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Mike Scopa

WDW Trivia and More

Louis Mongello's book makes minutiae fascinating

Friday, July 16, 2004
by Mike Scopa, staff writer

As soon as I finish writing today's column I need to fire off a nastygram to Louis Mongello. You see, Louis sent me a copy of his recently published book, The Walt Disney World Trivia Book, Secrets, History & Fun Facts Behind the Magic. (Intrepid Traveler: ISBN 1-887140-49-2) and I can't put it down. In fact, I may even take it with me on my next trip to Orlando.

In this session, let's look at Mongello's book and discuss not only its merits as a trivia reference for the avid Walt Disney World fan but also its potential role as a trip planning guide for both the WDW rookie and veteran.

About the Author

Louis Mongello hails from Edison, New Jersey and has been practicing law for the last 10 years or so. Louis first laid eyes on Orlando and Walt Disney World at the tender age of three. Ever since that first visit he has been fascinated with the Walt Disney Resort. Over the years this fascination led to curiosity about all things regarding the resort. Mongello's thirst for knowledge led to a lifetime of collecting WDW memorabilia. He also went to great lengths to find any material that would help him learn as much as he could about WDW.

His efforts led to discovering original plans for the resort, property maps, books, articles, and just about anything he could get his hands on that would tell him anything about the Walt Disney World Resort.

Luckily for us, Mongello found so much material that he decided to compile it into a book for WDW fans who may share his passion for knowledge about Walt Disney World.

As we look into this published work we may notice that it is more than just a trivia book. It serves both the WDW novice and veteran in many ways.

Just a Peak

So what exactly is in this trivia book? Let's start off by saying, “A lot!” Mongello has chunked his book into six chapters, with each one focused on a specific part of the WDW resort. Let's take a brief tour and get a taste for what delicious treats await us between the pages of this gem of a book.

Chapter 1 is entitled “All Around the World.” In this chapter Mongello covers WDW in general and provides some pretty interesting facts. Do you know the original name for Discovery Island in Bay Lake? Any idea what it means when a cast member reports a code 101? And which attraction was moved from Disneyland to Walt Disney World? This is the place for the answers.

Chapter 2 is my favorite part of the book. It focuses on the Magic Kingdom. In this chapter, among other things, Mongello tells us how many audio-animatronics figures there are in the Magic Kingdom, where we can play checkers in the theme park, and what was the inspiration for the Jungle Cruise attraction. The chapter is subdivided into all the lands of the Magic Kingdom plus Main Street USA.

Chapter 3 is, you guessed it, all about Epcot. In this chapter you'll be surprised to find out what was not sold inside Epcot when the park first opened, where the idea for “Figment” (from Journey Into Imagination) came from, and how much is spent per night on fireworks for Illuminations: Reflections of Earth. This chapter is subdivided into sections for Future World and World Showcase.

Chapter 4 is a fun chapter devoted to Disney-MGM Studios. Mongello gives some facts that you may want to check out like the children's song in The Twilight Zone of Terror. Do you know what song that is? For you Muppetvision fans, who or what is pictured on the license plate of the fire truck that arrives at the end of the film? Here's a good one: What present MGM attraction was originally intended for Epcot?

It makes sense to assume that chapter 5 deals with Disney's Animal Kingdom. For you animal lovers, how many animals do you think live in this theme park? Do you know which animal was the first to take residence in this park? And what was the original name of Disney's Animal Kingdom theme park?

Chapter 6 is a mishmash of subjects such as resorts, water parks, Downtown Disney and the monorail. Do you know who the original voice of the monorail belonged to?

Any idea what song the musical notes spell out behind the registration desk at Disney's Port Orleans Resort French Quarter? Here's one that will keep you guessing: How long would it take you to spend a night in every guest room, in every hotel that is currently open on WDW property? Hint: It's more than a week.

Those are just a small sampling of the kinds of trivia facts Mongello offers to his readers. You can find close to 600 fascinating bits of information in this book. But as I said at the outset, his book is more than a trivia book.

Trivia Plus

I'm not someone who is a big fan of trivia books because in most cases, the information presented in trivia books is somewhat superficial. Mongello has reinvented the art of trivia reporting, and with it, has produced more than just your run-of-the-mill trivia book.

Like most trivia books, this one is structured so that the reader can play along and try to guess the answers to the questions posed by the author. Mongello supplies the answers at the end of each chapter. But there's more. Mongello doesn't just give us a one word or a one sentence answer but a comprehensive answer that in turn gives the reader a full understanding of that fact. For instance, Mongello asks his readers to guess what year the plans for Walt Disney World were revealed to the public. He supplies an answer that spans almost an entire page and gives us some background information that really puts some substance behind this bit of trivia.

That's how I got hooked. As you flip through the answer sections, you notice how complete and thorough each answer is presented.

This book serves yet another purpose. As I have gone through Mongello's book—when my wife hasn't snatched it from me—I have found myself jotting down some notes for my to-do list for my next trip to WDW.

Well, without revealing certain information from the book here is a partial list things I've jotted down for myself:

  • The next time I visit the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror I need to pay attention to what the little girl is carrying before she gets into that elevator.
  • There's a certain object I need to inspect in the Town Square Exposition Hall on Main Street, U.S.A.
  • I never noticed something unique about that Snow Cat vehicle at “Ice Station Cool” but I'll look at it a bit closer next time.
  • I need to check out the balloons in the Land Pavilion.
  • I gotta look at Morocco the next time I watch Illuminations.
  • The pavement between Morocco and France...
  • I never paid close attention to the hieroglyphics in the Indiana Jones portion of the Great Movie Ride.
  • My next visit to the Contemporary Resort will include a close inspection of that great mosaic mural.

I think I may just end up bringing this book along with me.

I'm sure that anyone who is lucky enough to pick up Mongello's book will find it to be very entertaining. This collection of facts and figures will make any reader appreciative of what goes into the making of the WDW resort and more appreciative of Mongello's efforts in putting together such a wealth of information.

Now I need to write Louis a nastygram. Before I picked up his book, my dance card for my next trip was already filled. Now I need to squeeze in more time to cover my expanded to-do list.

“Dear Louis...”

Next Time

What do several big hearted Walt Disney World fans and children in need have to do with one another? It's called “Smiles Across the Miles,” and I'll tell you all about it next time.

Class dismissed.

You can purchase your own copy of Louis Mongello's book from Amazon here.

Thoughts, questions, or comments? Contact Mike here.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Mike Scopa first visited Walt Disney World almost 30 years ago. Planning a trip was simple back in the 1970s, with only the Magic Kingdom and a few Disney-owned resorts in Orlando.

Over the past 11 years, Mike has been perfecting his WDW trip-planning skills as he has hosted chats and bulletin boards about Disney for a Fortune 100 company.

Mike brings his experience to MousePlanet in a series of lessons to help you with all the phases of planning a WDW trip.

Mike pays special attention to all the details that ensure your family has the best possible time at the Happiest Place on Earth.

You can contact Mike here.

OTHER LINKS

Here are trip reports that Mike has written that are part of MousePlanet's archives:

Michael Scopa -- August 1999 -- Walt Disney World (CSR)

Michael J. Scopa -- July 1997 -- Walt Disney World (WL/CBR)

Mike Scopa -- July 1994 -- Walt Disney World (WL / CBR)

Also, don't miss Lani Teshima's column, “The Trip Planner” for more travel planning information.

Get the latest info about the resort at “Park Update: Walt Disney World.”

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