Everyone knows that the secret ingredient in Disney magic is pixie dust. Everyone is wrong. It isn’t pixie dust that makes the magic, it’s details — the easily missed little things that together create your magical day at Walt Disney World.
Wherever you look in a Disney theme park or resort, there are details. Probably you don’t see them. During a busy day at Walt Disney World, who has time to look? Tony Lobuzzetta does. He came, he saw, and he wrote it all down.
In this first of two volumes, Lobuzzetta scours the Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, and two of Disney's most evocative resort hotels for the backstories and the hidden secrets that make Walt Disney World a place not only of delight but of discovery as well.
Each Disney detail is presented as a micro-story, just the right length to read when you need to fill a minute or two with Disney lore. Photos enliven the text, and Lobuzzetta footnotes his sources so that you can do further exploration on your own.
The mouse is in the details!
Main Street, U.S.A.
The Oasis and Discovery Island
Pandora—The World of Avatar
Polynesian Village Resort
Animal Kingdom Lodge
Disneyland used to have a stagecoach attraction in Frontierland. Back in 1955, Imagineers were in the midst of finalizing the ride before the park’s grand opening. But Walt Disney wasn’t happy. Walt wanted the leather straps on the stagecoach to look as authentic as possible, and Imagineers were getting frustrated at his nitpicking of such a minor thing. Imagineer John Hench finally said what everyone else was thinking: “Why don’t we just leave the leather straps off, Walt? The people are never going to appreciate all this close up detail.”
But Walt didn’t agree. He firmly planted his finger on John’s chest and said “You’re being a poor communicator. People are okay, don’t you ever forget that. They will respond to it. They will appreciate it.”
So what happened? Well, as John Hench later said, “We put the best darned leather straps on that stagecoach that you’ve ever seen.”
This story encapsulate everything I love about the Disney theme parks: immersion into a story that is rich in details. These parks could have easily just been a collection of great rides, but Imagineers made it so much more by adding a story to everything on property. These stories are reinforced with layers of theming and detail, which makes it easier to believe that you’re actually walking down a road in an Old Western town, or through a valley of an alien planet. Walt believed that the more detailed the story is, the better it will be communicated. And the theme parks of Walt Disney World are some of the best storytellers around.
This is a book for the fans of Walt Disney World who love this place beyond just the rides and want to go deeper into the hidden details and backstories of its lands, attractions, shops, restaurants, and hotels. This for the Disney fans who have seen a name on a window or an unknown word painted on a wall and wondered what it meant. If you want to learn about the town of Main Street, USA, the secrets of the Jungle Cruise, the tributes in Fantasyland, the ideas behind Tomorrowland, the story of Expedition Everest, the history of Harambe, and who the heck Chester and Hester are, this book is for you.
Extensive research has gone into this book. I truly believe that it is currently the single most up-to-date, accurate, and expansive collection of information available on these parks. My goal is for readers to gain more of an appreciation for Walt Disney World and the Imagineers who designed it. The spirit of Walt lives on in Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, and any other Disney park where storytelling is king and details overflow.
I hope you enjoy it!
Tony Lobuzzetta is an avid Walt Disney World fan. As a child he would go with his parents and brothers. He started making note of the level of theming that Imagineers would put into the various lands and attractions. That sparked a passion that would eventually lead Tony to make a visit to the Most Magical Place on Earth every year, each time trying to find new details.
Tony Lobuzzetta is a mental health counselor. He works out of the mindfulness-based private practice Be Embodied in Buffalo, NY as well as the local Ken-Ton Family Support Center.