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Disney World at 50: The Stories of How Waltss Kingdom Became Magical in Orlando

General Information:

Media Type: Book
Type: Parks - Picture
Release Date: 2021-10-12

Geek's Thoughts: To commemorate Walt Disney World’s 50th anniversary the Orlando Sentinel published this book containing reprints of a number of articles and images from its archives. The book includes over 100 historical photos and reprints of dozens of articles in its 176 pages organized into 13 chapters that chronicle the history of Walt Disney World. Spanning from the speculation of who was purchasing the land in the 1960s through the announcement of the 50th anniversary celebration this year this book delivers a look at the origins, creation and growth of Walt Disney World from the hometown newspaper’s coverage.


Being able to read in full many original articles on the plans, openings, and other happenings at Walt Disney World was great! Some of these articles you may have come across in archives or other books but having them in one collection is a nice resource. I also appreciated the number of images they choose from their archives. Many are displayed in a large format, there are a number of full page and even two page spreads of images. I enjoyed the number of construction photos throughout too.

The chapters are:

  • The Big Mystery in Florida
  • Walt Plans to Change the World
  • Building the Magic Kingdom
  • Opening Day Finally Arrives
  • Exploring the Lands of the Kingdom
  • Transportation Around the World
  • The Magical Places to Stay and Play
  • Meet the People of the Theme Park
  • The Star-Studded Dedication Weekend
  • How the World Has Changed
  • Disney World’s Other Theme Parks
  • Silver Anniversary Remembered
  • Disney World: Today and Tomorrow
I was provided a review copy of this book and I found it to be a very quick read. The layout featured a large number of images and the narrative outside the news stories themselves was minimal. If you enjoy reading Disney Park history this book offers a different angle than many others you have probably read. You can read contemporary reporting for each of the events/milestones through the lens of the local newspaper.

As with anything I find interesting I always find myself wanting more. For example the chapter devoted to the 25th anniversary celebration featured several articles marking the milestone and festivities. Reliving this celebration was great and seeing how that milestone was covered was interesting. But what about other anniversaries? Or there is a chapter sharing stories related to the growth of the resort but it only covers a couple of the hotels and other entertainment additions. There is a lot of history not covered in the book. This is not a negative about what is in the book, its more a compliment that I enjoyed it and would like to see even more.

Disney World at 50: The Stories of How Walt’s Kingdom Became Magical in Orlando will make a great addition to your library if you are looking for some great historical pieces about and images of Walt Disney World.

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