Announcing My 2010 Book: The Disneyland Compendium
You haven't heard much from me and Jason Schultz lately on new books about
Disneyland. We had our trivia book Magic Quizdom in 2004 and 101
Things You Never Knew About Disneyland in 2005. We've kept them updated each
year, rotating information and tidbits into and out of the books as needed to
keep them current, and they're still available at Amazon. We're exploring a
revised format for 101 Things that will show some photos and go into a
few more details, but that's not ready yet.
But Jason and I haven't been as quiescent as it may look. We've been hard at
work on a magnum opus about Disneyland, an idea we had going all the way back to
2000 when we started working on books. Tentatively called The Disneyland
Compendium, the idea was to put into a single work everything about
everything. We envisioned multiple volumes and hundreds of pages, maybe
thousands, of detail-oriented reference material. We wanted to provide THE
authoritative information for Disneyland.
Plans are still evolving, but we anticipate at least a few volumes. The
Disneyland Encyclopedia would provide an A-Z listing, with paragraph
descriptions, of all rides, shows, shops, and restaurants at Disneyland over its
history. The Disneyland Pantheon would provide information about all the
individuals who made significant contributions over the years to the park, both
from Imagineering and Operations. And we envisioned some kind of timeline book
to provide, in exhaustive detail, just what happened over the years, and when
each event occurred.
Jason just started a blog to provide some initial sketches of our individual
findings, and to help spread the word about our project. You will definitely
want to add his blog (Disneyland
Nomenclature) to your daily reading list.
Almost right away, though, Jason heard back from a reader that we've been
scooped on the idea of a Disneyland Encyclopedia; there's one coming out in
mid-2008 by that same name (we can see it listed on Amazon). We don't know the
author of this one, but his promised list of 500 entries seems a bit less than
fully comprehensive. We could probably list 500 individuals for the Pantheon
alone, for instance, without even touching the attractions, shops, and
restaurants. Much will depend on his level of detail. The book could be valuable
if it goes beyond the usual stories, as our definitely intends to do.
In the meantime, though, having the competitor book announced and seeing it
coming out a two full years before our volumes has forced our hand a little bit,
which is why I'm using today's article to make our books a little more public.
We intend to publish in 2010, which is Disneyland's 55th Anniversary.
We won't be as quick to market as the first Disneyland Encyclopedia, but I am
hopeful that the wait will be worthwhile, and that anyone hoping for an
authoritative reference volume on Disneyland will finally have in hand
everything missing all these years. Our work will go beyond just focusing on the
Guest experience, but also explore how Disneyland really works (the interplay of
Imagineering, Operations, AND Guests). We'll cover the Duty Manager/Resort Stage
Manager and Minnie's Moonlit Madness and the Canoe Races, and a million other
topics. Jason's blog provides a nice glimpse of the kind of esoteric topics we
hope to bring to light! I'm not sure I need to do more than just quote a snippet
of one of Jason's entries:
Freeways plowed right through landscaping, but they also went through
structures purchased by the state--and Walt was there to capitalize on it.
In Disneyland's early days (to a much less extent today), there were
mechanical music machines scattered throughout the Park. One of the few left
is the Welte Style 4 Concert Orchestrion in the back of the Penny Arcade. A
significant portion of these came from the collection of Albert Clifford
Raney, who had a large assemblage of mechanical music machines. In 1953,
California was building the San Gabriel River Freeway (I-605) through the
Raney estate and Raney's widow, Ruby, decided to sell the collection. Walt
was fascinated by the objects and bought thirty of them for the Park; Ruby
felt they had found a good home. (Raney was also a collector of saloon art,
which went to Knott's Berry Farm.)
Review: Tales From The Laughing Place Magazine Volume 11
I've got a backlog of books that need to be reviewed in this space like you
wouldn't believe. I think I'm into double-digits now. But today I can only spare
time to focus on one publication, so I'm going with the one that's the most
fresh. I'm referring to the Tales From the Laughing Place Magazine. The print
publication of a theoretical online competitor, this magazine is everything a
Disney fan wants. Do you recall the old Disney News magazine, which provided
glossy articles that probed current events, nostalgia, and history all at once?
The Tales From the Laughing Place Magazine is the closest publication we have on
the market like that.
You'll find loads of interviews with the artists and Imagineers, and there
are ALWAYS nuggets in there for a Disneyphile. You'll find news articles about
new and upcoming attractions, and I admit these rankle a tiny bit, since the
bent is so amazingly pro-Disney that it reads almost like a press release. But
you'll forgive the magazine almost right away because the images are so amazing.
I've heard criticisms that the artwork and photography is almost TOO modern and
artistic, shot at such strange angles that it no longer captures the attraction.
I can see that criticism. But for me, the strange camera angles also generate
more excitement, so I'm good with it. And increasingly these days, the magazine
packs in a LOT of conceptual artwork. It's obvious that someone (or several someones) at Disney is cooperating with the magazine, and they get all sorts of
concept art that alone is worth the price of the issue.
Speaking of the price, it's $36 for a four-issue subscription (it comes out
every quarter), and that price includes shipping. I rank this as "definitely
worthwhile". I was amused recently when the publishers tried to send me volume
11 for review in this space. Didn't they realize I already had a subscription as
a paying customer, and already got the magazine on my own? The truth is, if the
quality stays this high, I'll be a paying subscriber for life.
Volume 11 has stories on Epcot's 25th, the new Spaceship Earth,
the new O Canada, the new Gran Fiesta Tour, the changes to MK's Haunted Mansion,
and brief articles on changes to Tokyo Disney Resort and Hong Kong Disneyland.
But a mere description doesn't really do justice to these in-depth articles. If
you hunger for more info and tidbits that just aren't around without talking to
insiders, you might find yourself a lifetime subscriber too.