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Disney Dish 2022-12-05_Shownotes
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Normal Open: Welcome back to another edition of the Disney Dish podcast with Jim Hill. It’s me, Len Testa, and this is our show for the week of Shmursday, December 5, 2022.  


On the show today: News! Listener questions! And Surveys! Then in our main segment, it’s the 121st anniversary of Walt Disney’s birth, and Jim tells us about all the ways Disney has celebrated that over the years.


Let’s get started by bringing in the man who says that two wrongs don’t make a right, but two Wrights make a heck of an airplane. It’s Mr. Jim Hill.   Jim, how’s it going?


iTunes: Thanks to new subscribers Connor Clark, my good friends Bill and Larissa Hirsch, Nick Ruber, and Joe Hixon, and long-time subscribers DBarnes337, Julie Patton, and Eric Ryan.  Jim, these are the cast members who designed and named the Champagne bar called Ooh La La on the Disney Fantasy.  They say the original ideas for the bar included British and Australian decor, but the potential bar names of “Ohh Crikey” and “Blimey La La” didn’t test as well with guests.  True story.

BANDCAMP: Thanks to new subscribers Ingrid Rockey, Karen Milehim, Keenan Voit, and Aaron in Atlanta, and long-time subscribers PMack, Tom Drinko, and JW Glaser.    Jim, these are the folks who snuck into Starring Rolls Cafe right before it closed to copy the recipe for those giant Butterfinger cupcakes the size of your head.  And if you have fifteen cents, a nail, and the shell of a great-great-great grandfather snail, they’ll tell you what it is. True story.


The Disney Dish News is brought to you by Storybook Destinations, trusted travel partner of Disney Dish. For a worry-free travel experience every time, book online at storybook destinations dot com.



  • Disney’s “Hey, Disney!” Alexa-like service started testing at Disney’s Polynesian Resort this week.  If you’re staying there, I’d love to see the legal waiver around this always-on listening device.  Disney says it’ll be available as a for-purchase Alexa skill eventually.

    Disney says you can ask ‘Hey, Disney!’ for more blankets and towels, the fastest way to get to the park in the morning, and where to get your favorite food.
  • Disney cruise line announced a new tier to its Castaway Club frequent-cruise loyalty program, called Pearl.
    Current tiers:

    Silver (1-4)
    Gold (5-9)
    Platinum (10-24)

    Disney says Pearl tier members will get “new” at-home and on-ship benefits, so no word on whether any current Platinum-level benefits change.


New fireworks survey

Our friend Dave sent in this Disney survey question, and before I read it, let me just say that to anyone who works with numbers, please fast-forward ahead 5 minutes.

Our friend Natan sent in a Disney survey with some questions I’d not seen before:






Listener Questions

Here’s one from Tim:

My upcoming trip will be my 3 year old daughter’s first visit to wdw. She’s too small to ride a lot of attractions but she loves transportation (we can see the 7 train from our apartment, and it is a source of joy).

Is there any word at all when the WDW Railroad will actually re-open? I see news on testing, but as we approach the fourth anniversary of its last ride… feels odd that it’s not running still. And we’re stating at the Contemptoary; is there any word when the boats connecting Fort Wilderness and Contemporary will be back? Is that a staffing issue, like seemingly all else?

Len says: I was going to put this in the news section, but the WDW Railroad was spotted doing on-track testing last week in WDW.  So I’d expect that to return sooner rather than later.

I don’t think the FW-Contemporary boats are likely to return any time soon. But Tim, definitely bring your daughter on the Skyliner, even if it’s just to go grab lunch at Primo Primo Piatto at the Riviera.

Here’s one from Ben:

On the last episode of the Podcast you discussed the latest Universal Survey and I wanted to share my experience:

On my survey I was asked questions about building lands for Superman and Lord of the Rings. Well, main job is as a theatrical lighting and set designer for theatres around the country, so I had a lot of ideas about what could be designed. I was in the middle of describing a detailed "E-Ticket" ride for a Lord of the Rings adventure when I realized the simple point; I don't work for you!!!

Here’s one from Brian:

To get the military discount on the PhotoPass, I have to buy in-person at a park or Disney Springs (the whole show ID thing, totally get it).  But here’s the crazy part: when I bought it, the Cast Member gave me this cut out and told me to take a selfie on any of the red asterisk (MagicBand only) rides.  That way, when they inevitably have to go through and look photo by photo they have a starting point.

So Disney’s decision to stop free magic bands is now not only hurting guest experience but is hurting Cast Members to the point that they are handing out a printed list and telling guests about the work around.

Len says: I … did not realize this, because I still wear a MB. But yeah, I can totally see how this is an issue.

And Ray said:

When you and Jim were talking last week about the Disney’s new cruise ship and you mentioned that you like big boats, how did you not paraphrase Sir Mixalot’s “Baby Got Back” with the phrase “I like big boats and I cannot lie”?  Aaron could’ve dropped in some audio too.

Disney Patents


We’re going to take a quick commercial break.  When we return, Jim tells us all the different ways in which Disney has celebrated the anniversary of Walt’s birth.  We’ll be right back.


Disney Dish Feature Piece

WDW’s “100 Years of Magic” celebration

The five of you who went out and saw “Strange World” this past weekend saw a brand-new logo on the front of that animated feature. One that trumpeted Disney100. This new intro – which will be placed in front of all Disney Studios for calendar 2023 -- was officially unveiled at the D23 Expo back on September 9th.

Around that same time, we learned about “Disney100: The Exhibition.” A brand-new traveling exhibit that the Walt Disney Archives is putting together. This 15,000 square-foot immersive environment will debut at the Franklin Institute on February 18, 2023 (Tickets are already on sale, by the way) before then embarking on a world tour. And among the Disney rarities that will be on display at “Disney100: The Exhibition” will be:

  • The actual tritone whistle that was used to make the steamboat whistle sound in “Steamboat Willie.” (Fun side note: This very same tritone whistle was pulled out of storage while the Imagineers were creating the soundscape for “Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway.” It was then used to create the train whistle noise for this attraction at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Put back into service after 97 years).
  • The elaborate, ornate white-and-gold storybook you see at the very beginning of “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.”
  • Walt’s original “Disneyland” name tag from 1955 (No. 1, of course)

Now what’s interesting about all this is … Well, “Disney100” is confusing some Disney fans. Or – at the very least – giving them a sense of deja-vu.

What I’ve been hearing is “Didn’t we already do this? Didn’t the Company – back in the early 2000s – do a very similar celebration called ‘100 Years of Magic’ ?”

Well, yes. They did. But whereas “Disney100” (Which – by the way – is sub-titled “100 Years of Wonder”) is supposed to (this is the boilerplate that you can currently find on the official Disney100 website. FYI: If you want to go check that out for yourself, that website’s address is Anyway …)

The boilerplate that’s currently in place at the official Disney100 website states that this company-wide celebration (which officially gets underway on January 1, 2023, by the way) is supposed to “… celebrate 100 years of Disney wonder, and look ahead to our next 100 years, together.”

So just to be clear here: “Disney100: 100 Years of Wonder” (which has been announced as a year-long celebration. But Company insides are telling me is already being planned to stretch on out to March of 2024) is a celebration of the 100th anniversary of the founding of The Walt Disney Company.

Whereas “100 Years of Magic” … Well, that 17-month-long celebration (Which ran from November of 2001 through March of 2003) was built around the 100th anniversary of the birth of the Company’s founder, Walt Disney.

Side note: Not to be that guy, but when Walt formerly set up operation in LA on Kingswell Avenue on October 16, 2023, the name of the operation was Disney Brothers Cartoon Studios. As in: Walt AND Roy. And that name stayed in place for the next 27 months while they churned out 26 “Alice Comedies.”

January of 1926, Walt & Roy moved their animation operation from Kingswell over to Hyperion Avenue. At that point, the studio gets a new name, going from Disney Brothers Cartoon Studios to Walt Disney Studios. I’ve been told Roy O was fine with this name change. Walt was now the face of the organization, Roy was the behind-the-scenes guy.

Even so, I just wish – if the Company is doing this Disney100 thing – that they’d do it right. Acknowledge that – when the Company started out in October of 1923– it was the Disney Brothers Cartoon Studio.

So how did the “100 Years of Magic” celebration. To be honest, the Company glommed onto this idea for a year-long celebration because it was looking for something of size to follow Walt Disney World’s Millennium Celebration (which ran from October 1, 1999 through January 1, 2001).

That event – which had been centered around Epcot – had been a huge success for the Resort. And this time around, Walt Disney World wanted Disney’s Hollywood Studios to be in the spotlight.

So – in much the same way that the 257-foot-tall Mickey Wand (which towered over Spaceship Earth at Epcot) was the icon for WDW’s Millennium Celebration – the Imagineers began casting about for a similar sort of icon for the “100 Years of Magic.”

FYI: The planning on this year-long celebration actually got underway before WDW’s Millennium Celebration started. I’m told that the first formal meetings to discuss “what-are-we-doing-for-WDW-in-2001-to-compell-Guests-to-return-to-the-Resort?” were held in September of 1999. A full month before WDW’s Millennium Celebration got underway.

Speaking of that icon … Len & I have both talked with former Imagineer Jim Shull about the Company’s exploration of what an appropriate icon for the “100 Years of Magic” celebration. And at one point, one of the ideas that was very seriously explored was building the “One Man’s Dream” exhibit down towards the entrance of Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Only – in this case – the building that was to have housed this exhibit would have not only be shaped like the Sorcerer’s Hat, it was also to have featured ferris wheels to either side that Guests could have then ridden. And those ferris wheels were to have been positioned in such a way that they’d have then formed Mickey Ears.

That idea eventually fell off the table and was then replaced by the far-more-controversial idea of placing a 122-foot-tall version of the Mickey Hat at the end of Hollywood Boulevard in front of the Chinese Theater. This supposedly temporary structure (which was originally only supposed to be in place ‘til the end of WDW’s “100 Years of Magic” celebration in March of 2003) then stood right in from of “The Great Movie Ride” ‘til January of 2015. Only then did the Company actually pull this thing down (It took 49 days to officially clear away).

How many of you remember the interactive kiosks inside the Sorcerer’s Mickey Hat? Where you’d then be tested on your knowledge of Disney trivia?

There was also a retail space set up under the Sorcerer Mickey Hat where you could buy these Magical Moments pins. Do you remember these things, Len? There were five total – one specifically for each Disney World theme park, and then another that featured the “100 Years of Magic” logo.

The tagline for these collectibles was:

Ride the ride, see the show, watch the parade and let Disney’s Magical Moments Pins make you part of the show. Each sparkling pin will illuminate whenever you encounter special magical moments at all four theme parks at the Walt Disney World Resort. Collect all five pins and join in the magic.”

These Magical Moments pins were big. At least two inches across both ways, plus 3/4th of an inch thick. Also kind of the heavy side. Powered by two CR2032 batteries. Typically would last for three days in the Parks before the batteries then needed to be replaced. Very few Guests brought a Phillips Head screwdriver with them on vacation.

Reminds me of the MagicBand+ that officially went on sale at the Disneyland Resort last month (on October 26th, to be exact). Now described as “wearable technology” that then unlocks “ … a new dimension of Disney storytelling, coming alive with color-changing LED lights and haptic vibrations during select park experiences and entertainment.” The exact same thing that WDW’s Magical Moment pins did back in 2001. Only this time – instead of hanging off of your t-shirt – it’s now on your wrist.

Other thing that was interesting about WDW’s “100 Years of Magic” celebration is that all four Florida Parks got a new parade that year:

  • Disney’s Hollywood Studios got the "Disney Stars and Motor Cars" parade
  • The Magic Kingdom got the "Share a Dream Come True" parade. Also known as the Snowglobe Cavalcade
  • Disney’s Animal Kingdom got “Mickey’s Jammin’ Jungle” parade. That one was especially challenging because Joe Rohde had deliberately designed the streets & walkways at that theme park to be so narrow & bumpy that they couldn’t really support a traditional sort of parade. Had to retrofit a number of narrow vehicles (i.e., jeeps, pargos, etc) that could actually fit along the proposed parade route to now serve as parade floats.
  • “Tapestry of Dreams” parade opens at Epcot (This is a slightly retooled version of the “Tapestry of Nations” parade that first opened back in October of 1999 as part of WDW’s Millennium Celebration).

Press event to kick WDW’s “100 Years of Magic” celebration was originally supposed to happen the last week of September 2001. But then 9/11 happened. And out of respect (and also because most airlines had grounded their fleet for the foreseeable future), Disney World’s PR team reached out to the 5000 journalists that it had invited to this press event and said “Hang on. We’re going to reschedule.”

Parades began rolling through the four Disney World theme parks on September 24th of that year (soft opening / rehearsal) out ahead of WDW’s 30th anniversary celebration (a very muted affair that year. Which was held on October 1st).

Rescheduled “100 Years of Magic” press event – appropriately enough – kicked off on the really-for-real 100th anniversary of the birth of Walt Disney: December 5, 2001.

The opening ceremony was held at the Magic Kingdom out in front of the Main Street Station in the plaza in front of Seven Seas Lagoon. With the “Casey Junior’s Comin’ Down the Track” song being played by the Main Street Philaharmonic, the steam train – with Goofy as engineer and dozens of other Disney characters riding as passengers & waving to the crowd below – chugged to a stop in front of the station.

Al Weiss, the then-president of Walt Disney World, then stepped to the podium and explained that this place was deliberately chosen for the start of the “100 Years of Magic” press event because Walt was such a train buff. Weiss also went out of his way to pay tribute to many of the Disney World Cast Members who were in attendance at this event who had been with the Resort since it had first opened back in October of 1971.

As is typically at press events such as these, there were parties & presentations. Making sure that all of the reporters on hand got to sample of all the newer rides, shows & attractions at the Resort. One of the odder ones at this event was held at the base of the Sorcerer Mickey hat. Where a hundred different sheet cakes were pushed together to form a 25-foot-long and 17-foot-wide version of the “100 Years of Magic” logo.

Mind you, the cake didn’t get cut until then-Disney CEO Michael Eisner helped to dedicate the “Walt Disney: One Man’s Dream” exhibit.

Len & I recently toured this interactive gallery. Which still has some fascinating items from Disney history. Like Project Little Man. This is the Company’s earliest attempt at the tech that eventually became Audio Animatronics. Back in 1951, under Walt’s guidance, machinist Roger Broggie and sculptor Wathel Rogers began trying to figure out how they could make a 9-inch-tall figure dance (This was during a time when Walt had a fascination with miniatures and was toying with the idea of staging a traveling exhibit called “Disneylandia”). You have to see the giant steel gears at the back of the “Project Little Man” display that powered this 9-inch-tall figure. They look like giant buzzsaw blades. Absolutely lethal.

Beyond that … Well, what impresses me about the Walt Disney Company is how – no matter how much things seem to change – how they really don’t change. I mean, here we have the Company readying its “Disney100: The Exhibition” for the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia (which gets underway on February 18, 2023. Tickets on sale now) and here’s Walt back in 1951 trying to get his “Disneylandia” exhibit of miniatures ready to send out on the road.

And then there’s the “100 Years of Magic” celebration which got underway at WDW in late September / early October of 2001 (though the official press event wasn’t held ‘til early December of that same year) and here’s the Walt Disney Company getting ready for its ”100 Years of Wonder” celebration (which starts on January 1, 2023).

And – finally – here’s those Magical Moments interactive pins (which I remember being as big as the saucer you put a cup of coffee on. And weighing about the same too) and Disneyland’s MagicBand+. Which blink along with whatever show or parade you’re seeing.

It’s Disney déjà vu, Len. Kind of the same feeling I’m getting now that Bob Iger is the Company’s CEO yet again.

Anyone out there have stronger memories of WDW’s “100 Years of Magic” celebration? If so, feel free to pass them along.


That’s going to do it for the show today.  You can help support our show and JimHillMedia by subscribing over at DisneyDish.Bandcamp.Com, where you’ll find exclusive shows never before heard on iTunes.  We’re recording some live, in-park shows this week, I think.

ON NEXT WEEK’S SHOW: Jim gives us the history, and many, many changes, of Disneyland’s Pacific Pier hotel.

NOTE: You can find more of Jim at, and more of me at


iTunes Show: We’re produced fabulously by Aaron Adams, who’s still looking for a partner for him and his horse, Snowball, for the Team Roping competition at the 53rd International Finals Rodeo competition, January 12th through the 15th, 2023, at the Lazy E Arena in beautiful, downtown Guthrie, Oklahoma.

While Aaron’s doing that, please go on to iTunes and rate our show and tell us what you’d like to hear next.

For Jim, this is Len, we’ll see you on the next show.


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