I got a note from Diana D. a few weeks back. It turns out
that her husband has become a fan of those "Unofficial Guide's Disney
Dish" podcasts that Len Testa and I have been recording for iTunes. And since
her husband was now addicted to behind-the-scenes stories about The Walt Disney
World Resort, Diana wanted to know if there was a fun & informative book
that I could maybe recommend as a possible birthday gift for her husband.
Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc.All rights reserved
Well, there are a lot of great WDW-related histories out
there now. But the first -- Jeff Kurtti's "Since the World Began: Walt Disney World - The First 25 Years" (Disney Editions, October 1996) -- is still arguably the best. Which is why I
recommended to Diana D. that -- if her husband actually was just getting
started with learning about the true history of the WDW Resort -- this was the
book that she really needed to buy for her hubby.
Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved
Of course, given the huge number of Mouse House histories
that Kurtti has personally had a hand in (I've got at least 20 books that Jeff
has either written outright and/or helped out with sitting in my Disney reference
library right now) not to mention the integral role Jeff played in the
development & creation of The Walt Disney Family Museum as well as all of
those Extra Features that this guy has produced for best-selling Walt Disney
Studios Home Entertainment titles over the past 15 years, it's easy to
understand why Jeff Kurtti has become the go-to guy if you're looking for insightful,
informed historical writing about The Walt Disney Company. When it comes to the Mouse House, no one can
make the sorts of connections -- clearly pointing out how the Company's past regularly
impacts its present and future -- the way that Kurtti can.
Jeff Kurtti onstage with Brad Bird last month as he moderates "The Disney Treatment:Walt's Version of Classic Stories" panel at the Walt Disney Family Museum.Image courtesy of the Walt Disney Family Museum. All rights reserved
Which is why I was pleased to learn that Disney Insider --
the ultimate online destination for Disney fans -- recently recruited Jeff to
come start writing for that site. Kurtti's weekly series of columns, "The
Wonderful World of Walt" kicks off this Tuesday with a look at how there's
a pretty clever connection between Disney's latest Broadway smash and the work
that Walt used to do for the Kansas City Star.
Walt Disney (center right) at a 1912 gathering of newsboys. Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc.All rights reserved
Jeff Kurtti's "The Wonderful World of Walt" is a
weekly feature that you're really going to want to bookmark, folks. It's yet
another reason to drop by Disney Insider on a daily basis, so that you can then
stay on top of everything that the various divisions of The Walt Disney Company
currently have in the works.
Jeff Kurtti just before he breaks the news to Pixar's favorite robot that his new Disney Insider column is "The Wonderful World of Walt," NOT "The Wonderful World ofWALL-E." Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved
And speaking of the various divisions of The Walt Disney
Company, I'd now like to address the people who run Disney Press and suggest
that if Abrams can publish an updated version "The Art of Walt Disney: From Mickey Mouse to the Magic Kingdoms and Beyond" (i.e. that 504-page
behemoth-of-a-book which was originally published back in 1973), why can't you
guys hire Jeff Kurtti to update "Since the World Began" so that a
new, improved version of this WDW history could then be available for purchase
when the Resort celebrates its 45th anniversary in 2016? Or -- better yet --
for Disney World's 50th anniversary in October of 2021?
Copyright 2011 Abrams. All rights reserved
Jim, you got me to check out my Disney collection to see what books I'd like to see updated. Along with Since the World Began, my list includes:
- Disney A to Z by Dave Smith
- Encyclopedia of Walt Disney's Animated Characters by John Grant
- The Disney Studio Story by Richard Holliss & Brian Sibley
- Mickey Mouse Fifty Happy Years by David Bain & Bruce Harris (maybe this one can wait another 17 years)
- Of Mice & Men by Leonard Maltin
Anyone else have other titles to add?
Great suggestions Lou! Nothing to add for now, except that supplement for Disney A to Z can be found here:
Another good book on WDW is the Epcot book published by Abrams. It's stellar.
Totally agree about an update being needed to "Since The World Began", Jim - Jeff did a great job writing about the first 25 years of the World, and an updated edition would be great. Alas, considering I found my copy in a Disneyland outlet store in California in 1999, I'm not exactly hopeful that Disney will want to spend the money on an update.
As long as we're hoping for new or updated books, I vote for a new version of "Disneyland: Inside Story" by Randy Bright. It was probably one of the best official histories of the Park I've seen, and one of the three or four best overall Park histories I've seen. Only problem with that is, since Randy's gone, who would write it?