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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.

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Kevin Yee may be e-mailed at [email protected] - Please keep in mind he may not be able to respond to each note personally.

2008 Kevin Yee

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Kevin's Disney Books

Kevin is the author of many books on Disney theme parks, including:

  • Magic Quizdom offers an exhaustive trivia quiz on Disneyland park, with expansive paragraph-length answers that flesh out the fuller story on this place rich with details.
  • 101 Things You Never Knew About Disneyland is a list-oriented book that covers ground left intentionally unexposed in the trivia book, namely the tributes and homages around Disneyland, especially to past rides and attractions. Disneyland's rich history is kept alive today in little touches that are all but invisible, and this book shines a light on those tributes for all to enjoy.
  • 101 Things You Never Knew About Walt Disney World follows the example of the Disneyland book, detailing tributes and homages in the four Disney World parks.
  • The Unofficial Dining Guide to Walt Disney World provides current menus and prices for all restaurants at Walt Disney World parks and hotels, including Downtown Disney and even the non-Disney restaurants in the area around the Disney property. Updated several times within each year, the Dining Guide makes for a perfect companion in the parks to avoid excessive walking. Its best feature is the collection of indexes, one for each park. You're standing in line for Space Mountain and crave spaghetti? No problem. Flip to "S" in the index and you'll find out which places in the Magic Kingdom offer it. No need to run around everywhere!

More information on the above books, along with ordering options are at this link.

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