Saturday, August 7, 2010

Starting to Learn about Disney World

Are you new to all this Disney World thing and want to learn more but don't know how / where to begin? Just take a look at these few hints :)

The "Imagineering Field Guide to... " is just perfect to begin! It's a serie of (4) pocket-sized editions that contain brief histories of various Disney parks, these “Field Guides” rarely have any earth-shattering revelations for die-hard fans but they always have some nice artwork and provide a good primer to the park and its history.

About $10.00 each.

Imagineering Field Guide to:

Magic Kingdom


Disney’s Hollywood Studios:

Disney’s Animal Kingdom:

Going to the BIG books, this is a MUST have:
Walt Disney Imagineering: A Behind the Dreams Look at Making More Magic Real

About Disney Guides, in my opinion, these are the best:
The Complete Walt Disney World 2011

Birnbaum's Walt Disney World 2011

2 great books to learn more about the company history and secrets:
Disney War

Project Future: The Inside Story Behind the Creation of Disney World

Look at one of the comments for this book:
With his background as a lawyer, the author naturally concentrates on many of the complex legal issues that enabled the Disney Corporation to acquire both the land it needed and the quasi-governmental powers it desired to build Walt Disney World.

Although many of the elaborate steps Disney planners took to hide their activities have been described elsewhere, this account relates the names of the participants to a reasonably concise timeline of events. This book is most interesting when the author describes the intricate planning and attention to detail that the Disney Company and their associates employed to accomplish their goals. However, this book also has a number of errors and omissions that weaken its presentation.

First, there are two notable and inexcusable errors. As anyone familiar with Disney history knows, Disneyland opened on July 17th, not July 7th and Walt's name is "Walter Elias", not "Elias Walter". How such fundamental errors could have made it into print is beyond understanding and caused this reader to wonder what other errors exist with less well-known names and dates.

One also wonders why certain details were omitted. For example, although Billy Dial is frequently mentioned as an Orlando-area banker who assisted in acquiring property and who was ultimately chosen by Roy Disney to handle WDW's banking needs, why was the name of his bank never mentioned? Much time was spent on the fact that Tufts University owned the mineral rights to a large portion of the land Disney wanted to purchase, but we were never told why a university in the Boston area owned such a large tract of land in Florida.

Noting that this book was released under the "Ayefour Publishing" imprint, I was disappointed that the author failed to explain the role that the "Ayefour Corporation" played in the land acquisitions, but merely mentioned it once in a list of corporate names used to disguise the identity of the Disney Company.

Although the author is a respected Law Professor who has written a number of academic papers, the bibliography is lacking many sources and few of the quotations are cited. For example, the memoirs of both Gen. Joe Potter and Robert Foster are mentioned as sources of information, but neither is referenced in the bibliography. Also, many of publications listed in the bibliography are not specifically cited, leaving the reader to wonder what relevant information they contain. Several large bodies of reference materials are listed as "on file" in a University's reference collection with no information as to which parts were relevant to this research. Omitting these details makes this book almost useless as a reference for further study of this interesting subject.

Overall, I would recommend this book to anyone interested in knowing more about the early history of Walt Disney World, with the warning that it is rather narrow in focus and omits many details that a little more research, or care, could have provided.

And there’s this great DVD pack “just” released with some great material:

Disney Parks: The Secrets, Stories and Magic Behind the Scenes

There is also a great Walt Disney Documentary called: Walt – The man behind the myth

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