A Portrait of Walt Disney World 50 Years of The Most Magical Place on Earth

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Format: Hardcover
Pub. Date: 2021-09-28
Publisher(s): Disney Editions
List Price: $60.00

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This expansive, must-have coffee table book paints a robust portrait of the Walt Disney World Resort, across half a century, through diverse and vibrant voices and mostly unseen Disney theme park concept art and photographs.

Walt Disney's vision for "the Florida Project" begins with Disneyland and the 1964-1965 New York World's Fair. After an imaginative and expansive design, a unique land acquisition process, and an innovative construction period, the Walt Disney World Resort celebrated its Grand Opening in October 1971. It featured a theme park dubbed the Magic Kingdom and three recreational resorts: Disney's Contemporary Resort, Disney's Polynesian Village, and Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground.

As Walt Disney World consistently grew and further evolved through the five decades that followed, certain themes reverberated: an appreciation for nostalgia, a joy for fantasy, a hunger for discovery, and an unending hope for a better tomorrow. Inspirational and memorable theme parks, water parks, sports arenas, recreational water sports, world-class golf courses, vast shopping villages, and a transportation network unlike any other in the world resulted in fun, festive, and familiar characters, traditions, spectacles, merchandise, and so much more. The resort has come to represent the pulse of American leisure and has served as a backdrop for life's milestones both big and small, public and private.

Walt Disney World: A Portrait of the First Half Century serves as a treasure trove for vacationers, students of hospitality, artists, and all Disney collectors.

Searching for that perfect gift for the Disney theme park fan in your life? Explore more archival-quality books from Disney Editions:
  • Holiday Magic at the Disney Parks
  • The Disney Monorail: Imagineering a Highway in the Sky
  • Walt Disney's Ultimate Inventor: The Genius of Ub Iwerks
  • One Day at Disney: Meet the People Who Make the Magic Across the Globe
  • Marc Davis in His Own Words: Imagineering the Disney Theme Parks
  • Yesterday's Tomorrow: Disney's Magical Mid-Century
  • Eat Like Walt: The Wonderful World of Disney Food
  • Maps of the Disney Parks: Charting 60 Years from California to Shanghai
  • The Haunted Mansion: Imagineering a Disney Classic
  • Poster Art of the Disney Parks

Author Biography

Kevin M. Kern first began working with the Walt Disney Archives in 2011, and was hired by the department full-time in 2013. As the group's manager of research, he currently works with historical documents and artwork, and helps to facilitate company legacy and outreach projects, including oral histories and the development and installation of museum exhibitions. He's hosted special event programming for many business units across The Walt Disney Company, and has had his writing featured in numerous publications.

Tim O'Day is a successful writer, PR executive, ideation consultant, and event producer. His creative spark was behind creating a Olympic-size lap pool on Main Street, U.S.A. for US Olympian Michael Phelps, procuring a Disneyland "Star" on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, placing "Dumbo" in the Smithsonian, securing Dame Julie Andrews as the Disneyland 50th anniversary honorary ambassador, and having the pardoned White House Thanksgiving turkeys retire to the Disney Parks. He has worked with almost all the Disney Legends and helped secure the National Medal of Arts from President George W. Bush for the legendary songwriters Richard and Robert Sherman in a White House ceremony.

Steven Vagnini joined the staff of the Walt Disney Archives as an archivist full time in 2010, after several years as a Walt Disney World Cast Member and an Archives intern. He has produced programs for D23 events, spoken to Disney groups, and written articles for various Disney publications (including working closely with Dave Smith on the latest version of Disney A to Z: The Official Encyclopedia). In 2018, he transferred to the Florida-based branch of Walt Disney Imagineering.

Cover artist Fabiola Garza is a Character Artist at Disney Creative group in Orlando, Florida. During her career she has had the pleasure of working on The Little Golden Book for Pixar's Coco and designing the beloved turtle, Olu Mei for Disney's Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa. She is the also author and illustrator of the award-winning children's book, A Boy Who Became Pope: The Story of Saint John Paul II. During her free time she enjoys ballroom dancing, the work of G. K. Chesterton, and contributing to Catholic publications and podcasts. Her favorite Walt Disney World attraction is The Haunted Mansion. Find her at www.fabiolagarza.com.

Table of Contents

Page 8: FOREWORD: By Bob Chapek, chief executive officer, The Walt Disney Company.
Page 10: PREFACE.
Page 12: CHAPTER ONE: Destination: Florida: Disney Roots in the Sunshine State.
Page 18: CHAPTER TWO: Building the Dream: The Making of the "Florida Project".
Page 56: Why Not Florida? The Inspiration and Optimism of Walt Disney: A Special Essay Looking Back with Disney Legend Dick Nunis.
Page 62: From Forest City to the Vacation Kingdom: A Special Essay Looking Back with Debby Dane Browne.
Page 70: A Grandson’s Appreciation and Memories: A Special Essay Looking Back with Roy Patrick Disney.
Page 74: CHAPTER THREE: Framing Our Portrait: A Thematic Compass.
Page 80: CHAPTER FOUR: Nostalgia: An Idealized Yesteryear.
Page 130: CHAPTER FIVE: Fantasy: The Art of Make Believe.
Page 176: CHAPTER SIX: Discovery: Adventure and Exploration.
Page 244: CHAPTER SEVEN: Tomorrow: A Step into the Future.
Page 284: CHAPTER EIGHT: Reflections: Looking Back at the World.
Page 298: CHAPTER NINE: The World’s Most Magical Celebration: The Fiftieth Anniversary of Walt Disney World.
Page 304: INDEX.

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