Trade in your item
Get a £8.75
Gift Card.
Have one to sell?
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 2 images

Designing Disney: The Art of Color, Character, and Show Hardcover – 1 Oct 2003


See all 3 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Hardcover
"Please retry"
£103.98 £36.51
Paperback
"Please retry"
£67.10


Trade In this Item for up to £8.75
Trade in Designing Disney: The Art of Color, Character, and Show for an Amazon Gift Card of up to £8.75, which you can then spend on millions of items across the site. Trade-in values may vary (terms apply). Learn more

Product details

  • Hardcover: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Disney Editions (1 Oct. 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0786854065
  • ISBN-13: 978-0786854066
  • Product Dimensions: 23.8 x 1.6 x 28.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,515,946 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Authors

Discover books, learn about writers, and more.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
The spark of inspiration for this book came from Walt Disney, who wanted Disneyland to be a place where adults and children could experience together some of the wonders of life and adventure, and feel better because of it. Read the first page
Explore More
Concordance
Browse Sample Pages
Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
Search inside this book:

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
5 star
2
4 star
1
3 star
0
2 star
0
1 star
0
See all 3 customer reviews
Share your thoughts with other customers

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By W. BUTLER on 29 Dec. 2011
Format: Paperback
Firstly, how fortunate for all those who understand the amazing implications of Walt Disney's transition from filmmaker to great town planner that John Hench decided to write this much-requested book just before his death.

What's so strange about other reviews and Frank Gehry's preface is nowhere is it observed that without John Hench "Tomorrowland" could have been an embarrassing overreach - becoming out-of-date within a few years of its completion.

It's clear from his sketches in this book and other Disney publications Johm Hench was the only man in the original Imagineering team (WED) with "a handle" on modernity. Without him "Space Mountain" would not have its iconic spaceship form. Without him Disney's contribution to the 1964 New York World's Fair would not have produced so many spin-offs which were then brought back to Anaheim to update a large section of "Tomorrowland". After which nothing about the original "Tomorrowland" was behind the times. It's interesting to note where highspeed travel is concerned, 50 years later John Hench's "streamline-modern" artwork is still going strong. For instance on Japanese bullet trains and their ilk.

Much as I appreciate Michael Eisner launching the "Disney Decade" (providing jobs for so many of us) it has to be said his taste in architecture was deplorable. His preference for a backward-looking style now called "Post-Modern" had dire consequences for the Disney Company. If the boss has no belief in future progress then this automatically rendered Walt's plans for creating an Experimental Community in Florida to become null and void.

Hence no one has the slightest interest in the EPCOT town of "Celebration" (with its Cape Cod cottages etc).
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Format: Hardcover
This is a fascinating look into the mind of the premier Disney designers. Hench explains how every single detail of the Disney parks is designed to fit into a great whole: color, form, space, and even time must reinforce a narrative theme in every single ride or experience, as if the viewer had entered a film sequence. All detail is foreseen - with storyboards! - discussed, and built with this kind of total consistency of experience in mind. I was astounded that the parts were so much more deeply planned than I had imagined.

I read this as part of my research for a writing project on Disney. For this, it was extremely useful and informative. It strikes me that the imagineering method is of great relevance to all managers.

While easy to read quickly, this book will give anyone who likes Disney a fascinating new perspective on one of the great American success stories. Warmly recommended. The writing is clear and to the point, while elegant.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
By dpdisney on 28 Oct. 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
It was great to open this book and see some of the drawings and sketches made by disney's imagineers when prepairing to build a new ride or attraction for disney theme parks around the world. The attention to detail in these sketches and drawings is also of a high quality. Alot of what you see is purely what the imagineer was dreaming of building at the time and did not go on to become part of any ride or attraction. But it is interesting to see what did finally end up being part of Disneyland, Walt Disney World, Disneyland Paris and Tokyo Disneyland. Book arrived on time and in perfect condition.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 41 reviews
97 of 105 people found the following review helpful
A nice addition (edition?) for the Disney fanatic 30 Sept. 2003
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This is a pleasant little book authored by one of the original Imagineers, John Hench. We are treated to an inside look at the designing of the Disney parks, with an emphasis on the original Disneyland, although pretty much every park, including Animal Kingdom and DCA, gets some mention. There are plenty of color illustrations, mostly concept paintings and sketches, many of which I hadn't seen before.
This is not a book for the casual Disney fan, but if your interest in Disneyland borders on the obsessive, there are lots of nifty facts and anecdotes to be found here.
For example, when Space Mountain was being built, the author insisted the enormous steel T-beams be mounted backwards, to provide a smooth surface to project show effects; the Snow White wishing well was built next to Sleeping Beauty's Castle solely for the purpose of keeping guests from tossing coins in the nearby lake and waterfall; and a pond was built next to the long gone House of the Future to serve as a water supply for the attractions cooling system.
If minutiae like that is your bag, this is the book for you. It makes a nice companion peice to the book "Walt Disney's Imagineering."
38 of 40 people found the following review helpful
Getting in side Walt's head 24 Jun. 2004
By C. McNair Wilson - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This book is the Disney version of being John Malkavich. More than ANY living person, John Hench, knows Walt's history, philosophy and design theories. In fact, John Hench IS the artist behind much of the how and why of designing Disney theme parks from Disneyland (1955) to Disney's California Adventure (2002). More than just a book of inside trivia on why and how certain attractions look and work this is the observations of human behavior and understanding of all of us that Walt (and Hench) had, and used, to create these magically places we all love. As an Disney Imagineer I was fortunate to have known and worked with John Hench and co-author, Peggy Van Pelt. Herein they tell the real story behind how Disney's magic comes into being. As great as their words, John and Peggy have included lots and lots of John's stunning artwork--much of it never before published or show outside the Disney archives. Walt (and John Hench's) philosophy in this compact and rich book is applicable across the corporate spectrum. This book should set side-by-side with the larger (though less revealing) "Imagineering: A Behind the Dreams Look..." John Hench once told me, "I make all decisions with my heart." This book is for the heart and your head (left and right hemispheres) will enjoy it as well.
28 of 31 people found the following review helpful
So you want to see how to make sausages... 7 July 2005
By Alan D. Cranford - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
For most Disneyland guests, the nuts-and-bolts details behind the many attractions will ruin their illusions. Most people who are shown the tricks behind stage magic cannot get over feeling cheated. If you had to watch the process of making sausages from birth of the meat animal (pig or whatever) to the grilling of your breakfast in the restaurant kitchen, odds are that you'd enjoy your oatmeal instead.

But I enjoy seeing projects grow from project to fruition. John Hench's "Designing Disney: Imagineering and the Art of the Show" in an insiders peek at the Disney theme parks and cruise line. Concept art is directed at a specific audience. Usually the task for concept art is to sell the idea to the "suits"--who are a very different audience than Disneyland guests. It's been said that executives consider everyone else subhuman--especially their customers and subordinate employees--so what "sells" a concept to a panel of executives will leave the end customer unimpressed. Once the project gets the go-ahead, changes will happen. "No plan survives contact with reality!" At Disneyland, "finished attractions" will continually be changed due to economics or guest feedback until the attraction is replaced. The Disneyland Monorail is a fine example of this. On pages 26 and 27 and on page 33 monorail concept art differs significantly from today's Disneyland Monorail. John Hench wrote about how this occurred.

Many ideas don't make it to the concept stage. Disenyland was very much the experimental community during the 1950's and 1960's. The Enchanted Tiki Room was originally conceived of as a dinner show. Around 1960, the South Pacific was considered romantic and adventurous. Today, the Enchanted Tiki Room is considered ho-hum boring by most--but just try to rid Disneyland of it! My visits to Disneyland are incomplete if I cannot see the Tiki Birds at least once!

Hench wrote about the central theme of the park attractions, how "show" was the focus. Some of the rides and attractions at Disneyland (Disney's California Adventure is a worse offender) are just rides or exhibits. They have little if any tie-in, no synergy, with the rest of the park. Walt Disney told stories with his park attractions. The "nuts and bolts" of telling stories with a walk-in theater and live actors is explained in simple terms. No math! Imagine equations for the curve radii and bank on Big Thunder Mountain Railroad! Color, character, form, space, and time are some of the elements used to tell the story.

I like the panaramic photos of Main Street, Disneyland on pages 68 through 71. Disney theme parks keep changing. I like to see how the park has changed over time. Hench explained why these changes occured.

This book is a nice addition to my Disney library.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Disney by design... 2 Feb. 2008
By GLENN WHELAN - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Let's face it. There are hundreds of books about Disney. The movies... the stage shows... the company... the management style... recipes... fiction... even an incredible collection of Walt Disney World Trivia (currently in its second edition!). Occasionally, a book comes through that fills a unique void.

John Hench was a designer with Disney for over 65 years. His designs are as identifiably Disney as anything else coming from the mouse house. In around 150 pages, Hench shares some of his design work in artist's concepts and blueprints. These are beautiful and rare, but it is his insight into the thought behind the design choices that turn this book from yet another Disney book to a text book worth much study.

Many books discussing Disney magic often push the art of looking around, taking note of details. This book helps you to know "How" to look around and "What" you are looking for... Hopefully, you'll never look at it the same way ever again. Entire sections are devoted to in depth discussion on color, costumes, character, line, layout and most of all, story. With over half a century working for Disney, Hench's resume is able to back it all up with beautiful artwork.

If there is one thing that is surprisingly absent from a Disney legend that spent years working directly with Walt, it is a lack of stories that bring you into Walt's presence. It lacks that emotional touch, but makes up for it in intellectual stimulation that will affect your thinking about Disney for many years to come.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
superb explanation of how the Imagineers operate 10 Mar. 2007
By Robert J. Crawford - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a fascinating look into the mind of the premier Disney designers. Hench explains how every single detail of the Disney parks is designed to fit into a great whole: color, form, space, and even time must reinforce a narrative theme in every single ride or experience, as if the viewer had entered a film sequence. All detail is foreseen - with storyboards! - discussed, and built with this kind of total consistency of experience in mind. I was astounded that the parts were so much more deeply planned than I had imagined.

I read this as part of my research for a writing project on Disney. For this, it was extremely useful and informative. It strikes me that the imagineering method is of great relevance to all managers.

While easy to read quickly, this book will give anyone who likes Disney a fascinating new perspective on one of the great American success stories. Warmly recommended. The writing is clear and to the point, while elegant.
Were these reviews helpful? Let us know


Feedback