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Project Future: The Inside Story Behind the Creation of Disney World

General Information:

Media Type: Blu-Ray
Type: Backstage/Behind the Scenes
Release Date: 2010-02-25

Geek's Thoughts: Most disneygeeks know the basic story of how the Florida project came to be. How the Disney company used shell companies and misdirection to purchase their land in the Orlando area. Then once purchased how they created the Reedy Creek Improvement District to govern the property Most books on the history of the parks take a stab at the topic but until Project Future no one has dedicated an entire book to the subject. The only other book that comes to mind that talks in depth on the subject is Married to the Mouse, and even in that book this is only subsection. Project Future takes a detailed look at the Walt Disney Company's search for an east coast location, the acquisition of the property then the politics to establish control over the property. Its focus is on the 1960s, during this decade the search, decision, and construction of the project happened.

 

Project Future begins with the wild success of Disneyland and the quest to move east. It talks about several projects that were abandon for various reasons such as the ones in Niagara Falls or Marceline Missouri. Several chapters are devoted to the search for a location in Florida. As you read through the search and purchasing process it becomes apparent how many things had to fall into place just right to bring Disney World to reality.

Approximately a third of the book is devoted to looking at the legislative and legal hurdles that had to be overcome to bring the Reedy Creek Improvement District (and by extension Walt Disney World) into existence. This is the first book I have read that takes an in depth look at the legislative process that created the district (and the two cities).

There are also two very useful appendixes in the book. The first is a listing of the key players and their roles in the project (think of it as a cheat sheet to players as you read about them). The second is a timeline.

I really enjoyed reading this book and learning some interesting tidbits about this very fascinating time in Disney history. Since I am a fairly visual person the two pieces missing from this book are some maps/figures to illustrate the properties and maybe some images of the people involved. I would have found the maps both interesting as well as useful in visualizing the property and how the pieces fit together. Even without these visual aids you get a great overview of all the things that had to fall into place just right to make the project work. I would highly recommend this to any of you that want to fill in some gaps in the history and creation of Disney World. It is a fairly easy read and the events, descriptions of the process, etc.. are all written in a fashion that you can easily follow.



Press release on the book:
New Book Serves Up Spy-like, Inside Story Behind the Creation of Disney World

ORLANDO, Fla. (March 1, 2010) -- It’s a plot Jack Bauer would love – a clandestine project by one of America’s most brilliant business leaders punctuated with multiple code names, fake identities, make-shift affiliations, and unique regulatory arrangements.

And while almost every traveler recognizes Walt Disney World as one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations, what might surprise them are the secret and pain-staking measures Walt Disney took to keep his intentions for a Disneyland-East under wraps.

Project Future, The Inside Story Behind the Creation of Disney World, is a fascinating new book that explores one of the most comprehensive and successful private developments in U.S. history – the Walt Disney World Resort.

The 189-page paperback by Chad D. Emerson takes Disney fans, theme park enthusiasts and lovers of Americana and pop culture on the ride with Walt and his advisors in the early 60s as they evaluate locations like St. Louis, Niagara, Monterey, Calif., Ocala, Fla. and the Miami area as possible sites for the new “Disneyland-East.”

Emerson, a tenured member of the faculty at Faulkner University’s Jones School of Law and highly-respected theme park and attractions industry expert, also puts readers in Conference Room 2E at the company’s Burbank headquarters as the most senior Disney officials sort through the optimal parcels of land to place the “real working city” and planned entertainment development.

Emerson spent more than two years researching the history of Walt Disney’s Florida project while interviewing a variety of key players such as Harrison “Buzz” Price, Robert Price Foster, Gov. Claude Kirk, and Tom DeWolf. The result is a book that serves up intriguing glimpses of historic detail interspersed with fascinating strategies and spy-like maneuvers the Walt Disney Company deployed to fashion more than 27,000 acres of Florida marsh, swamp and farmland into the world’s most successful destination.

“Project Future does an excellent job providing rich details and historical context to the incredible efforts that individuals like Walt and Roy Disney, Bob Foster, Tom DeWolf, Paul Helliwell, Roy Hawkins and many others took to make Walt Disney World a reality,” says Lee Cockerell, former Executive Vice President for Operations at the Walt Disney World Resort.

Project Future (ISBN 78-0-615-34777-6) is published by Ayefour Publishing at a list price of $14.95. More information can be found at www.projectfuturebook.com.



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