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  • Jim Hill

    Texan with Big Dreams + Big Apple = Big Trouble

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    Learn how Six Flags theme park legend Angus Wynne Jr. bet big and lost big at the 1964 / 1965 NEW YORK WORLD'S FAIR. Jim Hill explores the myths and legends that surround the story of the ill-fated Texas Pavilions.

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  • Jim Hill

    Better In Japan : Tokyo Disneyland gets one honey of a ride

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    Why WDI's best rides and shows aren't going into Disney's stateside theme parks.

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  • Jim Hill

    Why "Western River" Went South -- Part 1

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    On Saturday May 20th, 1,400 Disneyland fans will gather in New Orleans Square to take part in the special ticketed "Celebrating the Pirates of the Caribbean" event. These folks will have paid $85 apiece for the privilege of paying tribute to what many call the greatest theme park ride ever created. As part of the evening's festivities, these guests can attend a panel discussion featuring many of the folks who helped create this legendary attraction. These Imagineers are sure to reveal many never...
  • Jim Hill

    Why "Western River" Went South -- Part 2

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    OUR STORY SO FAR: Master Imagineer Marc Davis was hoping to build on the lessons WED had learned while creating Disneyland's "Pirates of the Caribbean." But - for a while there in 1967 - it looked like the Imagineers wouldn't get the chance to build any new attractions, as Roy O. Disney toyed with the idea of selling the company off to the Westinghouse Corporation. Eventually, Roy came to his senses and declared that Walt Disney Productions was not for sale. He also announced that the company *WOULD...
  • Jim Hill

    Why "Western River" Went South -- Part 4

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    OUR STORY SO FAR: In 1969, Master Imagineer Marc Davis convinced Roy Disney and WED head Richard Irvine to take on the most ambitious theme park attraction Walt Disney Productions would ever attempt to produce. "Western River Expedition" - a comical journey through the old West - would have made use of every trick Imagineering had in its book. The ride would feature dozens of audio animatronic figures as well as eye-popping special effects. To top it all off, "WRE" would be housed in the largest...
  • Jim Hill

    Why "Western River" Went South -- Part 5

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    OUR STORY SO FAR: Roy Disney personally okayed development of "Western River Expedition (WRE)," a massive new attraction for WDW's Magic Kingdom. Marc Davis - the Imagineer who dreamed up the original concept for the ride - wanted "WRE" to be the most ambitious theme park ride Walt Disney Productions had ever built. Those lucky enough to have seen Marc's concept drawings and / or view the model of the show say that this water based audio- animatronic extravaganza would have truly set the standard...
  • Jim Hill

    Why "Western River" Went South -- Part 6

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    OUR STORY SO FAR: If you've read Parts 1 through 6, you've already have a pretty good understanding of the history of "Western River Expedition." At least from the Marc Davis point of view. So there's no need for me to do yet another recap. But please be aware that Imagineering is a highly collaborative place. People of all ages - from all walks of life - work there. And these folks don't always get along. Imagineers often have disagreements about how certain theme park attractions should be constructed...
  • Jim Hill

    Why "Western River" Went South -- Part 7

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    OUR STORY SO FAR: 75 years of films, TV shows and videos have taught us that all Disney stories end happily, right? Well, not this time, kiddies. After five years of hard work and planning, Marc Davis watched as his dream project - "Western River Expedition," an audio animatronic extravaganza that could have been the best thing WED ever did - slowly fell from favor. But what could Marc do? Times had changed. Where once Disney theme park guests had gone gaga over elaborately themed attractions like...
  • Jim Hill

    Superstar Limo: What Went Wrong?

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    Given that it's been over two years since this DCA attraction was last open to the public, many people have forgotten how horrible Superstar Limo was. More importantly, why this Hollywood Pictures Backlot ride wound up being so bad. In a revamped version of a July 2001 LaughingPlace.com series, Jim reveals all the embarrassing details....
  • Jim Hill

    Why "Western River" Went South -- Part 8

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    OUR STORY SO FAR: Marc Davis was tired. Tired of the excuses he kept getting as to why "Western River Expedition" (WRE) wasn't getting built. Tired of having his other new attraction ideas never make it off the drawing board. Most of all, Marc was tired of repeating himself. So - when Davis was asked to do yet another version of Disneyland's "Pirates of the Caribbean" attraction for Tokyo Disneyland - Marc decided it was time to pack it in. So Davis retired from Walt Disney Productions in 1978, preferring...
  • Jim Hill

    Why "Western River" Went South -- Part 9

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    Before you hit the trail, check out a few more stories about the greatest attraction that never was ! A NOTE TO READERS: You know, you'd think - after eight long, drawn out chapters - you people would have had enough of "Western River Expedition." (I know *I* have.) But - judging by all the notes that keep turning up in my mailbox - you folks still have a lot of questions about this proposed WDW attraction. So - before we officially say "adios" to Thunder Mesa - I'm going to try to tie up a few loose...
  • Jim Hill

    Why "Western River" Went South -- Part 10

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    I spend weeks writing articles about Disney theme parks that haven't opened yet. Months researching attractions that never made it off the drawing board. A lifetime collecting never-before-revealed stories about Disney animated features. None of that matters anymore. After the ton of mail I received last week from you folks, I now know what turns on DIG readers. Grabs your attention. Sends chills racing up your spines. Not stories about corner cutting or staff in-fighting. Not items about soon-to...
  • Jim Hill

    An Elephant's Tale

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    They say "an elephant never forgets." Well, neither does Jim Hill. In this classic from the archive, he fills you in on the bizarre fate of Big Red, that enormous fake pachyderm who used to play such a crucial part in the "Kilimanjaro Safaris" ride at Disney's Animal Kingdom theme park. ...
  • Jim Hill

    Tale of a Dragon

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    As Jim recovers from the inagural run of the JimHillMedia Walt Disney World tours, we dip into the deep fires of hell ... okay, the archives ... for this classic piece. Did the discovery of photos of nasty looking knights really give Disneyana fans a true sneak peek of Animal Kingdom's future? Or did it just reveal a forgotten piece of the park's past? Jim Hill peels back the armor to give us the real inside scoop. ...
  • Jim Hill

    Remembering "Light Magic" -- Part 1

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    In the first installment of this series, Jim Hill exposes Disneyland management's genuinely odd attitude when it comes to discussing this ill-fated streetacular. He also reveals some of the other ideas that Disneyland's Entertainment staff supposedly toyed with as possible replacements for the "Main Street Electrical Parade." ...
  • Jim Hill

    Remembering "Light Magic" -- Part 2

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    In the second installment of this series, Jim Hill talks about the weird role that Tinker Bell & a miniature helicopter played in the development of "Light Magic." He also discusses how Michael Eisner's interest in "Riverdance" may have accidentally helped nudge this troubled MSEP replacement project even further off track....
  • Jim Hill

    Remembering "Light Magic" -- Part 3

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    As Jim Hill continues his "Light Magic" saga, he takes a moment to explain the Disneyland Entertainment Office's side of the story. Why they did what they did. How "Tinker Bell's Light Magic"'s somewhat strange storyline ended up the way that it did....
  • Jim Hill

    Remembering "Light Magic" -- Part 4

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    As Jim Hill rolls out Chapter 4 of this continuing series, he gets to the real meat of the matter: How technical snafus and mis-leading PR pretty much tripped up this "streetacular" before "Light Magic" even had its world premiere....
  • Jim Hill

    Remembering "Light Magic" -- Part 5

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    Before Jim Hill gets started on the story of the "Light Magic" ill-fated annual passholders party, he reveals which well intentioned divisions of the Disneyland Resort, while trying to be supportive of the "streetacular", actually sent the show to its doom. ...
  • Jim Hill

    Remembering "Light Magic" -- Part 6

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    Jim Hill finally gets around to discussing what actually happened during the "Light Magic" ill-fated annual passholders premiere party. He also reveals certain elements that Disneyland's Entertainment staff dropped from the "streetacular" at the last minute. Weird little things that might actually have saved the show....
  • Jim Hill

    Remembering "Light Magic" -- Part 7

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    It's crunch time for "Light Magic"'s production team. Jim Hill walks you through the "streetacular"'s final week of previews and rehearsals as the bad news begins to spread about Disneyland's new street show....
  • Jim Hill

    California Misadventure -- Introduction

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    Find out all about Disney's California Adventure's origins, the wheeling and dealing it took to get the park off the ground, the struggles, the setbacks... as well as the problems that potentially lie ahead for the project in this article series classic from Jim Hill....
  • Jim Hill

    California Misadventure -- Part 1

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    Find out all about Disney's California Adventure's origins, the wheeling and dealing it took to get the park off the ground, the struggles, the setbacks... as well as the problems that potentially lie ahead for the project in this article series classic from Jim Hill....
  • Jim Hill

    California Misadventure -- Part 2

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    In Part 2 of this fan favorite from the JimHillMedia.com archives, learn how the Walt Disney Company pitted the cities of Long Beach and Anaheim against one another in the race to see which community would serve as home to the corporation's next Southern Californian theme park....
  • Jim Hill

    California Misadventure -- Part 3

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    In Part 3 of this fan favorite from the JimHillMedia.com archives, learn about the greatest stateside theme park that the Walt Disney Company never built: Westcot. ...
  • Jim Hill

    California Misadventure -- Part 4

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    In Part 4 of this fan favorite from the JimHillMedia.com archives, learn what happened when Mickey's Orange County neighbors got hot under the collar about the Disneyland Resort's expansion plans....
  • Jim Hill

    California Misadventure -- Part 5

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    Here's another present to slip under the tree: the final installment of Jim's April 2000 MousePlanet classic. Read it for yourself and decide how many of Hill's predictions came true....
  • Jim Hill

    The Sad Tail ... I mean "Tale" ... of the stalled Roger Rabbit sequel

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    In this piece from the Jim Hill archives, learn why you shouldn't expect a return trip to ToonTown anytime soon......
  • Jim Hill

    The ExtraTERRORestrial Files -- Part 1

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    Jim Hill delves into the troubling story behind the creation of that controversial Tomorrowland attraction, "The ExtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounter."...
  • Jim Hill

    The ExtraTERRORestrial Files -- Part 2

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    Jim Hill delves into the troubling story behind the creation of that controversial Tomorrowland attraction, "The ExtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounter."...
  • Jim Hill

    The ExtraTERRORestrial Files -- Part 3

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    Jim Hill delves into the troubling story behind the creation of that controversial Tomorrowland attraction, "The ExtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounter."...
  • Jim Hill

    The ExtraTERRORestrial Files -- Part 4

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    Jim Hill delves into the troubling story behind the creation of that controversial Tomorrowland attraction, "The ExtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounter."...
  • Jim Hill

    The Deep Secrets of "Mission: Space"

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    It's time for another classic story from the Jim Hill archive. Epcot's "Mission: Space" pavilion promises to be an incredible new addition to Future World. But how much more exciting would the original version of this proposed Epcot attraction have been?...
  • Jim Hill

    What went right for "The Emperor's New Groove" ... ... what went wrong for "102 Dalmatians"

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    In this January 2001 piece from the archives, Jim Hill looks at two Disney films and why the Disney Corporation is a little surprised at how they did at the box office....
  • Jim Hill

    Guess who worked for Disney?

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    In this November 2000 piece from the archives, Jim Hill writes about noted animation legend Chuck Jones and his relationship with the Walt Disney Company ... and its founder....
  • Jim Hill

    "We all make mistakes..."

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    In a quickie from the archives, Jim answers the question that's sure to intrigue all you animation fans: What Walt Disney REALLY thought of "Fantasia" ......
  • Jim Hill

    The "Chanticleer" Saga -- Part 1

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    In this three part series from August 2000, Jim Hill looks at the long history of the Walt Disney Company's attempts to turn Edmund Rostand's satirical comedy, "Chantecler" into an animated motion picture....
  • Jim Hill

    The "Chanticleer" Saga -- Part 2

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    In this three part series from August 2000, Jim Hill looks at the long history of the Walt Disney Company's attempts to turn Edmund Rostand's satirical comedy, "Chantecler" into an animated motion picture....
  • Jim Hill

    The "Chanticleer" Saga -- Part 3

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    In this three part series from August 2000, Jim Hill looks at the long history of the Walt Disney Company's attempts to turn Edmund Rostand's satirical comedy, "Chantecler" into an animated motion picture....
  • Jim Hill

    Is DAK's Beastly Kingdom DOA? -- Part 1

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    In this three part series from early 2000, Jim Hill looks at Disney's Animal Kingdom and the unfortunate series of events that led up to the park -- and the company -- losing a land, many talented Imagineers, and worst of all: guests....
  • Jim Hill

    Is DAK's Beastly Kingdom DOA? -- Part 2

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    In this three part series from early 2000, Jim Hill looks at Disney's Animal Kingdom and the unfortunate series of events that led up to the park -- and the company -- losing a land, many talented Imagineers, and worst of all: guests....
  • Jim Hill

    Is DAK's Beastly Kingdom DOA? -- Part 3

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    In this three part series from early 2000, Jim Hill looks at Disney's Animal Kingdom and the unfortunate series of events that led up to the park -- and the company -- losing a land, many talented Imagineers, and worst of all: guests. ...
  • Jim Hill

    Be Careful What You Wish For

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    In this April 2000 piece from the archives, Jim Hill exposes what really happened with comic genius Robin Williams and the Walt Disney Company's handling of the film "Aladdin" and looks at the tense relationship since.

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  • Jim Hill

    Getting just the right voices for "Hunchback"'s Gargoyles proved to be a pretty gruesome go

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    Yep. We're raiding the JHM archives again. This time around, it's a story from April 2000 that details all the trouble Disney Feature Animation had when it was casting Victor, Hugo, and Laverne ... or should I say Chaney, Laughton, and Quinn?...
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