Monday, 30 June 2008

I wish that the wish I wished would come true!

Because the weather is so nice and my hayfever so bad, I’ve had to stay inside a lot more than I would like to. It is terribly frustrating to look out the window into a sunny, warm day that I can’t enjoy but at least it’s given me a chance to catch up on my reading.

I just finished a great book called Walt Disney and the Quest for Community and I really enjoyed it. It is a quasi-academic look at the various influences that Walt Disney had when he came up with his concept for EPCOT (the city, not the park). Because Walt died before the ideas were fully developed, the book also speculates the direction those plans were headed and the possible issues that would arise. It really was a fascinating book – and as a special bonus, it even mentions my town of Milton Keynes. Not many other Disney books specifically mention the place where I live!

As soon as I finished that I picked up another fascinating Disney read, this one’s called Realityland and it’s a behind the scenes look at how Walt Disney World was planned and built. It proved to be a great follow-on read as it gives the story of how things actually went in building WDW and of course Epcot (the park this time, not the town!). Realityland has lots of stories and facts that I had never heard of, even though I have actually read a lot of similar books. I haven’t finished it yet and I am really enjoying the read.

Whenever I read books that tell me all about the story of planning and construction of a place I know as well as WDW I love the fact that I am learning even more about this potentially useless subject… call me weird but I just like to know how it came about, how it works and even where it’s all going. I like knowing useless things like how Bay Lake was drained, cleaned up and re-filled. I like knowing how the Contemporary hotel got its name and how the Venetian hotel never really happened.

But mainly it makes me wish I could travel back in time and see all these amazing things as they happened. I love looking through old park photos (and even have a good collection of old souvenir books from the 70s and 80s) and seeing how they have evolved or stayed the same. I just really, really wish I had been there and had a chance to be a part of opening day cast, of the team that organized the marketing before the parks even opened or even just be a visitor on the first day.

Perhaps this is why I like these sorts of books so much – they are the next best thing to a time machine. They give me an idea of what it would have been like to have been there when State Road 535 was a dangerous small road and not the wide road that I rode every day to work in Epcot. Or what it must have been like to have this enormous construction project where thousands of people all worked at once. I feel like I missed out on something because I was born too late.

Why Disney I hear you ask? I don’t know actually, I’ve liked the company as far back as I can remember and was a huge factor in applying for work there. But to be honest I’ve read other equally fascinating business books from other big companies and there are also stories there that I love. Somehow though there seem to be an awful lot of books about Disney and I actually worked there so the fascination seems natural to me. Weird to others, I know, but bear with me – a girl’s got to be into something!

So until time travel is invented and then available to normal people, books will have to do. I will fill my head with all this useless knowledge and then bore my family until they beg for mercy!

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