Walt and the Promise of Progress City - Exclusive First Look
by, 10-05-2011 at 08:53 PM
Samland is proud to announce the release of Walt and the Promise of Progress City by some guy named Sam Gennawey with a Foreward by none other than our own Werner Weiss of Yesterland.
We have a very special limited offer to MiceChat readers. More on that later.
In the meantime, here is what the book is all about and an excerpt from the book.
WALT AND THE PROMISE OF PROGESS CITY
Walt Disney’s vision for a city of tomorrow, EPCOT, would be a way for American corporations to show how technology, creative thinking, and hard work could change the world. He saw this project as a way to influence the public’s expectations about city life in the same way his earlier work had redefined what it meant to watch an animated film or visit an amusement park.
Walt and the Promise of Progress City is a personal journey that explores the process through which meaningful and functional spaces have been created by Walt Disney and his artists as well as how guests understand and experience those spaces.
Walt Disney was not content to be the most influential entertainment figure of the 20th Century; he also wanted to become the most influential urban planner of the 21st Century. What was his motivation and how did he intend to implement his vision?
My obsession with these questions started long ago—but it was not until I was reading In Service to the Mouse that I fully understood why. The book is the autobiography of Jack Lindquist, Disneyland’s first president. He was fortunate to learn his craft directly from Walt Disney. One of those lessons was that the best solutions usually came after a great deal of observation. Lindquist began to notice a certain type of guest that came to Disneyland. He said, “In the early days of the park, there were a lot of people, particularly women with small children from six to ten years of age who drove up in the morning during the summertime and bought general admission tickets for about $2.50 a day. We started seeing the same people doing this day after day: Buying tickets and dropping off their children.” I realized I was one of those kids.
From 1967 through 1973, my mother would take my brothers and me to Disneyland quite often. This was during the period when you paid for general admission and tickets for attractions were a separate charge. We did not go on many attractions because that would cost a lot of money. However, we did enjoy Walt Disney’s beautiful park. Even better, there were a few attractions that were free, including Adventure Thru Inner Space, the Golden Horseshoe Saloon, and Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln. My favorite was the Carousel of Progress.
The Carousel of Progress is a time travel story—a giant turntable takes the audience from the 1890s to the “near future” and beyond. In the 1970s, the show did not end when the turntable made its final stop Guests were invited to jump on to the stage and ride the Speedramp to the upper level to view the incredible 6,900-square foot model of Progress City. Every childhood trip to Disneyland meant another spin inside of the Carousel of Progress. I knew the script by heart and would quietly sing along with the chorus. By the time we got to the final act, the one with the super rich family celebrating Christmas, I would start to move to the edge of my seat. It would not be long before I could weave through the crowd and be one of the first to make my way to the Speedramp that would take me to the model of Progress City. That way, I could linger just a little bit longer than the rest of the crowd and just soak it all in.
The Progress City model was one of the most amazing things I had ever seen, and it made a big impression on my young mind. Every chance I got; I would stop and stare at the 115-foot diorama for as long as I could. I would listen to the narration as it promised that living in Progress City would mean a great, big, beautiful tomorrow where we would all lead rich and rewarding lives. It sounded wonderful, and I wanted to know more. What would life be like in Progress City? Was the project even possible? When can I visit? Let’s journey together as we attempt to answer the questions I have asked myself since I was a little boy.
Here is what people are saying about the book:
“Walt and the Promise of Progress City explains how the architecture and design of Disney theme parks is so successful. Far from being a lucky accident, Sam Gennawey shows that Walt’s interest in urban planning led Disney Imagineers to draw upon established architecture theory to build one of the most popular, successful urban landscapes of the 20th century.”
- Len Testa, Co-Author, The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World
“Gennawey not only provides his readers with a deeper understanding of Walt’s vision for Progress City, he offers insight into the world of urban design as it relates to theme park design. This book serves as an ideal example of how we can apply a wide variety of principles to help us appreciate Disney’s dream of a utopian city.”
- David Zanolla, M.A., Department of Communication, Western Illinois University
“Sam’s writing is terrific; he truly enriches the discussion. Not only may you learn something new about the chosen subject, he’ll likely open up another perspective on it for you too.”
- Al Lutz, Founder/Editor, MiceAge.com
“A tour de force. This is a must-read for any urban planner wanting to understand city-building and how people use urban space. Sam Gennawey provides a rare glimpse into the creative ‘backstage’ of how Walt Disney planned his theme parks and the experimental prototype Community of Tomorrow. The irony is that the future 21st century ‘economy of ideas’ is finding a happier home on Walt’s human-scale main street than in an Epcot community, an irony Walt would have loved.”
- Marsha V. Rood, FAICP, President, Los Angeles Region Planning History Group
Ayefour Publishing is releasing 250 “pre-release” copies of the book through CreateSpace only for MiceChat readers. The “pre-release” version is what was sent to me for final approval. Follow this link to purchase: Walt and the Promise of Progress City
The final version will be released on October 13. You will also be able to pre-order either the hard copy or Kindle version from Amazon on that day.
On October 18, the book will be available from Amazon and other outlets for immediate shipping.