Thursday, November 7, 2013

Say it Ain’t So!! Billy Hill and the Hillbillies Can’t Go!!

Say it Ain’t So!! Billy Hill and the Hillbillies Can’t Go!!

Today the Disney Parks Blog posted that January 6th, 2014 will be the last day Billy Hill and the Hillbillies will perform at the park. The Billys have been performing at the park for over 20 years straight. They started in the Country Bear area and ended up in the Golden Horseshoe where they performed for many years. These are truly talented and amazing performers that can play many instruments, sing and do comedy. These are among the best all-around performers in the park!

My father was elderly and disabled when he finally realized Disney was for him. One of the reasons he fell in love with Disneyland was the Billies. He would wake up in the morning not feeling well and tell my mother to check the Disneyland online entertainment schedule for the Billies. If they were performing he often told her to get him dressed and to pack up for the day. They would then drive the 30+ miles from Burbank to Anaheim to have lunch in the Horseshoe and watch the Billies. They would each lunch enjoy the show and drive back home. My family believes the Billies gave our dad a reason to get out of bed and smile therefore giving him a reason to live for 9 years longer than anybody could have thought he should have. For this and many other reasons I don’t think the Billies should retire.

I know many people that feel the Billies are the best entertainment in the park and don’t consider a visit to Disneyland complete if they don’t see them perform. I use to agree. I know I could feel that way once again if only minor changes were made by Disneyland management.

In the past couple of years Disney Management has come in and made changes to the Billy show. There are several teams of Billys and each team had a different flair. There were the Elvis Billies lead by Elvis Billy. There was the team that did some Beatles stuff with their “Ringo looking” Billy. You could count on the shows having some of the same songs but still be different almost every show. Even patter between the same songs was different depending on the team performing.

Management came in and had the Billies “standardize” the show a couple of years ago. Every set is the same no matter what team performed, even the patter was identical. Shortly after the decision was made to move the Billies to the Big Thunder Ranch Theater. General word was the move was to give the Billies more room and hopefully attract people to the under visited Big Thunder Ranch area. It is true there was never room at the Horseshoe when they performed and the Big Thunder Ranch Theater has more room. Sounds good right? Well you would be wrong.

Big Thunder Ranch Theater is a beautiful stage but has a major problem that further management decisions made worse. The Disneyland Railroad runs right beside the theater and the train is required to blow its horn as it passes the theater for safety reasons. Elvis Billy took to asking the audience to “yell” at the train as it went past. Also Disney brought out the characters. Mickey, Minnie and the gang wonder around before, after and even during the show! There are also craft tables and carnival type games set up there that run even during the shows. With all this going on it is hard to pay attention to and enjoy the Billies performance.

During the holidays it is even busier at Big Thunder Ranch Theater. Besides the characters, crafts and even more carnival games Halloween brings the Conjure a Villain tent with an “explosion” every so often, even during the Billies Halloween themed show making you turn your head to see what is happening and the boom drowns out the music. Christmas has Santa in addition to all the characters in their Christmas best. Try to get a child to sit still for a show while they can see other kids lined up to see Santa! In my opinion it is total chaos! It is impossible to truly just enjoy the Billies show.

I believe because of the negative changes (creative limitations, bad location and constant distractions) the attendance of the Billies show has decreased some when they are at Big Thunder Ranch. They do still pack out the Golden Horseshoe when they are there. I am speculating that Disney is not happy with the fact the Billies did not pull people back to Big Thunder Ranch. I think Disney does not see how having the Billies there has disrespected both the performers and the guests.

I do not believe the Billies want to leave Disneyland. I’m hoping that you, my loyal readers will write to or call Disneyland and tell them you want them to keep the Billies and to return them to the Horseshoe! Yes, letters in particular do make a difference and Disney does listen! It is no guarantee they will keep the Billies but if we don’t try we will lose them!

Here is a link to where you can drop Disneyland a note:

My Christmas book, “An Angel Remembers 25 Voices of Christmas” is available!!
This is a collection of 26 short Christmas stories that together bring the amazing events of Christ’s birth alive. It is my hope that this will help encourage families to spend 10-15 minutes a day together during the busy holiday season remembering the true reason for the season.
You can find it for ALL eReader formats and PDF at:

For your Nook the link is:

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