By the co-author of The easy Guide to Your Walt Disney World Visit 2020, the best-reviewed Disney World guidebook series ever.

Available on Amazon here.

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Introducing a New Series: Friday Visits with Jim Korkis

By Dave Shute

I’m really excited to announce that today kicks off a new weekly column from internationally renowned Disney historian Jim Korkis.

Coming the rest of the Fridays this month from Jim will be a little-known movie influence on Main Street USA; some Muppetry in the history of Mama Melrose; and an appreciation of Peter Dominick.

Don’t know Jim? Well, keep reading!

About Jim Korkis

By Jim Korkis

About Jim Korkis--A Friday Visit with Jim Korkis from yourfirstvisit.netMy name is Jim Korkis and every Friday from now on I will be writing a column here on entitled “A Friday Visit With Jim Korkis.”

Every Friday I’ll be sharing information about Walt Disney World that I hope will enhance the visits of both first-timers and seasoned travelers.

Here’s a little bit about me:

  • I grew up in Glendale, California and was lucky enough to then have the opportunity to meet and interview many Disney animators and Imagineers. Over the years, I have used that material in articles for fanzines, newspapers, magazines, websites and books.
  • In 1995, I moved to Orlando and with my background as a professional magician, I soon found work as a street magician and balloon artist at Downtown Disney.
  • Within a few short months with my background as a professional actor in stage and television, I became a “friend” of Merlin the magician, doing the “Sword in the Stone” ceremony in Fantasyland.
  • Shortly, thereafter, with my background in animation in Los Angeles, I got a job as a salaried animation instructor at the Disney Institute in 1996.
  • I later found myself working with Disney Adult Discoveries, the department that created and facilitated behind-the-scenes tours for guests and convention groups.
  • Being the sole researcher and writer on the original UnDiscovered Futureworld tour got me the opportunity to work in Guest Relations at Epcot and later as a Coordinator with College and International Programs.
  • Then, I was moved to the Epcot Learning Center (a combination computer lab and library for cast members) where I researched and taught over two hundred different presentations on Disney history for cast members and Disney business clients like Feld Entertainment and Kodak.
  • Along the way, I also did special assignments including being the off-screen narrator for the syndicated television series, “Secrets of the Animal Kingdom,” the writer of the text for the 30th anniversary Walt Disney World trading cards, the facilitator for the Disney Crew puppet show (a touring anti-drug show performed at all the Central Florida elementary schools), the host of the “100 Years of Magic Vacation Planning” video and many other interesting things.
Jim Korkis as Merlin at Fantasyland

Jim Korkis as Merlin at Fantasyland

So, all of this puffery is to assure you that when I write about Walt Disney World, including things you may never have heard before, that I have a very solid and unique background.

In 2009, along with thousands of other WDW cast members, I was laid off. I am still on good terms with the company and do freelance work including writing a quarterly column on Disney history for Disney Files magazine produced for members of the Disney Vacation Club as well as still contributing to special projects like a video I wrote and narrated about Walt’s love of steam trains.

In the last five years, I have written seven books on Disney history including three volumes of The Vault of WaltWho’s Afraid of the Song of the South?, and The Book of MouseWho’s the Leader of the Club?: Walt Disney’s Leadership Lessons, and Animation Anecdotes.

These books were all published by Theme Park Press and are available on Amazon in both paperback and Kindle versions. I also wrote the “Jim’s Gems” parts of The easy Guide to Your First Walt Disney World Visit. I am currently working on another Disney related book.

I hope all of this has intrigued you to come back next Friday and every Friday after that to hear some interesting stories about Walt Disney World and things that you may have missed even if you are a frequent Disney World guest!

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1 Steve From - Military Moderator { 03.06.15 at 10:14 am }

Welcome Jim!

I can’t wait for Friday! You are going to be a fantastic addition to Dave’s great site.


2 Clayton { 03.06.15 at 6:56 pm }

Yay! I love the Jim’s Gems in the book. I’m excited to see what awesome random Disney knowledge shows up in this column.

3 Jeremy Johnson { 03.10.15 at 7:56 pm }

Cool stuff. I hope to take my family to Disney world in the next few years. I will keep tabs on your stories and insights into WDW. Your ex student, Jeremy Johnson, San Marino Jr. High, circa 1987. Loved cartooning class with you.

4 Cecilia DuVall { 09.19.15 at 2:16 pm }

Mr. Korkis, we will never forget our tour of Hollywood with you. It is a memory we treasure and are so glad we did it. You opened our eyes to so many facts we were unaware of. I tell all my friends who are planning a trip to WDW to check out your articles and books. Thanks for sharing your knowledge and adventures with all of us!

5 Deborah { 02.26.16 at 10:20 pm }

An architect friend recently sent a link to the “Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow” video. 20 minutes in, what a nice surprise to see my junior high English/drama teacher (1978-80). I’m your former student, Debbie Stone. Anyway, I just wanted to say thanks for being such a dedicated teacher! You did an amazing job with the school plays and drama classes, and I know a lot of kids had a much richer experience of being in school because of you. Hell, even diagramming sentences in grammar class wasn’t so bad because you had a way of bringing a bit of fun into anything. I do remember you regaling us with histories of Micky Mouse and Donald Duck. Just about made all the diagramming worth it! Sounds like you’ve had an interesting road since then! I’ve always been interested in futurism, but I’d never stumbled upon your books until now. Looking forward to reading them! Thanks again, and all the best to you!

6 sandy { 12.03.19 at 3:20 pm }

Just wanted to let you know my family was the first to stay at Coronado Springs when it opened. we drove in from jacksoncville and checked in at midnight. lots of nice phots and a great presentation was held for us. they even buried a time cap. 🙂

7 Dave { 12.04.19 at 1:35 pm }

Cool, Sandy!

8 Bruce Miller { 10.12.21 at 3:05 pm }

Dave, I am having an issue with a request for a surf board shaped towel with the Polynesian Resort name on it (colors blue and white) I purchased one at the Bou tiki and wish to purchase another one, Unfortunately, Shop Disney can not help me. I was wondering if you could possibly help. Thank you very much

9 Dave { 10.14.21 at 10:26 am }

Bruce I’m just a guy with a website, can’t help. So sorry.

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