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  • Jim Hill

    The road not taken on "Cars 3" : Settings & storylines that Pixar explored, then abandoned

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    " Cars 3 " got off to a solid start this past weekend, racking up over $53 million in ticket sales during its first three days in domestic release. Copyright Disney Pixar. All rights reserved And given that this Brian Fee film currently has a 66% freshness rating over at Rotten Tomatoes (which is a significant step up from the 39% freshness rating that " Cars 2 " received back in 2011. More to the point, it's within spitting distance of the 74% freshness rating that the original...
  • Jim Hill

    Disney XD pulls an "Iron Giant" with its "DuckTales" reboot, airing this new TV movie for 24 hours straight on August 12th

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    In a summer that's already jammed packed with reboots (i.e., Paramount's already beached movie version of "Baywatch," Universal Pictures' rapidly unraveling "Mummy," as well as Sony's still-eagerly-anticipated "Spider-Man: Homecoming"), how can Disney XD make its "DuckTales" reboot stand out from the crowd? By staging a programming event. Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved Mind you, given that the Disney Channel already had...
  • Noe Valladolid

    Injustice 2's very dark take on the DC Universe features some very violent gameplay

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    In a previous blog post , we looked at Marvel Contest of Champions . The mobile fighting game featuring the majority of the Marvel Universe. There also happens to be a DC Universe fighting game out right now as well. Injustice 2 was released May of this year. And is doing quite well on the sales charts. It was the sequel to Injustice: Gods Among Us , a NetherRealm Studios title from 2013. The game features a very dark take on the DC Universe. It is a bit darker than even the recent live-action Warner...
  • Jim Hill

    Mike & Patty Peraza are the featured attraction at Dayton Disneyana 2017

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    Greetings from the Holiday Inn Fairborn. Photo by Jim Hill I'm here in Fairborn, Ohio for Dayton Disneyana . Which is this terrific weekend-long event that's hosted by the "Plane Crazy" chapter of the Disneyana Fan Club. This year's event is particularly exciting, given that Mike & Patty Peraza are here. For those of you who don't know: Mike is an award-winning designer with over 35 years of experience creating magic for the Walt Disney Studios, Walt Disney Television...
  • Noe Valladolid

    Will new "Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite" game top "Marvel Contest of Champions" ?

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    Marvel has had tremendous success in the movie industry but moderate success in the video game arena. With the exception of a few titles, the Marvel gaming library has been lackluster on the home consoles. That is with the exception of one genre. Fighting games lend themselves very well to the various superhero franchises. The Marvel universe has been featured in popular fighting games since at least 1994, when the Japanese publisher Capcom released X-Men: Children of the Atom in the arcade. Capcom...
  • Alice Hill

    Pokemon Stream used to reveal several new projects that Nintendo now has in the works

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    Earlier this week, at 7 am Pacific, Nintendo held an abnormally short Nintendo Direct- a typically bi or tri-annual stream used to reveal new projects and updates on projects to fans. This direct was focused on Pokemon, and had plenty of anticipation building around it despite the announced run time of eight minutes. With leaks from information datamined (gained from hacking into the files for) the Pokemon Sun and Moon games, a 'Pokemon Stars' game was anticipated, some even speculating that...
  • Alice Hill

    Donut-themed "Scramble" event adds a hole ... er ... whole lot of fun to "Yokai Watch: Wibble Wobble"

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    If you have a child that watches cartoons, or you enjoy watching cartoons yourself, you're probably pretty aware of Yokai Watch . In fact, if you have any interest in entertainment in Japan, you probably have, at least, a vague idea of what Yokai Watch is- I've already covered the series multiple times, and have written about the game I'm about to cover, but here's the brief version of it: There are collectible monsters you have to use a watch to find. There are hundreds of the adorable...
  • Noe Valladolid

    Blocky take on favorite films & theme park attractions adds to fun of Disney Crossy Road

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    Game publishers are constantly looking for the next big thing but sometimes it's the little games that turn out to be the blockbusters. Take the game Crossy Road for example. You may have not heard of the mobile game but chances are that someone you know has a copy on their phone. The game was originally published in 2014 by a small studio called Hipster Whale. The game featured a chicken character trying to cross a never-ending road. The game was deceptively simple yet hard to put down. It was...
  • Alice Hill

    Death Comes to Pokemon: Finding usefulness in the series' most useless creature

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    Unless you've been living under a rock, or in space (or inside of a rock that's in space that isn't Our Rock In Space), you probably know what Pokemon is. If you don't ... wow! I'll keep it brief: Pokemon is about over 750 collectible little creatures. But an app that's been released earlier in May is focused on a very, very special Pokemon. The wonderfully useless Magikarp: A fish Pokemon that is known for being extremely weak and having the 'splash' attack, which...
  • Jim Hill

    Brattleboro's Strolling of the Heifers is a sincere if somewhat surreal way to spend a summer's day in Vermont

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    Some people travel halfway 'around the planet so that they can then experience the excitement of the Running of the Bulls in Pamplona . If you're more of a Slow Living enthusiast (as I am), then perhaps you should amble to Brattleboro, VT . Where - over the first weekend in June - you can then join a herd of cow enthusiasts at the annual Strolling of the Heifers . Now in its 16 th year, this three-day long event typically gets underway on Friday night in June with a combination block party...
  • Press Releases

    Marvel Fans: See Props, Costumes, New Games, Exclusive Content and More at Disney’s D23 EXPO 2017 in Anaheim

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    MARVEL ANNOUNCES EPIC EXPERIENCES FOR FANS AT DISNEY'S D23 EXPO 2017 IN ANAHEIM, JULY 14-16 BURBANK , Calif . ( June 1 , 2017) - Marvel will make its way to D23 Expo's show floor from July 14­-16 with an exciting look at its upcoming film titles in the Marvel Studios Pavilion, featuring an array of props and costumes from the Studios' upcoming slate, including Thor: Ragnarok , Black Panther , and more. In Marvel Studios' Thor: Ragnarok, in theaters November 2017, Thor is imprisoned...
  • Jim Hill

    Disney insiders say that updated edition of Hall of Presidents will seem very familiar to fans of this WDW show

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    As Walt Disney World gets ready to show off its latest addition - " Pandora - The World of Avatar ," that new 12-acre "land" at Disney's Animal Kingdom (which opens to the public on May 27th) - to the world press, those close to the Mouse House also want to clear up some confusion surrounding one of this Resort's oldest attractions. And that's The Hall of Presidents . This patriot pageant (which has been entertaining visitors to the Magic Kingdom since that theme park...
  • Jim Hill

    How Busch Gardens Williamsburg made InvadR, this theme park’s first-ever wooden roller coaster, seem like it had always been part of the terrain

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    It's sometimes been said that a person can't see the forest for the trees. Or the forest THROUGH the trees. But as Larry Giles - Busch Gardens' vice president of Engineering - looked out on the lush forest that still makes up much of the 383-acre site where this theme park was built back in the mid-1970s, Larry knew what he wanted to see traveling through those trees. And that was Williamsburg's very first-ever wooden roller coaster. Mind you, given that Busch Gardens Williamsburg...
  • Jim Hill

    With the help of ELLE Magazine & fashion designer Zac Posen, cartoon icon Betty Boop receives a modern-age makeover

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    According to the folks at Phrase Finder , when one is said to be " ... putting on the dog, " that then means that they are " ... dressing stylishly and flashily." Copyright King Features Syndicate, Inc. All rights reserved Well, Betty Boop certainly got to put on the dog earlier this year. Thanks to those two new dresses that Zac Posen designed for this classic cartoon character. Each of which were colored " Betty Boop Red ," that bold new hue Pantone just created to...
  • Jim Hill

    Did the original version of "Star Tours" predict how the Star Wars Saga would play out in "The Force Awakens" & "The Last Jedi" ?

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    The original version of Star Tours (which - because the initial iteration of this thrill ride opened at Disneyland Park back on January 9, 1987 - is celebrating its 30 th anniversary this year) was many things: Copyright Disney / Lucasfilm. All rights reserved A ground-breaking theme park attraction. A skillful mix of immersive storytelling & (for that time, anyway) cutting-edge technology. Such a densely-packed piece of entertainment that - no matter how many times you'd previously boarded...
  • Jim Hill

    Pixar's "Road to the Races" tour allows event attendees to get an up-close look at how "Cars 3" characters were designed

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    This past weekend, thousands of " Cars " fans made their way to Sylvester Baxter Riverfront Park in Somerville, MA. Eager to get a peek at Pixar Animation Studios ' upcoming release as the "Road to the Races" tour made its one & only pit stop in the New England area. And it wasn't just getting the chance to have their picture taken with a life-size look-alike of Lighting McQueen that brought out the crowds to Assembly Row. People also wanted to check the two new characters...
  • Jim Hill

    Broadway vet Eden Espinosa is living out her Disney dream by voicing Cassandra on "Tangled: The Series"

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    As Eden Espinosa recalls, it was early 2015 when Disney Television Animation initially reached out. Asking this Broadway star if she'd be interested in voicing a character for a new series that the Mouse was maybe going to produce. A show that - at that time, anyway - had a deliberately vague title: "Project T." "So they sent me the audition material," this 39 year-old performer recalled during a recent phone interview. "And as I read the breakdown on the character they...
  • Jim Hill

    Walt Disney Animation Studios Artist Showcase program encourages the creation of new children’s books

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    The creative legacies of Mary Blair & Bill Peet extend far beyond the time that these two spent at the Mouse House. And that is largely because – in addition to all the classic animated films & shorts that these Disney Legends contributed to – Mary & Bill also worked on children’s books. In Blair’s case … After Mary left Walt Disney Animation Studios in 1953 following the completion of production of “ Peter Pan ,” Simon & Shuster put her...
  • Jim Hill

    Knott's Berry Farm pays tribute to flavors from its past in fun new ways with its annual Boysenberry Festival

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    Visit any retailer this week and you'll discover the remnants of Easter. Half-priced Peeps and the like. But holidays that are already in the rear mirror don't interest Russ Knibbs. As the Vice President of Food & Beverage at Knott's Berry Farm , he's always more concerned with occasions that are still months away. Take - for example - how America's first theme park plans on celebrating Christmas in 2017. "We're already talking about Knott's Merry Farm , which...
  • Press Releases

    Shanghai To Host World Premiere Of Disney's “Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales”

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    First-ever Mainland China Hollywood Movie World Premiere Will Take Place at Shanghai Disney Resort with an All-star Lineup of Special Guests on May 11 BURBANK, CALIF. (April 25, 2017)- Disney announced today that Disney/Jerry Bruckheimer Films' "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales" will have its World Premiere in Shanghai, China, at Shanghai Disney Resort on Thursday, May 11, marking the first time a Hollywood movie will premiere in Mainland China. Johnny Depp, Orlando...
  • Jim Hill

    "Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon" combines high speed tour of NYC with affectionate celebration of the history of NBC's "Tonight Show"

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    Ask baby boomers about Certs and their immediate response will be (thanks to having watched 'way too much television commercials in their youth) that " ... it's two (click) two (click) two mints in one." So why mention this breath mint (No, it's a candy mint) at the very start of an article about " Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon " ? Because this recent addition to Universal Studios Florida is kind of the Certs of attractions. In that it's not just...
  • Press Releases

    Disney Channel Original Movie "Descendants 2" To Premiere Simultaneously On Five Disney/ABC Television Networks, July 21

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    IN AN UNPRECEDENTED, FAR-REACHING PROGRAMMING EVENT, THE DISNEY CHANNEL ORIGINAL MOVIE "DESCENDANTS 2" WILL HAVE A SIMULTANEOUS PREMIERE ON FIVE TELEVISION NETWORKS WITHIN THE DISNEY|ABC TELEVISION GROUP, FRIDAY, JULY 21 (8:00 P.M., ET/PT), ON DISNEY CHANNEL, ABC , DISNEY XD, FREEFORM AND LIFETIME PLUS EACH NETWORK'S BRANDED DIGITAL PLATFORM A far-reaching, unprecedented and simultaneous premiere has been set for the Disney Channel Original Movie "Descendants 2" across five...
  • Jim Hill

    How Baby Moana went from being a test subject to a scene stealer in Walt Disney Animation Studio's latest hit

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    It's that moment in " Moana " where most audience members go from passively viewing this motion picture to being swept up in the magic & the wonder of this Walt Disney Animation Studios production. Which sequence am I talking about? It's right after the toddler version of this film's title character saves a baby sea turtle from some scavenging sea birds. Whereupon the ocean (who's a living, sentient being in this Ron Clements / John Musker movie) decides to reward Baby...
  • Press Releases

    Principal Casting Announced for Disney’s New Broadway Musical, "Frozen" Opening Spring 2018

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    Caissie Levy to Star as Elsa, Patti Murin to Star as Anna Jelani Alladin is Kristoff, Greg Hildreth is Olaf, John Riddle is Hans and Robert Creighton is Duke of Weselton Tony Award ® Winner Rob Ashford Joins Creative Team as Choreographer Disney Theatrical Production has announced the principal cast of the highly anticipated Broadway version of Walt Disney Animation's 2013 mega-hit "Frozen". Caissie Levy will star as Elsa and Patti Murin will star as Anna in Disney's new Broadway...
  • Jim Hill

    "Lizzie McGuire" creator maxes out mother-daughter dynamics with "Andi Mack," that new hit Disney Channel series

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    "Where do you get your ideas?" That's a question that folks who work in the Entertainment industry often get asked. In the case of " Andi Mack ," Terri Minsky traces the inspiration for this new Disney Channel series back to an article she once read about a certain Academy Award-winner. (L to R) "Andi Mack" creator Terri Minsky with Peyton Elizabeth Lee, who plays the title character in this new Disney Channel series. Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights...
  • Jim Hill

    Universal Orlando's Wizarding World to introduce magical Christmas experience as part of its resort-wide Holidays 2017 celebration

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    Given that The Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Hogsmeade - thanks to its perpetual coating of ice & snow - already sort of looks like a Christmas card ... Copyright Universal Orlando Resort. All rights reserved ... is it any wonder that visitors to Universal's Islands of Adventure have (ever since Hogsmeade threw open its doors to Muggles back in June of 2010) been longing to visit this immersive environment during the holiday season? Because - as any fan of J.K. Rowling's books and...
  • Jim Hill

    Ever wonder how that magic carpet in Disney's "Aladdin" flies? New making-of-this-Broadway-musical book offers a few clues

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    There's always a "How'd they do that?" moment in a Disney stage production . In "Beauty and the Beast," it was when the performer playing the Beast first began spinning like a propeller and then transformed into a handsome prince right in front of the audience. For "Mary Poppins," it was when that musical's practically perfect title character first flew out over the orchestra section and then - umbrella & carpet bag in hand -- ascended towards the New...
  • Jim Hill

    How "Smurfs" director Kelly Asbury & his team at Sony Pictures Animation finally found their way to "The Lost Village"

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    Trust the process. Kelly Asbury doesn't remember who exactly it was that first shared this mantra of feature animation production with him ("It might have been my dear departed friend, the great Joe Ranft ," Asbury stated during a recent phone interview). But given all of the Academy Award-winning films that he's had a hand in developing over the past 30+ years (i.e., " The Little Mermaid ," " Beauty & the Beast ," " Toy Story ," " Shrek "...
  • Jim Hill

    The Walt Disney Family Museum celebrates the on-going artistry of animation master Andreas Deja

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    Though Andreas Deja may not be working for Walt Disney Animation Studios right now, don't make the mistake of thinking that this master animator is retired. "That's why I react funny when people ask me 'So how's retired life treating you?,'" Andrea revealed during a recent phone interview. "I'm like 'Are you kidding me?' These days, I'm actually busier than I was during my last few years at Disney. I'm not sitting at home watching 'Lucy'...
  • Jim Hill

    Because the show must " ... glow on," Disneyland has extended the Main Street Electrical Parade's run at that theme park through August 20th

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    Ever since that "It's Coming Home" ad first began airing on television earlier this year ... ... Disney fans have been flocking to the Happiest Place on Earth to check out the Main Street Electrical Parade . Which returned to Disneyland Park back on January 20 th to begin a limited-time engagement. In fact, so many people have poured into this theme park, eager to once again experience this " ... spectacular-festival-pageant-of-nighttime-magic-and-imagination-in-thousands-of-sparking...
  • Jim Hill

    WonderCon caters to the crowd that knows about cool things long before everybody else

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    WonderCon has wandered around quite a bit over the past few years. For nearly a quarter-of-a-century (1987 – 2011, to be exact), this annual event – which was originally called the Wonderful World of Comics Convention – was presented in and around the Bay Area. But as WonderCon grew in popularity, it also eventually outgrew its original home at the Oakland Convention Center . Which is why – in 2003 – it moved across the Bay to the Moscone Center in San Francisco. Come...
  • Jim Hill

    What with "The Boss Baby" paying tribute to "Beauty & the Beast," are Disney & DreamWorks Animation now finally declaring a truce?

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    Times certainly have changed in Toontown. 20 years ago, this was a particularly competitive & cutthroat corner of Hollywood. Take - for example - the extraordinary lengths that Disney went to back in November of 1997 in order to maintain its dominance in feature animation. To deliberately undermine the November 21 st release of "Anastasia" (which was Fox Animation Studios' first foray into features), the Mouse launched a multi-pronged attack. The first thing Disney did was to send...
  • Jim Hill

    Looking to make an authentic Irish meal for Saint Patrick's Day? If so, then chef Kevin Dundon says not to cook corned beef & cabbage

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    Let's at least start on a positive note: Celebrated chef, author & TV personality Kevin Dundon - the man that Tourism Ireland has repeatedly chosen as the Face of Irish Food - loves a lot of what happens in the United States on March 17th. "I mean, look at what they do in Chicago on Saint Patrick's Day . They toss all of this vegetable-based dye into the Chicago River and then paint it green for a day. That's terrific," Kevin said. But then when it comes to what many Americans...
  • Jim Hill

    Theme parks around the US use food-based events to drive up their seasonal attendance levels

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    Theme park food is a really big deal these days (And when I say "big," I'm not just talking about those ginormous turkey legs that the Mouse sells at Disneyland and Walt Disney World. Which - according to what Zachary Levi told Conan O'Brien this past Thursday [one hopes, in jest] -- might actually be emu legs. Anyway ...). Ever since WDW managers first learned 20+ years that they could boost Epcot attendance levels every Fall by staging a food & wine festival around World Showcase...
  • Jim Hill

    How a production delay helped make all of those eye-popping FX sequences in Marvel's "Doctor Strange" possible

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    Stef Ceretti is a master of movie magic. And I'm not just saying that because Stef has been the visual effects supervisor on Academy Award-winning films like "The Matrix." Or because of his ground-breaking work on FX-filled extravaganzas like "Batman Begins," "X-men: First Class," & Marvel's "Guardians of the Galaxy." No, I'm called Ceretti a master of movie magic because - to date - he's worked on three different motion pictures where magic...
  • Jim Hill

    An epic meet-up with the Avengers sets Season Two of "Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy" in motion

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    It's the moment that Marvel fans have been waiting for ever since " Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy " originally premiered on Disney XD back in September of 2015. When Peter Quill & pals journey to Star-Lord's home planet of Earth and then cross paths with the Avengers. It's worth noting here that the Marvel Cinematic Universe - through multiple motion pictures that have been released in its Phase Two & Phase Three arcs - has been building towards a similar sort...
  • Jim Hill

    Why did Mandy Moore decide to reprise Rapunzel for Disney's "Tangled: Before Ever After" & "Tangled: The Series"

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    Even though Mandy Moore has long been a fan of the Disney Princesses ("When I was a little girl growing up in Orlando, I remember that - after I first saw ' The Little Mermaid ' - I would walk around the house singing 'Part of Your World,' "Ms. Moore recalled during a recent phone call. "I'd then pester my parents, asking them 'Who sings that song better? Me or Ariel?"), she was still initially reluctant to reprise Rapunzel for a new series that Disney...
  • Jim Hill

    Universal's Volcano Bay is where fiery spirits play & glow worms light the way

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    People who have previously visited Central Florida already know that it can sometimes get a trifle warm in this section of the Sunshine State. Well, come May 25th, Orlando's about to get a whole lot hotter. That's when Volcano Bay - Universal Orlando 's water theme park - officially opens for business. More to the point, that's when Vol - the trickster fire spirit - begins interacting with visitors to Krakatua. Which is the 200 foot-tall water and fire volcano that stands at the very...
  • Jim Hill

    "DuckTales" first look proves that this new Disney XD series will put a fun, new spin on the world of Scrooge McDuck

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    It's a moment that will no doubt shock old-school "DuckTales" fans. Donald Duck's nephews first climb up on Uncle Scrooge's desk. And then they pelt this beleaguered bajillionaire with a series of quick, cutting, personal questions. "Are you really our uncle?," asks Huey. "How old are you?," queries Dewey. But perhaps the most painful question comes from Louie. Who straight-out says to Scrooge "You used to be a big deal. What happened to you?" That's...
  • Jim Hill

    Looking back on Elizabeth Taylor's 60th birthday celebration at Disneyland Park

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    25 years ago tonight, Disneyland Park traded its "Happiest Place on Earth" reputation for one that stressed security. Which is why - as you approached the perimeter of this famed theme park on the evening of February 27, 1992 - you'd have then encountered guards armed with flashlights & German shepherd dogs stationed at 50 foot intervals. "Why the extra security?," you ask. Because this was the night when all of Hollywood had driven down to Anaheim to help Elizabeth Taylor...
  • Jim Hill

    Oscar winners & nominees apply their craft to cutting-edge theme park attractions for Falcon's Creative Group

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    Tonight, all eyes will be on the Dolby Theatre as Hollywood comes together to celebrate the craft of movie-making. Mind you, as entertaining as the Academy Awards may be to watch, it's important to remember that those who receive Oscars don't necessarily limit themselves to just working on movies that then show up at your local multiplex. Take - for example - Mark Lasoff , the veteran visual effects artist who, along with Thomas L. Fisher , Michael Kanfer , and Robert Legato , took home 1998's...
  • Jim Hill

    It was "Kubo" 's moments of stillness - rather than that movie's big action sequences - which really challenged the animators at LAIKA

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    What was the biggest challenge the team that animated " Kubo and the Two Strings " faced during production? Copyright LAIKA / Focus Features. All rights reserved Was it this film's battle in the Hall of Bones, which made use of the largest stop motion puppet ever made (a 16-feet tall articulated skeleton that weighed in at a whopping 400 pounds)? Or was it "Kubo" ''s ambitious opening sequence, which drew its inspiration from that famous Japanese woodblock print, Hokusai...
  • Jim Hill

    "Circus 1903" uses modern stage craft & pachyderm puppets to recreate a turn-of-the-century traveling show

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    30+ years ago, David Williamson almost ran away with the circus. "I was a teenager growing up in Ohio," Williamson recalled during a recent phone interview. "And this one ring circus came to town. They found out somehow that I did magic and then tried to recruit me to come join their show. The idea sounded so romantic, but my mother wouldn't let me go." We now jump ahead a few decades and Williamson has become a conjurer's conjurer. Voted "Sleight of Hand Magician...
  • Jim Hill

    The Mouse makes use of its theme parks, in-cinema events and podcasts to help spread the word about Disney Theatrical Productions

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    Given that Disney Theatrical has - over the past two years - launched four international productions of its hit Broadway musical, "Aladdin" (With the Japanese version bowing in Tokyo in May of 2015, the German version debuting in Hamburg back in December of 2015, the London version opening in the West End in June of 2016, and the Australia version of this Tony Award-winner opening in Sydney back in August of 2016) ... It's not exactly as though this division of The Walt Disney Company...
  • Press Releases

    Go Behind the Scenes With Disney Dish Podcaster Jim Hill as He Pulls Back the Curtain on "Beauty and the Beast" & Spaced Out Disney (Updated)

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    January 2017 - Ever wonder how the the first animated feature ever to be nominated for a Best Picture Oscar, "Beauty and the Beast" was created? Or how an episode of the "Disneyland" TV show convinced President Dwight Eisenhower that it was time for America to enter the space race? If you have, then you definitely want to keep reading. If you haven't, but you're fascinated by all things Disney, then you definitely want to keep reading! These questions and more will be...
  • Jim Hill

    How relocating to a leaky old warehouse made rebooting Disney's smart, subversive "Zootopia" so much easier

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    It was the one-two punch that would have felled a lesser group of filmmakers. Back in November of 2014, the " Zootopia " story team had just realized that - after 3+ years of developing this project for Walt Disney Animation Studios - they were going to have to change this movie's protagonist. "And doing that sort of reboot, changing our film's story so that it could then be told from Judy's point-of-view rather than Nick's, was going to cause a lot of upheaval,"...
  • Jim Hill

    Spending Valentine's Day at the Winchester Mystery House is not for the faint-of-heart

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    When it comes to making a romantic gesture on Valentine's Day, most men opt for the safe choices (i.e., cards, chocolate and/or flowers). But if you're one of those guys who's got a bit of a dramatic / gothic streak, if you sincerely believe that every great romance should have an element of surprise & mystery to it ... Well, maybe you should consider taking your beloved out to San Jose to tour the Winchester Mystery House . Okay. I know. Taking someone that you care about into what...
  • Jim Hill

    Getting "Zootopia" just right really challenged Disney screenwriters Jared Bush and Phil Johnston

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    Given that " Zootopia " is set in a mammals-only city, it's entirely appropriate that this Walt Disney Animation Studios production took home the lion's share of the prizes at this year's Annie Awards . This Byron Howard / Rich Moore movie wound up claiming six of the top trophies at Saturday night's ceremony at UCLA's Royce Hall . Among them Best Animated Feature, Best Directing, Best Storyboarding, Best Character Design and Best Voice Acting in an Animated Feature...
  • Jim Hill

    "Hanna-Barbera: The Architects of Saturday Morning" shines a spotlight on one of the greatest comeback stories in Hollywood history

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    60 years ago this month, William Hanna & Joseph Barbera were riding high. Following the retirement of their longtime boss / nemesis, Fred Quimby , Bill & Joe were finally fully in charge of MGM's animation division. And these two were genuinely looking forward to extending their studio's Oscar-winning streak (From 1940 - 1957, seven cartoons produced by MGM's animation unit wound up taking home the Academy Award for Best Animated Short. To put this in perspective: During this...
  • Jim Hill

    Three Disney Parks put very different spins on their Chinese New Year / Lunar New Year celebrations

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    Today's the first day of the Chinese New Year, a holiday that one sixth of the world's population will celebrate with friends & family. Mind you, not everyone will be celebrating the first day of the Year of the Golden Rooster in the exact same way. On the Mainland, Chinese New Year is kind of like Christmas & New Year's all rolled into one. Which is why this weeks-long celebration takes on almost an epic quality with spectacular entertainments, festive decorations, and special...
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