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Looking back on the Disney-MGM Studio Backlot project — Part 2

JHM guest writer Todd James Pierce continues his 4-part series about the 40-acre entertainment district that the Walt Disney Company once wanted to build in Burbank. Which Universal Studios then tried to derail



Picking up where we left off yesterday …

During the first five months of 1987, Burbank city officials worked toward an agreement with Disney to build a theme-park-slash-shopping-center in their downtown district. At issue was the money: Disney wanted to buy the land for next to nothing. Disney also wanted the city to pay for a parking structure large enough to hold 3,500 cars.

On April 24th, the Mayor of Burbank Michael Hastings was invited to the Walt Disney Imagineering complex in Glendale to view tentative plans for the park. “Every little bit of wall space in that room was taken up with drawings, sketches and ideas,” he remembers. The drawings featured elaborate buildings, ornate street environments and even a Ferris wheel. “My first reaction was ‘I wonder where our stuff is, because this looks so tremendous, it can’t be for us.’ Then I began looking closer at the walls, and I saw the map of our property on the wall beside all these ideas.”

But his initial reaction wasn’t one of awe. Rather, it was one of being overwhelmed. As he left the Imagineering complex, the elaborate plans caused him to have second thoughts about a Disney park in Burbank. Did the city really want a permanent carnival set up downtown?

Mayor Hastings took his doubts back to the city council, where he found that others shared his concerns. More than one council member wondered if a formal agreement with Disney would be in the best interest of the city. Some wanted to approach other interested parties about developing a traditional mall project on the land, while others thought it might be in the city’s best interest to sell the property for more money than Disney was willing to pay.

 Disney Vice President Gary Wilson

The turning point came on April 28th, when Eisner again invited city officials to a formal conference room at the studio. During this meeting, Eisner and Disney Vice President Gary Wilson, played a videotape sent in by the city of Dallas. Professionally produced, the taped featured dozens of tuxedo-wearing youngsters, all of them begging Disney to build a project in their town.

“Here we were in Burbank,” City Manager Bud Ovrom later reflected, “playing hard-to-get, and any other city in the country or the world would have given their eyeteeth for a Disney project. That tape opened our eyes.”

On Friday, May 1, 1987, Burbank city officials held a meeting to discuss their plans to sell 30-acres of prime Burbank real estate to the Walt Disney Company for the ridiculously low price of 57-cents per square foot. The land was worth an estimated $20 per square foot—or $35 million for the entire parcel. Disney would get it for a song, a mere $1 million. The city also offered Disney the option of buying 10 more acres for $8.7 million.

The official terms locked Burbank and Disney in to a one-year exclusive development agreement. Disney would have one year to develop plans for the property. Once these plans were approved by the city, Disney would then be able to purchase the land. Even with the heavily discounted land price, Disney estimated that the project would cost between $150 million and $300 million to complete.

But Disney wasn’t the only multinational company represented at the Council meeting. Also in attendance were MCA lawyers who repeatedly objected to Burbank’s plan to partner with Disney. At stake was not just the land — but Disney’s intentions to build a studio-based theme park just five miles away from the MCA-owned Universal Studios Tour. Attorney Dan Shapiro asked the council: “There is a question whether this is the proper thing to do with city property without asking for competitive bids. You’re giving away 40 acres.”

“At $1 million,” City Manager Bud Ovrom explained, “Disney is clearly getting a special price, but we would be getting a special project … The Disney Company has been talking about creating an all new ‘animal,’ which would combine the best aspects of a festival shopping center together with a significant entertainment element.” The project would combine theme park attractions from Disney-MGM Studios (then under construction in Florida) with a boutique shopping mall. “It is important to note,” he added, “that it would not be a ‘gated’ facility such as Disneyland or Magic Mountain.”

The following week, Michael Eisner announced that he would personally present Disney’s plans for the 40-acre site to the Burbank Redevelopment Agency. But before Eisner could unveil his plans, details about the project began to leak out of Orlando. Some areas of the Backlot, insiders suggested, would be modeled after the Pleasure Island complex then being developed at Disney World. The Burbank project would include a number of specialty retail stores — just like those which were eventually built for PI’s West Side expansion in 1997 — as well as rough copies of six Pleasure Island nightclubs.

 Copyright Disney. All Rights Reserved

Surprisingly the big news about the Burbank project wasn’t leaked to the press in typical Disney fashion. The big news was kept under wraps until Eisner’s formal presentation.

Standing before the Redevelopment Agency, Eisner introduce himself as well as Frank Wells, President of the Walt Disney Company, and Joe Rohde, a lead Disney Imagineer. Together they explained that the Burbank project would be much more than a nightclub and shopping district. “It will be a new generation of Disney attractions,” Eisner announced. The park would indeed include stores and nightclubs. But it would also include an enormous ride that would convey guests through famous movie scenes. The proposed name for this attraction was “Great Moments in the Movies” — but basically, the attraction would be a California clone of the Disney-MGM showcase ride in Florida, later known as “The Great Movie Ride.”

Joe Rohde explained that Disney would also build a 400-room Hollywood Fantasy Hotel — a Vegas-style mid-or high-rise in which each floor was decorated according to a different Hollywood genre. Such as the western floor, the space-adventure floor, the New York gangster floor and so on. Hotel employees too would be dressed in period costumes to match each genre.

In cooperation with the city, Disney would build a six-story parking facility, the top of which would hold a manmade lake called the “Burbank Ocean.” Though only 18-inches deep, the “Ocean” would create an enormous 60-foot waterfall spilling down into another manmade lake. The waterfall would also partially screen the property from the nearby freeway.

Copyright 1987 Disney. All Rights Reserved

But the most impressive news concerned the operations of the actual Disney studio. The Disney-MGM Backlot would include a new TV studio and tour. Eisner also planned to move the animation department — or at least one unit of the animation department — over to the Backlot so that park guests could tour a working animation facility.

Frank Wells closed the presentation by suggesting that the project would transform Burbank into a world famous city: “The Backlot,” he explained, “is designed to provide international shopping, dining and nightlife like Tokyo’s Ginza and Paris‘ Champs-Elysees.”

The Redevelopment Agency was impressed — but Eisner’s plans for an elaborate Disney park in Burbank only angered MCA.

According to MCA Vice President Jay Stein, shortly before Eisner’s presentation, Disney execs privately offered to withdraw its plans to build a Burbank park if MCA would abandon its plans to build Universal City in Orlando. To a reporter at the LA Times, Stein called Disney’s proposal “blackmail tactics.”

The day after the “blackmail” story was published, Eisner fired back: “I have no idea what they (MCA) are talking about. Anything MCA does or does not do — or anything anybody else does or does not do—will not affect our plans.”

Jeffrey Katzenberg and Roger Rabbit.
Copyright 1989 Disney / Amblin. All Rights Reserved

Disney studio executive Jeffrey Katzenberg added: “It sounds to me like it’s sour grapes.”

But Jay Stein held to his original story, telling the press: “There is no doubt in my mind what happened.”

That same week, MCA announced that they intended to file a lawsuit to stop the Disney development in Burbank. Acting as though MCA had the best interest of Burbank residents at heart, Stein told reporters: “If I were on the Burbank City Council, I would not have insulted the taxpayers of Burbank by offering a piece of land for $1 million that I would conservatively say really costs $50 million. If anyone should be outraged, it’s the citizens of Burbank.”

In LA Superior Court, MCA didn’t just file one lawsuit. They filed two. The first argued that the contract between Burbank and Disney should be invalidated because the city had not completed the proper studies to determine the environmental impact of the Disney park. The second claimed that the secret negotiations between Disney and Burbank violated the Brown Act, which “prohibits city councils, school boards and other governmental agencies from meeting on public issues in private, except in certain circumstances, including land negotiations.” Though the suits appealed to environmental and parity issues, the underlying motivation was clear: these were legal maneuvers to prevent Disney from stealing potential customers from Universal Studios Tour.

Over the following week, newspapers and business journals around the nation would feature articles about the MCA lawsuits, most all of them citing the legal action as the latest development in the long-standing feud between Disney and MCA.

Come back tomorrow to read about Disney’s full plans for the Burbank Backlot.

Todd James Pierce

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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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