Down and Out is set in Disney World. It's a future Disney world in which the rides are run by collective groups, some members of which carry on a multi-generational presence on the ride. The group that runs the Hall of Presidents is making drastic changes and is attempting to spread their influence to the Haunted Mansion. There is more to the story than that, such as a murder mystery and plenty of discussion about regenerative bodies and memory back ups. But neither the characters nor the story as a whole grabbed me. This book was a bit of a chore to get through.
Doctorow has done enough great work in his other novels as well as in his nonfiction writing that I will not throw him out completely. He is without question a brilliant writer. But In my opinion, Down and Out should be at the bottom of the list of his works.