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Disney Dish with Jim Hill Ep 471:   When may “Tiana’s Bayou Adventure” open at WDW’s Magic Kingdom

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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, March 18, 2024.


On the show today: News! Surveys! And listener questions! Then in our main segment, Imagineer Jim Shull comes on the show with a story titled “I Really Shouldn’t Be Up Here.”  


Let’s get started by bringing in the man who, if he had a nickel for every time he was confused, would be like “where’d this nickel come from?” and then another nickel would appear leading to even more confusion, until he’s buried under a giant pile of coins. It’s Mr. Jim Hill.   Jim, how’s it going?


Also with us today is...  


iTunes:  Thanks to everyone who subscribes to the show over at including Aarpm Rifkind, Eric Pertschi, Lawrence Rose, Kurt Sutton, Laura Verardo-Goodrich, and Bill Scurry.  Jim, these are the maintenance cast members who’ve kept the Peoplemover’s linear induction system working during its 48-year run in Tomorrowland. They say the secret is teamwork, the desire to always put on a good show, and the world’s largest collection of refrigerator magnets to keep the motors turning. True story.


The news is sponsored by TouringPlans helps you save time and money at theme parks like Walt Disney World.  Check us out at



Disney Discounts Tickets

  • Florida Residents can purchase the 4-day Discover Disney ticket for $63 per day including tax, or $250 with tax
  • April 2 to September 28, park reservations required
  • The cheapest 4-day non-park hopper currently available is the 4-Park Magic ticket for $422
  • So this is a 40% discount on the already-discounted ticket
  • Cheapest 4-day non-hopper for non-Florida residents is $491 for tickets starting August 20, so this is almost half off that.

Ride vehicle testing continues at Tiana’s Bayou Adventure

  • Jim, someone told me about a month ago Disney might be trying for a Memorial Day opening for Tiana’s. And at the time I thought that was wildly optimistic.  But we’ve got around 70 days until then, so I’m not sure I’d bet against that right now.  


Our friends Patty and Kent sent in a Universal survey received after purchasing tickets for an upcoming trip.  

Jim, this seems like Universal preparing to sell tickets.

Listener Questions

Eric writes in with a correction about the mall vendor of smoked meats that Chrissy and I were trying to remember last week.  It’s Hickory Farms, not Hillshire Farms.   Eric,  you’re worth your weight in summer sausage. Thank you.

Tracy wrote in with another take on Disney’s 2025 offer of free water-park admission on your check-in day:

I know you mentioned the idea of pre booking genie plus on the horizon and how moving to 8 days cancellation likely ties into this.  Do you think this water park reservation is also meant to serve as a deterrent for people booking genie plus of day of arrival.  I can see two reasons for this. First they don’t want to tie up a bunch of reservations that won’t get used if trip is delayed or canceled.  And this would avoid the headache of people upset they paid for something they can’t use.

Craig writes in with a Disney Cruise Line question:


The family just booked a Disney Alaskan cruise.  I'm assuming you've been on one, and wondered if there are any can't miss excursions.  We just booked yesterday and our excursion booking date is next week.  We are doing two connecting rooms so that the boys can have their own room and bathroom, and it was only about $800 more than a single room.

Len says: I've been on an Alaska cruise on Disney, but did my own port adventures.  I checked with Erin Foster, who writes the Unofficial Guide to Disney Cruise Line with me. Erin said that the absolute best DCL excursion she's ever been on - in any part of the world - is the Alaskan Sled Dog Experience, which also includes a helicopter ride.  

Jay writes in to answer a previous listener question about why Disney still sells Monsters University merchandise:

There are high school students who have graduated in the last few years who watched Monsters U as elementary school age and who may want to post on social media that they have graduated high school to attend Monsters U.... case in point, my daughter who graduated in June of 2023 and needed to get a Monsters U cap during a summer 2023 visit to Walt Disney World so she could post an image of herself wearing it and announcing acceptance to MU.

Colin writes in from Scotland with questions about Disney’s Halloween and Christmas parties:

My wife and I are going Smersday Oct 29 - Smersday Nov 13 and I have some questions regarding holidays, mainly with parties.

Do you have any indication of when Halloween and Christmas 2024 party tickets go on sale (for Universal too as we have tickets for there also and keeping options open) and is there a specific time of day that they open? With us being in Scotland, I'd need to work out time zones as we don't have much room for manoeuvreing with getting Halloween tickets, it's either the last couple or we don't go.

Len says: In 2023, Halloween Party tickets went on sale April 27 for resort guests, and May 2 for the general public.  For the Christmas Party it was June 29 and July 6, respectively.  The website is usually updated by 6 am or 7 am, so it’ll be a late night for you in Scotland, but worth it.

And while we’re looking at Halloween dates, I’d expect Universal Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights tickets to go on sale any day now.  I think 2023’s dates went on sale around the third full week of March last year, and we’re there now.

Jeff writes in after our recent talk about what Universal should put in the Springfield, USA area, if the Simpsons goes away:

I believe it would be better suited to a land called Spielberg’s Sanctuary. It’s close to E.T.  You could put a Ready Player One sim ride in where the Simpsons ride is. Make it a simulator ride featuring the race scene. Plus you could have different ride vehicles and the DeLorean could make a comeback.

Research/Patents (use query "disney enterprises".as AND "theme park".ab)


We’re going to take a quick commercial break.  When we come back, Imagineer Jim Shull joins us with a story he calls “I Really Shouldn’t Be Up Here.”  We’ll be right back.

MAIN TOPIC - iTunes Show

“I Shouldn’t Be Here”

We start off with Jim S telling his Scenario story. Being up in that cherry picker at night checking out the blacklight paint jobs that have been done on those faux highway signs for "Rock 'n' Roller Coaster starring Aerosmith"

  • You then tell your story about how you once got to stand on the top of the Canada pavilion and watch with a WDW Entertainment tech as "IllumiNations" was being presented out on World Showcase Lagoon.
  • I then shares my story of walking along the rooftops of Main Street, U.S.A. as Disneyland was holding its 30-hour-long 30th anniversary celebration in the streets below back in 1985
  • You then tell your tale about sitting high atop a hill next to the Magic Kingdom counting buses until the Orange County sheriffs came by to ask what you were doing
  • I then talk about climbing out of my raft on "Grizzly River Run" at DCA to then get the attention of the Cast Member working in that attraction's Control Booth during a medical emergency.
  • And then Jim S closes out this feature by telling the story of being up on the "Hollywood Hotel" sign and then frightening a young boy who was riding "Tower of Terror."

MAIN TOPIC - Patreon Show


That’s going to do it for the show today.  You can help support our show by subscribing over at, where we’re posting exclusive shows every week.   Check it out at

Patreon: That’s going to do it for the show today.  Thanks for subscribing and supporting the Disney Dish.

ON NEXT WEEK’S SHOW:  Jim continues the story of the last huge Magic Kingdom transformation project when Disney proposed Pixie Hollow for Fantasyland and we ended up with Storybook Circus.


You can find more of Jim at, and more of me, Len at


iTunes Show:  We’re produced spectacularly by Eric Hersey, who’ll be sharing his secret oatmeal crisp recipe, as well as hints for making your own scones, jams, and jellies, at the 2024 La Pine Rhubarb Festival on Saturday, June 15, 2024 at the La Pine Senior Activity Center, just around the corner from Three Rivers Archery Park, in beautiful La Pine, Oregon.


While Eric’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.