Bye Bye, Billy Hill and the Hillbillies – Popular Band Leaving Disneyland

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!

About the Author:

Mr. DAPs is the founder of DAPs Magic continues to run its day to day operations. He can be regularly found at Disneyland donning his hat and bow tie as he takes pictures and enjoys the Happiest Place on Earth. He is also a host on Geeks Corner – the Webshow and anchors news stories for DAPs Magic’s YouTube channel. You can also find him posting regularly on Twitter and Instagram. He’d love to connect with you so make sure and say hi!

3 Comments

  1. stacey November 7, 2013 at 9:35 pm - Reply

    Heartbroken!!! Disney, please don’t let them go! :*( They are beloved and have kept their show fresh and funny, year after year. I hope Disney changes their mind and decides to keep them on and entertaining happy guests for years to come.

    • Ed November 8, 2013 at 1:02 pm - Reply

      I agree Stacy. Jay Leno was cancelled on NBC, and now The Billy’s at Disneyland. It seems if things are working fine, leave them alone. A lot of that is going on in our country these days by people in charge who know what is best for us.

  2. Carolyn Hoagland November 18, 2013 at 4:20 pm - Reply

    They Billies have been a part of our lives for many years. Let me share one of many memories and reasons why I don’t want to see the Billies go.

    My father hated Disney and especially Disneyland. He felt it was for kids and not to be bothered with. When he became ill my family went to help. We would go and do things around their house, fixing and cleaning things that my folks could no long take care of. After months of doing this and talking to them about how we enjoyed our DAP dad decided to say thank you by taking us to DL and helping to pay for us to renew them. He did not expect to enjoy the day but he went. We stopped in to see the Billies that day and dad was HOOKED!! It was not long before he had purchased DAPs for himself and my mom. Then dad started paying for the entire family to have Premium DAPs (11 passes total)! It became our family hangout and celebration location.

    This man that had polio as a child, lost a leg to cancer in his 30s and then after several small strokes lost part of a lung to cancer in his mid 70’s had said he wanted to die, “Put me 6 ft under because I can no longer travel.” For him death was preferable to living without being able to travel and enjoy life. Disney gave him a safe place he could get out and enjoy even with his major disabilities. There was joy, laughter, fun and family friendly entertainment. He even took the entire family to WDW for a week and then on a weeklong cruise on the Disney Magic to celebrate my husband and my wedding anniversary!

    My dad was sitting in his house giving up on life until he saw the Billies. Then he had a reason to get out of bed, get dressed and engage LIFE. He would wake up and say, “Let’s have lunch at the Golden Horseshoe and watch the Billies!” On the way to the park he would sing, “We’re going to Disneyland.” Mom and often my family would pack him up in the van and drive from Burbank Disneyland (about an hour drive) just for lunch and to watch the Billies. When he was having a bad day and was unable to go to DLR he would talk about the fun times we had and plan future visits.

    I am sure Disneyland and Billie Hill and the Hillbillies kept my dad alive for an extra 9 years giving us amazing memories. Thank you Billies!!! Thank you Disneyland!!!

    What I say to Disney is PLEASE DON’T TAKE OUR BILLIES AWAY!!! We also respectfully ask they be treated with respect they deserve and put back in the Golden Horseshoe where they belong with the creative license they had 3 or 4 years ago. Please do away with the tightly scripted show! Let the Billies do what they do best! We love them and cherish the memories. There are many more people with stories like mine. There are many who schedule their days at DLR to see the Billies. There are many more who will fall in love with them and create new memories and traditions if the Billies are allowed to stay.

    (This is a letter I sent to Disneyland)

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