a special treat. Over that long-ago holiday weekend, they became the very first folks to visit Epcot Center . Copyright 1982 Walt Disney Productions. All Rights Reserved Of course, one might argue that these construction...
  • Blog Post: The Kingdom That Never Came : Disney World expansion plans circa June of 1982

    This is one of these stories that I'm sure is going to depress a certain portion of JHM readers. Mostly because it gives a glimpse of what might have been at Walt Disney World . Particularly if Ron Miller had remained in power at the Mouse House. Anyway ... The following is a transcript of an article...
  • Blog Post: Are George Lucas and the Walt Disney Company getting ready to expand their (Rebel) Alliance

    Roger A. writes in to ask: Jim, Bravo on your two recent articles on the Disney-MGM name change . After hearing the news, I was thrilled to find your very-informative articles on the subject. One thing you mentioned really intrigued me, and begs for more info: "We'll have to wait 'til "Disney's Hollywood...
  • Blog Post: Monday Mouse Watch : The reel / real story behind Disney-MGM Studios' upcoming name change

    Were you surprised by the rather generic-sounding new name that the Walt Disney Company saddled Disney-MGM with last week? Well, you weren't the only one. Many of the Mouse House managers that I spoke with over this past weekend were really taken aback by the studio theme park's new moniker. As one Disney...
  • Blog Post: A special "What's in a name" edition of Why For

    First up, Michael R. writes in to ask: I was wondering if there was any specific reason why there has not been a release of the " Disney-MGM Studios " version of (the " Imagineering Field Guide ") series? They've released books for the other three parks and I understand now they're working on the CA...
  • Blog Post: Confused about what the Walt Disney Company wants to do next in Anaheim? Then maybe it's time to take a second look at thirdthemepark.com

    Earlier this week, Jill T. wrote in to say: According to today's Los Angeles Times , the Walt Disney Company and SunCal have failed to reach a compromise on that big housing project. So now we're back to Disney pushing the Anaheim City Council to get this zoning issue put on the November ballot. What...
  • Blog Post: Third edition of "Hidden Mickeys" field guide is three times the fun

    Notice anything unusual about those bundles of nerves that you see up there on the "Body Wars" sign? Photo courtesy of Jeff Lange Does anything (or should I say any one ) look familiar? Photo courtesy of Jeff Lange Yep. That's Mickey Mouse. Right in the center of the above photo. Directly above the blue...
  • Blog Post: "Walt's People -- Volume 5" is an entertaining addition to this ongoing Disney history series

    If you've been reading JHM for a while now, you already know that I'm a very big fan of Didier Ghez 's "Walt's People" books . So -- that said -- is it really all that big a surprise that I enjoyed reading " Volume 5 " of this ongoing series. Mind you, at 443 pages in length, this paperback is the heftiest...
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