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Theme Parks: New Book Serves Up Spy-like, Inside Story Behind the Creation of Disney World


It’s a plot Jack Bauer would love – a clandestine project by one of America’s most brilliant business leaders punctuated with multiple code names, fake identities, make-shift affiliations, and unique regulatory arrangements.

And while almost every traveler recognizes Walt Disney World as one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations, what might surprise them are the secret and pain-staking measures Walt Disney took to keep his intentions for a Disneyland-East under wraps.

Project Future, The Inside Story Behind the Creation of Disney World, is a fascinating new book that explores one of the most comprehensive and successful private developments in U.S. history – the Walt Disney World Resort.

The 189-page paperback by Chad D. Emerson (left) takes Disney fans, theme park enthusiasts and lovers of Americana and pop culture on the ride with Walt and his advisors in the early 60s as they evaluate locations like St. Louis, Niagara, Monterey, Calif., Ocala, Fla. and the Miami area as possible sites for the new “Disneyland-East.”

Emerson, a tenured member of the faculty at Faulkner University’s Jones School of Law and highly-respected theme park and attractions industry expert, also puts readers in Conference Room 2E at the company’s Burbank headquarters as the most senior Disney officials sort through the optimal parcels of land to place the “real working city” and planned entertainment development.

Emerson spent more than two years researching the history of Walt Disney’s Florida project while interviewing a variety of key players such as Harrison “Buzz” Price, Robert Price Foster, Gov. Claude Kirk, and Tom DeWolf.  The result is a book that serves up intriguing glimpses of historic detail interspersed with fascinating strategies and spy-like maneuvers the Walt Disney Company deployed to fashion more than 27, 000 acres of Florida marsh, swamp and farmland into the world’s most successful destination.

“Project Future does an excellent job providing rich details and historical context to the incredible efforts that individuals like Walt and Roy Disney, Bob Foster, Tom DeWolf, Paul Helliwell, Roy Hawkins and many others took to make Walt Disney World a reality, ” says Lee Cockerell, former Executive Vice President for Operations at the Walt Disney World Resort.

Project Future (ISBN 78-0-615-34777-6) is published by Ayefour Publishing at a list price of $14.95.  More information can be found at

MEDIA CONTACT: Vicki Johnson,   Vicki Johnson Communications, LLC, 407/340-9658 /

Image at top:
ON WITH THE GLOW: Tinker Bell is all aglow as she leads the way in Disney’s Main Street Electrical Parade as it returns to the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World Resort this summer. The parade’s beloved music and floats feature more electrifying audio, plus new lighting technologies that create a pixie-dust effect on all the floats. The classic parade is part of Summer Nightastic!, a shimmering celebration which also includes a dazzling new fireworks display, plus special lighting effects and a new drop sequence for Tower of Terror. Kind courtsey Disney.

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