iPad Book Review: Tokyo DisneySea in Photographs Review
Review by Guy Dayen
The mark of a truly successful travel book is a simple one: does it make the reader want to go where the author has been? More especially, if it's a book of travel photography, does it inspire the reader to want to go see those sights in person? If the answer is yes, then you indeed do have a great travel book in hand.
This is certainly the case with James Hilger's new photographic essay about Disney's most expensive, and arguably, most ambitious theme park: Tokyo DisneySea. The volume is filled with beautiful pictures; some of the views are simply breathtaking. As I was reading this book and admiring each new photo, I kept thinking over and again: "We have to go there; the place looks incredible!"
Those looking for a park guidebook will be disappointed; this is not the focus of the book at all. While Hilger does provide brief descriptions of each land, the accent is on photography. This is not to say that there is no useful information to be found here. The author begins the book with a brief introduction to the park, and he does a good job of putting Disney TokyoSea in the context of Disney park history. His idea that DisneySea is the logical next step in Disney theme park evolution is a very interesting one.
The rest of the book is organized by the different lands that make up DisneySea. As is customary with all Disney theme parks, there are different areas of focus; smaller themes that come together to tell a vast story and provide the park visitor with an overarching experience. The different sections of the book are: Mediterranean Harbor, American Waterfront, Lost River Delta, Arabian Coast, Mermaid Lagoon, Port Discovery and Mysterious Island. The last chapter of the book is dedicated to the hotel Mira Costa, the only hotel in the park itself.
I won't spoil the surprise or the thrill of discovery by describing the sights pictured in each land. People who are Disney fans will delight in turning every page and gazing upon every new wonder revealed before their eyes, I will say that I have visited every Disney park in Florida numerous times, and that I have been impressed by each and every one of them. Still, DisneySea is now, by far, the park I would visit if I had the means to do so. James Hilger's photographs make me yearn to be in that park, and see for myself all the incredible things that came before his camera. The shots are that spectacular. I found myself thinking: "Wow!" time and again.
The book is interactive. You can tap each photograph to make it bigger. Landscape photos fill up the entire screen and are just spectacular. The portrait photos do increase in size, but don't fill the entire screen. Some of the photos also provide alternate takes, which are indicated by small dots under some of the pictures. There is also an interactive map of DisneySea included in chapter One, which is annotated with important landmarks. You can zoom in and see the park in great detail. It's a great feature that helps readers place each section of the park in relation to the others and get their bearings of the area. It should be noted that the book can only be read in landscape mode. Since the great majority of the photographs are in landscape mode anyway, this would be the preferred mode of viewing anyway.
While this book will be a treasure for any Disney fan, but people interested in travel photography will also enjoy this wonderful book. The pictures are beautiful, and always interesting to look at. It is obvious that James Hilger chose carefully the wonderful vistas and the intriguing little details that come together to create this incredible Disney park. I will come back to it often as I ponder how I could possibly make my way to this theme park marvel.