Realityland: True Life Adventures at Walt Disney World
By David Koenig
334 pages • 30 Illustrations
Paperback • ISBN: 978-0-964060531
Retail Price: $17.95
Hardcover • ISBN: 978-0964060524
Retail Price: $27.95
Ebook • ISBN: 978-1937878023
Retail Price: $9.99
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In Florida, Walt Disney wanted to create more than the perfect theme park. He wanted to create the perfect World.
Realityland: True Life Adventures at Walt Disney World by David Koenig follows Walt and his hand-picked successors as they surreptitiously acquire enough land to hold his "Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow." They then go about trying to make his impossible dream come true—all the while battling thieving contractors, unlike-minded executives, unscrupulous corporate raiders, uncontrollable economic forces, and public-relations nightmares.
Based on a decade of research and interviews with 100 Disney insiders, Realityland also reveals what it's like to work for The Mouse, what lies in the Magic Kingdom's subterranean tunnels, and how—despite extraordinary efforts to control every aspect of "the show" —everything doesn't always go according to script.
Hundreds of never-before-published trales and two dozen photographs add to the inside story of the world's most popular and unique Vacation Kingdom.
"The Most Anticipated Book of the Year… If you're like me, you long ago devoured David Koenig's mid-'90s tome Mouse Tales, chock full of backstage stories, cast member perspectives and guest accidents at Disneyland. After reading and re-reading it numerous times, you started to yearn for a book just like this, but covering Walt Disney World. Many long years latler, the wait is over. Realityland is a hardcover masterpiece. Clocking in at a helfty 334 pages and an attractive hardcover, the book first catches your eye with the cover, whose designs feature a stylized, almost 1950s era Googie look (and that enormous monorail that never ends!). Even though you might be expecting an East Coast version of Mouse Tales, you'll find something different. Realityland instead tells the story of the resort's history. You may have heard of many of the particulars before, but never quite with this perspective. Koenig did extensive interviews for this book, so you can expect quite a few 'inside' stories about the design, construction, and history of the parks. And there are stories, in true Koenig fashion, of history from the 'bottom up,' a.k.a. the minor anecdotes told by ancillary players on this stage. These bits are evey bit as juicy as Mouse Tales, and will satisfy wholly."
- Kevin Yee (MiceAge.com)
"Koenig, the author of two highly respected, behind-the-scenes books on Disneyland, now sheds light on the beginnings of Walt Disney World. Walt Disney was upset withhow the area around Disneyland gave rise to cheap motels and trinket shops, so he decided to build another park in Florida and purchased enough land to control every aspect of the environs. Koenig's description of the backdoor deals, phony companies, and lengths the Disney Company went to secure the thousands of acres needed to build the new park is fascinating. Disney's dream of EPCOT —the Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow, a multilevel, climate-controlled model city with a network of people movers—was never fully realized, but a park with that name opened in 1982. While the Mouse Tales books emphasized cast member stories at Disneyland, here Koenig takes time to immerse readers fully in the history of what is now the top tourist destination in the world. Interviewing almost 100 people and incorporating almost a decade of research, Koenig has written his best book to date. Perfect for Disney fans and history buffs; for all library collections."
- Jeff Ayers (Library Journal)
"Koenig is well known in Disneyana circlees for Mouse Tales, one of the first and best exposes of Disneyland's unglamous backstage. Now Koenig has focused on True-Life Adventures at Walt Disney World, producing required reading for anyone wanting to understand how the rat came to rule our region. Starting with the dying days of Walt himself and contiuing to the latest dollar-squeezing schemes, Koenig tells a decidedly unauthorized history of WDW, with ahealthy emphasis on the hucksterism, deception and outright fraud that helped build America's favorite family vacation spot. The best stories are from the early years, when Orlando Sentinel publisher Martin Anderson, Sen. Irlo Bronson, and other power brokers colluded to keep Disney's land purchases secret. The resort's initial construction—a project so massive it was overseen by a major general and an admiral—was fraught with fascinating turmoil, from fired contrators to flaming outhouses. The years since have seen deaths, scandals and lawsuits, and this book unearths nearly every one. From the watering-down of the original EPCOT's grand ambitions to the suspicious swiping of Universal's orignal plans for the rushed-to-market Disney-MGM Studios, Koenig drags every skeleton out of hte Mouse's closet and makes them dance. If you've only ever been exposed to Disney's squeaky-clean face, you may be in for a shock. Those already familiar wtih the Mouse's seedier side will have heard many of these tales before, but here they're all assembled in a tome both comprehensive and compulsively readable. After reading Realityland, you'll probably never experience Disney with child-like wonder again, but the inside info is well worth a little lost innocence."
- Seth Kubersky (Orlando Weekly)
"Koenig cuts through decades of carefully prepared PR stories, all the myths that currently surround Disney World's origins and brings you the real story. Koenig does a very thorough job with Realityland. He hits upon all of the classics (like the infamous meeting where Dick Nunis's staff all showed up in pajamas to protest their boss's tendency to schedule metings far too early in the morning)... You've got the griitty seldom-told-tales like the Monorail fire. Plus the fun little factoids like how the Imagineers tried to persuade Dick Van Dyke to reprise his performance as Bert from Mary Poppins for a new show that they were creating for EPCOT Center. Regrettably, Van Dyke resisted the Imagineers' invitation. But I don't see how any die-hard Disney fan could resist picking up a copy of David Koenig's newest book."
- Jim Hill (JimHillMedia.com)
"Without reservation I can say David's book is essential reading for both the experienced and casual Disney parks consumer. One can only hope his critical eye will focus some attention on the solutions necessary to once again make Walt Disney World a premium resort destination."
- Al Lutz (MiceAge.com)
® 2017 by Bonaventure Press