Susan Veness’ The Hidden Magic of Walt Disney World book has long been a standard here at Between Disney. But a lot has changed at Walt Disney World, and here at Between Disney, since the first edition was reviewed in 2011. And it was just a few years ago, in my mind, that I reviewed the Second Edition. And boom, there arrived at my doorstep a Third Edition in 2020…during a time when I was slowly working through Between Books. Slowly, I have been picking up on reviews again and this new edition is really the best place for me to kick off a new era of Between Book reviews.
The Hidden Magic of Walt Disney World: Over 600 Secrets of the Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom Third Edition by Susan Veness follows the same general plan as the earlier editions. Veness walks readers through the four Walt Disney World Resort parks land by land. As she takes this walk she drops fun facts and behind-the-scenes information that for many, okay readers like me, will find delightful and help to expand the park experience. The book is text-driven, with little to no pictures except for a map that highlights some facts about each park.
Overall, the facts are interesting and delightful. I have read a lot of Disney books, yet I felt like I experienced many new to me facts. The text was well-written and engaging. But for some reason, I did find that it took me a bit to get into the text. This may be due to the fact there was content I had read before in this format. But as I got further into the text, my attention was increasingly grabbed instead of diminished. I worried that new sections such as Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge would spoil me but instead I felt the sections prepared me and helped grab my interest. I felt like the surprises I have kept from myself were not revealed.
It could be the lack of images and photos that may have been my initial barrier to all in. As I read a section I often attempted to mentally picture the layout of the area. I assume the lack of images is tied to copyright issues. And while this text can be used to prepare a traveler, it may even be better in the park as a guide to help fill time in lines, as visitors play a game to find the secret the text points out. For this purpose, the book is light enough to fit in a small backpack but even better would be a Kindle edition on a cell phone.
I did note in the past I would like a section about Downtown Disney/Disney Springs. Content about Disney Springs and the water parks would be fun, but the editions are all consistent in creating boundaries around the theme parks.
As expected from a revised edition, content is often the same. The France section of the World Showcase that I discussed in the Second Edition remains unchanged but has shifted to page 129 to align with the new and removed content in this edition. This fact just leads me to suggest that new readers really should consider the newest edition for the most updated content with the key details found in earlier editions. This is underscored by the growth in each volume as the original had 242 pages, the Second 255 pages, and the Third 286 pages. This text is like the park is expanding. Get the newest fellow readers!
The Hidden Magic of Walt Disney World is a go-to book for me. It is fun. It is well written. And it has a lot of facts. It has the power to prepare someone for a trip, especially if they want to sound knowledgeable on Disney secrets. Also, it could provide park fun, as family members waiting for their next attraction seek out the secrets provided for each section. I will continue to recommend The Hidden Magic of Walt Disney World for those who want to read up on park secrets before they visit the Walt Disney World Resort.
Review Copy Provided by Publisher
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