As many of you know by now, Sam Gennawey is set to release his next book, The Disneyland Story: The unofficial guide to the Evolution of Walt Disney’s Dream in the coming weeks. Today we share the foreward of this book as written by imagineer Jeff Kurtti. The book will be available for the very first time at the MiceChat Holiday Hoopla on November 16th. Come Join Us.
Sam Gennawey is a smart man and a good friend. That’s why, when he told me that he was writing a new book about Disneyland, I screwed a smile on my face and wished him well. Oh, lord, another book about Disneyland. As if the world needs another book about Disneyland, right?
But, as I said, Sam is smart. His passion for history combined with his professional training as an urban planner and a not-unhealthy obsession with theme parks give him an informed and unique viewpoint. I was lucky enough to help him produce a remarkable and erudite presentation for The Walt Disney Family Museum about one of Walt Disney’s final projects, a never-realized ski resort development at Mineral King, and his authoritative book Walt and the Promise of Progress City is a remarkable achievement.
Sam recognized that a comprehensive history of Walt Disney’s park had, surprisingly, never been written. There are certainly excellent books about Disneyland. Randy Bright’s 1987 Disneyland: Inside Story is one example, but it tells the story (as indicated) from the point of view of its designers and builders. Bruce Gordon and David Mumford’s revered The Nickel Tour is a rich and enjoyable resource, but it is visual and anecdotal in its approach—it does not pretend any academic or journalistic objective. Even my own The Art of Disneyland is (obviously) a work focused on inspirational and developmental art and artists; my Disneyland Through the Decades is intentionally more of a scrapbook of reflection and reaction than a history.
What sets Sam’s book apart is the alchemy of his experience and viewpoint. In The Disneyland Story: The Unofficial Guide to the Evolution of Walt Disney’s Dream, he has created not only a scrupulously accurate chronology of the activities and events involved in the creation and operation of Disneyland, but he has also layered it with important context, including key personalities, contemporary historical and cultural issues, and a view of the nuanced mechanics of the park from the viewpoint of an urban design expert.
While the combination of these elements might make The Disneyland Story: The Unofficial Guide to the Evolution of Walt Disney’s Dream seem about as appealing as eating a bowl of dust, the addition of Sam’s deep passion for the subject and his enthusiasm in sharing his research and perspective make this volume not only a must-have history for the aficionado but a damn good read as well.
Whether you know everything about Disneyland, or have a desire to know everything about Disneyland, The Disneyland Story: The Unofficial Guide to the Evolution of Walt Disney’s Dream is a thorough, unique, entertaining, and ultimately indispensable account of the myriad elements that compose the Happiest Place on Earth.
Jeff Kurtti is one of the leading authorities on The Walt Disney Company and its history. The author of more than 25 books, Kurtti served as a production coordinator on the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Arts Festival. For several years, he worked for Walt Disney Imagineering, the theme park design division of The Walt Disney Company, and then for the Corporate Special Projects department of Disney. Most recently he was creative director, content consultant, and media producer for the cornerstone exhibit at The Walt Disney Family Museum in San Francisco, California.
The Disneyland Story: The unofficial guide to the Evolution of Walt Disney’s Dream will be available for the very first time at the MiceChat Holiday Hoopla on November 16th. We invite you to come meet Sam Gennawey, Marty Sklar, Roy P. Disney and lots more special guests. Click HERE for details.
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