The first edition of The Imagineering Field Guide to Disney’s Animal Kingdom at Walt Disney World was published on May 22, 2007.
It is the third in a set of four Imagineering field guides to the Walt Disney World Resort, the others being The Imagineering Field Guide to Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World, The Imagineering Field Guide to Epcot at Walt Disney World and The Imagineering Field Guide to Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
All four books are written by Alex Wright in conjunction with some of the Imagineering team and published by Disney Editions in paperback format.
They are designed to help you understand why Disney built the parks the way they did and are small enough to carry around with you; it is like walking around the park with an Imagineer as your guide.
It is like walking around the park with an Imagineer as your guide
If you are a fan of Disney’s Animal Kingdom then this book will provide interesting snippets of trivia and behind the scenes details about the park and it’s attractions that you might otherwise miss. It will help you spot the subtle and clever touches that make up the whole Disney experience.
Like the others in the series, The Imagineering Field Guide to Disney’s Animal Kingdom at Walt Disney World starts with a brief introduction to the art of imagineering; the combination of imagination and engineering. Imagineering covers many disciplines including design, story writing, lighting, graphics, props, sound, media, special effects, landscaping and engineering.
The book then takes you through the ideas behind Disney’s Animal Kingdom itself, then in turn through the eight “lands” starting with Oasis with the history and story lines behind the attractions along with design and construction details including concept artwork, sketches, scale drawings and photos.
Anecdotes from the imagineers themselves help explain why things are done the way they are. For example, how an oil derrick gave the inspiration for the construction of the Tree of Life.
In conclusion there is a comprehensive bibliography if you want to learn more about Walt Disney and the development of the Disney parks.
By their very nature as ‘field guides’ they are quite small books with both small print and small illustrations which means that there is not as much information as you might wish.
If you are after a more in depth view on imagineering then Disney also publish two large coffee table sized volumes, Walt Disney Imagineering: A Behind the Dreams Look at Making the Magic Real and the sequel, Walt Disney Imagineering: A Behind the Dreams Look at Making More Magic Real.
Note that most guide books are re-published annually so you can often pick up a bargain if you don’t mind last year’s edition.