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Book Review: Hidden History of Walt Disney World

Hidden History of Walt Disney World by Foxx Nolte The Hidden History of Walt Disney World by Foxx Nolte shares stories and examines the history of WDW from a more unique perspective than other Disney history books.  The book does not try to tell the entire history or even a chronological history of the parks and resorts.  Instead a good portion of the book looks at the history of the area and business before Disney and as Disney grew up.   Its focus is on a number of events, people, and places throughout the first decades of the resort.  It also takes a look at some partnerships and other relationships Disney has had with various companies, organizations and its neighbors over the years.

I was provided a review copy, and I really enjoyed reading it.  Each chapter is a new story and it reads as if you were sitting around talking with the author who is sharing stories and interesting tidbits of information they had learned.

I found the opening section to be the most interesting. In it, the author traces the roots of some of the property as well as establishments around Walt Disney World back in time to show how they evolved in preparation for Disney and reacted to Disney.  For example an examination of some of the key land owners of the area and traces Bay Lake and its island back to 1887.  Another chapter traces the history of the oldest house on Disney property.   Even some of the stories I had heard before seemed a little more detailed in this book.  Other stories share some of the partnerships over the years including U.S. Steel and the Florida Citrus Commission.

The book is a 6″x9″ paperback, coming in at about 200 pages, with a number of pictures and maps included throughout.  My biggest complaint with the book is the images, maps and documents are too small.  I am sure this was done to keep production costs reasonable and the book more affordable, but I would have really liked to have seen some of them in much more detail.

If you have read a number of Walt Disney World books and are looking to learn a few stories about the property and businesses in the area as well as early Walt Disney World you probably have not heard you may want to consider adding Hidden History of Walt Disney World for your library. I found it to be an enjoyable and interesting read.  If you are looking for a more traditional history of the parks or Disney this is not the book for you.  Foxx Nolte has previously published the Boundless Realm: Deep Explorations Inside Disney’s Haunted Mansion in 2020.


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** A review copy of this book was provided to us

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