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Sep 15 14

Episode 26: Disney Historian Jim Korkis on: Myths and Stories of Walt Disney The Man

by Rod Wheaton

Walt Disney

Join me this week as Disney Historian Jim Korkis, author of the The Vault of Walt Volumes I & II, and soon-to-come Volume III and I explore the most notorious myths about Walt Disney himself, from completely debunking accusations of anti-semitism to a surprising revelation by Jim about the root of the whole cryogenically-frozen legend.   Jim reveals how Walt himself may have unintentionally started it, and later how Disney Legend and famed trickster Ward Kimball fanned the flames.  We’ll talk about Jim’s most recent book “Who’s the Leader of the Club –  Walt Disney’s Leadership Lessons”, and his upcoming new book “The Vault of Walt Volume III”.  So now you can sit back and enjoy the show, because if you’re a Disney Geek, you’re among friends here!!

You can find more of Jim’s books at

-Rod Wheaton

Sep 8 14

Episode 25 – Happy 40th Anniversary to Hoop Dee Doo Musical Review!

by Rod Wheaton



Welcome to Podcast Episode 25!  On this weeks show, I’ll talk about some of the latest events that are happening in and around WDW.  This past week there were 2 big anniversaries; the Hoop Dee Doo Musical Review turned 40, after some 37,000 shows!  And moving over to EPCOT, the Moroccan Pavillion turned 30!  We’ll talk about what’s great with both, along with some upcoming Disney events.  So sit back and enjoy the show, because if you’re a Disney Geek, you’re among friends here!


-Rod Wheaton

Sep 5 14

Hoop-Dee-Doo turns 40!!

by Rod Wheaton


This week on Friday, September 5, 2014 a very special Disney Hallmark turns 40! The Hoop Dee Doo musical review will have its 40th anniversary after more than 37,000 dinner show performances in its own special corner of Ft. Wilderness campground!

Technically, The Hoop-Dee-Doo show actually started in June of 1974, but it was only supposed to be a three-month experiment, and was made up of college students working at Walt Disney World. Marilyn Magness played Dolly Drew in the original cast, and neither she nor anyone else expected to make it past that initial three months. Primarily the show was to give guests at Fort wilderness something to do in the evenings so that they didn’t need to leave Disney property. Instead, the Vaudeville-meets-Old West dinner show was an immediate hit, and was made a regular part of Disney entertainment in it’s permanent setting at Pioneer Hall on September 5, 1974.
What is the appeal? It is an upbeat, positive, and sometimes simply corny show that families can enjoy together while having a good down-home meal. Some people come back year after year to enjoy the simple fun of the singing, dancing, and obvious camaraderie among the players. The show has been so popular that it has changed very little in the 40 years it has been entertaining guests. One of the biggest changes came in 1979, when a new musical number was introduced to introduce strawberry shortcake for dessert rather than Apple pie. Still, even though the show has remained primarily the same, they still are flexible and put inside jokes and recent Disney references within the routine, most notably “Frozen” references. Today, 40 years later, one of the original cast members, Miss Marilyn Kay Magness (mentioned earlier) still works for Disney. She’s the executive creative director of Disney parks!
If you want to have an evening of family fun and good entertainment, not to mention a good meal of ribs, chicken, corn on the cob along with sangria, beer, or soda make plans to go see the Hoop Dee Doo musical review!


Sep 4 14

Top 5 Things You Didn’t Know About Disney’s Animal Kingdom! -by guest blogger Tim Foster

by Rod Wheaton

Disney’s Animal Kingdom is the largest of the Disney parks, and it has seen a large number of changes over the years (the latest being the upcoming opening of the Avatar-themed land). But did you know that…

1. Disney Imagineers spent 10 years designing and more than $800,000,000 building Walt Disney World’s fourth theme park. That’s about twice as much money as it cost to open the entire Walt Disney World Resort in 1971!

2. If you look closely at the logos for Disney’s Animal Kingdom, you will see a dragon among the animals on the bottom. This was meant to represent the Beastly Kingdom, a planned but never built land that was to have featured mythical animals such as unicorns, dragons, and sea monsters.

3. To convince Disney executives that the experience of sharing the same space with animals was enough to entertain Guests at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Imagineers brought a 400-pound Bengal tiger into a meeting and had him walk around the conference table. Needless to say, the experience was emotional enough to convince the executives and Michael Eisner himself!

4. To landscape the Animal Kingdom, more than 4 million trees, plants, shrubs, ground covers, vines, epiphytes, and grasses from every continent on Earth—well, okay, except Antarctica—were planted, with more than 4,000 different species. And there’s plenty of water too. There are about 27,000,000 gallons of water in Animal Kingdom’s Discovery River, which is enough to fill about 1,800 average-sized backyard swimming pools.

5. The highway sign in Dinoland, U.S.A., is Route 498, which represents the park’s opening in April 1998.

About the author: Tim Foster is the founder and editor of Celebrations Magazine- discovering the magic of Walt Disney World—and the author of the Guide to the Magic book series, including the Walt Disney World Guide to the Magic for Kids.
He has traveled to Disney World more times than he can count, and he is passionate about helping people enjoy the magic of Walt Disney World.

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