Sundays are for Book Reviews: The Hidden Magic of Walt Disney World

In honor of Father’s Day, this review is of a book my dear husband bought, insisting that I would love reading it with him. I highly doubted it but humored him anyway. To date, he’s skimmed it once, and I’ve read it FOUR times. You were right, Wes! (And that admission is your Father’s Day gift. Mwah!)

Are you caught up in the magic of Walt Disney World? Do you see hidden Mickeys everywhere? Have you ever wondered about the details behind seemingly EVERY part of the parks? Are you interested in Disney trivia? Do you enjoy boring your family and friends with countless tidbits of Mouse History and Folklore?

Me, too!

There is so much more to Walt Disney World than meets the eye. Since its opening day in October of 1971 (when tickets were a mere $3.50 for adults, $2.50 for teens, and $1 for children), such great attention has been given to the millions of details that together make the WDW experience truly magical. To the novice traveller, though, most of the “secrets” will go unnoticed and unappreciated. If you’re looking to add another dimension of fun to your trip, you MUST read The Hidden Magic of Walt Disney World.

Author Susan Veness is a seasoned visitor to “the World” and takes readers on a step by step tour through all four parks. Expounding on themes, pointing out details, and discussing little known history facts of the attractions, she gives you a broader view of the planning, imagination, and implementation of literally everything you see. Each chapter takes you attraction by attraction, then through the history of each park, with quotes from Imagineers, interesting facts, and hidden Mickey alerts sprinkled in throughout the text. It’s a great book to read before you go, after you return home, and (if you’re coordinated enough!) while you make your way through the park’s crowds. Delightful little experiences that you would otherwise walk right by in your quest to jump into line are brought to your attention through Veness’s flowing writing, and your trip is made so much richer when seen through the eyes of someone “in the know.”

Fun little extras for us included knowing that if we were the first to arrive in one of the shops at Fantasyland, our girls could “wake up Tinkerbell” and receive a whole head of hair’s worth of pixie dust. (Y’all, I am STILL finding glitter in their hair… so maybe this wasn’t such a great extra.) We all knew why it smelled like cookies on Main Street, what the story was behind the books in Andy’s room on Toy Story Mania, that some of the buildings along Expedition Everest’s line are made of yak dung, that you could find Beauty and the Beast’s rose in the France section of Epcot, and, most importantly, that one of those spear-hurling natives on the Jungle Cruise loves disco. People, Walt Disney World just isn’t the same without knowing these things! And I don’t even have time to go into the full-size bathtubs all over the place, y’all.

This Disney treasure is an easy, entertaining read, and once you come to the end of the final chapter, you’re ready to march on over to the computer and book yourself a Disney vacation. (This is why Wes gets nervous every time I pick it up to read it again.) Who knew Walt Disney World was so intricate, complex, and most of all, FUN? I totally recommend this book to anyone who has been or ever intends to visit “the World.” You’ll love it!

So, I need to know… what’s your favorite ride at Walt Disney World?(Or Disneyland, if you’re so inclined.)

4 thoughts on “Sundays are for Book Reviews: The Hidden Magic of Walt Disney World

  1. Sarah W says:

    I think I would like to check this book out! We don't have plans to return to Disney anytime soon but your review made me curious as to what those fun things are!! I love disney world….truly magical!

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  2. Pami says:

    Soarin' and the Aerosmith Rock n' Rollercoaster are my two favorites.

    Two least favorite rides (both at Disneyland): Mickey's Fun Wheel (which I prefer to call Mickey's Wheel of Terror) and the Indiana Jones ride. Never, ever riding those again.

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  3. Jennifer Faulk says:

    I love the Jungle Cruise. Probably because I remember riding it as a little kid and because the cheesy jokes are still funny to me, even after hearing them so many times. 🙂

    And I forgot to mention it, but if this kind of stuff is fun to you (the “secrets” and history of WDW), you should try to go on the Keys to the Kingdom tour at the Magic Kingdom. It's a half day tour where you learn all kinds of interesting facts, ride the rides with a guide pointing out things, and tour the utilidors underneath the park. Wes and I went in January and learned so much. Definitely worth the money and time!

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