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Old 04-15-2012, 11:45 AM
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Default Walt and the Promise of Progress City

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
Steve (aka brownie)
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Old 04-15-2012, 06:05 PM
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Thank you for the review. I had been thinking of buying the book.
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Old 04-16-2012, 03:13 PM
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I got the book for Christmas. I found it to be a very worthwhile read. I do wish that the author would have focused a bit more on Disney and a little less on the urban planning background. I found those sections to be a bit tedious. I can see what the author was trying to do, but I feel that he could have shorted those section somewhat.

All in all, I enjoyed the book very much.

On a slightly off topic note, as the owner of all of Ayefour Publishing's books (as well as just about every other book on WDW History) I wish they would include a few more illustrations

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Old 04-20-2012, 09:43 AM
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I am in the middle of this book and so far have really enjoyed it. I am in the urban planning profession so I enjoy all of those discussions. I credit Disneyland and WDW for my interest in a career in planning. Glad that others have enjoyed reading about the two topics together as well.
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