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


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Frequently Bought Together

Project Future: The Inside Story Behind the Creation of Disney World + Walt Disney World Hidden History: Remnants of Former Attractions and Other Tributes + 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 (49 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #100,428 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

If you are interested in the origins of Walt Disney World you have to read this excellent book.
Didier Ghez
Unfortunately, some of these very stories are presented in a much drier and less interesting fashion (with less detail) in the book.
Kevin Crossman
There's the story of how the mineral rights became separated from the surface rights and how Disney gained control of both.
D. N. Stone

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 20 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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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By W. Allen on July 4, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
With his background as a lawyer, the author naturally concentrates on many of the complex legal issues that enabled the Disney Corporation to acquire both the land it needed and the quasi-governmental powers it desired to build Walt Disney World.

Although many of the elaborate steps Disney planners took to hide their activities have been described elsewhere, this account relates the names of the participants to a reasonably concise timeline of events. This book is most interesting when the author describes the intricate planning and attention to detail that the Disney Company and their associates employed to accomplish their goals. However, this book also has a number of errors and omissions that weaken its presentation.

First, there are two notable and inexcusable errors. As anyone familiar with Disney history knows, Disneyland opened on July 17th, not July 7th and Walt's name is "Walter Elias", not "Elias Walter". How such fundamental errors could have made it into print is beyond understanding and caused this reader to wonder what other errors exist with less well-known names and dates.

One also wonders why certain details were omitted. For example, although Billy Dial is frequently mentioned as an Orlando-area banker who assisted in acquiring property and who was ultimately chosen by Roy Disney to handle WDW's banking needs, why was the name of his bank never mentioned? Much time was spent on the fact that Tufts University owned the mineral rights to a large portion of the land Disney wanted to purchase, but we were never told why a university in the Boston area owned such a large tract of land in Florida.
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