One of the non MouseFest activities that we were excited about was the opportunity to meet author David Koenig at Reading Trout Book Store in Celebration on Friday evening. We had planned to attend this event ever since one of the owners e-mailed me to let me know that author David Koenig would be speaking about his new book Realityland. Jason Surrell, Imagineer and author, was there on Saturday evening, but we had already purchased our tickets to Matt Hochberg’s StudiosCentral Fantasmic Dessert party (which was awesome!). I planned on bringing my copies of Mouse Tales and More Mouse Tales for David to sign.
We rounded the corner after the Celebration movie theater and saw the book store. We went in, met the owners and walked around the store. I have to admit that they had a very impressive Disney book collection. We saw David working on his presentation so we sat in the chairs near the screen. There were only a few people at the beginning, but it was standing room only after a few minutes into the presentation.
David spent about a half hour talking about his new book, Realityland and the creation of Walt Disney World. After writing Mouse Tales, David told us that he was approached to write a similar book about Walt Disney World. After visiting WDW for the first time, he realized that it would be a formidable task writing a book about a project as big as a city. But he was excited by the opportunity. David led us through the first couple of years of the Florida project (also called Project X), including the history and much delayed construction of the Contemporary (Tempo Bay). David shared a lot of pictures from the early days and some wonderful stories about Roy, the construction workers and other key players. Apparently, Disney had to purchase four times the needed shower heads and other furnishings due to the theft issues.
Afterwards, David spent a few minutes answering several excellent questions and he had great answers for all of them. The most intriguing ones dealt with Epcot and Celebration and how the other WDW parks were all being slowly transformed into Magic Kindgoms.
Andy and I each bought a copy of Realityland and David signed all of the books for us. He was very friendly, informative and accessible. If David comes by your area, make sure to check him out! You can also read his columns over at MousePlanet.