19 JanHidden Magic of Walt Disney World 1/52

It doesn’t take anybody who meets me very long to find out that I’m a HUGE Disney theme park fan. My addiction is to the extent that I worked one summer as a Walt Disney World Cast Member and I co-author and produce a Disney theme park fan blog and podcast with a friend of mine.

So it should come as no surprise that Disney theme park related books tend to fall into my reading repertoire from time to time. They aren’t always official Disney written books either (last year book #37 was Project Future by Chad Denver Emerson).

My first book of this year turned out to be a Disney Book.

The Hidden Magic of Walt Disney World by Susan Veness.

The book describes itself as a guide to hidden Walt Disney World treasures, no matter if you’re just going to the parks for your first time or if you’re a well-seasoned WDW fan like myself.

To be honest, I was more than a little disappointed by this book. Many of the hidden secrets in the book are things that you don’t really have to go out of your way to notice – nor are they meant to be secrets at all. For example, when you’re in the Upsidedown Open House scene in Journey to Imagination, the book tells you to look at the paint pots – they’re Figment Pigments. This isn’t really something that is “secretive” or hidden.

Another disappointment from this book was that many of the facts were out of date! On one of the pages the book mentions that there is a hidden suite in Cinderella Castle that is only being used for storage. The book was published in 2009, but even a quick internet search shows me that Disney officially announced that this space would be refurbished into an actual suite for guests as early as 2006!! It was then offered up as a prize in the Year of a Million Dreams contest in 2007 when I worked there.

I also spotted numerous factual errors that could be easily checked if the author had taken the time to do some internet searches. The book mentions that in the Vins de France shop in the France Pavilion there is a little rat character tucked away. The book incorrectly names this character as Ratatouille. The rat is actually named Remy, from the film Ratatouille.

The book also contains a lot of the author’s own commentary which was slightly bothersome to me. When the author speaks about Off Kilter, a Celtic rock band inspired from Canada’s own musical traditions, she insinuates that this is a stretch on Canadian culture and that it’s not appropriate for the pavilion. As a Canadian this was a huge slap in the face. Celtic roots play a huge part in Canadian heritage, making up a good portion of Canadian folk music – particularly on the East coast. It’s to the point that it influences much of our popular music. The most well known of which are Spirit of the West, the Rankin Family, or Great Big Sea. And while I can’t fault the author for not being an expert in Canadian culture, I think if I were writing a book I might do a bit more research before making remarks like that.

Another thing that let me down was the amount of space dedicated to the History of the theme parks. I bought this book expecting it to be dedicated to the hidden treasures of Disney World, not a brief rundown of the history. Had I known that as much space in the book would be dedicated to history as it is to secrets, I probably would not have gotten this book.

Now, I can’t say the book was a complete write-off. There are a couple things that I’ve added to my Disney to-do list to check out. Truth be told I could have found this information online for free by reading some Disney blogs, rather than spending $15 for this book.

The book might be suitable for first timers to the parks, who wouldn’t necessarily realise that if they slowed down for a few minutes and took the time to look around they would discover a whole realm of detail. However if somebody was truly looking for trivia and facts like this, they most likely would have taken the time to do the research and ultimately discovered the resources that are the online Disney fan community.

My final rating of this book is 1/5 stars, and the only reason it gets a one star is because I think it would be an okay read for a first timer to WDW. Any true Disney theme park fans shouldn’t even bother with this.

In other words, don’t waste your time!

One Response to “Hidden Magic of Walt Disney World 1/52”

  1. Misty says:

    I actually think you should write a book my dear Andrea, as you have been to Disney at least 18 times!

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