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Since the World Began: Walt Disney World - The First 25 Years Hardcover – October 1, 1996
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This book covers the planning, land purchasing, building and future plans for Walt Disney World in Central Florida. You learn how Walt learned his lesson in California and bought up thousands of acres so his newer park wouldn't be surrounded by a city. It is a city unto itself.
If you or someone you know has always wanted to know the background of WDW and how it all came into being and what might be planned for its future, this is the book for you. I bought it for a huge Walt fan and he devoured every word inside, learning a lot of new things I had assumed he already knew.
Despite the fact that it is an official, authorized production, Since the World Began only occasionally bears the hallmark santized, sterilized quality that often marks such works. Instead, what one finds within the pages of the book are genuine insights into the history, design, and philosophy of Walt Disney World and how these mesh with the larger concerns of the Walt Disney Company. Kurtti's observations on this latter question are among the book's most interesting features.
Since the World Began is illustrated throughout with beautiful color photographs and concept artworks. Full-page sidebars cover the water parks, the resorts, and specific themes in Disney World history, including the parks' environmental commitments (the reading here is surprisingly undated for a fifteen-year-old study).
Kurtti doesn't provide much insight into the individual players in the creation of WDW; his Imagineering Legends is a better source if one's interests are in the personalities and gifts of individual imagineers. This is, nonetheless, an essential overview of the early history of the world's most popular tourist destination.
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