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The Imagineering Field Guide to Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World--Updated! (Imagineering Field Guides)

4.08  ·  Rating details ·  812 Ratings  ·  38 Reviews
The Imagineering Field Guide series answers the question: "What would it be like to walk through a Disney park with an Imagineer by your side?" A lot of fun, actually! And extremely interesting. The Imagineering Field Guide to the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World provides that experience-explaining large concepts and pointing out subtle details, revealing stories, back s ...more
Paperback, 128 pages
Published December 8th 2009 by Disney Editions (first published September 1st 2005)
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Oct 20, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction, travel, disney
This will not replace your trusty Birnbaum guide on your next trip to Disney World. It doesn't cover everything that you'll see. It's more like taking a pleasant stroll through the park with a knowledgeable imagineer. This would be a fantastic book to carry through the park. Sitting at home, you kind of need to be a bit of a Disneyphile to get into it. Fortunately, I am a Disneyphile. There are a lot of really cool illustrations, almost entirely from the imagineer files. I loved seeing all of th ...more
I've been to Disney World 8 times since 1998 so I looked forward to reading this book in advance of a potential 9th trip, just to see what I've missed/overlooked on all the previous trips. The guide was written prior to the recent renovations to the Magic Kingdom that expanded Fantasyland and removed Mickey's Toontown Fair, so some of the attractions featured, including most of the Fair, the Snow White ride, and Dumbo, have either been removed or changed. That said, it was interesting to learn a ...more
Oct 24, 2007 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: trivia buffs and Disney geeks
Shelves: non-fiction
My girlfriend picked this up in a Disney gift shop during our last trip to the park. We both read it cover to cover that very night. Though a slim little book, it's full of details about the engineering behind the Magic Kingdom, and it's filled with sketches and concept art for many of its attractions.

To be accurate, "over-engineering" would be a better term for what this book is about. Though most people who visit the Disney parks will exclaim over the attention to detail -- the obsessive atten
Dec 27, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: disney, travel
I was skeptical of these imagineering field guides after finding out that Walt Disney Imagineering: A Behind the Dreams Look at Making the Magic Real was mostly a vehicle for propaganda. While one still feels the influence of corporate on every page of this book, it doesn't feel quite as heavy-handed because the focus is on the rides, not on the imagineering process. Probably my biggest complaint is with the pocket-guide layout. It's a clever idea, but there is some great artwork included that h ...more
Dec 02, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A great read if you are a fan of Disney parks! One of the reasons I love Disney so much is they put so much thought into every aspect of your experience at their parks. I loved reading about some of the details they've included. While this book was very interesting, it seems like there is so much they did not include at the same time. I was so happy that they included a bibliography so I can do some further reading on the development of the parks.
Apr 12, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Read the night before visiting Magic Kingdom (had been there before) and love learning about the little details that most don't notice that make the park so amazing. Great little read.
Katy Roach
May 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: disney
This book is SO GOOD! I got this one to go with my Disneyland volume, because I've only been to Disneyland and wanted to learn more about The Magic Kingdom. This book didn't disappoint! I learned a lot. I love the way this book is formatted: in the beginning, they have an Imagineering Index to inform you of what the different Imagineering words (think "Plussing" "Cast Members", etc.) mean. They go through each of the lands, starting in Main Street and moving counterclockwise (Adventureland, Fron ...more
May 05, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As a Disney fan, and particularly a fan of the Magic Kingdom, I really enjoyed this book. It taught me lots of little things that I love knowing, and the text is fun and accessible. My only complaint--what keeps it from 5 stars for me--is the physical size of the book. While made to slip into a pocket, which I appreciate, some of the pictures are too small to really get a good look at their details. I would like a second copy at twice or three times the size to keep at home for really poring ove ...more
Mar 03, 2017 rated it liked it
Although it took me less than a day to read this book, I did feel that this book was outdated. I couldn't find a newer version of this book on Amazon and so I had to stick with this newest version - from way back in 2009. Things change in this park, and having details to these changed (and added attractions) is evident. We all miss attractions when they go out, but having extra details about defunct attractions in Mickey's Toontown Fair is No fair (pun is definitely intended here)!

I thought thi
Jeff Lanter
Dec 02, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've had this book for a long time and realized I hadn't ever reviewed or even marked it as being read on Goodreads so here goes. I bought this book shortly after a visit to Disney World in 2007 so while I'm sure this book is dated now, I'm also going off dated memories of my trips to The Happiest Place on Earth and my enjoyment of the book was not hurt by that.

This book is pretty good for someone wanting to learn a little history and behind the scenes information on Magic Kingdom. There are de
Aug 23, 2007 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
As a fan of Walt Disney World I have to say I think it was a good read. I could have been a lot better though.

For instance, when they were talking about Stiches Great Escape, they went on and on about how advanced the Stich Animatronic is and what a challenge it was to create this ride. Te Animatronic that you see for probably 30 seconds in the show is one of the best ever made, however I wouldn't call the ride itself amazing and new.

First of all, it wasn't "a whole new type of ride" like they
Louis Prosperi
One of the better of the Imagineering Field Guides, this book should be in the library of any fan of the Magic Kingdom, or any student of Imagineering.

The Imagineering Field Guides are among my favorite books in my Disney/Imagineering library. They not only spotlight interesting details about the parks, but also are great guides to the design principles and practices employed by WDI in the design and construction of the Disney parks.

This is the revised version of this guide, which includes updat
Tony Stark
Jun 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've been to Disney World 10 times, every time for exactly a week. I know the parks like the back of my hand. I am a total Disney junkie, and I could probably tell you the answer to any question about Disney World. This book is great! I have the one to Hollywood Studios too! I remember when it was still called MGM!! We're planning on going again next summer, and the summer of 2015 we're going on the Disney Cruise!! But anyways, I just got this book when I went at the end of May, and it's great f ...more
May 10, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Completely awesome. There's so much behind the Disney parks that people don't pay attention to, yet those little things, and little details, is what makes it all the more amazing. What I wouldn't give to be one of Walt Disney's imagineers. Or to go back in time to the grand opening of the park in 1955. =)
The only thing wrong with it, is that it wasn't long enough. I know there's tons more to learn!
Sep 25, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
This book was very intersting, but could be a little hard to get through at points. Also, it was unclear how they chose which features of the park to highlight and which not to (for example, the Hall of Presidents? I don't think I've ever even been in the Hall of Presidents.) But overall when you go on your trip you'll have a lot more inside knowledge to share with your friends and family that I found made it more enjoyable.
Feb 23, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This series of books added a lot to our Disney experience. Not a travel guide, rather they share some insiders notes on the design of the parks and hidden features to notice. Disney pays crazy attention to every detail, from controlling sight lines to make a more immersive environment, to creating patterns in the pavement to imply a backstory to an area. We never would have noticed half the things in here without the books.
Mar 13, 2013 rated it liked it
An interesting collection of notes about attractions at my favorite theme park, this book is only that: something interesting. It's not insightful or intriguing, but that's because it's really a corporate promotional tool. It's too full of puns to be meaningful. I'd like to read a more thorough explanation of the park by Imagineering - or, better yet, a third party who analyzes their explanations to create a narrative. But this is a neat appetizer.
Dec 28, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: wdw
The first in the series that I read. I appreciated it enough to go on to read all 4. These parks are truly onions with tons of layers! I came to appreciate the investment made in the backstory of each attraction and the Land it is in. Included were many details of our county's past both real and mythic.
Dec 27, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A super awesome resource for those interested in the behind-the-scenes magic of the Magic Kingdom. A quick, interesting, and enjoyable read. I just wish it were updated. And longer. Maybe with a few more pictures to illustrate what he's talking about. But mostly updated, since a lot has happened in the last 10 years...
Josh McConnell
Like with the EPCOT book from the same series, this is a solid guide to the Magic Kingdom with lots of behind the scenes information for casual Disney fans. However, if you are more of a diehard Disney fan (especially in regards to Disney World), then chances are you know most of this information. Nonetheless, still a short and solid book put together.
Jun 23, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The depth of the design concepts between the layout, attractions and details of rendering are simply amazing. Much could easily be overlooked at the park, many things couldn't easily be seen by kids so they are there for adults. The illusions created by building proportions, the hidden infrastructure, as many wonderful things for an adult to discover.
Mar 16, 2007 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Frequent Disney visitors
I read this prior to my last trip to Disney World, and it really opens your eyes to some things you wouldn't notice otherwise. The goings on behind the Magic Kingdom's park design, from forced perspective to layout of the lands, is quite interesting. It's all told in an easy-to-read style, and there are plenty of pictures and diagrams to boot.
Brayden Holness
Sep 26, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Disney History Fans, Architects
Recommended to Brayden by: none
Good Book. Love the imagineering details and all. The concept art is by far the coolest part, despite the fact most of it can be found on the Internet. Not so slick when it comes to timely information. I don't really care about Toontown, it's gone...write about the new rides in Fantasyland, with their concept art. In all, great book, but it needs an update!
Kelly Caldwell
Jul 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It's fascinating learning about the Disney parks from the people who design them and the entire series of these books are wonderful! I'd highly recommend them for any fan of the Disney company and the parks especially. The amount of inside information in areas that most people wouldn't even consider is amazing!
Sep 13, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you are an expert, most of this is known already, but it is attractive, well packaged and extremely affordable.

For the novice, this is a treasure that should be read before going and then carried in the park for a more liesurely second day visit to the Magic Kingdom park.
Jan 03, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: disney
This was a really fun and quick read just before my most recent trip to Walt Disney World. It was full of inside info and fun little facts and tips. I look forward to reading the ones centered on the other them parks at Walt Disney World.
Stephanie Haefner
Jun 10, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone interested in Disney
Shelves: disney
Loved this book....but then again, I love anything that is Disney related! This book really gives the reader an in depth look at what goes/went into the design and making of Walt Disney's not just a bunch of rides and stuff.... (that's why I love it so much!!)
Apr 17, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: disney, nonfiction
this sounds like a book I would want to read. I haven't read it yet.
Aug 11, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another great foray into behind the scenes of WDI.
Oct 12, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very cute little book with some fun factoids
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Alex Wright is a show designer for Walt Disney Imagineering in Orlando, Florida. His credits include concept and set-design work for Disney's Animal Kingdom and Journey Into Imagination with Figment, as well as various enhancement projects all over the Walt Disney World Resort. Alex received a BA in design theory from the University of Florida in Gainesville in 1992 and an MFA in scenic design fro ...more
More about Alex Wright...

Other Books in the Series

Imagineering Field Guides (6 books)
  • The Imagineering Field Guide to Epcot at Walt Disney World (An Imagineering Field Guide)
  • The Imagineering Field Guide to Disney's Animal Kingdom at Walt Disney World
  • The Imagineering Field Guide to Disneyland
  • The Imagineering Field Guide to Disney's Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World
  • The Imagineering Field Guide to Disney California Adventure at Disneyland Resort: An Imagineer's-Eye Tour

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