Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Bibliography of Walt Disney World Books

UPDATE! New titles added.

A frequent request we receive at Imaginerding is for books about the history of Walt Disney World. While there isn't one book that covers it completely, there are several titles you can digest that will give you a very good picture. There are a lot of titles available and they come from different sources; check out the ones that look most interesting.

The definition of a bibliography is:
a complete or selective list of works compiled upon some common principle, as authorship, subject, place of publication, or printer.
This bibliography is by no means a complete list of books available on Walt Disney World; I have only added books that I own. Feel free to leave a comment if I have missed something good!

You can always keep up with the Walt Disney World-related titles we have reviewed by clicking here.

General Interest
The books included in this set focus on more than just Walt Disney World. I consider each title an essential part of any Disney enthusiast's library.

The following titles are specific to Walt Disney World and cover more than just an attraction. The Kurtti, Koenig and Beard titles are a must!

  • Beard, Richard F. Walt Disney's Epcot Center: Creating the New World of Tomorrow. 1982. This is the book that every fan of Epcot should own. An amazing amount of conceptual artwork and photos of the park during its first few months. In-depth information on the pavilions and anecdotes from the Imagineers. There are three editions: a pre-opening, post-opening and a short version. The difference in the post- and pre- is whether some of the pictures are in-park photos or close-ups of models.

  • Gordon, Bruce; Kurtti, Jeff. Walt Disney World Then, Now, and Forever. 2008. Theme Park Exclusive. Gordon and Kurtti have written a history/souvenir guide for Walt Disney World. It does act more like a family scrapbook than a history book, until you delve into its pages. You can read my review here.
  • Mannheim, Steven.Walt Disney and the Quest for Community. 2003. This book could almost be considered a biography of the Epcot that could have been. Mannheim writes a very through-provoking and enjoyable work on Walt Disney's plans for EPCOT Center and how they germinated and became reality (or didn't, in some cases). You can read my review here.
  • The Story of Walt Disney World, Commemorative Edition. Various Years (1971, 1973, 1976). An official publication that looks at the first few years of Walt Disney World. It focuses on the building of the Magic Kingdom, the resorts and the rest of the vacation kingdom. It has a great stylized map and lots of pictures.
Attraction Specific

  • Broggie, Michael. Walt Disney's Railroad Story: The Small-Scale Fascination That Led to a Full-Scale Kingdom. 1998. Broggie presents a fascinating look at Walt's Railroad--part biography and part theme park history. The majority of the book focuses on the Carolwood-Pacific, but Broggie does discuss the Magic Kingdom and Ft. Wilderness Railroads. You can read my review here.

  • Leaphart, David. Walt Disney World Railroads Part 1: Fort Wilderness Railroad. 2010. David has compiled an monumental and magnificent look at the Fort Wilderness Railroad. A must for any fan of Fort Wilderness, trains or early Walt Disney World anecdotes. Visit the author's website for more information.
  • Leaphart, David. Walt Disney World Railroads Part 1: Fort Wilderness Railroad Gallery Companion. 2010. A companion guide to David's work on the Fort Wilderness Railroad. More pictures than you can shake a stick at!

  • Surrell, Jason. The Disney Mountains: Imagineering At Its Peak. 2007. Surrell takes an in-depth look at every Disney mountain, from Matterhon to Everest, with side trips to some un-built mountains.

  • Surrell, Jason. The Haunted Mansion: From the Magic Kingdom to the Movies. 2006. If you are a fan of the Haunted Mansion, you need to own this book. Surrell starts at the earliest concepts and takes us through to the final incarnations, step-by-step. The concept art is wonderful.

  • Surrell, Jason. Pirates of the Caribbean: From the Magic Kingdom to the Movies. 2006. An in-depth history of Pirates of the Caribbean, from concept stages to Disneyland Paris. We experience all versions of the attraction through the script, artwork and photographs.
There would be no Walt Disney World without these artists.

Detailed-inspired travel guides, academic treatises and amazing photographic titles. Usually more of a time-capsule than a history title.

October 2011 marks the 40th anniversary of the opening of the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida. The Vacation Kingdom has seen a lot of changes over the past four decades and the editorial staff at Imaginerding wants to celebrate the unique and rich history of the resort with a series of posts. 

A very special thanks to Celeste Cronrath for designing the series of logos for our posts. Make sure to follow her on Twitter.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Well said, Ray. Well said, Carl. Well done, Walt.

Dear Sirs:
I think it goes without saying that I am as critical as you people are of many facets of American life. Lord knows I've raised my voice often enough. But when someone like Julian Halevy equates Disneyland and Las Vegas (The Nation, June 7), I begin to doubt his or my sanity.

Not that I haven't met his type before. The world is full of people who, for intellectual reasons, steadfastly refuse to let go and enjoy themselves. Mr. Halevy damns himself immediately when he states he is glad he didn't take a child with him to Disneyland. I did better than take a child; my first visit, I accompanied one of the great theatrical and creative minds of our time, Charles Laughton. I've never had such a day full of zest and good humor. Mr. Laughton is no easy mark; he has a gimlet eye and a searching mind. Yet he saw, and I found, vast reserves of imagination before untapped in our country.
I admit I approached Disneyland with many intellectual reservations, myself, but these have been banished in my seven visits. Disney makes mistakes; what artist doesn't? But when he flies, he really flies. I shall be indebted to him for a lifetime for his ability to let me fly over midnight London looking down on that fabulous city, in his Peter Pan ride. The Jungle Boat ride, too, is an experience of true delight and wonder. I could go on, but why bother?

I have a sneaking suspicion, after all is said and done, that Mr. Halevy truly loved Disneyland but is not man enough, or child enough, to admit it. I feel sorry for him. He will never travel in space, he will never touch the stars.

-Ray Bradbury
Letters to the Editor, The Nation, June 28, 1958.
I love seeing someone so well known and respected taking the same viewpoint as you and me. Regardless of our stature in life, Disney represents the same thing for all of us--a chance to interpret the movies, the parks, the songs, the art, in whatever way that makes us happy. Whether you wrote Fahrenheit 451 or you enjoyed 451 Dole Whips on your last trip, your imagination is only limited by your intellectual reason. Take Carl Sagan for example, whom many would consider a supreme intellectual, when he said:
Imagination will often carry us to worlds that never were. But without it we go nowhere.
Well said, Ray. Well said, Carl. Well done, Walt.
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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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Saturday, May 28, 2011

Forthcoming Book: BRAIN STORM: Unleashing Your Creative Self by Don Hahn

Don Hahn sent me a review copy of his latest book, Brain Storm: Unleashing Your Creative Self. It will be released on Tuesday, May 31, 2011. The following is from the back cover blurb:
Whether you're writing a novel, painting with watercolors, composing a symphony, or baking peanut-butter cookies, creativity plays a crucial role in achieving satisfaction and excellence. But, for many of us, accessing our creative core is difficult, if not impossible.

Acclaimed film producer Don Hahn offers his own unorthodox yet highly effective methods for unleashing the creative spirit. Blending personal and often hilarious anecdotes with prescriptive advice for rediscovering your creative self, Hahn explores the emotions that accompany creativity and discusses the importance of constructing a creative environment.

Filled with humor and empathy, along with some good old-fashioned practical advice, Brain Storm takes readers on an exciting journey to creative greatness.

Here is the listing from the Table of Contents:
  1. Beginning
  2. Passion
  3. Spirit
  4. Forces
  5. Fear and Loss
  6. Rebirth
  7. Epilogue
It looks like it will be a very engaging read.

About Don Hahn
Two time Oscar nominee Don Hahn produced Beauty and the Beast, the first animated film to win an Academy Award nomination for Best Picture. He also produced the global phenomenon The Lion King, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, and Associate Producer ofthe Disneynature films Earth, Oceans, and African Cats and directed the hit documentary Waking Sleeping Beauty. Born in Chicago and trained as a musician and painter, He lives in Los Angeles with his wife and his giant schnauzer Auggie.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Book Review: Walt Before Mickey Disney's Early Years 1919-1928 by Timothy S. Susanin

Walt before Mickey: Disney's Early Years, 1919-1928by Timothy S. Susanin. 2011. 384 pp.

About The Author
Currently, Timothy S. Susanin acts as the general counsel for a Fortune 500 Company. Previously, he served the Federal Government and the NAVY JAG as counsel. Obviously, Susanini is no stranger to laborious and meticulous research. Walt Before Mickey is proof of that.

The Review
By far, this is one of the most comprehensive books about any single period of Walt Disney's life. The author presents a detailed look at a very short time in Walt Disney's career when he was working professionally before the creation of Mickey Mouse.  Walt Before Mickey starts with a short look at Walt's life and moves through his first jobs in Kansas City until the formation Kaycee Studios, his first studio, in 1921. The majority of the book recounts Walt's time in other Kansas City studios, the Laugh-O-Gram years and the formation of the Disney Bros. Studios in Los Angeles. As expected, the book does end before the creation of Mickey Mouse.

There are several themes throughout most Disney biographies: consistent and early failure paired with an unchallenged sense of destiny; bringing together the best people; and managing people with visionary leadership. Walt Before Mickey spends a indulgent amount of time describing such events. I have read the major biographies on Walt Disney and I am always shocked by the nexus of animation that occurred and grew out of Kansas City. Most biographers agree that the landscape of animation would be vastly different without Disney pulling together artists from his local Kansas City environs.

The strength of this book could be considered its weakness; we see an almost daily look at Walt's life. We meet all of the characters that worked with, influenced or helped a young Walt Disney as artist. It is rendered as more than a litany of names and census information yet we are accorded quite a bit of detail about everyone he worked with. The author delved deep and researched when these people married, moved and passed away. This book will prove too much for enthusiasts not vested in Walt's career.

Is it more than we need to know?
Any researcher or librarian will tell you how important the bibliography, index and notes sections are when vetting a research title. 125 of the 340 pages in this book are allocated to the research side of Susanin's endeavors. This is a boon to all future researchers. Susanin has uncovered dates and times that were previously unknown and there is never any doubt to the efficacy of the research. You might feel bogged down when you read about an individual restaurant owner--where he lived, when he married and when he died--but the information has finally been collected, preserved and presented. 

This is a book that I really enjoyed; Susanin has a comfortable style that blends rote facts and figures into a pleasing narrative. I offer the admonition that this work is pretty geeky. When you have a book dedicated to a ten-year period, you are going to bring to light a lot of information.

Who Should Read This?
Obviously, devotees of Walt Disney and his career will love this book. Anyone looking to piece together a compendious view of the fledgling studios or the people that propelled Walt will find a mass of information. Fans of Michael Barrier, Didier Ghez, John Canemaker and Charles Solomon will find the research and writing enthralling. This is a book that goes deep and pulls no punches about Walt and the choices he made in Kansas City and the early days in Los Angeles. If you have an interest in scholarly research about Disney, then this is a book you need to own.

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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Massive Book Update!

  • The King in the Window This is a Hyperion Press title. It looks pretty interesting. And Malcolm Gladwell did the blurb so it must be a good read.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Book Review: Kingdom Keepers IV: Power Play by Ridley Pearson

Kingdom Keepers IV: Power Play by Ridley Pearson. 2011

By far, the fourth installment of the Kingdom Keepers series is the most charming, captivating and exciting!

I was disappointed with the first and second title, mainly because I wasn't able to let go of my Disney geekiness and enjoy the titles as fantasy. Pearson stepped up in the third and fourth books by integrating more of what he is known for: suspense and thrills. As I mentioned in my review of Disney In Shadow, Pearson invests more time in developing the Keepers as teens instead of stock teenage characters. In Power Play, he continues to craft well-likeable characters that are presented with the same issues as teens today--minus the need to battle Disney Villains!

Throughout the series, we have had hints about the good characters coming to the aid of the Keepers, and we see it for the first time in Power Play. By the end of Power Play, Pearson ties up a neat little package for us that will include future books about the Disney Cruise Line and Disneyland. He also manages to explain what might actually be happening behind-the-scenes of the Fantasyland expansion. What really happened to Mickey's house?

This is a great series for pre-tees and tweens. I would assume that most teens that are not die-hard Disney fans will pass on the series. As I have started before, most adults will need to put on their rose-colored Mouse Ears to fully enjoy this series. Pearson takes liberty with Walt Disney World geography on occasion which can leave you scratching your head. For the most part, the third and fourth books are more aligned with the actual property. Although, the Keepers can make it from the Mexico Pavilion to the Wonders of Life Pavilion faster than, well, a theme park junkie hopped up on churros and free soda from Club Cool.

If you have the time, the opportunity and you are obsessed with Walt Disney World, then you will get a kick out of these books.

If you need a non-Disney recommendation for a similar title, then you should check out The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel series by Michael Scott. It is one of the most engaging and intelligently written series out today. The first book in the series is The Alchemyst. And yes, you can thank me later.

I did receive a review copy of the book.

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Saturday, May 21, 2011

D23 Destination D: Walt Disney World 40th Celebration Review

The Review of D23 Destination D: Walt Disney World 40th Celebration! 

It has been a week since the D23 Destination D Celebration of 40 years of Walt Disney World (held May 14-15, 2011). Over the past few days, I have gathered my thoughts and spoken to other bloggers about the event.

Disney Archivist Rob Klein and Disney author/historian Tim O’Day host “Past Forward: Walt Disney World on Television” featuring the 1970s version of The Mickey Mouse Club. © Disney
Was It Worth It?
By the far, the most asked question has been whether the two-day event was worth the $175.00 price tag (not including the required D23 membership fee). Especially considering that the other Destination D event and Expos have been cheaper and lasted longer.

Prior to the event, the general opinion you would find on most twitter streams and message boards was one of disbelief. Many bloggers felt they couldn't afford the cost and resigned themselves to missing the event. Sadly, this is the only celebration that Disney is planning for the 40th anniversary. I assume that the Company will hold a re-dedication ceremony at the Magic Kingdom sometime during the morning of October 1, akin to EPCOT 25, but I have no confirmation.

Debby Dane Browne, the first ever Walt Disney World Ambassador, is greeted by D23 Head Steven Clark as they open the two-day celebration. © Disney
After the event closed on Sunday evening, the energy was high and everyone was rapturous about the closing musical program. So, a week later, I am still enthused about what I saw and learned. And whom I saw!

My answer is still a resounding "Yes" about the worthiness of the Destination D Celebration.

Disney Legend and Walt Disney Archives Director Emeritus Dave Smith takes the audience down memory lane via his nostalgic presentation “Walt Disney World: The Way We Were.” © Disney
What Rocked?
With 15 different presentations and 25 different Disney legends and luminaries, there was a lot to soak in. Surprisingly, there wasn't anything that was too disappointing, but a majority of the panels/presentations really stood out.

Oh, and Disney? Tim O'Day is a fantastic host. You should sign him up to do more stuff!
  • Seeing Dave Smith present "Walt Disney World: The Way We Were" was fantastic. Dave is a personal hero of mine (it is rather gratifying when a librarian is as famous as Dave) and hearing his personal spin on the extinct attractions at Walt Disney World was priceless.
  • Steve Vagnini, the man behind the entire event, co-presented the "EPCOT: Walt Disney's Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow" presentation. Steve carries a vast knowledge of the Florida property and was able to show how EPCOT was truly integrated into the property from day one.
  • "Past Forward: A History of Walt Disney World on Television" was presented by Rob Klein and the amazing Tim O'Day. The entire audience was enthralled with the rare and long-forgotten video presentations. The Grad Night video was unbelievable on so many levels!
Disney Archivist Steven Vagnini and Disney Imagineer Tony Baxter take their audience behind the scenes for a peek at “The Walt Disney World That Never Was.” © Disney
  • Tony Baxter and Steve Vagnini took us on a wonderful trip through "The Walt Disney World That Never Was." By far, this presentation had the most geek appeal. It was also one of the few presentations where photography was not allowed. Tony reminisced about the layout of the property; one of the original designs included multiple hotels to surround the Magic Kingdom (in the place of the Seven Seas Lagoon). He also told us about a few attractions that never were: a Sleeping Beauty attraction, one based on the wizard's duel from The Sword In the Stone, a Mary Poppins ride and a re-imagining of the Carousel of Progress. The most amazing, non-musical part of the entire weekend was the segment on the Western River Expedition. Arguably, the Western River Expedition (WRE) would have been an attraction that would have been Marc Davis' swan song and the penultimate Walt Disney World experience. Steve Vagnini was able to scour the Imagineering Archives to present a virtual ride-through with long-lost concept art. It was simply astounding. Viva La Western River Expedition!
  • The Final event for Saturday was a two-hour presentation by Tim O'Day and Tony Baxter featuring an amazing amount of studio-produced films, including: "Project Florida," "The Magic of Walt Disney World," "A Dream Called EPCOT" and "EPCOT 77." It was so funny to see Card Walker do his best Walt Disney impersonation.
Disney Legend and Imagineer Bob Gurr surprises the audience by turning the tables and taking pictures of them as his fellow Disney Legends laugh along with the gag. © Disney
  • "Walt Disney World In Detail" kicked off the main part of Sunday. Imagineers Jason Surrell, Alex Wright and Jason Grandt, by far, had the funniest presentation. They delved deep into their work at Walt Disney World to share the finer points, details and hidden goodness that we love so much. Jason, Alex and Jason had incredible chemistry and proved that they will be Disney Legends someday.
  • There were two panel discussions that featured more Disney Legends than you can shake a sorcerer's wand at. "Creating a Whole New (Walt) Disney World featured Debra Browne, Orlando Ferrante, Bob Foster, Bob Gurr, Ron Logan and was hosted by Disney Legend Marty Sklar. "Making The Magic Happen" featured Jack Lindquist, Bob Matheison, Tom Nabbe, Charlie Ridgway and Bill Sullivan. In both panel discussions, you were able to see 11 Disney Legends, Imagineers and former castmembers as they regaled us with stories of opening the Vacation Kingdom of the World. And it was quite a treat to see them interact in humorous and telling ways. If anyone asks...Bob Gurr is amazing, funny and loves Disney fans.
Many Disney Legends and Walt Disney World Resort “Pioneers” participated in the two-day celebration including (L-R): Bob Foster, Bill Sullivan, Jack Lindquist, Marty Sklar, Orlando Ferrante, Charlie Ridgway, Ron Logan, Tom Nabbe, Bob Gurr and Bob Mathieson. © Disney
And the Best of the Best?
The Award for Most Amazing Thing to Ever Happen in the Fantasia Ballroom goes to...
Dreamfinder and his pal Figment, longtime WDW entertainer Denny Zavett, Richard M. Sherman, the Kids of the Kingdom and members of Encore! (the Walt Disney World Cast Choir and Band) take their bows at the conclusion of the “Magic Journeys: A Flight of Fancy through 40 Years of Walt Disney World Musical Memories” concert. © Disney
Disney Legend and Academy Award® winner Richard M. Sherman charms audiences with a lively performance of some of the film and attraction song hits from the Sherman Brothers’ Disney songbook. © Disney
Conductor Clay Price leads a rousing performance by Encore! (the Walt Disney World Cast Choir and Band) during the closing night “Magic Journeys: A Flight of Fancy through 40 Years of Walt Disney World Musical Memories” concert. © Disney
The musical presentation featured as the closing act on Sunday evening was awesome, unbelievable, goose bump-inducing and once-in-a-lifetime.


As a surprise (one of many), we were treated to a song by the Kids of the Kingdom--all grown up! It was hard to see how they maintained so much energy. The Main Street Marching Band played some Magic Kingdom-themed songs and had the audience wanting to eat an ice cream and march along.

There's not much one can say about seeing Richard Sherman perform the songs that he wrote with his brother. He played more than 15 songs and each one brought back a specific memory from a film, theme park or time of my life (Now is the time, now is the best time!). Tim O'Day did a marvelous job acting as the emcee and he helped Richard tell the stories behind the songs. Probably the biggest surprise of the evening was when the original Dreamfinder, Ron Schneider, joined Richard Sherman to sing One Little Spark. The whole crowd rose to their feet and sang along.

The Encore! Walt Disney World Cast Choir and Band finished the evening with a rousing 30-minute set of EPCOT Center songs. Hearing cast members singing these amazing EPCOT songs was heat warming. It was obvious that they love the music as much as we do and wanted to share it with us. I would love to have the musical program on DVD (hint, hint).

What Didn't Rock
My biggest issue with he event was simply how much they crammed into two days. Adding a third day, with the ability to tour the parks in the evening would have been a fantastic way to spread out the excitement. Of course, that would have increased the price since Disney was paying for the speakers to stay in local hotels. Also, there seemed to be a large glut during the breaks for food services at the Contemporary and while waiting on the monorail. Disney did provide a food services area adjacent to the ballroom, but the prices were fairly high and the food fairly plain. Who wouldn't rather hop on the monorail and eat at one of the other resorts? Or, you could have schlepped over to the Magic Kingdom for a quick bite.

The two morning sessions of both days were rather lackluster and disappointing. "Weird Walt Disney World" by Becky Cline and the self-aggrandizing Paul F. Anderson was a lackluster look at WDW. Where was the handwich? Where were Dick Nunis' tiny pants? There have been weirder things presented on most blogs. And why was half the presentation the same material from the Expo at Disneyland?

This begs the question of why there was no mention of Dick Nunis during the entire weekend. Nunis started with the Company in 1961 and was in charge of Disneyland and WDW by 1972 until his retirement in 1999 (when he was chairman of Parks and Resorts Worldwide). Not many people have had a longer career at Walt Disney World nor effected it nearly as much.

The first morning session on Saturday was an odd attempt to deify Steven Clark, the head of D23. The Armchair Archivist, Josh Turchetta, presented a video program about Steven Clark that seemed a little over-the-top. If it had not been a Disney production, I would have assumed it was a little satirical, but it wasn't. It was a look at how cool Steven Clark is presentation. Very odd. Of course, when Dave Smith came out, he received a full standing ovation without any prompting.

You Should Do This
If you get the opportunity to attend one of the D23 events, I would recommend it. Besides getting the opportunity to meet Disney Legends, you can strike up friendships with other people that share the same obsessions.

You should also become a member of D23. Being a member of D23, attending the events and purchasing the D23-related memorabilia is a way of supporting the Archives of the Walt Disney Company. If you think about it, the Archives is a business unit for the Company; it is a business unit that doesn't sell or offer a product outside of D23. So, when you join D23, you are helping to make the Archives a more self-sustaining business unit.

I did receive and accept free press credentials for this D23 event.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Where Is That Restroom Sign?

In addition to being obsessed with the Haunted Mansion (see the previous post), I am obsessed with Disney bathrooms. Specifically the signage. My favorite restrooms include: the interior restroom at the Odyssey in Epcot; the ones at the Japan Pavilion; and the second-floor restrooms at the Liberty Tree Tavern in the Magic Kingdom.

We've discussed this before at Imaginerding.

I was able to do a little bit of sightseeing during the Destination D event at Walt Disney World and ran across this great restroom sign. Granted, we didn't get much outside time, but there were lunch and dinner breaks and additional time after the sessions.

I'm not big on posting photo-based scavenger hunts or Where in the World Am I posts, but this photo has some good imagery that might lead to the location. Plus, a restroom sign with a mustache? You don't see that very often!

 Any thoughts?

Leave a comment and let me know where this restroom might be.

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Thursday, May 19, 2011

Celebrating 40 Years of Walt Disney World History: Haunted Mansion Details

October 2011 marks the 40th anniversary of the opening of the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida. The Vacation Kingdom has seen a lot of changes over the past four decades and the editorial staff at Imaginerding wants to celebrate the unique and rich history of the resort with a series of posts. 

A very special thanks to Celeste Cronrath for designing the series of logos for our posts. Make sure to follow her on Twitter.

Haunted Mansion Detail
Originally uploaded by biblioadonis.
I love the Haunted Mansion.

Actually, that is an understatement. It is an attraction that I have studied, read about and discussed in detail with various Mansion enthusiasts all over the world.

I am obsessed with the haunted Mansion. That's the first step, right?

If you ever want to delve deeper into the mythos of the Mansion, then make sure to check out HGB2's amazing site Long-Forgotten Haunted Mansion. The author is a serious student of the Mansion and delves fairly deep into the myths, legends and true stories of the Mansion. It is time well spent.

Another amazing resource is Imagineer Jason Surrell's book The Haunted Mansion: From the Magic Kingdom to the Movies. By far, it is the most complete study of the physical nature of the Mansions to date. Jason was responsible for the spectacular and fitting update to the Magic Kingdom Haunted Mansion in 2007.

Haunted Mansion Detail
Check out the details in the photo to the left.

Is it a person? What is the other object?

I thought it was a marvelous detail, but didn't pay it enough attention until I got home from a trip in 2007 and was looking through my photos

There are so many myths and legends about the Haunted Mansion that are fan-based and, ultimately, prove to be untrue or not meant to be what was assumed. In this case, I knew it was a detail that was put in place by the Imagineers and I wanted to lean more about it.

After doing some searching in 2007, I came across HauntedPortraits.com. On the blueprints page, I ran across an architectural detail for the Liberty Square Haunted Mansion Cresting Detail on the Colonnade.

Dictionary.com offers the following definitions:
  1. Architecture . a decorative coping, balustrade, etc., usually designed to give an interesting skyline.
  2. Furniture . ornamentation either carved or sawed in the top rail of a piece or else added to it.
  3. a system of ornamental ridges or flutes on a piece of plate armor.

Another great example of how far the Imagineers were willing to go to make it perfect.

Have a lot of spare time and want to impress us? Do this and send us the pictures.

Also, check out the Haunted Mansion Wikipedia article.

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