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Around the World in Eighty Bites

Tums in hand, JHM columnist Seth Kubersky makes a trek around Epcot’s World Showcase lagoon to sample all of the killer cuisine offered at this year’s Food and Wine Festival. As well as giving us an update on the status of “Mission: Space.”



October is my favorite time of year to live in Orlando. During the blistering summer heat, when hordes of tourists swarm like locusts, I curse this town. In the spring, when the daily 4 p.m. monsoons come through, turning I-4 into a flooded parking lot, I wonder how soon I can move back to Jersey. But each October, I’m reminded why I love this place.

The weather is perfect, with clear days in the 80s and mild nights in mid-60s. Tourism drops off until Thanksgiving, making it the perfect time of year to ditch work for an afternoon and ride some rides. There are many fantastic Halloween events to explore, making Orlando a horror fan’s paradise.

But my favorite thing about Orlando in October is Epcot’s International Food and Wine Festival. Running from October 18th through November 16th, this year’s Food and Wine Fest is the largest yet. Anyone in town with an appreciation for the culinary arts, or just a desire to eat and drink themselves into a coma, owes it to themselves to pay a visit.

There are several facets to the Festival, many of which are included at no extra charge with your Epcot admission. There are exhibits on subjects like Australia wineries, South African culture, and Italian chocolate. There are cooking demonstrations and craft projects for the kids. Every day of the festival features a different lineup of seminars and demonstrations, featuring chefs and wine experts from Disney and around the world. There is the “Eat to the Beat” concert series, featuring nostalgia acts such as Sister Sledge, Three Dog Night, and Chubby Checker. And there are the sold-out “Party for the Senses” events, which combine VIP seating for the concerts and Illuminations with gourmet food and wine (for a hefty $85 on top of admission).

But the heart of the Food and Wine Festival is the International Marketplace. This year, 26 different kiosks have been arranged around the World Showcase lagoon. Each features appetizer-sized samples of regional food and drink, priced from $1 to $4.50. There are stands for each of the nations represented by the World Showcase pavilions, such as China and Germany. There are also stands representing cuisine from nations like Australia, Spain, and Russia, as well as specialty beer and wine gardens.

Each stand offers an average of 3 kinds of food and 4 beverages to sample. In total, there are over 70 different foods to try, and over 110 different beverages. No human could try everything, or even sample one item from each stand, in one visit. At least not without needing serious medical attention afterwards. My technique is to work my way around the lagoon, trying one or two items from each stand. I can visit half a dozen stands in a visit, and by the end of the month-long event I’ve made 4 or 5 trips and sampled something from every stand. By that time I’m a couple hundred dollars poorer, and a few pounds heavier. What sacrifices we make for culture!

There are legitimate criticisms to be leveled at the Festival, and many of my friends don’t like the event. For one, it can be very expensive. Though each item is less than $5, and many are only $2 or $3, eating your way around the world can quickly add up. It’s easy to spend $50 before you know it, and the addition of credit card readers has made this event even more dangerous to the wallet. It’s also easy to become intoxicated before you realize it. The wine and beer are served in samples that are half the size of a normal glass, so it’s easy to toss back half a dozen samples and find yourself in over your head.

So be sure to drink plenty of water, especially if it’s a warm day, and ride Mission: Space before you start imbibing. The food samples themselves can be a bit hit-or-miss. The recipes are sometimes more ambitious than what the kitchens can deliver, and some of the portions can be a bit small. This is not an event for bargain hunters, and you will be better of at one of the park’s fast food eateries if you want to fill up for $10.

All these minor gripes pale next to the huge variety offered by the festival. You may be able to find any one dish at the Festival at a restaurant in your hometown, better prepared and at a cheaper price. But there is nowhere else on Earth where you will find all of these different items, in such a beautiful setting, at a price that encourages grazing for hours on end. If the items on offer at one stand don’t appeal to you, just walk a dozen yards and you’ll find a whole new menu. Combine this with the fascinating cooking demonstrations, free concerts, and all the other attractions on offer in the park, and you have a gourmet’s (or gourmand’s) dream come true.

On my first visit to this year’s Festival, I sampled from half a dozen stands between the Mexico and Germany pavilions. I started with a delicious Floridian seafood stew, a generous portion of shrimp, clams, and fish in a rich tomato broth, and washed it down with a refreshing grapefruit wine. The Greek souvlaki was less successful; a meager skewer of overdone meat with a tasty onion-and-yogurt tzatziki sauce, and the Boutari Kretikos red wine was nothing special. The tacos and quesadillas on offer at Mexico care run-of-the-mill, but the watermelon water is delicious. So is the meade at the Ireland stand. If you have never tried this sweet wine made from honey, give it a try. It goes great with the potato and leek soup, or the whiskey flan custard.

One of my favorite items was the cold poached salmon from Scandinavia. The firm, flaky slice of fish is topped with a tangy mustard sauce and accompanied by a fantastic marinated cucumber salad. From China I tried scallion pancakes, which were filling but a bit bland, and a tasty glass of plum wine. I only wish they would bring back the dim sum steamed meat buns from years past. My final sample was an Australian lamb chop. The Australia stand was the only one with a significant line, probably because they offer shrimp on the barbie and BBQ beef tenderloin. The chop was a little well done for my taste (I like my lamb still bleating) but well seasoned. It came with a delicious side of caramelized onions, and it paired well with a glass of Black Label cabernet.

This represents only a tiny fraction of the samples available. On my next visit, I’m looking forward to trying the American corn and lobster chowder, tuna tataki from Japan, New Zealand mussels, and Canadian cheddar cheese soup. There are some more unusual offerings, like the French frog leg chowder and “bulls blood” wine from Eastern Europe. And how can you go wrong with white chocolate mousse and a glass of champagne?

As I stumbled happily out of World Showcase, I stopped by Mission: Space and was shocked by what I saw. The ride advertised a 25-minute wait, with fast passes being distributed for less than 2 hours in the future. By comparison, Test Track right next door had a 120-minute wait (60 minutes for single riders) with all Fast Passes gone for the day. I discovered that the actual wait at Mission: Space was even shorter, as I got through the single rider line in less than 10 minutes.

I had heard rumors that the ride had been toned down recently in response to guest reactions. I’m happy to report that those rumors appear to be false. I have been on the ride over a dozen times since it’s first public soft-open testing during the summer, and the G-forces seem unchanged. A manager I spoke to confirmed that the spinning has not been turned down since the internal testing was completed months ago. A friend of mine who works in the Epcot custodial department tells me they continue to have as many as 30 “protein spills” to clean up after each day.

Mission: Space has been the subject of a massive media campaign, with television commercial saturation reaching its peak right now. The apparent guest antipathy towards this expensive new attraction may be a result of the mixed messages that Disney is sending. The ad campaign for M: S highlights the thrill aspect, calling it the most intense ride in Disney history. One commercial features hidden-camera footage of guests on the ride screaming, “I can’t feel my face!” and “Daddy, are we still in the building?” Even the cover of the current park guide map shows a family with bug-eyed grimaces of terror straight out of “A Clockwork Orange”.

If all this doesn’t put off guests, they are confronted with newly-installed warning signs outside the attraction. These are the direst warning signs I have ever seen in any park. One states you may experience headaches, nausea, and dizziness even if you have never had motion sickness on any ride before. You are warned to be well rested and hydrated before entering. One might think you were about to climb Mt. Everest, not ride a glorified Gravitron.

It seems only the most die-hard thrill seekers are making it past the warnings into the ride. Many of those who do are probably agitated by the repeated warnings, and I witnessed more than one person bail out after watching the preshow safety briefing. As I’ve said in the past, going into the ride with fear and trembling only makes it more likely that you will become ill, and all the guests I’ve ridden with who went in with a positive attitude came out fine.

There seems to be a real disconnect between the target audience for this ride, and the demographic that Epcot normally focuses on. The older, more affluent crowd that would be attracted to the Food and Wine Festival is exactly the opposite of the crowd that would flock to an intense thrill ride. I have a feeling that if Mission: Space had been themed to a science-fiction film and dropped in the Disney/MGM Studios next to Tower of Terror and Rock N’ Roller Coaster, it would be doing twice the numbers that it is now. If it was built in a thrill park like Six Flags, there would be a line around the block. But in Epcot it seems out of place, and even the guests who queue up for hours at Test Track seem to be staying away.

Well, that’s all the time I have for today. I hear a seafood paella and a glass of sangria calling to me!

Seth Kubersky

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The Evolution and History of Mickey’s ToonTown



Disneyland in Anaheim, California, holds a special place in the hearts of Disney fans worldwide, I mean heck, it’s where the magic began after all.  Over the years it’s become a place that people visit in search of memorable experiences. One fan favorite area of the park is Mickey’s Toontown, a unique land that lets guests step right into the colorful, “Toony” world of Disney animation. With the recent reimagining of the land and the introduction of Micky and Minnies Runaway Railway, have you ever wondered how this land came to be?

There is a fascinating backstory of how Mickey’s Toontown came into existence. It’s a tale of strategic vision, the influence of Disney executives, and a commitment to meeting the needs of Disney’s valued guests.

The Beginning: Mickey’s Birthdayland

The story of Mickey’s Toontown starts with Mickey’s Birthdayland at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom. Opened in 1988 to celebrate Mickey Mouse’s 60th birthday, this temporary attraction was met with such overwhelming popularity that it inspired Disney executives to think bigger. The idea was to create a permanent, immersive land where guests could step into the animated world of Mickey Mouse and his friends.

In the early ’90s, Disneyland was in need of a refresh. Michael Eisner, the visionary leader of The Walt Disney Company at the time, had an audacious idea: create a brand-new land in Disneyland that would celebrate Disney characters in a whole new way. This was the birth of Mickey’s Toontown.

Initially, Disney’s creative minds toyed with various concepts, including the idea of crafting a 100-Acre Woods or a land inspired by the Muppets. However, the turning point came when they considered the success of “Who Framed Roger Rabbit.” This film’s popularity and the desire to capitalize on contemporary trends set the stage for Toontown’s creation.

From Concept to Reality: The Birth of Toontown

In 1993, Mickey’s Toontown opened its gates at Disneyland, marking the first time in Disney Park history where guests could experience a fully realized, three-dimensional world of animation. This new land was not just a collection of attractions but a living, breathing community where Disney characters “lived,” worked, and played.

Building Challenges: Innovative Solutions

The design of Mickey’s Toontown broke new ground in theme park aesthetics. Imagineers were tasked with bringing the two-dimensional world of cartoons into a three-dimensional space. This led to the creation of over 2000 custom-built props and structures that embodied the ‘squash and stretch’ principle of animation, giving Toontown its distinctiveness.

And then there was also the challenge of hiding the Team Disney Anaheim building, which bore a striking resemblance to a giant hotdog. The Imagineers had to think creatively, using balloon tests and imaginative landscaping to seamlessly integrate Toontown into the larger park.

Key Attractions: Bringing Animation to Life

Mickey’s Toontown featured several groundbreaking attractions. “Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin,” inspired by the movie “Who Framed Roger Rabbit,” became a staple of Toontown, offering an innovative ride experience. Gadget’s Go-Coaster, though initially conceived as a Rescue Rangers-themed ride, became a hit with younger visitors, proving that innovative design could create memorable experiences for all ages.

Another crown jewel of Toontown is Mickey’s House, a walkthrough attraction that allowed guests to explore the home of Mickey Mouse himself. This attraction was more than just a house; it was a carefully crafted piece of Disney lore. The house was designed in the American Craftsman style, reflecting the era when Mickey would have theoretically purchased his first home in Hollywood. The attention to detail was meticulous, with over 2000 hand-crafted, custom-built props, ensuring that every corner of the house was brimming with character and charm. Interestingly, the design of Mickey’s House was inspired by a real home in Wichita Falls, making it a unique blend of real-world inspiration and Disney magic.

Mickey’s House also showcased Disney’s commitment to creating interactive and engaging experiences. Guests could make themselves at home, sitting in Mickey’s chair, listening to the radio, and exploring the many mementos and references to Mickey’s animated adventures throughout the years. This approach to attraction design – where storytelling and interactivity merged seamlessly – was a defining characteristic of ToonTown’s success.

Executive Decisions: Shaping ToonTown’s Unique Attractions

The development of Mickey’s Toontown wasn’t just about creative imagination; it was significantly influenced by strategic decisions from Disney executives. One notable input came from Jeffrey Katzenberg, who suggested incorporating a Rescue Rangers-themed ride. This idea was a reflection of the broader Disney strategy to integrate popular contemporary characters and themes into the park, ensuring that the attractions remained relevant and engaging for visitors.

In addition to Katzenberg’s influence, Frank Wells, the then-President of The Walt Disney Company, played a key role in the strategic launch of Toontown’s attractions. His decision to delay the opening of “Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin” until a year after Toontown’s debut was a calculated move. It was designed to maintain public interest in the park by offering new experiences over time, thereby giving guests more reasons to return to Disneyland.

These executive decisions highlight the careful planning and foresight that went into making Toontown a dynamic and continuously appealing part of Disneyland. By integrating current trends and strategically planning the rollout of attractions, Disney executives ensured that Toontown would not only capture the hearts of visitors upon its opening but would continue to draw them back for new experiences in the years to follow.

Global Influence: Toontown’s Worldwide Appeal

The concept of Mickey’s Toontown resonated so strongly that it was replicated at Tokyo Disneyland and influenced elements in Disneyland Paris and Hong Kong Disneyland. Each park’s version of Toontown maintained the core essence of the original while adapting to its cultural and logistical environment.

Evolution and Reimagining: Toontown Today

As we approach the present day, Mickey’s Toontown has recently undergone a significant reimagining to welcome “Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway” in 2023. This refurbishment aimed to enhance the land’s interactivity and appeal to a new generation of Disney fans, all while retaining the charm that has made ToonTown a beloved destination for nearly three decades.

Dive Deeper into ToonTown’s Story

Want to know more about Mickey’s Toontown and hear some fascinating behind-the-scenes stories, then check out the latest episode of Disney Unpacked on Patreon @JimHillMedia. In this episode, the main Imagineer who worked on the Toontown project shares lots of interesting stories and details that you can’t find anywhere else. It’s full of great information and fun facts, so be sure to give it a listen!

Jim Hill

Jim Hill is an entertainment writer who has specialized in covering The Walt Disney Company for nearly 40 years now. Over that time, he has interviewed hundreds of animators, actors, and Imagineers -- many of whom have shared behind-the-scenes stories with Mr. Hill about how the Mouse House really works. In addition to the 4000+ articles Jim has written for the Web, he also co-hosts a trio of popular podcasts: “Disney Dish with Len Testa,” “Fine Tooning with Drew Taylor” and “Marvel US Disney with Aaron Adams.” Mr. Hill makes his home in Southern New Hampshire with his lovely wife Nancy and two obnoxious cats, Ginger & Betty.

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Unpacking the History of the Pixar Place Hotel



Pixar Place Hotel, the newly unveiled 15-story tower at the Disneyland Resort, has been making waves in the Disney community. With its unique Pixar-themed design, it promises to be a favorite among visitors.

However, before we delve into this exciting addition to the Disneyland Resort, let’s take a look at the fascinating history of this remarkable hotel.

The Emergence of the Disneyland Hotel

To truly appreciate the story of the Pixar Place Hotel, we must turn back the clock to the early days of Disneyland. While Walt Disney had the visionary ideas and funding to create the iconic theme park, he faced a challenge when it came to providing accommodations for the park’s visitors. This is where his friend Jack Wrather enters the picture.

Jack Wrather, a fellow pioneer in the television industry, stepped in to assist Walt Disney in realizing his dream. Thanks to the success of the “Lassie” TV show produced by Wrather’s company, he had the financial means to build a hotel right across from Disneyland.

The result was the Disneyland Hotel, which opened its doors in October 1955. Interestingly, the early incarnation of this hotel had more of a motel feel than a hotel, with two-story buildings reminiscent of the roadside motels popular during the 1950s. The initial Disneyland Hotel consisted of modest structures that catered to visitors looking for affordable lodging close to the park. While the rooms were basic, it marked the beginning of something extraordinary.

The Evolution: From Emerald of Anaheim to Paradise Pier

As Disneyland’s popularity continued to soar, so did the demand for expansion and improved accommodations. In 1962, the addition of an 11-story tower transformed the Disneyland Hotel, marking a significant transition from a motel to a full-fledged hotel.

The addition of the 11-story tower elevated the Disneyland Hotel into a more prominent presence on the Anaheim skyline. At the time, it was the tallest structure in all of Orange County. The hotel’s prime location across from Disneyland made it an ideal choice for visitors. With the introduction of the monorail linking the park and the hotel, accessibility became even more convenient. Unique features like the Japanese-themed reflecting pools added to the hotel’s charm, reflecting a cultural influence that extended beyond Disney’s borders.

Japanese Tourism and Its Impact

During the 1960s and 1970s, Disneyland was attracting visitors from all corners of the world, including Japan. A significant number of Japanese tourists flocked to Anaheim to experience Walt Disney’s creation. To cater to this growing market, it wasn’t just the Disneyland Hotel that aimed to capture the attention of Japanese tourists. The Japanese Village in Buena Park, inspired by a similar attraction in Nara, Japan, was another significant spot.

These attractions sought to provide a taste of Japanese culture and hospitality, showcasing elements like tea ceremonies and beautiful ponds with rare carp and black swans. However, the Japanese Village closed its doors in 1975, likely due to the highly competitive nature of the Southern California tourist market.

The Emergence of the Emerald of Anaheim

With the surge in Japanese tourism, an opportunity arose—the construction of the Emerald of Anaheim, later known as the Disneyland Pacific Hotel. In May 1984, this 15-story hotel opened its doors.

What made the Emerald unique was its ownership. It was built not by The Walt Disney Company or the Oriental Land Company (which operated Tokyo Disneyland) but by the Tokyu Group. This group of Japanese businessmen already had a pair of hotels in Hawaii and saw potential in Anaheim’s proximity to Disneyland. Thus, they decided to embark on this new venture, specifically designed to cater to Japanese tourists looking to experience Southern California.

Financial Challenges and a Changing Landscape

The late 1980s brought about two significant financial crises in Japan—the crash of the NIKKEI stock market and the collapse of the Japanese real estate market. These crises had far-reaching effects, causing Japanese tourists to postpone or cancel their trips to the United States. As a result, reservations at the Emerald of Anaheim dwindled.

To adapt to these challenging times, the Tokyu Group merged the Emerald brand with its Pacific hotel chain, attempting to weather the storm. However, the financial turmoil took its toll on the Emerald, and changes were imminent.

The Transition to the Disneyland Pacific Hotel

In 1995, The Walt Disney Company took a significant step by purchasing the hotel formerly known as the Emerald of Anaheim for $35 million. This acquisition marked a change in the hotel’s fortunes. With Disney now in control, the hotel underwent a name change, becoming the Disneyland Pacific Hotel.

Transformation to Paradise Pier

The next phase of transformation occurred when Disney decided to rebrand the hotel as Paradise Pier Hotel. This decision aligned with Disney’s broader vision for the Disneyland Resort.

While the structural changes were limited, the hotel underwent a significant cosmetic makeover. Its exterior was painted to complement the color scheme of Paradise Pier, and wave-shaped crenellations adorned the rooftop, creating an illusion of seaside charm. This transformation was Disney’s attempt to seamlessly integrate the hotel into the Paradise Pier theme of Disney’s California Adventure Park.

Looking Beyond Paradise Pier: The Shift to Pixar Place

In 2018, Disneyland Resort rebranded Paradise Pier as Pixar Pier, a thematic area dedicated to celebrating the beloved characters and stories from Pixar Animation Studios. As a part of this transition, it became evident that the hotel formally known as the Disneyland Pacific Hotel could no longer maintain its Paradise Pier theme.

With Pixar Pier in full swing and two successful Pixar-themed hotels (Toy Story Hotels in Shanghai Disneyland and Tokyo Disneyland), Disney decided to embark on a new venture—a hotel that would celebrate the vast world of Pixar. The result is Pixar Place Hotel, a 15-story tower that embraces the characters and stories from multiple Pixar movies and shorts. This fully Pixar-themed hotel is a first of its kind in the United States.

The Future of Pixar Place and Disneyland Resort

As we look ahead to the future, the Disneyland Resort continues to evolve. The recent news of a proposed $1.9 billion expansion as part of the Disneyland Forward project indicates that the area surrounding Pixar Place is expected to see further changes. Disneyland’s rich history and innovative spirit continue to shape its destiny.

In conclusion, the history of the Pixar Place Hotel is a testament to the ever-changing landscape of Disneyland Resort. From its humble beginnings as the Disneyland Hotel to its transformation into the fully Pixar-themed Pixar Place Hotel, this establishment has undergone several iterations. As Disneyland Resort continues to grow and adapt, we can only imagine what exciting developments lie ahead for this iconic destination.

If you want to hear more stories about the History of the Pixar Place hotel, check our special edition of Disney Unpacked over on YouTube.

Stay tuned for more updates and developments as we continue to explore the fascinating world of Disney, one story at a time.

Jim Hill

Jim Hill is an entertainment writer who has specialized in covering The Walt Disney Company for nearly 40 years now. Over that time, he has interviewed hundreds of animators, actors, and Imagineers -- many of whom have shared behind-the-scenes stories with Mr. Hill about how the Mouse House really works. In addition to the 4000+ articles Jim has written for the Web, he also co-hosts a trio of popular podcasts: “Disney Dish with Len Testa,” “Fine Tooning with Drew Taylor” and “Marvel US Disney with Aaron Adams.” Mr. Hill makes his home in Southern New Hampshire with his lovely wife Nancy and two obnoxious cats, Ginger & Betty.

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From Birthday Wishes to Toontown Dreams: How Toontown Came to Be



Mickey's Birthday Land

In the latest release of Episode 4 of Disney Unpacked, Len and I return, joined as always by Disney Imagineering legend, Jim Shull. This two-part episode covers all things Mickey’s Birthday Land and how it ultimately led to the inspiration behind Disneyland’s fan-favorite land, “Toontown”. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves here. It all starts in the early days at Disneyland.

Early Challenges in Meeting Mickey

Picture this: it’s the late 1970s and early 1980s, and you’re at Disneyland. You want to meet the one and only Mickey Mouse, but there’s no clear way to make it happen. You rely on Character Guides, those daily printed sheets that point you in Mickey’s general direction. But let’s be honest, it was like finding a needle in a haystack. Sometimes, you got lucky; other times, not so much.

Mickey’s Birthdayland: A Birthday Wish that Came True

Fast forward to the late 1980s. Disney World faced a big challenge. The Disney-MGM Studios Theme Park was under construction, with the company’s marketing machine in full swing, hyping up the opening of Walt Disney World’s third theme park, MGM Studios, in the Spring of 1989. This extensive marketing meant that many people were opting to postpone their family’s next trip to Walt Disney World until the following year. Walt Disney World needed something compelling to motivate guests to visit Florida in 1988, the year before Disney MGM Studios opened.

Enter stage left, Mickey’s Birthdayland. For the first time ever, an entire land was dedicated to a single character – and not just any character, but the mouse who started it all. Meeting Mickey was no longer a game of chance; it was practically guaranteed.

The Birth of Birthdayland: Creative Brilliance Meets Practicality

In this episode, we dissect the birth of Mickey’s Birthdayland, an initiative that went beyond celebrating a birthday. It was a calculated move, driven by guest feedback and a need to address issues dating back to 1971. Imagineers faced the monumental task of designing an experience that honored Mickey while efficiently managing the crowds. This required the perfect blend of creative flair and logistical prowess – a hallmark of Disney’s approach to theme park design.

Evolution: From Birthdayland to Toontown

The success of Mickey’s Birthdayland was a real game-changer, setting the stage for the birth of Toontown – an entire land that elevated character-centric areas to monumental new heights. Toontown wasn’t merely a spot to meet characters; it was an immersive experience that brought Disney animation to life. In the episode, we explore its innovative designs, playful architecture, and how every nook and cranny tells a story.

Impact on Disney Parks and Guests

Mickey’s Birthdayland and Toontown didn’t just reshape the physical landscape of Disney parks; they transformed the very essence of the guest experience. These lands introduced groundbreaking ways for visitors to connect with their beloved characters, making their Disney vacations even more unforgettable.

Beyond Attractions: A Cultural Influence

But the influence of these lands goes beyond mere attractions. Our episode delves into how Mickey’s Birthdayland and Toontown left an indelible mark on Disney’s culture, reflecting the company’s relentless dedication to innovation and guest satisfaction. It’s a journey into how a single idea can grow into a cherished cornerstone of the Disney Park experience.

Interested in learning about Jim Shull’s original idea for a Winnie the Pooh ride? Here’s concept art of the attraction proposed for the original Toontown in Disneyland. More on [Disney Unpacked].

Unwrapping the Full Story of Mickey’s Birthdayland

Our two-part episode of Disney Unpacked is available for your viewing pleasure on our Patreon page. And for those seeking a quicker Disney fix, we’ve got a condensed version waiting for you on our YouTube channel. Thank you for being a part of our Disney Unpacked community. Stay tuned for more episodes as we continue to “Unpack” the fascinating world of Disney, one story at a time.

Jim Hill

Jim Hill is an entertainment writer who has specialized in covering The Walt Disney Company for nearly 40 years now. Over that time, he has interviewed hundreds of animators, actors, and Imagineers -- many of whom have shared behind-the-scenes stories with Mr. Hill about how the Mouse House really works. In addition to the 4000+ articles Jim has written for the Web, he also co-hosts a trio of popular podcasts: “Disney Dish with Len Testa,” “Fine Tooning with Drew Taylor” and “Marvel US Disney with Aaron Adams.” Mr. Hill makes his home in Southern New Hampshire with his lovely wife Nancy and two obnoxious cats, Ginger & Betty.

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