On May 6, Disney Editions will release the long awaited book by Jeff Kurtti and the late Bruce Gordon, The Art of Walt Disney World. This book will unfortunately be available only at Walt Disney World and Disneyland.
I have just received an advance copy yesterday evening and was so excited while I started looking at it that I knew I would not be able to wait to post a short review.
The companion volume to this book, The Art of Disneyland was a great piece and this one follows the same pattern. My excitment in the case of The Art of Disneyland, however, was compensated by the fact that I had seen many of the featured drawings and renderings in other books. Not so with The Art of Walt Disney World. I estimate that at least 75% of the artwork had never been released in book form before.
Every single piece of art has been selected very carefully by Jeff and Bruce and although the text is limited to the captions, every single caption is interesting and brings something of value. The equilibrium between the "WDW that was" and the "WDW that never was" also tends to perfection. I discovered quite a few attractions projects that I had never heard about before, designed by such prominent artists as Sam MacKim or Collin Campbell.
There is sheer beauty in this book if you love WDI's artwork, and although I have to admit that I often prefer the carefully rendered paintings of Dorothea Redmond, Collin Campbell, Tony Baxter, Julie Svendsen, and Sam MacKim, I also loved some of the art created by some artists of the most recent generation.
From my point of view this book is as much a "must have" for park enthusiasts as the Disney Studio Archives Series: Story was for animation historians. When I said I couldn't wait to get it a few months ago, my impatience was justified. This is a book that definitely lives up to expectations.