Review: The Epcot Explorer’s Encyclopedia – R. A. Pedersen

It seems that now I’ve started blogging more, I can’t stop.  And since I’ve just read a book I really enjoyed, for a number of reasons, I feel the need to share this with you.

It’s no shock to anyone that I’m a big Disney parks fan, and anyone who’s ever asked knows my favourite park is Epcot. Since I first visited a mere two years after it opened, it’s always been the park I’ve looked forward to the most. Being a bit techy, a bit foodie, a bit of a traveller, a bit of a geek, it’s the best possible theme park in the world (or World) for me. And knowing that it started life intending to be the model of a future city is just insanely appealing. But I’m an Epcot fan, not an Epcot history buff; I live too far away and visit, by financial necessity, too infrequently to spot every update or track every plan for the space.

Pedersen, a former Unofficial Guide researcher, has taken all that insane appeal and married it to an Epcot (and EPCOT Center) geekery that is truly admirable and a little scary – in a good way. This is not a guide book but a history; it describes the evolution of every single attraction in the park, from Mission: SPACE to the Mexico pavillion and back again. Drawing on planning permits, information released by Imagineers, decades of Walt Disney World promotional literature and much more, it balances scene-by-scene detail with little forays into fun fact territory.

Picking apart an attraction might sound negative, but it’s actually fascinating. Far from destroying the magic, it heightens it; in the case of lost and lamented Horizons, it’s practically the only way those of us who can’t make it to a WED Convention might hope to relive it and share it with those who never got a chance to experience it. The encyclopaedia* layout also means it’s easy to skip over parts that are less personally interesting; I admit the development of Innoventions etc. is not half as interesting to me as the growth of the World Showcase pavillions, so I more-or-less skim read the list of stalls and stands.

I was not tempted to skim elsewhere, however, because the writing style is full of wit, lightheartedness, self-awareness and passion. It made me laugh out loud a couple of times, and smirk a few times more. It could do with a little tidying because annoying language fascists like me might be a little distracted by the odd typo, but given the overall eloquence I feel I’m nitpicking. (Now you know how much I liked it; when have I ever been that laissez-faire about language before?!)

Really my only criticism is that there isn’t more of it. The abrupt ending after the last bit of World Showcase miscellany has been thrown in made me feel a little bereft, especially as there was an engaging introduction. Admittedly I’m unsure what else there was to cover, but I was sorry to see it end and somehow wasn’t expecting it. Perhaps that’s the curse of the Kindle.

The UK edition is currently available from Amazon for Kindle, but a paper copy is forthcoming. You can also follow the author, @EPCOTNRG, on Twitter and visit his website, devoted to the ‘flora, fauna and fun of the world’s greatest theme park’.

*US spelling in the title, UK spelling in the review. So there.

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2 responses to “Review: The Epcot Explorer’s Encyclopedia – R. A. Pedersen

  1. Pingback: Latest reviews of The Epcot Explorer’s Encyclopedia | The Epcot Explorer's Encyclopedia

  2. Pingback: Disney Parks Announcement Bingo: Play Along at Home! | ALEXANDRA ROUMBAS GOLDSTEIN

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