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

  • Jim Hill

    Seward Johnson bronzes add a surreal, artistic touch to NYC's Garment District

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    Greetings from NYC. Nancy and I drove down from New Hampshire yesterday because we'll be checking out Disney Consumer Products ' annual Holiday Showcase later today. Anyway ... After checking into our hotel (i.e., The Paul . Which is located down in NYC's NoMad district), we decided to grab some dinner. Which is how we wound up at the Melt Shop . Photo by Jim Hill Which is this restaurant that only sells grilled cheese sandwiches. This comfort food was delicious, but kind of on the heavy...
  • Jim Hill

    James Earl Jones returns to voice Darth Vader as "Star Wars Rebels" begins its second season on Disney XD

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    Do you remember how big, strong & scary Darth Vader was in " Star Wars IV: A New Hope " ? Well, that version of this Dark Lord of the Sith -- back when Vader was at the very height of his powers -- will be front & center as " Star Wars Rebels " begins its second season on Disney XD this Saturday, June 20th at 9:00 p.m. (ET/PT). Copyright Lucasfilm / Disney. All rights reserved Better yet, to make sure Darth sounds exactly he did in the original " Star Wars "...
  • Jim Hill

    Phineas and Ferb finale, "Last Day of Summer," may not be as final as we think

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    In Stephen Sondheim's " Merrily We Roll Along " (which is this wonderful if flawed musical about friendship & show business), there's this particular line of dialogue that talks about the importance of a properly timed exit. It states that ... "You know what true greatness is? It's knowing when to get off." Well, tonight -- after 126 episodes, five one-hour specials, and a Disney Channel Original movie -- " Phineas and Ferb " are heading for the exit...
  • Jim Hill

    Wondering what you should "Boldly Go" see at the movies next year? The 2015 Licensing Expo offers you some clues

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    Greeting from the 2015 Licensing Expo , which is being held at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas. Photo by Jim Hill I have to admit that I enjoy covering the Licensing Expo. Mostly becomes it allows bloggers & entertainment writers like myself to get a peek over the horizon. Scope out some of the major motion pictures & TV shows that today's vertically integrated entertainment conglomerates (Remember when these companies used to be called movie studios?) will be sending...
  • Jim Hill

    It takes more than three circles to craft a Classic version of Mickey Mouse

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    You know what Mickey Mouse looks like, right? Little guy, big ears? Truth be told, Disney's corporate symbol has a lot of different looks. If Mickey's interacting with Guests at Disneyland Park (especially this summer, when the Happiest Place on Earth is celebrating its 60th anniversary ), he looks & dresses like this. Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved Or when he's appearing in one of those Emmy Award-winning shorts that Disney Television Animation has produced...
  • Jim Hill

    When did the Imagineers first dream of bringing a Marvel character into a Disney theme park?

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    Given that the highly anticipated "Iron Man Experience" won't actually open at Hong Kong Disneyland 'til the Fall of 2016 ... Copyright Marvel / Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved ... I thought that it might be interesting to look back at how the Marvel movies and characters first began filtering into the Disney theme parks and resort. Because it didn't happen overnight, folks. Though The Walt Disney Company acquired Marvel Entertainment for $4 billion in the latter...
  • Jim Hill

    Rapunzel & Flynn Rider's adventures continue with "Tangled" animated series, which debuts on the Disney Channel in 2017

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    Given that Disney Theatrical has a "Frozen" musical in the works AND Walt Disney Animation Studios is already working on "Frozen 2" AND a "Frozen" ride will be opening at Epcot early next year, it's easy nowadays to forget that there was actually a CG Disney Princess which preceded Anna & Elsa. And that's Rapunzel of "Tangled" fame. In fact, to hear some Disney insiders talk, if "Tangled" hadn't been as successful as it was when this...
  • Jim Hill

    The Disneyland That Might Have Been: Mickey Mouse Club, Treasure Island & Lilliputian Land

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    Given that Disneyland Park kicked off its 60th anniversary celebration last month, I thought it might be fun to take a look at some aspects of the Happiest Place on Earth that didn't make it off the drawing boarding. Take -- for example -- the Mickey Mouse Club. 1953 site plan for Disneyland Park, showing Walt originally envisioned all of the "lands" at his theme park being placed. Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved According to the "Inside Disneyland"...
  • Jim Hill

    Items up for bid at today's Rick Baker auction include development art from "Captain Eo" and Disney's never-produced live-action "Gargoyles" movie

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    I apologize for the extremely short notice here. But if you're a fan of modern film fantasy and live in the Los Angeles area, you need to get in your car NOW and immediately drive to the Hilton Universal City . Why For? Prop Store (the "Ultimate Movie Collectables" folks) are riding herd on an auction of over 400 items from Rick Baker 's Cinovation Studios. And that auction gets underway in the Hilton Universal City's convention space at 11 a.m. Pacific Time TODAY . Copyright...
  • Jim Hill

    Universal Orlando Resort announces Volcano Bay, the world's first water theme park

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    For the past six months or so, guests staying at Universal's Cabana Bay Beach Resort have been looking their windows and watching as a mysterious mound of dirt grew ... Universal's Volcano Bay construction site in December of 2014. Photo by Jim Hill ... and grew. Universal's Volcano Bay construction site in February 2015. Photo by Jim Hill And when Universal Orlando officials were quizzed about what the Resort was building on this triangular piece of property (which is bounded by I-4...
  • Jim Hill

    It's the details that really make "Disney Paint the Night," Disneyland Park's all-new electrical parade

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    Greetings from the Happiest Place on Earth, where the Disneyland Resort is kicking off its Diamond Celebration . Last night was the media premiere of " Disney Paint the Night ," which is the all-new Electrical Parade that Walt Disney Parks & Resorts Creative Entertainment whipped up for Disneyland Park 's 60th anniversary celebration. Photo by Michelle Valladolid Three years in making, "Paint the Night" is full of fun nods to previous Disney theme park parades. Take -...
  • Jim Hill

    Disneyland's new magic program allows some of Walt's oldest dreams for his theme park to finally come true

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    This past weekend, theme park fans around the globe collectively lost their minds as images of the Hatbox Ghost began to pop up online. The modern era Hatbox Ghost made his debut in Disneyland's Haunted Mansion this past Saturday. Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved "And what's the big deal with the Hatbox Ghost?," you ask. Well, you have to understand this gruesome ghoul was originally supposed to have been one of the 999 happy haunts that Disneyland Guests would...
  • Jim Hill

    The end is near! Phineas and Ferb "Last Day of Summer" to air on Disney XD June 12th

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    Well, you can't say that Dan Povenmire & Jeff "Swampy" Marsh -- the creators of the Emmy Award-winning "Phineas and Ferb" - didn't warn us that this day was coming. I mean, the first line of the title song for this acclaimed animated series flatly states that ... There's 104 days of summer vacation And school comes along just to end it Copyright Disney XD. All rights reserved After 126 episodes, five one-hour specials and a record-breaking Disney Channel Original...
  • Jim Hill

    Universal Orlando's "Skull Island: Reign of Kong" promises thrilling multi-experiential adventure through King Kong's domain

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    For almost 40 years now, there have been King Kong-themed attractions at the Universal theme parks. Whether it was the King Kong Encounter which was added to Universal Studios Hollywood 's tram tour back in 1986 ... Copyright Universal Studios Hollywood. All rights reserved ... or the King Kongfrontation ride, which was one of the opening day attractions at the Universal Studios Florida ... Copyright Universal Studios Florida. All rights reserved ... Kong has always been a big part of the thrills...
  • Jim Hill

    Universal Orlando's Lora Wallace is always at least one holiday ahead

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    You know the old saying -- "April showers bring May flowers" -- right? Well, that's not how Lora Wallace -- who works as a show director for Universal Orlando Resort -- looks at her calendar. Copyright Universal Orlando Resort. All rights reserved "You have to understand that -- here at Universal Orlando -- we prep for Halloween Horror Nights year 'round," Wallace explained. "We had our first meeting for the 2015 edition of Horror Nights three weeks before the 2014...
  • Jim Hill

    It takes more than movie magic to pull off "Disney Night" on ABC's "Dancing with the Stars"

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    So how long does it take to add some Disney magic to " Dancing with the Stars " ? Would you believe 9 months? "That's actually how long we've been having meetings about 'Disney Night,' which is the theme of this week's show," explained Rob Wade , the executive producer of this long-running ABC series. "But you have to understand that -- when you're building an episode of ' Dancing with the Stars' around Disney -- you've got this huge assortment...
  • Jim Hill

    Kermit & Co. spontaneously converse with small kids on Disney Junior's new "Muppet Moments" shorts

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    To hear Nancy Kanter tell the story, it was her favorite part of working on " Sesame Street ." Being able to walk down to the stage while scenes with the Muppets were being shot and then listening in as the younger members of that show's cast interacted with those much-beloved characters. "Those pieces when -- whether it was Kermit or Grover -- you saw a kid interact with the Muppets, they've always been one of my favorites because they are so genuine," Kanter recalled...
  • Jim Hill

    "Frozen" fun spreading to three of Walt Disney World's theme parks

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    Given that Anna & Elsa moved from their super-popular Epcot meet-n-greet over to the Magic Kingdom 's Princess Fairytale Hall back on Easter Sunday 2014 ... I thought that, just ahead of Easter 2015, it might now be time to give JHM readers the " Frozen " forecast. Give you an update on all of the rides, shows and attractions that are tied to this Academy Award-winning Walt Disney Animation Studios production that are now in the works for the Walt Disney World Resort . Work continues...
  • Jim Hill

    Eden Sher voices Disney's first kick-butt princess for "Star vs. the Forces of Evil"

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    By her own admission, Eden Sher lives in an almost perpetual state of hyperbole. "That's why I always have to try and keep myself in check," this 24 year-old actress admitted during a recent phone interview. "Otherwise -- whenever anyone asks me what I'm working on now -- my automatic response is that it's ' ... THE BEST THING EVER!' " Mind you, it's easy to understand why this Critics' Choice winner (Sher took home the Television Award for Best Comedy...
  • Jim Hill

    Turner Classic Film Festival celebrates all aspects of Hollywood history

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    When it comes to the world of film, how exactly does one define a classic? Turner Classic Movies. All rights reserved "For some, it's that movie they grew up which they now want to share with their kids. For others, it's films that were made under the studio system back during the Golden Age of Hollywood," said Genevieve McGillicuddy -- the managing director of the Turner Classic Film Festival -- during a recent phone interview. "Here at TCM, our thinking is that there is no...
  • Jim Hill

    "Miles from Tomorrowland" is getting Disney Junior viewers excited about the science that powers space flight

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    So how does Sascha Paladino -- the creator and exec producer of Disney Junior 's " Miles from Tomorrowland " -- measure the amount of time & energy that he's poured into the development of this popular new animated series? Oddly enough, Sascha doesn't use miles as his unit of measure. But -- rather -- the ages of his twin boys. "Back when I first pitched 'Miles' to Disney Channel executives, my sons were only three months old," Paladino recalled during...
  • Jim Hill

    Construction continues on Pandora: The Land of Avatar and "Rivers of Light" at Disney's Animal Kingdom theme park

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    Given that -- late last month -- Disney Parks & Resorts released that shot of the model of Pandora's floating mountains ... Copyright Twentieth Century Fox Film Coporation / Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved ... I thought that it might be time to check out how far along construction has actually gotten on Disney's Animal Kingdom 's new land-of-AVATAR. So after driving on over to Animal Kingdom Lodge and then hopping on a bus for DAK, I soon found myself rolling past the...
  • Jim Hill

    Is "Gravity Falls" Grunkle Stan "Not What He Seems" ? Disney XD episode answers big questions tonight

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    It's a question that has been nagging at " Gravity Falls " viewers ever since this Emmy Award-winning series first debuted on the Disney Channel back in June of 2012: What is the deal with Grunkle Stan? I mean, sure. There's a lot that fans of this Emmy Award-winning animated series already know about Stan Pines. That he loves fleecing the rubes ... I mean "customers" who come by the Mystery Shack, that tumbledown roadside attraction which Pines runs. And while he may...
  • Jim Hill

    New animated series based on "DuckTales" will launch on Disney XD in 2017

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    After a winter full of record snowfalls & bitter cold, here's a weather report that's sure to please all of you Disney Afternoon fans out there: Life is about to get "like a hurricane" again in Duckburg. Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved Yep. An all-new "DuckTales," an animated comedy series based on the Emmy Award-winning series treasured by a generation of viewers, has been ordered for launch in 2017 on Disney XD channels around the world. Set...
  • Jim Hill

    When Woody met Mickey: The day Universal's walk-around characters almost stormed WDW's Magic Kingdom

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    Picture -- if you will -- a WDW Security Officer in her vehicle, frantically waving her arm and honking her horn, trying to stop a caravan of Universal characters as they sped past the toll booths on World Drive and then made their way to the Ticket and Transportation Center. That sounds like something out of a bad sitcom, right? Well, this unlikely event actually happened back on May 21, 1987. Back when the folks at MCA Inc. were looking to send Mickey a message that Disney's then-recently announced...
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