(I've ever read, of course).
I've been on a Disney reading spree lately. Ever since reading Walt Disney: The Triumph of the American Imagination, I started hunting down books about how the man, the park, and the empire came to be.
I've read through a couple of official books, like Disneyland: Dreams, Traditions and Transitions (a somewhat outdated -even for the time of publication - lightweight book), Disney U (very interesting, although somewhat of a management book), The Disney Way (Same thing, basically), The Disneyland Encyclopedia (good, not gripping, full of facts you may already know), The Art of Being Unreasonable (still going through it). The list goes on and on, and so does the mystery of how one man could assemble a team that changed the face of entertainment forever. Every book makes me want to learn and understand more about how the mind of a genius works.
Anyway, I got The Disneyland Story: The Unofficial Guide (https://www.facebook.com/TheDisneylandStory) based on several recommendations I saw floating around on the Internet. Although I was weary of a book that flaunted its "unofficial" status right from the title, I decided to give it a chance.
And boy, am I glad I did. I'm a fan of reading. I'm a fan of Disneyland. This book is heaven.
There's just no way to understand the depth and scope of this book without reading it. Do you think you know everything about the park? Ha! I did, and I didn't. It's chock full of facts, facts, facts, interesting trivia, insights on park design, the internal struggles around the company (yes, you'll learn why C.V. Wood left the company - it just had to happen), the meetings and discussions that ended up with the attractions we have today and the evolutionary process that turned them into masterpieces. The way the men and women who built the park used all their ingenuity to build something that only existed on their imaginations. And then, the growth, stagnation, growth of the park. How the trains came to be, why the Viewliner showed up (and what engine it used), the entire list of Mark cars on the Autopia, who really designed and built the subs and - are they really subs? What happened the first time the Castle was opened to check if an attraction could be installed, what really was Project Disneylandia, what attractions did Walt built that were real duds, the early accidents at the park, how did they place the Mark Twain on the river bed... it's all there.
If you ever had a single doubt about why things were built the way they were, or interesting trivia (where was Walt's and Lillian's favorite place to take a stroll at night when DL closed? I didn't know. Didn't have a clue!) this is the book you just have to own. The author didn't just write an interesting story - he crafted one of the most loving and interesting tributes to Disneyland I've ever seen. You'll want to read several chapters again, just in case you missed one tiny detail.
I read and love the usual DL history sites (Yesterland is my favorite) and if you think this book merely rehashes the existing info, think again. Trust me, you are NOT going to be disappointed. This has become my favorite one on the subject, and although I bought it on Kindle, I'm going to get a printed version. I enjoyed it so much I want to have it physically.
Truly. If you love the park, you cannot afford to be without this book. I highly, highly recommend it.