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250 Things You Never Knew About Walt Disney World

Almost every time a new ride opens up at Walt Disney World, it takes up residence in the spot of a former attraction. That's just the way it works most of the time now, because real estate has gotten precious. There are exceptions to the rule, of course (Expedition Everest leaps to mind), but by and large, any new ride sits in the spot once occupied by something else. The Pooh Playground resides where 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea used to be. Mission:Space took over from Horizons. And the American Idol Experience displaced Superstar TV (sort of… there were a few years in between).

Each of those alterations left traces in the form of intentional tributes. If you look around inside the Pooh Playground treehouse, you can find a one-inch Nautilus carved in the wood. The Horizons logo can be seen in the Mission:Space gift shop and again in the center of the giant gravity wheel of the queue. And the American Idol Experience is housed in the newly-renamed Superstar Television Theater.

Those are just a few of the many dozens of examples. Such tributes form the basis for my book "101 Things You Never Knew About Walt Disney World," which has been around for a couple years now. I've long kept it up to date in the small ways that count. Whenever a tribute disappeared, I removed it from the book or updated the entry, and since I only printed a few hundred copies at a time, the book being sold was kept pretty current all the time.

Can you place these tributes?

Over the years, the reception has been sometimes great, but also sometimes lukewarm. Those who had criticisms mostly complained about the formatting; giant font was used to list the actual 101 items, and smaller font for the explanation. The net effect was never meant to be sparse (the idea was to draw attention to the big point), but sparseness is the way it felt to some readers. Also, there were no pictures included originally.

I am a critic myself, and can hardly be dismissive of others' criticism now can I? So I took the criticism to heart. Indeed, I depend on criticism. How will I know otherwise when I've gone too far, or not gone far enough? In this case, I set out to remedy the major problems perceived with "101 Things." Gone are the big fonts and indeed the listing of numbers (the individual "things" referenced by the title). Instead, I elevated all the facts in this book to their own paragraphs. I trimmed out mere trivia and scoured the parks (and my resources) for many more tributes and hidden history, and almost doubled the amount of text in the book. The net result is more than 250 actual "things" with their own paragraphs.

Can you place these tributes?

I added photos of many of the "things" left as remnants in the parks. It's not meant to be comprehensive (there aren't 250 photos in here), but almost every page has an image now. The idea is that the book will be more useful as a kind of guided tour of the parks and their history.

Also added were a few sections toward the back of the book that work like appendices: former tributes that finally got taken away, untrue urban legends, and even a section on hidden history for Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure (the same kind of tributes and remnants; stuff that is appearing in print for the first time). Finally, there's now a table of contents that lists out each of the paragraphs, for easy reference.

The resulting second edition adds almost fifty pages to the total (now clocking in at 157 pages), uses smaller font and thus overall has way more information, and adds photos. It's better on every level. There's a revised cover image, of course. That happens with all books when they get new editions!

All this, and the book keeps the original $14.95 list price. Amazon doesn't have it yet – the "street date" will be sometime later this spring, and if they discount the same amount as they do for the current edition, the cost will be $11.

I'm willing to beat that discount for US readers of MiceAge, and I'll even go so far as to throw in the shipping at my own expense. For a flat $10, you'll get the book shipped to you by media mail. This special US-only deal is only available via the online button below, I'll stop direct sales once the book is up at Amazon:

Do note that the above deal is only for residents of the United States. Those requesting shipping out of the US should NOT use the buy-now button and e-mail me instead for specific instructions.

Sorry for the extended sales pitch today. To make up for it, let me trot out an article I've been holding in reserve for some time. It's a bit, uh, controversial.


© 2009 Kevin Yee

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