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MouseStation 405 - Assembling the Land for the World

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Show run time 0:51:06


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This week, Chad Emerson talks with Mark about his new book about what it took to buy the land and create the government entities for Walt Disney World. Also, a look at the latest incarnation of the Hall of Presidents and the loudness that is Whispering Canyon Cafe.

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Feature: Assembling the Land for the World

This week, Chad Emerson talks with Mark about his new book, Project Future: The Inside Story Behind the Creation of Disney World (buy it here), about what it took to buy the land and create the government entities for Walt Disney World.

Chad is a law professor at Faulkner University's Thomas Goode Jones School of Law, who also writes the Large Park Report for Tourist Attractions & Parks Magazine and has done a wonderful series of interviews for Blooloop.com. Chad was in Korea at the time of the (long-distance) interview.

Chad started by talking about how he came to love theme parks, how he came to begin writing about the parks, and the research project that led to the creation of the book. After publishing the article in the Florida State Law Review, his friends and family convinced him that, after subtracting some of the technical legal information, it would make a great book for Disney fans.

Some of the key contacts for the book came during the original article, including Disney's inside and outside attorneys during the acquisition of the land and creation of the Reedy Creek Improvement District, Robert Foster and Tom DeWolfe. As work on the book proceeded, Chad made contact with more non-lawyers to help flesh out the book.

Chad and Mark talked for a while about Bob Foster and his role as the first Disney employee to be permanently assigned to the project. Ray Maxwell and his team at the Reedy Creek Improvement District were immensely helpful in the creation of the book.

They also talked a little about the keyhole property that Disney could never purchase and now hosts the Bonnet Creek Resort. They also talked about how Paul Helliwell and Ray Hawkins were able to build support for the project and convince people to support the project and sell properties without giving away who the buyer way. Billy Deal was one of the local movers and shakers that supported the project without knowing who he was supporting.

Chad told Mark what he found most surprising about the entire project, and they discussed what might have happened if some alternative plans had actually happened. They finished with some discussion of how much of the project was done after Walt died and how Roy Disney was really the man responsible for the resort to actually be built.

The book is selling so well that there will be a second edition later this year, at which time a handful of typographical errors will be fixed. There will also be digital versions for Kindle and iPad coming later this year as well.

MousePlanet Meet at the Magic Kingdom, May 15!

Will you be at Walt Disney World this coming weekend? Come to the MousePlanet meet at the Magic Kingdom on Saturday, May 15 at 2:00 p.m. at the gazebo just past Aloha Isle in Adventureland. Meet Mark Goldhaber and visit with other MousePlanet readers and MouseStation listeners. Well have some MousePlanet buttons to hand out, and maybe some hats and classic mini-MouseAdventure packets. If youre attending the D23 Flowers & Fireworks event, youve got until 5:00 p.m. to check in at the lobby of the Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, so theres plenty of time to attend the meet and still check in on time.


Here's where the meet will take place. Stop on by! Photo by Mark Goldhaber.

Featured Attraction

This week, we look at The Hall of Presidents at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom.

Mike hasn't had a chance to see the attraction since it was redone, but Mark has and thinks that it was well done. He thinks that it's very engaging and does a good job to humanize themen who served as president. Mike hopes to get back to Walt Disney World before the next change of administration so that he can see it.

Mark also noted that the accessibility changes made during the last refurbishment were very welcome.

Review System Spotlight

This week we take a look at the Whispering Canyon Cafe at Disney's Wilderness Lodge. MousePlanet readers like the restaurant, rating it 3.9 out of five planets. Our featured review this week is by littlej of North Wales, PA.

littlej and her family loved the food, but the service was only so-so, leading to her giving it a 4-planet rating.

Mike loves Whispering Canyon and highly recommends the all-you-can-drink milk shakes. He's not a big fan of the all-you-can-eat skillet because he can't eat a lot of the contents. Mark has had and recommends the skillet, and is a big fan of the restaurant as well. He usually seems to go there when he doesn't have a goot reservation time, though..

You can also find Whispering Canyon Cafe in our Park Guide.

Twitter/Facebook poll question

With the delay in publication of Episode 404, we never posted the question to Twitter and Facebook, so we'll try it again this week. The question is:

Which Disney or Pixar movie that doesn't have an attraction themed to it do you think deserves one?

What do you think?

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Wrapping up

We've put together a new listener survey to help us learn more about you and what you like most about this podcast. This one is much more targeted than the old Podtrac survey. Please take a few minutes to fill it out and let us know what you think.

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Thanks to our audio engineer and sound editor Steven Ng.

Thank you for listening!

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The MouseStation crew (@MouseStation) currently consists of Mark Goldhaber (@MPMark) and Mike Demopoulos (@MPMike).