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66 of 79 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enjoy the parks even more!
As a long time Disney fan, I've devoted a lot of time to my Disney obsession, both on vacation and at home (so much so, that I met my wife on a Walt Disney World fan site). I've read so many Walt Disney World guide books that they all look alike to me anymore. The Hidden Magic of Walt Disney World is not a Disney World guide book intended to teach you how to get around...
Published on June 9, 2009 by John Crissup

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316 of 365 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Sorry to have to criticize
I enjoy books about Disney and normally don't judge them harshly.

But people should be warned about this one. In just the first couple dozen pages, there are numerous items that are out of date. It's kind of sad that families will go searching for the old-fashioned phone in the General Store, will go to awaken Tinker Bell in the Fantasyland shop, will go to...
Published on July 25, 2009 by A thoughtful purchaser


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316 of 365 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Sorry to have to criticize, July 25, 2009
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This review is from: The Hidden Magic of Walt Disney World: Over 600 Secrets of the Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney's Hollywood Studios, and Animal Kingdom (Paperback)
I enjoy books about Disney and normally don't judge them harshly.

But people should be warned about this one. In just the first couple dozen pages, there are numerous items that are out of date. It's kind of sad that families will go searching for the old-fashioned phone in the General Store, will go to awaken Tinker Bell in the Fantasyland shop, will go to see Tink in the keyhole of the sewing table there, the wooden leg on the lost and found shelf at the Frontierland station -- when all of these features have been removed over a year ago. In addition to being outdated, the information is sometimes just wrong. For instance, it isn't true that "WDW imagineers could not dig a basement in Orlando as they did at Disneyland in California ..." There are no utilidors in Disneyland. (Walt was frustrated to see a cowboy walking through Tomorrowland on his way to work in Frontierland in Disneyland -- since there was no other way to cross the park. And the idea for the WDW ultidors was born!)

If I can spot things that are wrong, I wonder what a real Disney expert would find. The editing was skethcy, too. For instance, the red and green faces of Cinderella's evil stepsisters are "belying" their anger and jealousy. "Belying" means hiding or contracting. What the author meant was "revealing."

Unfortunately, this book is a regurgitation of all the "WDW Secrets" lists on the Internet. Some of the items on those list aren't legitimate. For instance, the three-circled cut-out shapes in the stone wall that curves along the walkways to the front of the castle - at no time of day do they cast a Mickey-shaped shadow on the ground. I read about this online a couple of years ago and went on many occasions to the castle to see the shadows. I kept coming back to check. I asked castmembers. It doesn't happen.
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66 of 79 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enjoy the parks even more!, June 9, 2009
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This review is from: The Hidden Magic of Walt Disney World: Over 600 Secrets of the Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney's Hollywood Studios, and Animal Kingdom (Paperback)
As a long time Disney fan, I've devoted a lot of time to my Disney obsession, both on vacation and at home (so much so, that I met my wife on a Walt Disney World fan site). I've read so many Walt Disney World guide books that they all look alike to me anymore. The Hidden Magic of Walt Disney World is not a Disney World guide book intended to teach you how to get around the parks and when the best time to ride Dumbo is. What this book does is point out a lot of the overlooked and hidden details about the park. Many of the details that the average guest may look right at, failing to understand what they're looking at or why it's there, and failing to appreciate the meaning of it as a result. This book points out the painstaking detail the imagineers design into the park in an attempt to maintain an authentic atmosphere, or to ensure you truly *feel* the emotions they want you to feel at that moment, thus, allowing you to truly experience the magic. This book is for those who have reached the point where they wander through the parks, no longer paying close attention to their surroundings as a result of a mistaken belief that they've seen all there is to see in the parks. It will elevate their appreciation to another level and is a must have addition to any Walt Disney World fan's bookshelf!
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Poorly formatted, edited, and written., May 5, 2012
This review is from: The Hidden Magic of Walt Disney World: Over 600 Secrets of the Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney's Hollywood Studios, and Animal Kingdom (Paperback)
Whether from shoddy research or a misguided attempt to preserve that Disney magic, a few too many of these so-called secrets amount to nothing more than vague instructions to listen or pay attention, often phrased with coy, cutesy questions like "get it?" "give up?" or "how many can you find?". Perhaps the appendix of answers in the back of the book could keep things spoiler-free; too bad only nine seemingly arbitrary clues (out of "over 600") were treated thus. The trivia and behind-the-scenes info might have been a saving grace, but are presented as random paragraphs and snippets buried randomly in the middle of chapters, sometimes interrupting pages that have little to do with the trivia provided. However, formatting errors and the increasingly grating chirpy writing style are the least of this book's problems.

The sorry state of this book can be summed up and nicely bookended by just two examples: the first, not thirty pages in, when the reader is provided with a secret from Haunted Mansion in a most unhelpful way. An example is given of how an illusion works, but the reveal is not stated outright, nor in the hint appendix - instead, the mid-page snippet concludes: "Can't stand not knowing? Do an Internet search on Pepper's Ghost when you get back home." If you're going to be shooed off to the Internet for additional research, you may as well substitute it for the rest of the book; it'd certainly be more helpful! More accurate, too, as proven on page 165, which refers to "Windsor Mackay, a vaudevillian actor". Not would only would the barest minimum of research attest to Winsor McCay having been a well-known cartoonist and animator, the author actually manages to misspell his name in every way possible.

Useless fluff at best, and inaccurate at worst.
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17 of 21 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Outdated, Inaccurate, and a Clear Disapointment, May 24, 2012
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Even the most basic facts of the park's history are incorrect in this book.

Reading the foreword and introduction, I went into this with high hopes, and happily shelled out the $7.00 for the book. It was a mistake. Despite the author's insistence, this was not written by a fan, and certainly not by an expert. The "big park secrets" revealed in this book's chapters are inevitably either obvious, outdated, or provably false. For the sake of brevity, I will only bring up two in this review.

In the section of the text detailing the "secrets" of 'It's a Small World' (Secrets including the fact that mixing primary colors will give you white light!), the author forgets for a few pages that she is writing about Disney World, not Disneyland. She goes on to describe the history of the wrong theme park for several paragraphs before moving on to fascinating Disney trivia like the amount of stars on a one-dollar bill.

A few short chapters later, the author stumbles through a nonsensical description of the Haunted Mansion. While she was ripping off the internet's oldest Disney blogs, she somehow missed the depth of research available on this attraction's history. She mislabels characters and attraction features, dismisses the opinions of actual Disney imagineers in favor of her own, and mocks one of the most cherished features of the ride's history; the bride's ring.

All of this would be forgivable if the book was actually entertaining. Unfortunately, it is anything but. The book is plodding, juvenile, and written like an elementary school text book. The flow of the text is frequently interrupted with sidebar factoids that have literally no possible relation to Disney World. My above examples, the dollar bill and the primary colors? Those are actual examples from the Fantasyland chapter.

It would have taken a Disney expert less than a day to fact-check this mess. It is clear that this author intends to make a quick buck off of families and Disney fans that don't know any better. Anyone relying on this guide in the park will soon realize that they have made a huge mistake.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Dubious "secrets", April 12, 2012
This review is from: The Hidden Magic of Walt Disney World: Over 600 Secrets of the Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney's Hollywood Studios, and Animal Kingdom (Paperback)
Many of the "secrets" are subjective and based on opinions, rather than fact. Here's a prime example:

"Turtle Talk with Crush, the delightful preschool-oriented attraction that fascinates even the most jaded visitors [wait, is it Pre-K or for everyone?], is currently the only area with a secret [NO other secrets in The Seas with Nemo and Friends?], and I'm not going to give this one away [Hopefully she'll just hint at it ...]

"If you are over the age of six, part of the show's fun is trying to figure out how Crush is so accurate with his wonderful banter [what if you're young at heart and appreciate Disney magic?]. Without giving away the secret [as already stated], it can be said that the technology is fairly complex, but the concept is simple [insight abounds]. You can easily figure it out if you think about it."

If I could figure it out by just thinking about it, why would I need to purchase a book?
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Revealing information but A LOT of it, January 28, 2010
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This review is from: The Hidden Magic of Walt Disney World: Over 600 Secrets of the Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney's Hollywood Studios, and Animal Kingdom (Paperback)
I really enjoyed this book. I have been going to Disney World ever since I was a newborn. This is the first time I purchased a book about Disney World because I wanted to know a little bit more about the place i love. The book has a lot of really interesting facts, but there are so many little facts that the book gets a little complicated to read. The book, at some points is described as if you are walking through each of the parks, and unless you vividly remember each section, you're not going to know what the author is talking about. I suggest reading the book with the virtual map of Disney World that you can find online or through google earth, it makes it less confusing because you "see" exactly what the author is talking about. Overall this book got 4 stars from me because it presented some interesting facts but didn't need to include the initials of every imagineer that ever created anything....
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25 of 34 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable read, May 30, 2009
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This review is from: The Hidden Magic of Walt Disney World: Over 600 Secrets of the Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney's Hollywood Studios, and Animal Kingdom (Paperback)
I'm always happy to learn more trivia about my favorite place on Earth, so I picked this book up as soon as I found out about it. I think I wanted to be blown away by all sorts of hidden secrets, but probably half of the items in here I already knew about or had noticed before. That said, there were still several new things that I'll be looking for on our upcoming trip.

The style of the book is basically a walkthrough of the four parks with the aim to draw your attention to all the wonderful details at WDW. There are interesting tidbits throughout about why things are designed the way they are and how the Imagineering mindset works. My favorite part was a breakdown of the history of each park, walking through nearly year by year and detailing when attractions/parades opened and closed. I love that kind of stuff.

Overall, a nice book and a worthy read for the WDW fan.
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16 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book even for the WDW Professionals :), August 24, 2009
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This review is from: The Hidden Magic of Walt Disney World: Over 600 Secrets of the Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney's Hollywood Studios, and Animal Kingdom (Paperback)
Hi, my wife and I have been going to WDW every year since 92', and have read a lot of books about the parks, and I think this is one of the best, a lot of Disney Imagineer secrets that were laid out when they were creating the parks, rides & attractions, and that are right in front of you, but you have to know what to look for, and this book has a lot of info in that regard. Well put together, and easy to read, I learned a lot and look forward to looking for a lot of these hidden secrets on this year's trip.
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Hidden Magic of Walt Disney World, August 22, 2009
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This review is from: The Hidden Magic of Walt Disney World: Over 600 Secrets of the Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney's Hollywood Studios, and Animal Kingdom (Paperback)
This is a fantastic and fun to read book.
It is full of little odds and ends and interesting tid-bits about all of the Disney World parks such as the accuracy and historically correct design of the different areas of the Magic Kingdom.
I liked it so much, I ordered a second one for a family member.
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Disney Magic, August 5, 2009
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Dawn B. (Massachusetts) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Hidden Magic of Walt Disney World: Over 600 Secrets of the Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney's Hollywood Studios, and Animal Kingdom (Paperback)
What a great book. I like how it was broken down by park and ride or attraction. Lots of great information and very fun to read. I loved reading about the stories behind the rides and attractions. If you are a fan of Walt Disney World I highly recommend this book.
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