From Publishers Weekly
In the fourth of his books about the Disney empire, Koenig (Mouse Tales: A Behind-The-Ears Look at Disneyland) takes an even-handed approach to chronicling the ups and downs of an American institution. Based on nearly a decade of research and 100 interviews with past and present employees ("cast members" in Disney-speak), Koenig explores the genesis of Walt Disney's east coast outpost. It began as Disney's dream for the Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow, or EPCOT: a multilevel, glass encased, climate-controlled city. Part of that dream died with Walt in 1966-less than a year before construction began on Disney World-and it would be two decades before his severely altered plans would become reality. In erudite and fluid prose, Koenig takes readers on Walt's clandestine land acquisition exploits in central Florida, through the chaotic construction and frantic early years of the Magic Kingdom and into Disney's disastrous entry into the hotel business. He also recounts the company's struggle to develop a scaled-down EPCOT Center and overcome tumultuous leadership changes. When the author does editorialize, it's subtle, and the book chips away at the Disney fantasy just enough to reveal that nothing-not even "the happiest place on earth"-is perfect.
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