Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Disney "Retires" the Billys, a Piece of Disney Magic Lost

Disney “Retires” the Billys a Piece of Disney Magic Lost

Billy Hill and the Hillbillies has been entertain guests at the Disneyland Park for over 20 years. There unique blend of bluegrass, rock and even classical music with comedy brought smiles to tens of thousands of people to the park over the years.

The humor of the Billys is not for everybody, and those that don’t like it can easily avoid it. Their humor is clean with just enough “adult” content to keep the adults in the audience interested without leaving mom and dad explaining things to the young uns. Kids love the physical slapstick humor and the music captures their minds. This is the type of classic entertainment Walt Disney wanted in his park. It fits in the Golden Horseshoe of Disneyland’s Frontierland perfectly! The Golden Horseshoe was designed with this type of show in mind.

On November 6th, 2013, in the Disney Parks Blog, Disney announced they were going to “Retire” the Billy Hill and the Hillbillies show on January 6th, 2014. Fans of the Billies reacted quickly and decisively. Petitions were set up on line, calls and visits to Disneyland’s Guests relations were made. As of today Disneyland management has not listened to the guests. It is obvious to those of us that have been around the Billys and watch their Facebook page that the boys do not want to retire and love being at Disneyland. The Billys never said anything against Disney’s decision but it is clear they would rather stay.

I’ll not go into details here as I’ve shared the story before. Just let me say the Billys hold a special spot in my heart as they helped me keep my daddy alive for an extra 9 years by giving him something other than the daily pain and disappointment to think about. The Billys gave dad a reason to get out of bed and live. Thank God for the Billys! God Bless them!

Yesterday was the final show of the Billies at Disneyland. The crowds packed out the Big Thunder Ranch stage area and tears were shed as the Billies gave their last performance at Disneyland. Nobody was disappointed at this amazing bands final show.

So what is next for the Billies?? Kirk Wall, one of the founding members of the Billies and other members of the Billies played New Year’s Eve at Knott’s Berry Farm! People flocked to the park to see them. Many people that usually go to Disneyland headed to Knotts to see the Billies perform as Krazy Kirk and the Hillbillies. It is possible the Hillbillies will perform at Knotts instead of Disneyland in the future.

There is still a chance that Disneyland will change their opinion. The amazing show of support by the fans yesterday may make Disneyland Management rethink retiring such an Guest pleasing show! The only way Disney will change their mind is if the fans keep the pressure on. Keep calling and going into City Hall and telling Guest Relations you want the Billys back!

I want Disney to keep the Billys but I want the Billys to be respected! Disney’s first mistake was taking the show from being a free flowing show where the Billys could adapt the show to the guests reactions to a tightly scripted repeating event. It is not as much fun to go see the Billys now that they are forced to sing the same songs in the same order with the same patter.

The second mistake was to put them in the Big Thunder Ranch Jamboree Stage. Yes, there is room for more people to see them but fewer and less comfortable seats. There is little shade and constant distractions from the show. At all times there are characters walking around during the show. Kids see Mickey, Minnie or one of the other characters walking about and they go screaming with joy (as they should). This is ok but distracting to those that came to enjoy the Billys music and humor. Besides the characters there are games and crafts going on. The Disneyland Railroad runs just the other side of a hedge and blows its whistle as it goes past, it does not matter if the show is going on. The train must blow its whistle there for safety purposes.

During the holidays things get even worse. There is the Conjure a Villain Tent behind the audience during Halloween. Every 25-30 minutes there is a great BOOM from the Villain Tent, even during the middle of a show. There is a pumpkin carver and again more games and crafts. Christmas brings Santa along with even more games and crafts!

I say that all the distractions and the poor seating is disrespectful to the guests and the Billys! I believe if Disney will let the Billys go back to the quality show they were doing 3-4 years ago and return them to the Golden Horseshoe where they belong it is a win win for fans, the Billys and Disneyland. If they will not respect the guests and the Billys by allowing the Billys to do what they do best then God bless the Hillbillies wherever they perform! Hopefully Knotts will hire them.

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