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San Diego? Something for everyone!

Roger Colton returns with tips for Southern Californian travels about what they should do the next time they’re down San Diego way.

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Been there twice; once by car, once by train.

Nice place.

This coming Sunday, it’s home to Superbowl XXXVII.

And if you don’t happen to be a Raiders or a Buccaneers fan, you might wonder what else the city has to offer.

From this corner, they seem to have their act together when it comes to transit. Streetcars go right from downtown to the border. Commuter trains from the north, and Amtrak’s “Pacific Surfliner” fleet from Santa Barbara and Los Angeles as well.

It is California’s major naval facility, with the Navy as a major employer. With all of the base closures of the 80’s and 90’s, most of the military port operations for the state are here.

If you’re looking for amusements, Balboa Park is one fine place to start. In fact, it may be the only place you need to look.

Here’s the list of the Museums and Attractions you’ll find here:

  • American Indian Cultural Center and Museum
  • Centro Cultural de la Raza
  • House of Pacific Relations
  • Japanese Friendship Garden
  • Marie Hitchcock Puppet Theatre
  • Marston House
  • Mingei International Museum
  • Museum of Photographic Arts
  • Reuben H. Fleet Science Center
  • San Diego Aerospace Museum
  • San Diego Art Institute
  • San Diego Automotive Museum
  • San Diego Hall of Champions
  • San Diego Historical Society Museum
  • San Diego Junior Theatre
  • San Diego Model Railroad Museum
  • San Diego Museum of Art
  • San Diego Museum of Man
  • San Diego Natural History Museum
  • San Diego Zoo
  • Spanish Village Art Center
  • Spreckels Organ Pavilion
  • Starlight Theatre at Starlight Bowl
  • Timken Museum of Art
  • The Globe Theatres
  • United Nations Building
  • Veteran’s Memorial Center Museum
  • WorldBeat Center
  • And Other Attractions
  • Butterfly Rides Carousel Lawn Bowling Miniature Train

Got your attention now? Good!

How about some highlights on a couple of them?

House of Pacific Relations is comprised of nearly 30 national groups dedicated to promoting an exchange of values and understanding among people of diverse national origin. This group of small cottages, each home to a different nation, holds open house to the public Sunday afternoons from noon to 5:00 p.m. From the first Sunday in March to the last Sunday in October, the Houses hold special lawn programs featuring traditional costumes, arts, crafts and ethnic foods. Outdoor programs of folk dancing and music are presented at 2:00 p.m. Nations represented are Argentina, Austria, Colombia, Puerto Rico, Panama, England, Scotland, Ireland, Iran, Israel, Poland, Philippine Islands, Finland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, United States, France, Spain, Italy, Germany, Hungary, Lithuania, Ukraine, China, and the Czech and Slovak Republics. Public information by phone (619) 234-0739.

Museum of Photographic Arts, located in the Casa de Balboa, is one of the country’s first and finest museums dedicated solely to photographic and film arts. MoPA offers changing exhibitions by the masters of the art form and critically acclaimed work by the most celebrated photographers working today. In addition to displaying major exhibitions, the museum offers lectures, workshops, and the new Joan and Irwin Jacobs Theater hosts on-site film series. The museum store offers the most extensive collection of photography-related books in the country, as well as posters, note cards, and unique gift items. Open daily 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Public information by phone (619) 238-7559.

The Globe Theatres. One of the country’s leading regional theaters and California’s oldest professional theater organization. This Tony Award-winning theater produces 14 works a year on its three stages: the acoustically excellent 581-seat Old Globe Theatre, the intimate 225-seat Cassius Carter Centre Stage and the acclaimed 612-seat outdoor Lowell Davies Festival Theatre. Continuing a tradition of Shakespeare and the classics for over sixty years, The Globe is also renowned for the production of world premieres of contemporary plays and musicals. Performances Tuesday – Sunday evenings and weekend matinees. Box Office 619 239-2255.

San Diego Aerospace Museum. Delve into aviation’s history from the Wright Flyer to the space shuttle – the San Diego Aerospace Museum brings to life aviation’s rich heritage through a dazzling collection of over sixty-five aircraft and spacecraft. The museum also houses the International Aerospace Hall of Fame honoring engineers, pilots, and aviation industrialists. The museum maintains an extensive aviation library and archives and also has a remarkable aerospace museum store. Open daily 10:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., with extended hours during the summer. Behind-the-scenes restoration tours are available for an additional fee. Public information by phone (619) 234-8291.

San Diego Model Railroad Museum celebrates American railroads with the largest permanent operating scale model and toy train display in the United States. The 24,000 square foot museum contains four giant-scale model railroads of the Southwest, including an “HO” 1/87 actual size replica of one of the largest timber trestles in North America. Children of all ages can enjoy being engineer on a special Lionel-style layout. Additional interactive accessories can be visitor operated within the large “O” gauge Toy Train Gallery. Located in the Casa de Balboa. Open Tuesday – Friday, 11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, 11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Gift Shop. Public Information by phone (619) 696-0199.

San Diego Automotive Museum takes visitors on a trip through the fascinating history of the automobile – the defining invention and ultimate icon of the 20th century. Located near the Aerospace Museum, the San Diego Automotive Museum features a permanent display of classic and historically significant cars and motorcycles; special rotating exhibits displaying the finest and rarest vehicles in the world; a comprehensive resource center containing rare publications, photos and vintage films; a collection of automotive memorabilia and an active restoration display, giving visitors a glimpse of authentic restoration techniques. The Museum Store carries unique automotive-themed merchandise. Open daily 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Public information by phone (619) 231-AUTO (2886).

You just knew I would cover planes, trains and automobiles, didn’t you? Why not pipe organs, too?

Spreckels Organ Pavilion, housing one of the world’s largest outdoor pipe organs, was donated to the City of San Diego by John D. and Adolph Spreckels in 1914 for the Panama-California Exposition. This unique outdoor organ, which contains over 4,500 pipes, was built by the Austin Organ Company of Hartford, Connecticut. The organ is housed in an ornate vaulted structure with highly embellished gables. The pavilion area provides comfortable seating for 2,400, with wheelchair access. Free year-round organ concerts are held on Sundays from 2:00 – 3:00 p.m. Guest performers are scheduled at least once a month. The annual free Summer International Organ Festival is presented from mid-June through August on Monday evenings at 7:30 p.m. Public information by phone (619) 702-8138

Don’t miss the concert on this Sunday!

Veterans Memorial Center Museum was formed to honor and perpetuate the memories of all men and women who have served in the United States Armed Forces. Programs are offered which promote public awareness about the contributions of these veterans. On display are historical objects, artifacts, documents, and memorabilia dating back to the Civil War. The center also provides facilities for services and social and recreational activities for veterans, active duty military personnel, and the general public. Open Tuesdays through Saturday from 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Admission is free. Donations are welcome. Public information by phone (619) 239-2300.

Even if you don’t make it this weekend, I heartily recommend Balboa Park as a place worthy of a visit on your next trip to San Diego. Something for almost everyone here…

Roger may be an Oakland A’s fan, but is somewhat unenthused about the Raiders. No connection there worth noting and the same is true of the San Francisco Forty Niners. Now Stanford football is another thing, but that’s another story for another column…

And if you’re in San Diego or along the way, reports have a special train of nine private railroad cars making the trip down from Los Angeles to San Diego along with a ten car special train from the business car fleet of the Burlington Northern Santa Fe. More info on the later is available at http://www.railroadnews.net

The cars won’t be open to the public, but it’s a bit more than the usual Amtrak or Coaster trains. Worth seeing if you’re interested…

Roger Colton

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History

The Evolution and History of Mickey’s ToonTown

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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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History

Unpacking the History of the Pixar Place Hotel

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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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History

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

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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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