Here's my review of Walt and the Promise of Progress City from the January 2012 INTERCOT Insider.
Walt and the Promise of Progress City (Ayefour Publishing, 2011, 373 pages) is a well-written book by Sam Gennawey on the conceptual evolution of EPCOT. Gennawey is an urban planner and this book is written through that lens.
Gennawey takes us through the evolution of Walt’s ideas and projects that eventually led to EPCOT and the Florida Project. It is a different look on things like the World’s Fairs, Disneyland, and other projects that influenced Walt’s thinking on EPCOT. There are some editing errors and sometimes information you’d want is left out. For example, Gennawey says that the Industrial Parks USA exhibit at the 1958 Brussels World Fair influenced Walt’s thinking on EPCOT but he doesn’t say anything about the exhibit to explain that statement.
The finale of the book takes us through a look at EPCOT as if it had been built per Walt’s vision. Gennawey largely relies on the Progress City model for this look. It’s interesting look at the model but the question of whether EPCOT could have been as Walt envisioned is never really tackled or answered.
This is worthwhile addition to any Disney fan’s, especially fans of EPCOT, library. It adds more to the story of Walt Disney World and EPCOT. In fact, it was interesting to read that Walt had wanted to build a Chinese restaurant at Disneyland that would feature an audioanimatronic like Confucius that would pass on words of wisdom to guests. Sounds similar to the Great Destini that was previewed at the 2011 D23 Expo in Anaheim. It does lack an index, so trying to find information in the book itself can be a challenge.
Walt and the Promise of Progress City is available from Amazon; purchasing through this link will help support INTERCOT: http://www.amazon.com/Walt-Promise-P...-1/intercotcom