Monday, October 1, 2012

Between Books - Walt Disney's Epcot Center

Cover - Walt Disney's Epcot Center
Richard R. Beard in Walt Disney’s Epcot Center: Creating the New World of Tomorrow provides an overview of a new Disney theme park that most of his original readers would not be familiar with in Epcot Center at the Walt Disney World Resort.  Written in 1982, the same year Epcot opened, Beard presents his readers with what can be found at Disney’s newest park including future developments.  He walks his readers through Future World and World Showcase including giving in-depth descriptions of rides like Horizons.  Along with Beard’s descriptions every page is illustrated with pictures and concept art showing off the recent addition to Walt Disney World.
I really enjoyed this book.  It is fairly typical guidebook/souvenir text.  But for someone who never rode Horizons it is a treat to read through an early ride through of the attraction.  I also always enjoy Imagineering concept art and knowing I can reach for it on my bookshelf anytime.  Additionally, Beard gives a glimpse of what is to come at Epcot Center, including those attractions and pavilions that were never to be.  Beard provides an detailed overview of the Africa pavilion, a pavilion that would never come to be due to economic and political reasons.  Beard’s text makes it clear that plans for this pavilion were very far down the development pipeline with the author Alex Haley of Roots assisting Imagineering.  Another attraction described but never to be was the Meet the World show for the Japan pavilion, never developed in the United States out of fear of upsetting U.S. World War II veterans though it was opened in Tokyo Disneyland.
Richly illustrated Richard R. Beard’s Walt Disney’s Epcot Center: Creating the New World of Tomorrow is a treat for Disney park fans.  The use of period photographs and concept art is a highlight.  The photographs really show the attention to detail Imagineering gives, with one photograph of a pig being painted for The World of Motion including spots that would not be seen by guests.  The text is easy to read and its under 130 pages are filled with illustrations making it a super quick read.
A co-worker and casual Disney fan saw me reading Walt Disney’s Epcot Center and a quick skim led him to say he needed to purchase a copy because it reminded him of childhood memories with his family and a beloved extinct attraction in Horizons.  The reaction served as proof to me that this book is one that will bring smiles to both serious and casual Disney fans.                  

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