Monday, October 8, 2012

Between Books - Epcot: The First Thirty Years

Cover of Epcto: The First Thirty Years showing Spaceship Earth from Epcot
For three decades the Epcot theme park has been educating and entertaining guests at the Walt Disney World Resort.  Jeff Lange and Kevin Yee provide readers a visual tour of Epcot’s past and current attractions in Epcot: The First Thirty Years, An Unofficial Retrospective.  The authors walk readers through chapters on Future World, World Showcase, Entertainment, Events and Tribute Displays that are largely outside of the park.  Pages typically contain at least five photos with some text providing background to the attraction or area being featured.  The text is followed by a historical timeline of the park that ends with the 30th anniversary event which occurred near publication. 
My chief complaint of Disney history books offered by smaller publishers are the photos.  The pictures provided in texts by smaller publishing houses tend to be black and white and lack clarity.  The pictures in Epcot: The First Thirty Years are all color and clear.  And there are 500 of them!  Many of them are of attractions that my Between Book library lacks visual references of.  The strength of the books is truly the pictures.  Every page overflows with pictures of varying sizes, though no one picture ever dominates an entire page.  For me a real highlight was the pages dedicated to the extinct World of Motion attraction.  I am big fan of Marc Davis’ work and seeing pages of photos of this attraction helped me understand how the World of Motion fits within Davis’ portfolio.  Davis’ humor pops off the page.  And the authors provide pictures of the train scene from Davis’ unbuilt Western River Expedition and adapted from World of Motion. 
If I could change anything, I would provide captions for the photos.  There are a number of photos on each page, but no caption specific to each picture.  Although the book text provides a good summary of the attractions that the pictures represent, there is no description of the photo contents themselves.  I am someone who did not visit Epcot during its first two decades, or as I have been told missed all the good stuff.  So though the text may let me know what attraction or area the picture goes with, I lack context to know what some of the specific items are.          
I do think that the $30 price could be an obstacle for some readers.  For me, someone who is not a rabid Epcot fan, it seems like a big bite from the wallet.  I have debated with myself if I would pay $30 for Epcot: The First Thirty Years, I have come to the decision that I could see scenarios where I could do it.  First I would consider paying because of the high number of photos that I do not have in other books.  Second the retrospective of World of Motion which was a real highlight for me personally and worth the money.  In fact I assume it is the picture quality that has most impacted the price of the book.  I did pass my copy over to a friend who is a rabid Epcot fan and asked him if he would pay the $30 price tag.  He stated absolutely.  There are two alternatives for those that think the price too high.  Instead of color pictures, for half the price one can purchase a Black and White version of the book.  If I had to choose between the options of color versus black and white, I would pay for the color to have the full experience.  Another color option at third of the price is a Kindle version.  I think this is a good option, especially for those who typically read in this format.  Though for me I still like feeling the paper in my hands.     
Jeff Lange and Kevin Yee’s Epcot: The First Thirty Years, An Unofficial Retrospective will delight Epcot fans, putting pictures of their favorite attractions in their hands.  For the Disney history fan, the book will provide visual references of Epcot’s past.  Overall, it is fitting tribute to thirty years of Disney history by two fans.   

Review Copy Provided by Authors

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