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The Hidden Magic of Walt Disney World: Over 600 Secrets of the Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney's Hollywood Studios, and Animal Kingdom Paperback – 18 Jun 2009
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About the Author
Susan Veness (orlando, FL) is a travel writer, researcher, and itinerary planner specialising in Florida, Disney, and the theme parks. A former online travel agent, she became principal research assistant for the UK's bestselling Brit's Guide travel series in 2002. She also writes for a wide variety of newspapers, magazines, and other media.
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Firstly, the positives. Well done on the Author for getting a book released that solely focuses on the second-to-none, finer details of the four Walt Disney World Theme Parks. It's also refreshing to see a release focus on the other three parks other than just the Magic Kingodm (something that can also be said about the Anaheim Resort). Susan Veness definitely has her heart in the right place & has fine taste when it comes to spare-time, the trouble here is however that there are thousands of other Disney & Theme park fans who'd love to get a similar book published but are very aware that deep-down they are neither talented enough as a writer to work on such a project or have much to tell that hasn't been written a hundred times before. Unfortunately the Author here has pushed on & released a book anyway.
The style of writing is informal to say the least & less than halfway through the book, I began to detest the way in which Veness has decided to convey her message. It's actually difficult to put your finger on quite why it's so bad .. too cutesy, too childish, too familar ? I'm not certain but in short, it's horrible.
The main negative of the book however is the lack of information. I don't necessarily mean that there's little here that a new visitor wouldn't find of interest but I'd guess a larger percentage of the people who may buy this book would be Disney or Theme Park fans and as one of them, there was very little here that I wasnt already aware of. The vast majority of facts that I had not previously heard were so mundane or far from being a "secret" at all that in all honesty I couldn't care less about. I visited all four parks within a week of reading this book & struggled to remember very few of Veness 600 secrets.
Whilst it's easy to see that the Author is a huge fan of WDW, it's also crystal clear that Veness struggled to fill almost 250 pages. There's so much padding & repetitiveness it drove me crazy. At the beginning of each section there's a park map (actually very well laid out & professional) but each attraction is annotated with the exact same facts that you'll very soon be reading - in some cases the only fact. Additional to this, the weighting of text assigned to particular attractions is odd to say the least. Take Fantasmic, perhaps the finest Theme Park night-time show to ever be put together which requires a huge amount of technical effort to stage, whether it be dozens of live performers, a vast array of state-of-the art special effects, a spectacular set on a lake, etc. Veness dedicates a half-page to it. A restaurant in Animal Kingdom however gets 3 pages of apparent secrets. Read into this what you will but it became quite obvious early-on that the Author has simply spent a lot of time visting the Parks & simply noting many things that a casual visitor can see for themselves & little actual "inside" knowledge.
I don't particularly like being negative about any Walt Disney World release whether it be official or unofficial but I also don't like wasting my time or money on a release that provides me with little or no further knowledge on a subject & with this in mind advise that fans or first-time visitors avoid this book. There's a whole host of brilliant other books available (try the Imagineering Field Guides)& if you're looking for free stuff there's dozens of professionally designed websites to learn more about Walt's Parks.
Great for those like me who don't just go for the rides
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