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Walt and the Promise of Progress City - Exclusive First Look

Rating: 2 votes, 5.00 average.
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.


PREFACE
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



THE DEAL

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.

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Updated 10-05-2011 at 09:08 PM by SAMLAND

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Comments

  1. JeffHeimbuch's Avatar
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    This sounds wonderful! I just ordered a "pre-release," and can't wait to read it!
  2. SAMLAND's Avatar
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    Thank you Jeff. I am also anxious to see a copy!
  3. George Taylor's Avatar
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    Can't wait to get my paws on a copy!

    It was fantastic to meet you and Werner Saturday.
  4. SAMLAND's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by George Taylor
    Can't wait to get my paws on a copy!

    It was fantastic to meet you and Werner Saturday.
    Same here George. And thank you.
  5. PragmaticIdealist's Avatar
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    "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."
    Who ever said that most of EPCOT wouldn't have had a human scale? A skyscraper or two, especially with a well-designed street level, isn't going to destroy a place.
  6. SAMLAND's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PragmaticIdealist
    Who ever said that most of EPCOT wouldn't have had a human scale? A skyscraper or two, especially with a well-designed street level, isn't going to destroy a place.
    Plus, one of the key patterns from Christopher Alexander is what he calls HIGH PLACES. Just part of the mosaic that makes for beautiful, meaningful, and functional places.
  7. Dustysage's Avatar
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    Can't wait to read your new book Sam, I'm hearing nothing but good things!
  8. schnebs's Avatar
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    Sounds like a good book, Sam! Any way we can get a signed copy?
  9. SAMLAND's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by schnebs
    Sounds like a good book, Sam! Any way we can get a signed copy?
    I hope to arrange for a signing at some point with the help of the wonderful people at MiceChat. I am flattered.
  10. MickeyMaxx's Avatar
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    Sam, you bring us content that isn't available anywhere else. Such unique and fascinating topics. We are so lucky to have you!

    I cannot wait to read your book!
  11. Streamliner's Avatar
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    Just ordered mine! I'm going to EPCOT later this month, so hopefully I'll get mine in time.
  12. DizMiiLand's Avatar
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    MickeyMaxx is right, MiceChat fans are fortunate to have such an informed and inspiring person be a part of the blog. I will definitely be ordering this book. Thanks Sam.
  13. PragmaticIdealist's Avatar
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    One of the other great aspects of the EPCOT approach is that the tallest building would have been located above the "Transportation Lobby" multimodal terminal, which would have naturally formed the peak land-value intersection. Elevators can be one of the most important transit modes in a city, so skyscrapers and high-rises built over and around train and transit stations make sense.

    California High-Speed Rail has the greatest potential to create EPCOTs in 21st Century America, and I would have loved to see high-speed rail integrated into EPCOT, itself, had the city been built. I know that Walt Disney was hoping this living showcase could innovate in a way that would eventually redound to the benefit of existing cities, but his EPCOT, even though it never was realized, can still have an impact on old metropolises, especially those that were built around trains and trolleys and that were undermined by cars, oil, and freeways in the latter half of the 20th Century. The relentless subjugation of the standard-size automobile in the EPCOT plan should be instructive.

    There are really two kinds of idealism: the Utopian and the romantic.

    The Utopian attempts to perfect something by eliminating anything that creates problems, conflict, or unpleasantness. The romantic attempts to enrich life with valuable experiences. EPCOT, in its nascent conception, was almost exclusively the former. But, as the project was developed, I'm sure the more granular place-making would have allowed the company to exercise its creativity in a way that would have, then, inspired the world to create a future that was much better than the one we got. With each generation, though, the potential for another Walt Disney to arise from our midst is renewed, and the opportunity to make the world the way we want it is presented to us again.
  14. Jo4brains1's Avatar
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    I will also be ordering the book. Thanks so much
  15. Timekeeper's Avatar
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    I don't know if I can get the pre-release copy, but maybe the final version when it comes out (though I would gladly buy a pre-release copy.)


    Timekeeper
  16. SAMLAND's Avatar
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    Walt and the Promise of Progress City is now available for pre-order on Amazon!

    Thanks for the support.
    Sam
  17. Moviela's Avatar
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    I placed my order 1 minute after I saw the announcement. I have long been interested in the subject. As a young boy Walt told me about his concept of the "weenie at the end of the street." Standing on the bridge to Frontierland, I asked why the street had to end? He told me "Hopefully, it never will."