George looks at a 2008 release from Jeff Kurtti and Bruce Gordon about the Walt Disney World resort. Stylized after the Disneyland Then, Now, and Forever title, this book takes an endearing look at Walt Disney World through the years. Is it worth adding to your collection?
Walt Disney World Then, Now, and Forever was a theme park exclusive with its release in 2008. Like a few other Kurtti/Gordon titles, getting your hands on a copy might be a little more expensive than other Disney-related books. You’ll have to pick it up on the secondhand market, which will increase the price.
This book is included on my list of Walt Disney World history books.
Bruce Gordon and Jeff Kurtti should be very familiar authors to Disney enthusiasts and MiceChat readers. Before Bruce passed away, he was an Imagineer and had created a solid body of work that will be treasured for years to come. Jeff is a Disney historian, author, consultant and award-winning producer. Bruce and Jeff worked together on the book until Bruce’s passing. Jeff finished the title for the July, 2008 release.
The format for this book is based on the impressive Disneyland Then, Now and Forever title that was released in 2005. Throwing out the traditional souvenir guidebook format, the authors chose another path. This book reflects the feeling of a family scrapbook–not just of your most recent vacation, but a lifetime of vacations to Walt Disney World. They share the photos and text based on larger themes, like imagination, traditions, surprises, adventure, wonder, movies, thrills, music, innovations and dreams & memories, as opposed to a litany of attractions by theme park. Looking at the resort in this light allows the authors to connect attractions in different ways, instead of geographically.
This book shines as a souvenir guide that highlights the aspects of past vacations. The layout is very appealing and contemporary. It sets itself above most other Disney-related guides through the design and presentation. The book conveys a lot of energy and excitement; the writing is crisp and informative. It’s a very general overview of Walt Disney World and a lot is covered in minor detail. There are plenty of photographs from throughout the resort’s history–a few which were new to me.
The only weakness of the book is that 184 pages is simply not enough space to dedicate to the history and current state of Walt Disney World. You get the feeling that a majority of attractions and resorts get glossed over. This had to have been from a page layout and money standpoint. I imagine that a Walt Disney World version of the Disneyland book would need to be close to 500 pages or sold as four to five volumes. I can imagine that Bruce and Jeff had some difficult choices to make about what to include. Overall, I agree with everything presented; I just wish there had been more. (Jeff recounts a similar tale about the amazing Art of Walt Disney World with Keith Gluck on the Coffee with Kurtti podcast. Check it out!)
Naturally, I wanted to compare this guide with Disneyland Then, Now, and Forever. Although the books have similar approaches, themes and DNA, they are covering resorts with differing audiences and histories. Both do an excellent job of catering to their intended audience. The Disneyland version offers more for the hardcore Disney enthusiast and the Walt Disney World version is geared more for the lay Disney fan or the we-go-once-every-five-years group.
As presented, Walt Disney World Then, Now, and Forever is a fresh breath in the line of souvenir guides. It is rather light-weight on the hidden details and minutiae, but serves the purpose of being a vacation scrapbook very well. I would recommend this book to the completists or if you are looking for a very general look at Walt Disney World. It is a light read that is easy to digest. The pictures are beautiful and you will enjoy this title many years from now.
By George Taylor
The Disney Review is written and edited by Jeff Heimbuch and George Taylor
Other places you can find George and Jeff:
- The 626 (Jeff)
- ImagiNERDing (George)
- From the Mouth of the Mouse (Jeff)
- Communicore Weekly The Greatest Online Show ™ (Jeff and George)
You can also see us EVERY week on Communicore Weekly on the MiceChat Youtube Channel.