Review: Walt Disney World Hidden History by Kevin Yee

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Disney is into the details, and Kevin Yee has covered the coolest of all those details. It’s the second edition of Walt Disney World: Hidden History by Kevin Yee, and it’s a valuable addition to any Disney fan’s library.

As someone who has spent scores of years studying all things Disney, I was shocked at how many times Kevin uncovered details I hadn’t seen before. I wanted to grab the book and head out to the park. But if you don’t live nearby, don’t despair, because this illustrated book offers a photo look at all of those details. It’s the only way to write about all of these insights.

Kevin not only walks through all four parks, but covers some general details around the property as well. Names, numbers, and symbols are all unscrambled, with Kevin providing the links that take you into the heritage and meaning of those details. It might be a sign, a prop, a doorway, or a sidewalk–but there’s intentional meaning in all of this, and Kevin helps to make the connections.

Here are some examples of the details in this book:

  • Why Blaine Gibson modeled the farmer’s statue in The American Adventure on his father.
  • The backstory of Dinoland U.S.A., and notes a photo of Chester and Hester themselves.
  • The story behind Hanns Scharff, who created the mosaics for the Cinderella Castle corridor.
  • In the Star Tours queue, bags are scanned. Kevin offers a full page list of the more infamous items, from a Madame Leota Crystal ball to my favorite–V.I.N.C.E.N.T. from The Black Hole.

 

Here Aladdin's lamp is being scanned. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.
Here Aladdin’s lamp is being scanned. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

If that wasn’t enough, Kevin has added some other great additions in the back of the book. First, there’s a comprehensive listing of when all the attractions premiered. Next comes comes a complete list of windows on Main Street. Finally, there’s some notes about great details that can be found at Universal Studios. It’s all helpful stuff.

Given his earlier career, I’m hoping that Kevin could possibly consider doing a companion volume that treats Disneyland with the same lens. Walt Disney World: Hidden History is worthwhile and enjoyable reading.

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