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Project Future: The Inside Story Behind the Creation of Disney World Paperback – February 25, 2010


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Project Future: The Inside Story Behind the Creation of Disney World + The Hidden Magic of Walt Disney World: Over 600 Secrets of the Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney's Hollywood Studios, and Animal Kingdom
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 204 pages
  • Publisher: Ayefour Publishing (February 25, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0615347770
  • ISBN-13: 978-0615347776
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.5 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (52 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #214,050 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Very factual, timeline is well drawn out.
Robin S
This books gives you a great background on what it took to put together the land mass that would become the Walt Disney World Resort.
Jerry Pittman
That's not to say however that this book is poorly written.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

35 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Dave on March 19, 2010
Format: Paperback
I kept thinking over and over again; this could never happen today. Walt Disney World in Orlando is a testament to the creative genius, tenacity, and fantastic reputation that Walt Disney and his hand-picked team possessed at the time that this book takes place. For those looking for a big, glossy, picture-laden coffee table book, this is not the read for you. There are no pictures or diagrams in this book, but truly, it does not need them. Instead, you have a very easy read (took me four bus commuter trips to read this; I couldn't put it down) that documents the why and how of Walt Disney World Resort.

It is fairly common knowledge that Walt Disney was not happy with the less-than-desireable businesses that sprung up around Disneyland in Anaheim back in 1955. These tacky motels and cheap restaurants were not up to the quality of Disney's park, yet they reaped the benefits of proximity. Vowing not to let this happen again, Walt made sure that his next venture would have plenty of land not only for what he wanted to build, but also enough to create a buffer between his dream world and the land speculators who wanted to ride on his coat-tails. Reading almost like a mystery story, you'll learn about the other locations Walt first looked at for his next park (St. Louis, Niagara Falls, New York, and more) and most interestingly of all, the many layers of secrecy that were created to keep the Disney name out of the papers during the negotiations to purchase the property in Florida. The amount of time, research, and effort that went into creating the Orlando Resort is most likely never thought of, but here it is expertly outlined in under 200 pages.
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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful By John Ott on May 27, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Bottom line: I enjoyed this book. That being said, you need to know that the author has chosen to focus on the legal, political, and real estate aspects of the founding of Walt Disney World. While those aspects are fascinating, he gives very little (almost no) attention to WDW's creative, design, engineering, or construction aspects. A few chapters on those additional aspects would have earned a four-star rating. Also, I deducted a star from the rating for the amount of typos. The book would have benefited from one more copy edit. All in all, this is an unique perspective on an unique place.
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20 of 24 people found the following review helpful By D. N. Stone on March 17, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Even after four decades, one of the most incredible things about Walt Disney World is its sheer size: 43 square miles. Take a look from the top of the Contemporary Resort or Bay Lake Tower some night at all the miles of darkness around you; or take a ride in the Characters in Flight Balloon at Downtown Disney to get a sense of what all that land looks like. Chad Denver Emerson's book explains down to the individual parcels and tracts how Disney managed to acquire this spread in the mid-1960s under the code name Project Future. But even more impressive is the story of the Reedy Creek Improvement District and the novel legislative and legal pixie dust that created it. What's refreshing about Emerson's book is that he doesn't see control as a bad thing, at least when it is Disney who is exercising it. As America's cities were crumbling Walt was attempting to create something beautiful and new in Florida. Emerson concludes that "the Reedy Creek Improvement District, and Project Future in general, demonstrated that unique allocations of public and private governance can, in appropriate instances, promote visionary efforts."

This book provides plenty of new material even for those who have read Married to the Mouse and Realityland. There's the story of how the mineral rights became separated from the surface rights and how Disney gained control of both. There's the story of how the Florida Supreme Court eventually pronounced that the private/public structure of Walt Disney World was neat and pretty under the Florida Constitution. I learned details about the runner-up project in St. Louis that I had never heard before.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Phillip on December 16, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The information presented is very interesting, but be warned - the book focuses almost exclusively on the legal proceedings of purchasing and then governing the Walt Disney World area. You either have to be really interested in legal history or the Disney corporation to enjoy this book. I would say the book lacks a few key items that could have made it vastly better:

- MAPS! There are so many references to parcels of land that it would have been incredibly helpful to have map references somewhere in the book, rather than trying to describe locations.

- A good editor/better writer. The writing style comes across as very elementary - almost as if a high schooler was writing a book report.

- The cover was printed crooked in my copy. Maybe this is a really cheap publisher or something, but you'd think things like that would be avoided.

There's some fascinating research that was done and I have to give the author credit for that, but I feel the book could be improved and will have limited appeal for most people. It's a quick read though - the font is huge and it's only about 150 pages of content.
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