Throughout the book, yellow text boxes offer short “Disney Design” essays by urban planner Sam Gennawey.
Sam explains the backstories, the real-world inspirations, and the design principles that drove Imagineers design choices.
Its the kind of information that makes you appreciate the parks even more.
The next few paragraphs are a rant about something that disappointed me.
For a book that is so well researched, the description of Disneys Magical Express (Walt Disney Worlds airport transportation and luggage service) is weak.
According to the Color Companion, “If you’re traveling within the United States, you’ll arrive in Orlando and follow the Magical Express signs to your bus; your luggage should be waiting in your hotel room when you check in.”
But thats not how Disneys Magical Express works.
First, there are not signs.
Guests are mailed Magical Express packets that include instructions for how to go to Level 1 on Side B side after landing at Orlando International.
More importantly, Disney has never promised that luggage should be waiting in your room when you check in.
The reality is that Disney says that your bags are delivered to your room within three hours after you check in at your Disney resort.
Thats reasonable considering that bags require manual handling at several steps.
Your airline may not even have transferred your bags to Disney when youre already on the road.
The Color Companion concludes its description of Disneys Magical Express with this statement:
“In practice, the logistical challenge of matching totes and tourists is proving to be more than Disney bargained for, with lost and delayed luggage marring the service’s reputation.”
The reality is that Disney launched Magical Express more than five years ago with a sophisticated, barcode-based luggage tracking system.
In its first five years, Magical Express served 10 million guests.
Undoubtedly, there have been some glitches now and then, but Magical Express enjoys a great reputation on vacation planning forums.
And some of the “delayed luggage” might just be cases of guests who think their bags will arrive at their rooms before they do—because of misinformation in some guide books.
Im not suggesting that the paragraphs about Disneys Magical Express are indicative of similar problems throughout the book.
In fact, the authors of the Color Companion are Walt Disney World experts who know their stuff.
The Magical Express description is the exception, not the rule.
The authors set out to create a new Walt Disney World guide book that would be fun to use.
For Florida Disney vacation planning, the Color Companion should be on the short list of books to consider.
This would also be a fun book for someone who is a Disney fan but unable to visit Walt Disney World.
Such readers should enjoy the many photos, succinct descriptions (and opinions) of attractions, “Disney Design” insight, and some Walt Disney World trivia and history.