It has been a few years since Disney has published a new Walt Disney World souvenir guide book. But is this one worth separating your wallet of your hard earned cash?
Let the Memories Begin is a 176 page look at Walt Disney World from D23. Over the past few years D23 has put out some nice titles with some interesting ones coming down the pike. This new book surprised me, but not in a good way.
Anyone who has watched Communicore Weekly or read any of my Mice Chat columns, knows that I have a thing for Disney books, in particular Disney souvenir books. They’re a great way to relive a past vacation, do some research or just lose yourself in some great images. Somewhere in the late 1990’s, the guides became very polished and focused more on creating an image of what a Walt Disney World vacation should be. Prior to the release of the 20th Anniversary Souvenir Guide book in 1991, most of the large, hard-bound souvenir books were treats and a must have for fans and researchers. Sometime in the mid-1990s, there was a drastic change in the representation of Walt Disney World and presentation of the books; they became more slick and glossy.
Here’s the rub: the book is plain, generic and missing any spirit. It follows a standard format, with a majority of the book focusing on the theme parks. There aren’t any really good shots or anything that stands out except a shot of the building that houses Donald’s Breakfast Safari in the Animal Kingdom. It is a stunning photograph and from a not-often-seen angle. They published a photo of World Showcase in Epcot and there is no covered stage on the American Gardens Theater, so it is an obviously older pic. That is one of my gripes. With the abundance of amazing photographers posting their photos on the Internet, why would Disney print stock PR photos in the book. One of the stock photos was of Soarin. It is obviously a faked photo for PR, but it is more of a joke than anything else.
The one difference that the book offers is various quotes from Disney employees and fans that are sprinkled throughout the book. They are really supposed to make you reminisce about your first trip, favorite ride, etc., but they come off as fake and obtuse. There were three standouts from Dave Smith, Alex Wright and Jason Surrell. The others were all from Disney Publishing employees or fans that seemed to share the same last names as the two authors. This would have been a wonderful opportunity for Disney to offer a contest or share guest anecdotes.
When you get to the end of the book, the resorts and rest of the world are crammed into a mere 40 pages. The resort, as a whole is not done justice. I really wanted to find something positive about the book and the only thing that really got me excited was the endpapers. These are the papers that are featured on the inside front and back covers. They show a lot of historical ephemera from the parks and are drool-inducing. Sadly, the rest of the book is rather ho-hum. So buy it if you are a completist or if you see it in the parks and still want to buy it after flipping through it.
This is the first souvenir guide that has been published in quite a few years. Sadly, it is very similar to the guides for the early 2000s. You would assume that Disney would step up their game on two fronts: better photographs and a broader look at the resort and some of the changes. I know this isn’t a history book, but it still glosses over too much of the parks—even the current offerings!
I do recommend that you grab a copy of the 10-, 15- and 20-year souvenir guides. They are fantastic.
- Walt Disney World: The First Decade
- Walt Disney World 15th Anniversary
- Walt Disney World: 20 Magical Years
Do any of you have this book? What are your thoughts? And which of the souvenir guides do you recommend?
By George Taylor
The Disney Review is written and edited by Jeff Heimbuch and George Taylor.
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TICKETS ARE GOING FAST!
COMMUNICORE WEEKLY 38TH WEEKAVERSARY
EPCOT 30 YEAR ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION!
Come celebrate EPCOT’s 30th Anniversary in style with a live taping of MiceChat’s Communicore Weekly! Join co-hosts Jeff Heimbuch & George Taylor, along with MiceChat’s Dusty Sage, Kevin Yee, and the Communicore Weekly Orchestra, for a fun-filled night of fandom and frivolity as they tape a special hour long episode of the hit show, Communicore Weekly.
Join us on the evening of Saturday, September 29th 2912 in the Norway Pavilion Special Events Lounge in EPCOT’s World Showcase for this one of a kind event!
Your ticket includes:
- Admission into the live taping of CW in the Norway Pavilion of EPCOT (note: admission into the park is NOT included)!
- Meet special guest, Ron Schneider, the original Dreamfinder!
- Decadent dessert reception!
- Short scavenger hunt hosted by Kevin Yee before the show will be available to those who would like to participate (prizes will be awarded)!
- Prizes, giveaways and more!
- The chance to be a part of EPCOT and Communicore Weekly history!
- Endless Five Legged Goats and perhaps even a real life Bathroom Break!
- Exclusive late night ride after park closing on a selected EPCOT attraction to cap off the evening!