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Married to the Mouse : Walt Disney World and Orlando

General Information:

Media Type: Book
Type: Backstage/Behind the Scenes
Release Date: 2001-07-09

Geek's Thoughts: I found this book to be one of the most interesting I have read in a while. Most Disneygeeks know the story about how Walt seceretly bought land in central Florida and how the Walt Disney Company managed to get the Reedy Creek Improvement District defined, but few know the details of how both came to be. This book covers that including the people and the personalities involved in it. The book also discusses Celebration and its impact on this. The analogy running throughout the book is that of Marriage between Disney and the Orlando area.


The Geeks 2 cents:

I really enjoyed this book. I think the main reason is that it actually presented a lot of new information. I have read quite a few Disney books and most focus on the parks or on Walt, but this one focuses on the relationship between Disney and the Orlando area. It goes into great depth on how Disney aquired its land. Discussing the people, personalities, and politics that made the deal come together. I found this extremely interesting and unique. Married to the Mouse uses the analogy to marriage throughout to show how the relationship between Disney(the mouse) and Orlando (state of Florida, city of Orlando, Oscela & Orange Counties, and the citizens) evolved over the years.

The first part of the book focusses on the aquisition of land. Talking about the "shell companies" and how the land purchases went through. It then goes into detail about Reedy Creek. The last half of the book studies how the relationships formed in these early days evloved and functioned through the 80s and 90s. It focuses quite a bit on the changes that occured under the Eisner era and how that affected the relationship.

The first questions I usually ask myself after reading a Disney book are, was the book written fairly and was it accurrate. I thought this book was on both counts. You can pick out parts that lean one way or the other, but for the most part the author's leanings are hidden and the reasoning seems logical and academic. Yes some of the chapters can be taken as "Disney bashing", but I think the author presents them in such a way that the facts are there and the reader can make up their own mind whether it is abuse or just use of powers granted to them.

Once I had completed the book I still wanted to know more. I wish he would have really went into the Reedy Creek charter and legislation. He does discuss it and how it came to be and the consquences of it more than any other book I have read so far though. I guess that is the geek in me... always wanting to know more details....

Overall I would have to say this was a good read. I really enjoyed it and know I learned some new Disney trivia. For one thing I learned Dick Nunis played football for the University of Southern California (my Alma Mater, Fight On!!).

Married to the Mouse : Walt Disney World and Orlando

Richard E. Foglesong
272 pp.; $27.95; ISBN:0-300-08707-1; 16 bloack and white illus. and 6 maps
Publication Date: July 9, 2001

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