The Imagineering Field Guide to the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World by The Imagineers is one of the first Disney centric books I read as I struggled with being Between Disney. The book, written by Imagineer Alex Wright, explains to the reader basic tools of Imagineering and the disciplines and vocabulary of those working for Walt Disney Imagineering (WDI). Wright then proceeds to give readers a tour of the Magic Kingdom land by land from Main Street, U.S.A to Tommorrowland. The majority of attractions are given a brief mention usually linking to the tools of Imagineering to show how Imagineering develops rides and attractions. Pictures are a large part of this text with images from the park and concept art being found on every page. The book is setup like a guide book, being small and compact and something one can throw into a backpack or small bag on a trip to the Magic Kingdom.
Again this was one of the first Disney books I ever dug into. Sadly for those I live and work with it led to me using phrases like “wienie” and “blue sky” after I completed it. I started reading this book at a time when I had not been in a Disney park for several years and I was getting ready, in about seven months for a future trip to the Magic Kingdom. And it was snowing, a lot no really I mean a whole lot outside. So I was really at a Between Disney place. But the images, especially the concept art got me excited about that trip months in the future and lead me to think about my past experiences. So this read had a great payoff for me. I did pack it on my future trip, but I only consulted it in my hotel room and to be honest when I’m in a park I’m moving so fast I tend to make the mistake of not smelling the roses. So the special insights in the book were only useful to me if I remembered them.
The recent developments in the Magic Kingdom have completely changed my view of this book. When I got it the guide it really was “what I could see” and facts and trivia about that future visits. But now this book is largely historical to me. Mickey’s Toontown Fair is closed, and we will never walk the halls of Mickey or Minnie’s homes in Florida again. And Fantasyland is moving into its next stage of life and will have a very different look and feel including some attractions that are or will soon be extinct. So for me the value in this book is now to help capture a large amount of what was not is. Overall, The Imagineering Field Guide to the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World is a highly visual book that is fun to thumb through remembering what is and was as you speculate what will be.
For more from the Imagineering Guide series see “Between Books – The Imagineering Field Guide to Disneyland” and “Between Books – The Imagineering Field Guide to Disney’s Animal Kingdom at Walt Disney World.”