Walt: The Man Behind the Myth

Anyone seen this? My wife found it on Netflix, so we watched it a couple nights ago. It was quite interesting.

It basically ends at the time when Walt dies, which got us wondering if there are any documentaries out there that chronicle the development of the Walt Disney World, EPCOT, and beyond. In particular, we get to see Walt’s vision for EPCOT in The Man Behind the Myth, but as we all know, the actual EPCOT turned out quite differently. So now we want to see the “continuing saga” about the time period following Walt’s death. Any recommendations?

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I watched it a few months ago, really enjoyed it!

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I would love to see a real in-depth documentary of that post-Walt leading into Orlando period, but all I can think of are more recent films that are usually piecemeal and/or much more about what’s in the park, rather than the brainstorming and design that created them. Older ones that Disney Co. themselves created sometimes show promise, then sadly quickly devolve into pseudo-marketing obviousness.

A few books I’ve read have touched on various parts, but lately I feel like I have to rehash all of the Walt background to find tiny new tidbits. (Luckily, I love reading about Walt, go figure.)

Here’s a list of films someone posted online I’ve planned to try to dig up over time.

In general, you might want to check out Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow if you haven’t seen it.

The Defunctland YouTube channel has some interesting stuff, but you have to wade through a lot of other things. Also some cool videos on Martinsvids and I like this Modern Marvels episode.

For EPCOT, the book Building a Better Mouse was interesting, although written mostly by an engineer it sure reads like it and is far from comprehensive - more like some crazy stories of putting it together than a real thread of the design path.

The Abandoned film series on YouTube covers a lot of WDW history in terms of what happened to plans both pre- and post-Walt. The full playlist is here:

Note that some of the earlier films (like the first one that shows up on the link) have been updated with more content.

If you have interest in this, and have time for podcasts, you’d love Connecting With Walt. I started listening to it some time ago but got derailed. It is fascinating and gives you a LOT of history from DL days and then a lot after Walt’s passing. Check it out!

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Cool! Lot’s of good stuff to check out. Thanks.

This is the one narrated by Dick Van Dyke, right? If so, it’s really good. I also love the the PBS one.

If you watch both (totally recommended), you can see how the netflix one does a bit more “glossing over” some topics (like I think it didn’t go into at all about how Walt felt betrayed by his animators when they went into the strike), but does go into more detail about other things.

Both, I feel, provide a very well rounded look. Together, you can really see where the inspirations for a lot of the stuff in the parks come from.

EDIT: and THEN go watch “Saving Mr. Banks” and watch all the stuff they easter-egged in there. Which just makes it that much better.

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Yes. It was produced by Disney and originally released in 2001.

PBS one? Do tell!

We’ve watched it twice, and own it. Only trouble we have with this movie is, being a dramatization, it is hard to judge what is true, and what is played up for dramatic effect.

So, we’ll have to watch it again just for that!

Part of the benefit of the documentaries, you can start to gleen what was “invented” and shoe-horned in.

My favorite “easter eggs” happens all in one scene and it’s super quick: We follow Walt going to stop in to see the progress of the movie and it cuts to the room and the guy hears Walt cough down the hall, and says “Man’s in the forest”.

This would likely never happen as shown, but it shows A) Walt would cough as a warning that he was in the area so you’d better be ready and B) The animators and workers, when they knew Walt was around would use the code phrase “Man’s in the forest” so Walt couldn’t get the drop on them (and thus be in trouble).

It’s so quick you almost don’t catch it and if it wasn’t for the documentaries I know it would’ve been totally missed by me.

The PBS one is American Experience: Walt Disney It’s available on streaming from time to time for “free”. Looks like right now it’s not. It might be on youtube or something.

EDIT: I really should just purchase the stupid thing. I watch it every time I’m ramping up for a trip.

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Ooh, also check out Disney History Institute podcast.

If you enjoy reading I really enjoyed Bob Thomas’ “Building a Company” I’ve read a lot of books about Walt but this one sees things from Roy Disney’s perspective. Lots of repetition obviously but little snipits from a different angle and of course a bit more from after Walt’s death.

Do not forget Walt Before Mickey that was also good. And I know there was a pixar type flick on Netflix.