This must-have book paints a robust portrait of the Walt Disney World Resort, across half a century, through diverse and vibrant voices and mostly unseen Disney theme park concept art and photographs.
Walt Disney”s vision for “the Florida Project” begins with Disneyland and the 1964-1965 New York World”s Fair. After an imaginative and expansive design, a unique land acquisition process, and an innovative construction period, the Walt Disney World Resort celebrated its Grand Opening on October 1, 1971. It featured a theme park dubbed the Magic Kingdom and three recreational resorts: Disney”s Contemporary Resort, Disney”s Polynesian Village, and Disney”s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground.
As Walt Disney World consistently grew and further evolved through the five decades that followed, certain themes reverberated: an appreciation for nostalgia, a joy for fantasy, a hunger for discovery, and an unending hope for a better tomorrow. Inspirational and memorable theme parks, water parks, sports arenas, recreational water sports, world-class golf courses, vast shopping villages, and a transportation network unlike any other in the world resulted in fun, festive, and familiar characters, traditions, spectacles, merchandise, and so much more. The resort has come to represent the pulse of American leisure and has served as a backdrop for life”s milestones both big and small, public and private.
As Disney World gears up to honor its fifth anniversary through an unprecedented celebration kicking off in Fall 2021, Walt Disney World: A Portrait of the First Half Century serves as a treasure trove for vacationers, students of hospitality, artists, and all Disney collectors.
About the Author
Kevin M. Kern first began working with the Walt Disney Archives in 2011, and was hired by the department full-time in 2013. As the group”s manager of research, he currently works with historical documents and artwork, and helps to facilitate company legacy and outreach projects, including oral histories and the development and installation of museum exhibitions. He”s hosted special event programming for many business units across The Walt Disney Company, and has had his writing featured in numerous publications.
Tim O’Day is a successful writer, PR executive, ideation consultant, and event producer. His creative spark was behind creating a Olympic-size lap pool on Main Street, U.S.A. for US Olympian Michael Phelps, procuring a Disneyland “Star” on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, placing “Dumbo” in the Smithsonian, securing Dame Julie Andrews as the Disneyland 50th anniversary honorary ambassador, and having the pardoned White House Thanksgiving turkeys retire to the Disney Parks. He has worked with almost all the Disney Legends and helped secure the National Medal of Arts from President George W. Bush for the legendary songwriters Richard and Robert Sherman in a White House ceremony.
Steven Vagnini joined the staff of the Walt Disney Archives as an archivist full time in 2010, after several years as a Walt Disney World Cast Member and an Archives intern. He has produced programs for D23 events, spoken to Disney groups, and written articles for various Disney publications (including working closely with Dave Smith on the latest version of Disney A to Z: The Official Encyclopedia). In 2018, he transferred to the Florida-based branch of Walt Disney Imagineering.
Cover artist Fabiola Garza is a Character Artist at Disney Design Group in Florida. In March 2014, she published my first children”s book, The Story of Saint John Paul II: A Boy Who Became Pope. It is now published in five languages: English, French, Polish, Czech and Italian. At the end of the day she simply wants to draw and create and love. Some personal quirks include a rather intense fanaticism for animated features, ripsticking, the counsel of St. Francis de Sales and learning all the skills of a warrior princess.