Top critical review
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on 8 February 2012
Because the first Imagineering book was perfect in every way the only reason to buy this second volume was to see what new ideas have been generated by WDI in the last 4 years (very few). And to find out why Hong Kong Disneyland is still losing money - despite occasionally being so overcrowded that "guests" have resorted to rioting after waiting too long to see too few attractions.
Strangely the editors do not hide Hong Kong's faults. A twice reproduced gloomy photo of the castle icon shows it at the bottom of a hill with a dark gray battlement string course cutting the tiny castle in half. Causing one to wonder why WDI couldn't have designed a new Neuschwanstein-style castle that would have been ideal for this site? Like the one shown in a great conceptual sketch by Andy Sklar, whose fun ideas apparently failed to impress a feng shui master - who also nixed Disneyland's hub-and-spoke plan. Further research indicates this fifth edition of Disneyland omits the "Pirates of the Caribbean" (Disney's greatest ride) and "Toontown. One review saying "Boring for anyone over 5". Perhaps the main benefit of reaching this nadir is it might jog WDI's new management team to reevaluate what Walt Disney himself would have wished they were doing right now.
This time round I note far too many Disney hotels are included - none apparently designed and drawn in Glendale. Surely to line new Parks with hotels (for rich kids) is contrary to Walt Disney's clear-cut philosophy which was "I don't want the public to see the world they live in while in the park. I want them to feel they're in another world"? One can't help wondering what he'd now be thinking about Imagineering - the company he single-handedly created - aimlessly spinning its wheels instead of pushing the envelope - just as he always did?
On the last day of Walt Disney's life in 1966 his brother Roy promised him he would build his City of Tomorrow. As Roy (the moneyman) had no idea what it might look like he cannot be faulted for failing to get EPCOT off the ground. In any case, as Leonard Mosley writes in "Disney's World" a year after his first concept was presented it had now entered a metaphysical realm in which Walt "envisaged EPCOT as a COMMUNITY from which all the blights and blemishes of the 20th century had been banished". One where it might be discovered "how to avoid war and disease and indefinitely postpone death".
Great minds think alike. This proposition being identical to one put forward by Anton Chekov in "An Artist's Story" written in 1886. "If all of us together, working as a COMMUNITY, devoted ourselves to science and art and the pursuit of truth I'm convinced the truth would be discovered very quickly and mankind would at last escape from his continual agonizing dread of death - perhaps even from death itself".
Ahem, if you want a book with cute pictures this is it - with nearly 600 of them. And for those who like sequels replicating the ingredients of the original this book will more than meet their expectations. And for the young and old who firmly believe in Disney magic, they too will be extremely happy to leaf through its 190 colorful pages.