Earlier this month I recieved a copy of Kevin Yee's newest book, "Walt Disney World Hidden History: Remnant of Former Attractions & Other Tributes" to review. The book was a surprise to me and I was curious as to what the book was about. It turns out, the book is a reference guide to the many tributes and hidden references to other attractions.
To my knowledge, this is the first book written exclusively about these hidden gems that my fellow Disney World enthusiasts love to learn about. A favorite pastime for myself has been to learn about these references and while I knew of many to begin with, others were completely new to me and I really found this book a great guide to the hidden secrets that even many Cast Members don't know about.
As always, I want to focus my review on the Hollywood Studios portion of the book and there's quite a number of hidden references to be found. While the book isn't an encyclopedia of every single one, it does do an admirable job of listing many of them. In fact, I found a few that I wasn't aware of, such as the World of Motion props on the Backlot Tour or Dip Site reference of the final scene from Raiders of the Lost Ark. In fact, this book did a much better job at detailing the detail in the Studios than the official Imagineering Field Guide to Hollywood Studios ever came close to doing.
To be honest, I was rather (pleasantly) surprised by the depth of information in the book. It also includes dates of many closed Disney World attractions as well as a bonus chapter with Universal Studios trivia. While I don't particularly care for the Universal info, overall the information listed here is rather intriguing. What I think makes this book a solid choice is the fact it includes information that I had not seen online previously and it's all included in an easy to navigate structure.
I have to say I wish each entry had a photo accompanying and while we're at it, I'd much prefer color photos to make it easier to see the hidden items. In some cases, the black and white photos are difficult to see and color (and larger) photos would make it easier to figure out just where in the park each tribute is located. This is the first edition of this book and it does not contain every hidden reference in the parks. For example, the Tower of Terror chapter is missing some Twilight Zone references. I wouldn't call it incomplete, just not including everything just yet and I would expect any future updates to include more information.
I also feel obligated to mention the book's author, Kevin Yee, has quite a reputation in the Disney community (deserved or not). To say the least, Kevin doesn't water down how he feels about the direction of the Disney parks and is often criticized as being overly negative. Personally, I've only had positive experiences talking with Kevin but I'd encourage you to try to look at this book purely on the merits of its content. You can say what you want about him personally, but I do think he's done a good job with this book.
Walt Disney World Hidden History is a great book for the Walt Disney World enthusiast that visits many Disney World web sites daily, talks on Twitter and Facebook about Disney and loves to learn more about the parks. While not encompassing every single referance in the parks yet, it's a fun guide to the many different and sometimes hard to find references and tributes scattered throughout Walt Disney World.
Full disclosure: The books' author sent me a complimentry copy for review purposes.