Friday, May 25, 2012

Dreaming Disney - The Unofficial Guide’s Disney Dish with Jim Hill

Betweenlanders want to know more about Disney, we want the inside track on rumors and what could have been.  Let’s face it, living in Betweenland you are kinda out of the Disney loop.  Sure we can hear rumors and get news from the main Disney news outlets, but we want to know more than Cars Land is going to open June 15, 2012.  We want to know about the things that could have been, the things that never happened and the inside stories of how our favorite attractions were developed or became extinct.
Jim Hill lives that dream.  He knows people and has connections within Disney and the theme park industry that most Disney enthusiasts will never have access to.  Sometimes it is about who you know!  Additionally, it seems clear that sometimes Mr. Hill has lucked into seeing pieces of Disney history that many would not have noticed, but when seen through Mr. Hill’s eyes tell a story of what will or was to be. 
Len Testa, of WDW Today and Touring Plans, has partnered with Jim Hill to create “The Unofficial Guide’s Disney Dish with Jim Hill.”  The podcast is simple in production but rich in content.  The two Disney experts literally walk around the parks talking.  Testa throws out questions to which Hill responds and provides stories and details that often have not been heard before by Disney fans.  As they talk you hear the sounds of the background music and running attractions around them. 
In the first seven episodes they have toured all four parks of the Walt Disney World Resort; The Magic Kingdom Park, Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom.  Additionally the two have walked through the hotels of both the Epcot area and Magic Kingdom.  They have even toured Downtown Disney.
The content of all these podcasts is fascinating.  I have repeated so many of these stories to the Between Wife, she would probably like me to quit listening.  The story telling is engaging and often funny.  And both Hill and Testa know these theme parks in a way many of us could only dream of.  Every episode is an absolute must listen.  And when they are done, you feel like you know something new and something the off the street Disney fan is not in the loop about yet.   
The biggest question I have is the future.  The podcast releases on a very irregular schedule, with every release being a surprise that instantly goes to the top of my listening queue.  So every episode leaves the listener with the question of when will another episode drop and what will it be about.  I can foresee episodes on Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon.  And there could be more episodes on hotels, it’s not like they have visited the values yet!  Perhaps, one way to keep this series going is more visits to the visited parks, especially after the completion of the New Fantasyland.  Another idea would be a visit to Disneyland for three or four episodes.  Yet another opportunity is clear in their episodes on the Universal Orlando Resort, which introduced this park to me a non-Universal fan.  As much as I don't want to admit it, Orlando offers more than one resort.  Most recently they have released episodes with Sam Gennawey with Testa, sharing his planning knowledge about design elements within the Magic Kingdom. 

Clearly there is still opportunity to share some great stories.  And I will be waiting out here in Betweenland to put myself in the loop.           

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