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The Disneyland Story: The Unofficial Guide to the Evolution of Walt Disney's Dream [Kindle Edition]

Sam Gennawey , Jeff Kurtti
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Book Description

The Disneyland Story: The Unofficial Guide to the Evolution of Walt Disney's Dream is the story of how Walt Disney’s greatest creation was conceived, nurtured, and how it grew into a source of joy and inspiration for generations of visitors. Despite his successors' battles with the whims of history and their own doubts and egos, Walt’s vision maintained momentum, thrived, and taught future generations how to do it Walt Disney's way.

Product Description


"With hand scribblings from Walt Disney and original drawings of the theme park, Gennawey lays out a comprehensive description of the life and history of Disneyland." --Rachel Young, Passadena Now "The book [The Disneyland Story] relies heavily on quotations, which adds to its credibility and readability. Many of the quotations, but not all of them, include endnote numbers. So the book has an answer for you if you wonder, Where and when did that person say or write that?" —Werner Weiss, "...Gennawey's book is "unofficial" in its content (but it's not a travel guide). There's nothing [that] should embarrass anyone, but it includes people and stories that you would not read about in Disney publications. For example, C.V. Wood, Disneyland's first general manager, has been all but erased from official Disney history. There are great descriptions of attractions that were announced but never built. And the story of how the land was chosen and acquired for Disneyland has never been published in this detail." --Werner Weiss, "Don't let the title "unofficial" deter you in the least. This work exceeds anything Disney has ever formally put out. For that matter, in its total form it may exceed everything Disney has put out. There's just so much." --J. Jeff Kober, "The great thing about this book [The Disneyland Story] is the mix of technical details about things like specs on the locomotive engines, Autopia cars, and Monorail designs, blended with anecdotal stories and quotes from many different sources, so there is something for everyone here. The book is peppered with "tips" and trivia along the way as well." --Susie Prendergast, The Mouse Castle "The book [The Disneyland Story] is incredibly exhaustive and takes us through Disneyland's history through the growth of the beloved park. It's laid out in large blocks of years that showcase the development of the park through major attractions and shows. What's fascinating is that Sam was able to delve into the political machinations with the city councils of Burbank and Anaheim to show how Walt's ideas were stymied as well as passed unanimously. The larger civic and community roles that Disneyland has played are usually not recounted, which makes this book so valuable. Kudos to Sam for including an almost rapacious bibliography and for having the decency to cite his references. Not many authors do that. This one is a must have for Disneyland fans!" --George Taylor,

About the Author

Sam Gennawey is the author of Walt and the Promise of Progress City, a contributor to Planning Los Angeles and other books, as well as a columnist for the popular MiceChat website. His unique point of view built on his passion for history, his professional training as an urban planner, and his obsession with theme parks has brought speaking invitations from Walt Disney Imagineering, the Walt Disney Family Museum, Disney Creative, the American Planning Association, the California Preservation Foundation, the California League of Cities, and many Disneyana clubs, libraries, and podcasts. He is currently a Senior Associate at the planning firm of Katherine Padilla and Associates. Jeff Kurtti is author of more than 30 books, a writer-director-producer of award-winning documentaries, and a respected public speaker, host, and moderator. Kurtti is an expert on pop culture and entertainment. He is a consultant to clients in the motion picture, theater, museum/exhibit and themed-entertainment industries. He was creative director, content consultant, and media producer for the cornerstone exhibit of The Walt Disney Family Museum in San Francisco that opened in 2009. In 2012, he served as a content consultant and media producer for the touring exhibit The Dream of Walt Disney on behalf of Disney Japan. He lives in Langley, WA.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 2167 KB
  • Print Length: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Unofficial Guides (5 Nov. 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #426,235 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Only Book You'll Ever Need On The Subject! 29 Jan. 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
A must buy! I'm not inclined to do book reviews but I'd like to recommend this book. I've purchased a dozen books on Disneyland, but they all just have little glimpses. This book covers everything and it explains a lot. Why things are this or that way, and such.

I found that all the stories and myths I've heard over the years, were tied up in one very neat and easy-to-read book. Thorough explanations, details, and facts, including little details that are rarely mentioned. Things like the reason the subs are so costly to run. The many changes of Autopia and things like that. The history on the progression of the rides was fantastic. I know quite about about Disneyland, but discovered so much more than I imagined. Subjects like city planning and real estate. The facts behind the Long Beach project and the George Lucas partnership, are some of the many subjects that are covered within.

Some of the books about Disneyland are hit and miss, with the events out of order, or just random facts. This book starts at the beginning and development process of Disneyland, and follows all the way through the building of Downtown Disney and Disney California Adventure. It's very comprehensive and easy to follow.

I found that this book, is by far the best book about Disneyland that I've picked up. It contains so many tidbits of information. The bibliography is astounding. Props to Sam for putting the information all together for us in one place! Considering the amount of information contained inside, it's a steal! It's the only book you'll ever need on the history, gestation, and building of Disneyland. It then follows the ever-changing park through the next nearly-sixty years. Management changes and all.
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3.0 out of 5 stars okay 6 Mar. 2015
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Not the best Disney book I have read - I would reccormend reality land as this book is so much better and includes pictures.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Disney fan must! 12 Feb. 2015
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Really well written. A must for all Disney fans!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.6 out of 5 stars  61 reviews
22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great, bright story in a poor, dreary package 8 Jan. 2014
By David C. Klinger - Published on
Yep, it's all here. There probably isn't a better, more exhaustively researched and documented history of Disneyland.

That's why the story deserved better packaging. It should have been released as a standard-sized work of non-fiction by Keen Communications. But for some reason, it was packaged in "The Unofficial Guide" format (roughly similar to a Fodor travel guidebook). But this is not a travel guide, it's a history. You shouldn't be carrying this pocket-sized book along with you to Anaheim, expecting it to serve as a guide to the park, because it isn't.

The cramped formatting of Sam Gennawey's well-done work into a soft-covered, mini-sized volume means that the book is quite text-heavy and printed in smaller-than-usual font, making it harder to read for the average eye. Exhaustive lists of footnotes road-block the transitions from chapter to chapter, which themselves are introduced in unappealing gray tones.

Amazingly, the few photographs of all of the marvelous attractions at Disneyland are presented in black-and-white thumbnail half-tones, all jammed together at the front of the book, with nary another photograph to break up the ensuing 400 pages of text. Come on! NBC and the network's "Wonderful World of Disney" pioneered television's transition to color in the mid-1960s, yet this exceptional history of the Disneyland story is a dreary black-and-white slog through randomly selected and poorly presented historical photographs.

In short, this is a great story, poorly packaged. It takes us for a thrilling ride, yet by the end, we wind up wanting our money back.
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow! 20 Nov. 2013
By James Jeffrey Kober - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition
I seldom write reviews, but I really would be remiss if I didn't make note of this book. I downloaded it the other day, and was immediately immersed in what is clearly the most comprehensive work ever created on the Happiest Place on Earth. It is exhaustive, comprehensive, and expansive. It would be a shame if Disneyland didn't sell this book in its stores. Indeed, I think the time capsule buried a few years ago should be pulled out again, with this book inserted in it. There has never been a book that has truly detailed the park like this book has. Definitely the one you will need in your library.

J. Jeff Kober
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent & comprehensive Disneyland history 6 Dec. 2013
By Wulfstan - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book, by part of The Un-official Guide to Disneyland team(and it's in the same format) is a solid and readable history of Disneyland. Not a hagiography, nor a tell-all, it's a simple and honest tale of the Happiest Place on Earth by a person who clearly loves the parks and knows the subject.

It's marred only by it's format- due to the book size, it can't have all the wonderful color pictures you would like to see. So, if you can find a copy, get "Disneyland, the Nickel Tour" (which has not much text, but great pictures) and read The Disneyland Story: The Unofficial Guide to the Evolution of Walt Disney's Dream" while paging thru The Nickel Tour to see what Sam Gennaway is talking about.

This book even had stuff I didn't know! Very readable, and a MUST for any Disney history buff or fan of the park.
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A history of how and why Disneyland is the great Park it is today. 20 Nov. 2013
By R. D. Flores - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Excellent in depth history of how the Park came to be the why it is and why it is the way it is. Sam takes his passion for Disneyland, his training as an urban designer, his ability to dig deep into the research, and his flair for telling a great story and combines them inot this wonderful book. Sam has really gone the extra mile to make what I believe to be the definitive history of the making of Disneyland.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Maps would have been great 15 Feb. 2014
By oz reader - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is a very interesting and informative history of Disneyland but I don't understand how he could have thought it was complete without maps showing the various stages of the park. This is a very detailed, step-by-step inventory of what went up and what came down and where but without maps or a photographic memory you get lost in where he's talking about. The photos of the early years of the park bunched together in the beginning were good but he should have gone much further. Lost opportunities and disservice to the reader.
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