The Marvel of Disney

When we think of some of modern marvels of today's society, our minds will often think of the pyramids or The Great Wall of China. And yes, those of us with the Goofy hats on will offer up compelling arguments for how Walt Disney World is on that list. Thankfully, the History Channel agrees.

Modern Marvels is a documentary series on History that covers a number of technological developments in today's society, such as those in electronics, engineering, industry and agriculture. In 2005, Modern Marvels covered a wonderful place that encompassed almost all of the typical topics from the show--Walt Disney World. That episode is often repeated by the channel and is also available via the official History website store and retail outlets like Amazon. Despite the time lapse since it's debut, this episode of Modern Marvels is actually still quite relevant (except for coverage of then-under-construction Expedition Everest), and happens to be one of the best and most informative of Disney specials found on cable channels and is unlike the cookie-cutter, travel propaganda often found in some of the bland Travel Channel or Discovery Channel specials.

After a brief introduction of the four theme parks of Walt Disney World, Modern Marvels takes a brief but detailed tour through the history of Disney leading up to the Florida project, with interviews of key Disney figures like Marty Sklar and covering important developments that laid the ground work for Walt Disney World (including the obvious developments that started with Disneyland). This background information is set to great montages of photos and videos from the time. Even though many of these have been seen by Disney fanatics, it was refreshing to see that History did their homework and was granted access to key footage.

Obvious attention is paid to construction techniques and innovations, as well as Disney-wide techniques like audio-animatronics, before Modern Marvels goes into specific details of each park, including the utilidors, Spaceship Earth's geodesic sphere, the monorail, Soarin', Lucky the Dinosaur and other rides, attractions, and shows. Each segment is given some technical description and history, along with interviews with Imagineers and footage of construction and/or current views.

Modern Marvels isn't breaking any ground with the most studious of Disney fans, but it's still a great watch, jam-packed with a lot of great information and footage, and very little filler. And certainly recommended for casual Disney fans looking to learn more about the World. Or even those big fans who simply never dig beneath the surface. I can certainly say that if something like this was on when I was adolescent, I would've been enthralled. So this is a great treat for any of you Disney parents raising some little inquisitive Disney minds!