Sunday, May 29, 2011

Book Review: Walt Disney World Hidden History, Remnants of Former Attractions and Other Tributes by Kevin Yee

Walt Disney World Hidden History: Remnants of Former Attractions and Other Tributes by Kevin Yee. 2010. 226 pp.

About the Author
Kevin Yee, a former Disneyland castmember, is an author and Disney Theme Park Historian. He publishes the Ultimate Orlando blog and is a columnist at MiceAge. He is one of the most prolific theme park-related authors with over 10 titles, including: Mouse Trap: Memoir of a Disneyland Cast Member and the 101 Things You Never Knew About... series.

The Review
Yee know his Walt Disney World details. The book has over 200 pages dedicated to the trivia, minutia, history and details of the theme parks and resort area. Sometimes, I think a review should be as simple as "This is a fun read and you will enjoy it." In this case, that is true, but I should qualify the review with more than that.

Do you know where the last two ticket booths in the Magic Kingdom are?

The book is presented park-by-park and area-by-area. We start at the Magic Kingdom Entrance Plaza and find ourselves strolling under the train station and down Main St. USA. Yee points out the details that honor the builders of Walt Disney World and the little details that make the magic even more arresting. From there, Yee takes us on a journey through each land, reminding us why we love the parks so much.

Have you seen the not-to-subtle nod to the World of Motion in the Test Track queue?

The presentation is fairly simple and is geared towards a blog-reading audience. This is not a slight towards Yee; it was very insightful to present the information in small chunks that the reader can enjoy.  This is a book that you can skip around or read land-by-land. It would be ideal to read on your flight to Orlando or to read in the hotel the night before you head to a specific park. Plus, this is a great way to impress your friends and family as you share your new found Walt Disney World knowledge. He also included photographs to help you identify the areas in question. Unfortunately, this is the major negative point of the book because the photos are in black and white. Granted, color photos would have been very cost-prohibitive and not completely necessary.

Did you know there was a scale model of the Gully Whumper Keel Boat somewhere at Fort Wilderness?

Yee also presents a few other goodies in the book. One section is devoted to attraction dates, including all of the former attractions. Another section lists all of the names on the windows on Main St. USA. They are listed by street. The index is broken down by attraction, so you can quickly find your favorite. There is even a small section dedicated to some other place called Universal, or something. Not quite sure what that is.

Where is the reference to Mortimer Mouse at the Disney Hollywood Studios?

Yee presents a work that straddles every Disney level, from the novice to the most veracious and ardent Disney Nerd (yes, nerd with a capital N). No matter how many blogs or books you've read, you are guaranteed to run across something you haven't seen before.




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