Thursday, September 29, 2011

Walt Disney World History Books

A frequent request 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.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Sixth Annual Village Wine Festival!

Before the Epcot Food and Wine Festival, there was a much smaller event being held at the Village that originated the current, month-long celebration. 

The Village Wine Festival started in 1979 and was an annual event by 1982. At some point in its history, the festival moved from the Village Spirits and Vintage Cellar to the Conference Center, as noted in the following article from 1987.

Village Wine FestivalThe sixth annual Village Wine Festival will be held at the Conference Center February 5-8. This festival, which has become Florida's premier fine wine forum, will showcase more than 100 premium wines from six wineries. The festival kicks off with the elaborate Winemakers' Reception on February 5, Grand Tastings on February 6-8, and two wine seminars on February 7 and 8. For more information and to make your reservation call 827-7200. Grand tasting tickets can also be purchased at Village Guest Services and Village Spirits/ (Sorry, no castmember discount on Wine Festival tickets.)
Foxxfur at Passport 2 Dreams has posted many fantastic articles about the Village. See the Village Tonight, Part Two mentions the beginnings of two Epcot traditions.

And Now For Something Completely Different!
The second part of the article on the Village details a two-day program on how to salvage treasure!
Artespana, sponsored by Arriba Brothers, is also celebrating their first anniversary with a very unique offering. On February 12 and 13, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Captain Carl Fismer of the Spanish Main Treasure Company, will be discussing the art of treasure salvaging. Artifacts, weapons, cannons, and ship equipment from 16th - 18th century Spanish fleets will be displayed and authentic Spanish treasure will be available for purchase with prices ranging from $5 to $8,000. A certificate of authenticity, signed by Captain Fismer, will be included with each purchase.

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

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Sunday, September 25, 2011

More Disney Books!

The most recent additions to my collection take me to 502 books. The first three titles were part of the Walt Disney World EPCOT Center Book series produced by Grolier Books. The three books were inspired by the Land Pavilion, the Universe of Energy and the World of Motion. Each book dedicates a few pages (and photos) to the pavilion, but otherwise acts as a resource guide for students. Like any general title on a subject, they cover the history, present and future. They are great books to pick up if you can find them fairly cheap. Besides, they have fantastic covers!

  • Walt Disney World a Pictorial Souvenir 1993. You can never go wrong with any of the pictorial souvenirs. Of course, any that are dated before the 1990s are pretty amazing.

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Saturday, September 24, 2011

Disney Links: The Geek-End Update

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Dumbo on Blu-ray: the Extras and Special Features

It can be difficult to review a cherished and well-loved film. What else could I say that wouldn't rehash what so many other writers have done so well? Regardless, the opportunity to own a hi-definition copy of Dumbo is hard to pass up; even if you bought it on videotape and DVD.

Dumbo, a film that has entered the lexicon on so many experience levels, has received the Blu-ray treatment in time for the 70th anniversary of its release (1941). Besides the stunning visuals and sound, this is the same movie that is synonymous with Disney and family entertainment. Allow me to skip any pretense of reviewing the film and look at the bonus features.

After the disappointing release of the  Fox and the Hound (with the meddling midquel) that lacked any special features, I am glad to see Disney offer some enthusiastic extras. Disney has included a deleted scene and a deleted song which are introduced by Don Hahn. Don provides some great historical acumen on the pieces and it is easy to see why they were not included in the film. After seeing both scenes, it isn't hard to see how a slightly different Dumbo could have come forth.

Here is the rundown of what is on the Dumbo Blu-ray combo:

Bonus Features:
  • Deleted Scene – “The Mouse’s Tale” 
  • Deleted Song – “Are You a Man or a Mouse?” 
  • Taking Flight: The Making of Dumbo – A journey back to the origins of the film as everybody‘s favorite baby elephant takes wing. 
  • The Magic Of Dumbo: A Ride of Passage – Witness the excitement and magic of Disneyland‘s most popular ride through the eyes of a child. 
  • Audio Commentary with Pete Docter, Paula Sigman and Andreas Deja 
  • Sound Design Excerpt from The Reluctant Dragon 
  • Original Walt Disney Television Introduction
Everything on the DVD plus:
  • Cine-Explore 
  • Disney View 
  • “What Do You See?” Game 
  • “What Do You Know?” Game 
  • “Celebrating Dumbo” Featurette 
  • Animated Short: “The Flying Mouse” 
  • Animated Short: “Elmer Elephant”
  • Movie Download (Standard Definition & High Definition Versions)
  • Deleted Scene – “The Mouse’s Tale” 
  • Deleted Song – “Are You a Man or a Mouse?” 
  • “Celebrating Dumbo” Featurette
What I loved about the Taking Flight: The Making of Dumbo featurette was that so many of the bloggers that I read (and feature on the Geek-End Update) were asked to speak about the film. Didier Ghez from Disney History and Paul F. Anderson from the Disney History Institute were just two of the familiar faces. Historian Paul Sigman offers insight as does animator Andreas Deja. It is really a great introduction to the Studio during the late 1930s through the premier of the film.

As I have intoned with most of my other Blu-ray reviews: seeing the film in hi-definition with fantastic audio is worth purchasing the film again.

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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Arrive Alive on SR-535!

One of the earlier campaigns from Disney about castmember safety was Arrive Alive! ...On SR-535. I wonder how many castmembers were injured on SR-535 before this campaign launched.

In a larger article about Captain Cook's Hideaway and the Saltwater Express, Foxfurr from Passport to Dreams discusses the slogan in a post at 2719 Hyperion:
On pages 125 and 126 of Realityland, author David Koenig relates Disney World's efforts to get SR 535 modernized to handle the large amounts of employee traffic currently traveling on it - a problem they had, of course, created, the road itself predating Walt Disney World by many years. Disney was unwilling to contribute the needed funds for adding shoulders, lanes and such, but they were willing to launch a massive PR campaign which included a song by Captain Cook's resident musical duo, the improbably named Salt Water Express - 'Can You Arrive Alive on 535?' The song was submitted to local radio stations and even plastered on billboards. Disney got their road widened on the government's dime, and such is the lot of obscure facets of Walt Disney World that they are often mixed up in stories bigger than their actual profile may suggest. One wonders how many Disney guests those many summer nights ago were confounded by talk of "Arriving alive on 535".
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Monday, September 19, 2011

The Spooky Buddies Are Coming

My boys are huge fans of the Buddies series of movies. They have been thrilled to watch the films and offer reviews for Imaginerding.
They are fairly excited about the release of Spooky Buddies this week. Disney has provided some content to celebrate the film. Enjoy!
For a goulish good time, catch Rosebud, B-Dawg, Buddah, Budderball, and Mudbud in their all-new Halloween-themed movie! SPOOKY BUDDIES continues the overwhelmingly popular franchise that features the adorable talking puppies, with action, laughs, and fast-paced adventure.

You can download PDF versions of the sheets, here.

I can't believe there is a ghost dog!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Geek-End Update: Disney Links and More

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Disney's Treehouse Villas, Then and Now

The Treehouse Villas at Saratoga Springs have a storied history at Walt Disney World. By the time the 60 villas were finished in 1975, Disney had already changed plans for the Lake Buena Vista Resort Community. One of the first major refurbishments took place in 1987. Let's take a look!

The Treehouse Villas located in Lake Buena Vista are in the midst of major remodeling. Rich mauve and blue colors have replaced the dark earth tones making the Treehouses bright and airy.  
Each Villa is being updated with new furniture, carpet, wallpaper and paint. The downstains sitting room is now being turned into a third bedroom creating comfortable sleeping room for up to six people in each unit. 
The outside of the Treehouses are also getting new paint. The outside color scheme was selected to blend each Villa in with its surrounding area creating a secluded, peaceful atmosphere.  
More than halfway finished. the Treehouse Villas are scheduled for remodeling completion by March. Our guests have shown great enthusiasm for our newly refurbished Treehouses.  
Our guests have shown great enthusiasm for our newly refurbished Treehouses.  
Returning guests have voiced an appreciation for the fresh change and look forward to returning again.

The following photo is from 2006. You can see the skeleton of the 1987 remodel but they have replaced the furniture. It was used to house International College Program students before the 2009 remodels.
Fee from DF'82 posted pictures from a 2006 stay at the Treehouse Villas when she was a castmember.

Michael Crawford from Progress City USA offers a fantastic article on the Treehouse Villas refurbishment from 2009. What is interesting to note is that this rendering does not have any angular kids. Maybe they are in the bedroom or playing outside.

A promotional postcard with the concept artwork was mailed out to Disney Vacation Club members. I love the wildlife. The squirrel and birds are just waiting for the family to leave. I can't tell from the scan if that is Chet's or Roman's family having the picnic?

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.


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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The First Child to Ride Pirates of the Caribbean

Can you imagine being the first child to ride Pirates of the Caribbean at Disneyland? Bill Justice relates that story in his 1992 memoir. Sometimes it pays to be an Imagineer!

Bill Justice began his career at Disney's Hyperion Studio on July 12, 1937. He stayed with the Company for 42 years and held different jobs over the ensuing years. He started as inbetweener working on Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and was an animator on Pinocchio.Walt pushed him into directing and a few years after Disneyland was opened, Justice was called over to Imagineering.

His talent for character animation made him a natural for programming animatronics. He programmed figures for Pirates of the Caribbean, the Haunted Mansion, the Carousel of Progress, the Hall of Presidents, the Country Bear Jamboree and the Mickey Mouse Revue. From 1967 until his retirement, he worked exclusively for WED with a multitude of projects outside of the attractions, as well.

If you get the opportunity (and can find a copy), you should read his memoir, Justice for Disney. This book might be as rare as  Disneyland, The Nickel Tour and Disneyland Paris: From Sketch to Reality. My copy is signed by Justice and is numbered 289 of 1000. I surmise that there were only 1000 printed. Justice passed away on February 10, 2011. The book is filled with charming and eye-opening anecdotes, such as the following about the first child to ever ride Pirates of the Caribbean.

Melissa Justice was the first child to ride on "Pirates of the Caribbean."
Roy Disney was invited to ride Pirates when the installation was completed. He brought his wife Edna and we all jumped into one of the boats and away we went. Roy loved the attraction. As we reached the unloading area he spotted my wife and daughter Misse. He invited them into the boat and we went through again. He specifically had Misse sit up front with him. I suspect he wanted to see her reaction. So my five year old daughter was the first child to see Pirates. By the way, she loved it too. (Page 79.)

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