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Spinning Disney's World: Memories of a Magic Kingdom Press Agent Hardcover – January 15, 2007


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Spinning Disney's World: Memories of a Magic Kingdom Press Agent + Dream It! Do It!: My Half-Century Creating Disney’s Magic Kingdoms (Disney Editions Deluxe)
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: The Intrepid Traveler; 1 edition (January 15, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1887140670
  • ISBN-13: 978-1887140676
  • Product Dimensions: 6.6 x 1 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #347,597 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Author Ridgway spent four decades pushing Disney on millions of consumers worldwide, and this collection of "war stories" from the front lines of perhaps the biggest marketing success in history brims with insider info, but without once betraying the Disney name. It's to Ridgway's credit that his fondness for his subject-he writes kindly of almost everyone he met and worked with-doesn't detract from the integrity or appeal of the material. Occasionally, Ridgway's admiration for Walt Disney dips into adoration, but it's a sentiment that feels genuine-even if it is echoed throughout the company as detailed here, despite its size, its power and (largely unmentioned) accounts to the contrary. Fascinating asides delve into the personalities that fueled Disney's dream, as well as the newspeople and celebrities involved in Ridgway's PR efforts. Among numerous charmers, Ridgway's best story chronicles the intense, hilarious effort to train 50 newborn ducklings to "follow" the Donald Duck character in a 50th Birthday Parade. Other tales include the orchestration of parades and VIP galas; the impetus, construction and opening of attractions at both parks (including Ridgway's accidental early outing of the "Florida project"); and the arrival of Michael Eisner and Frank Wells. Entertaining throughout, Ridgway's prose is fluid and gentle, reflecting that sense of wholesome delight common to Disney creations, making this a rare behind-the-Mouse-ears exposé that's a real crowd-pleaser.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

"Charlie made a lot of Disney history. He recounts much of it in his book,…his words [are] well-chosen.”--Bob McLain, Disney Dispatch, May 17, 2011

“Wow does he have stories to share…I felt like I knew Walt personally and was sitting down reminiscing with Charlie.”--Jessica Clawson, Walt Writers.com, July 8, 2011

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Customer Reviews

Thus the book lacks OOMPH and bit.
Conor Cunneen
I would highly recommend this book to both Disney fans and public relations professionals alike.
R. J. Garis
I enjoyed the style of Ridgway's writing very much and was sad to see the book come to an end!
C. Lombardi

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Dan Fendel on May 12, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I met Charlie Ridgeway a few times when I was a travel writer, and he was the most genial host with genuine understanding of the writer's needs of any "press flack" I ever met. This book explains the reasons why and gives the outsider, whether a pro in PR or media or merely a fan of things Disney, a fascinating look into how and why the Mouse became what it is today. This is the kind of stuff PR people never learn, and old-time reporters are mostly not around to share anymore. Vitally important education for professionals in the media and public relations/press relations, a great read for all.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Conor Cunneen on August 16, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Charles Ridgway was Disney's public face to the world for almost forty years. In an easy style, he takes us through some of the behind the scenes stories and anecdotes that are of interest to Disney students.
Ridgway is a Disney fan which results in the book lacking any real meat. Gentle memoirs written in a gentle style do not make compulsive reading. The book is imbued with the Disney spirit where everyone loves everyone else and everyone lives happily ever after. Ridgway seems to have only met wonderful people who create wonderful experiences in his lifetime. Thus the book lacks OOMPH and bit.
The author though does have a nice pleasant writing style who takes us through many enjoyable anecdotes and adventures as to how he helped create noise and media excitement around a wonderful brand.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By D. Mahdik on November 29, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As always we read just about anything from anyone who ever worked at Disney, in an effort to further our ongoing education about the theme park design process. Even a janitor might provide insight as to the almost mystical inner workings of the Disney corporation. However, Mr. Ridgway never really grabbed us. His writing style is pleasantly folksy, like hearing a story from a good neighbor... but he really never reveals anything of consequence that you cannot find out in any of the multitude of other books on The Disney Brothers, or their company. We suspect that if he really wanted too, he could reveal much more than he is willing to tell. Understandable, as he paints himself as a devoted employee. Personally I would like to spend a day with Mr. Ridgway, just picking his brain... but his book isn't really going to "let you in on anything". We hope he has some success because he is a likable fellow, but if you're really after information that you cannot get from other Disney "Tell all" books... you will not discover much in Mr. Ridgway's book. The title attracted us with promises, which never seemed to materialize.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Dale R. Angleberger on December 22, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
As a huge Disney fan, I try to read as much Disney historic material as I can. Consequently, I was really looking forward to reading Mr. Ridgeway's book. Unfortunately, half-way through the book I just wanted it to be over.

For one thing, most of the really interesting stories have been told before, so there were no real surprises. For instance most people know about the issues with the opening day of Disneyland. Many of the other stories were just not interesting.

What we treated to was an inventory of the all the celebrities (and non-celebrities) that made their way through the park. Several times throughout the book the same information was presented. I actually thought the book might have been more enjoyable had it been 30% shorter.

Most disappointing was the length at which the Disney corporation "wined and dined" sponsors, politicians, the media, and entertainers. One wonders if Disney World would be more affordable to the average American if the company would spend less of its resources entertaining "special" guests. I always felt "special" while at Walt Disney World. It appears that some are more "special" than others.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By GLENN WHELAN on October 28, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Has there ever been an organization that had as many books written about it as Disney? From its movies, television and Broadway shows to its fabulous theme parks, even on to its corporate strategies; there are enough books to garner its own section of most bookstores. But still, most fans will scour the pages of any new tome in hopes of uncovering a small gem or two of knowledge. When a new book comes along that is penned by a true Disney legend, it is sure to be a treat.

Charlie Ridgeway began his Disney career as a press agent in 1955. He has attended openings of all the theme parks from the original Disneyland to the most recent park in Hong Kong. His fifty year association with Disney has resulted in a vast offering of experiences, and each one evolves into a story or two. So, it's easy to pick up Charlie's new book "Spinning Disney's World", and find yourself taken in.

Charlie devotes his time to stories focused on situations and stories directly related to his duties as press agent; whether it be guiding ducks down Main Street USA or posing Walt behind the wheel of a fire truck. So many of Charlie's "Adventures" are as globe-trotting as a James Bond novel but he remains as humble and accessible as possible. The book is a must for anyone interested in a career in public relations, especially when penned by the man who pretty much created Disney public relations from scratch. But more than likely, it is going to be read be fans (and detractors) of Disney.

At its heart, the book is a reminiscent journey through fifty years of a man s career - a career that he loved. At times, his memory hops around a bit, so the book can meander. But if you're willing to go along with Charlie, you're sure to have a good time.
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