For two decades Disneyland fans have delighted in “buck teeth,” violin bows getting stuck in the nose, classic rock sung as if they were country/bluegrass songs, and of course the Orange Blossom Special’s “train thang.“ On January 6, 2014 this will all come to an end. Yesterday the Disney Parks Blog announced the “retirement” of Billy Hill and the Hillbillies. This announcement was met with dismay and disappointment as Disneyland fans read the news that was released late in the day.
This fan favorite show has been moved throughout the years but was most well known for its run in the Golden Horseshoe Saloon. There, Bill Hill and the Hillbillies built up a fan base with many fans returning throughout the day for each show. Most shows found the saloon packed as no one could ever quite be sure what would come out of Billy’s mouth. Through the years, the show was tweaked and added upon but several elements were fairly consistent. Generally when the lead Billy would play the fiddle it would be time for some “buck teeth” to make him play more county fiddle instead of classical violin. The aforementioned “train thang” had the Billies simulate a train flying by the front of the stage to the tune of the Orange Blossom Special. This was also always a favorite.
The last couple of years have involved a lot of change for group. They were removed from the Golden Horseshoe Saloon to Big Thunder Ranch to offer entertainment for the seasonal festivities going on back there. When they first were moved there, speculation was rampant that this was a first step towards the cancellation of the show. However, the Hillbillies had a dedicated following that joined them back at the Big Thunder Ranch and soon all seats were filled for shows there as well. The move to the ranch also involved a change in the dynamic of the show as it was modified to incorporate characters and the themes surrounding them. Long time fans could observe a creative shift as the show became more corporate Disney and less hillbilly. Despite the creative changes, on the last Sunday of Halloween Time the ranch was filled with fans cheering for the “hero” as Billy Hill and the Hillbillies performed The Devil Went Down to Georgia.
According to the Disney Parks Blog, the last day for Billy Hill and the Hillbillies will be January 6, 2014. This will not be the end of this famed group however. They will continue to perform outside of Disneyland. There is also a cd that is currently available that can be ordered through their website.
Here is a note that was posted on The Billys website:
Because of all the recent emails, call and messages from fans and friends,
we are confirming that [as of right now] our last show will be on Monday, January 6, 2014.
Disneyland is retiring the Billy Hill & the Hillbillies show and us along with it.
We’d just like thank you all for being the awesome people you are!
You made our job more enjoyable and we thank you for all your support over the years.
We have enjoyed performing for each and every one of you for the last 21 years and
we hope that we cheered you up, made your day a little brighter and made you laugh.
THANKS!!! The Billys
If you would like to voice your opinion on the retirement of Billy Hill and the Hillbillies, feel free to contact Disneyland on their website, facebook, or twitter. You may also visit City Hall at Disneyland. Please keep your comments civil and respectful.
What do you think of Billy Hill and the Hillbillies leaving Disneyland? What are your favorite memories? Please let us know in the comments below!