The Hidden Magic of Walt Disney World

Andy, since you asked about The Hidden Magic, it got me thinking. And it occurred to me there is a similarity in what you do here on the blog and what I’ve done in the book.

The Mousekingdom Blog presents the magic ‘as seen from different points of view’. The magic can also be seen from a different perspective, and that’s exactly what The Hidden Magic of Walt Disney World (due out in June 2009) is all about: finding the wonderful hidden gems the Imagineers have scattered throughout the parks, hearing the back stories and the imaginative thought process as described by the people who helped create the parks and attractions, and, most importantly, opening your eyes to the World as you have never seen it before.

So much of the inspired genius that went into each of the four Walt Disney World theme parks goes unnoticed by most guests as they rush from attraction to attraction. But when guests slow down and let the magic catch up with them, they’ll see a world of imagination that brings the ‘real’ story into full and vibrant light.

It took nearly 3 years to write the book, and it was inspired by my second visit to Walt Disney World. My first visit was in 1971, when Hall of Presidents was still considered an E-Ticket attraction. But it wasn’t until a few years later, after EPCOT Center was already up and running, that ‘the magic’ hit me, full on and with an inescapable force. Sitting in the small theater at The Living Seas pavilion, I was happily enjoying a movie about how the oceans were formed.

Suddenly, the movie ended and two large doors opened with a great ‘whoosh’! I was stunned! There was more to this than a movie? There was a ride, too? I couldn’t believe it, and that sense of finding ‘just a bit more’ followed me throughout the entire visit. That moment in time began my fascination with the parks’ hidden magic.

 Over the years I began to seek out the less obvious ‘gems’, and everywhere I turned there was another innovative touch, a cheeky (and forbidden!)  Imagineer signature, an intriguing story or artistic element that all added up to the incredible theme-setting Walt Disney World does so well.

Undoubtedly, other guests have seen them too. Some they may have recognized straight away, while other element may have been noticed, but their meaning remained elusive.

More often than not, guests have passed right by them without a thought. The Hidden Magic of Walt Disney World shows visitors where to look, tells them the stories of the parks and attractions’ creation through original Imagineer quotes, and opens your eyes wide to the parks as Walt Disney and his creative teams surely meant for them to be seen.

Writing the book was a real labour of love, especially toward the end of the process. When I began offering it for publication I expected it to take a year or more to sell, so I was a bit lazy about getting it done. When it sold in less than 6 weeks I was stunned, and a little bit worried!

I thought I’d have 5 or 6 months to finish it, but the Publisher said, “Can you get it done in 2 months?” Of course I could (YIKES!!). Simon and I were updating the Brit Guide to Orlando at the same time, but somehow, and with 7 minutes to spare, I finished the book and sent it on its way.

I hope it adds something fun to the vast array of Disney books, and I’m sure it will give visitors a unique look at the parks, whether it’s their first visit or their one hundred and first.


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5 Responses to “The Hidden Magic of Walt Disney World”

  1. Andy De Maertelaere Says:

    Ordering the book now :-)

    It’s how we fans see the parks. So much more then rides alone. All the hidden magic that your regular guest doesn’t look at. I am sure their will be some nice surprises in the book about those hidden gems. Looking forwards too it!

  2. Jenna Says:

    I have the book! I can’t wait to use it in the parks next time I go. I read through the whole thing like a regular book because it was written so nicely. It also has facts and stories that are very interesting. Its not about hidden mickeys, which I like, it’s about why these great surprises popped up and where you can find them. Some more astonishing then the others and some more hidden but i bet they all will delight. But the only bad thing that I have heard about is that some people think the book is out of date. Well no one will ever know, it is hidden isn’t it? Maybe those people who say you can’t wake up tinker bell haven’t yet tried in Disney world its self! As I read some reveiws I think that maybe little things that are super hidden have become to aged or not used enough so Disney takes them out. But large things are not removed because some one is going to notice! Such as waking up Tinker bell, a not so well kept secret may still be there but has spread a rumor that she can not be awoken anymore. If thousands of people come there everyday and she is always flittering around then thousands of people have done that. Well it is possible she has gotten a alarm clock:) but maybe not!

    Love this book so much I wrote a paragraph about it!

  3. Mr. Pineapple Says:

    We bought this book on a recent trip to orlando and it was great! People were asking us where we bought the book and if there were hidden Mickeys in it too. We did take some pictures of the “hidden magic” which is posted on my blog!


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  5. Thursday’s Thought: Appreciate the small things Says:

    […] There is a great article at Mousekingdom Blog about this book.  I definitely think it’s a must read for Disney freaks like myself!! 🙂 […]

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