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The Disneyland Story: The Unofficial Guide to the Evolution of Walt Disney's Dream Paperback – November 26, 2013

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The Disneyland Story: The Unofficial Guide to the Evolution of Walt Disney's Dream + The Disneyland Encyclopedia: The Unofficial, Unauthorized, and Unprecedented History of Every Land, Attraction, Restaurant, Shop, and Major Event in the Original Magic Kingdom + Seen, Un-Seen Disneyland: What You See at Disneyland, but Never Really See
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"With hand scribblings from Walt Disney and original drawings of the theme park, Gennawey lays out a comprehensive description of the life and history of Disneyland."
—Rachel Young, Passadena Now

"The book [The Disneyland Story] relies heavily on quotations, which adds to its credibility and readability. Many of the quotations, but not all of them, include endnote numbers. So the book has an answer for you if you wonder, Where and when did that person say or write that?"
—Werner Weiss, —Yesterland.com

"...Gennawey’s book is “unofficial” in its content (but it’s not a travel guide). There’s nothing [that] should embarrass anyone, but it includes people and stories that you would not read about in Disney publications. For example, C.V. Wood, Disneyland’s first general manager, has been all but erased from official Disney history. There are great descriptions of attractions that were announced but never built. And the story of how the land was chosen and acquired for Disneyland has never been published in this detail."
—Werner Weiss, Yesterland.com

"Don’t let the title “unofficial” deter you in the least. This work exceeds anything Disney has ever formally put out. For that matter, in its total form it may exceed everything Disney has put out. There’s just so much."
—J. Jeff Kober, DisneyatWork.com

"The great thing about this book [The Disneyland Story] is the mix of technical details about things like specs on the locomotive engines, Autopia cars, and Monorail designs, blended with anecdotal stories and quotes from many different sources, so there is something for everyone here. The book is peppered with “tips” and trivia along the way as well."
—Susie Prendergast, The Mouse Castle

"The book [The Disneyland Story] is incredibly exhaustive and takes us through Disneyland’s history through the growth of the beloved park. It’s laid out in large blocks of years that showcase the development of the park through major attractions and shows. What’s fascinating is that Sam was able to delve into the political machinations with the city councils of Burbank and Anaheim to show how Walt’s ideas were stymied as well as passed unanimously. The larger civic and community roles that Disneyland has played are usually not recounted, which makes this book so valuable. Kudos to Sam for including an almost rapacious bibliography and for having the decency to cite his references. Not many authors do that. This one is a must have for Disneyland fans!"
—George Taylor, MiceChat.com

From the Back Cover

For Disney fans everywhere, here's the inside scoop of Walt Disney's greatest creation. The Disneyland Story skillfully recounts how the world's first theme park was conceived, nurtured, and grew into a source of joy and inspiration for visitors.
This fascinating history describes how Walt's vision maintained momentum, thrived, and taught future generations how to do it Walt Disney's way. Learn the backstory of his successors' battles with the whims of history and their own doubts and egos, as well as the stories behind your favorite rides.
- How did Walt Disney's frustrations with his movie studio lead to the creation of Disneyland?
- Who were the people who designed, built, and enhanced his park over the years.?
- How did the park survive Walt's passing?
- And much more!
NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Unofficial Guides (November 26, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 162809012X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1628090123
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (65 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #121,223 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Sam Gennawey is the author of The Disneyland Story: An Unofficial Guide to the Evolution of Walt Disney's Dream, Walt and the Promise of Progress City, a contributor to Planning Los Angeles and other books as well as a columnist for the popular MiceChat website. His unique point of view built on his passion for history, his professional training as an urban planner, and his obsession with theme parks has brought speaking invitations from Walt Disney Imagineering, the Walt Disney Family Museum, Disney Creative, the American Planning Association, the California Preservation Foundation, the California League of Cities, and many Disneyana clubs, libraries and podcasts. He is currently a Senior Associate at the planning firm of KPA.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 26 people found the following review helpful By David C. Klinger on January 7, 2014
Format: Paperback
Yep, it's all here. There probably isn't a better, more exhaustively researched and documented history of Disneyland.

That's why the story deserved better packaging. It should have been released as a standard-sized work of non-fiction by Keen Communications. But for some reason, it was packaged in "The Unofficial Guide" format (roughly similar to a Fodor travel guidebook). But this is not a travel guide, it's a history. You shouldn't be carrying this pocket-sized book along with you to Anaheim, expecting it to serve as a guide to the park, because it isn't.

The cramped formatting of Sam Gennawey's well-done work into a soft-covered, mini-sized volume means that the book is quite text-heavy and printed in smaller-than-usual font, making it harder to read for the average eye. Exhaustive lists of footnotes road-block the transitions from chapter to chapter, which themselves are introduced in unappealing gray tones.

Amazingly, the few photographs of all of the marvelous attractions at Disneyland are presented in black-and-white thumbnail half-tones, all jammed together at the front of the book, with nary another photograph to break up the ensuing 400 pages of text. Come on! NBC and the network's "Wonderful World of Disney" pioneered television's transition to color in the mid-1960s, yet this exceptional history of the Disneyland story is a dreary black-and-white slog through randomly selected and poorly presented historical photographs.

In short, this is a great story, poorly packaged. It takes us for a thrilling ride, yet by the end, we wind up wanting our money back.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By James Jeffrey Kober on November 20, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
I seldom write reviews, but I really would be remiss if I didn't make note of this book. I downloaded it the other day, and was immediately immersed in what is clearly the most comprehensive work ever created on the Happiest Place on Earth. It is exhaustive, comprehensive, and expansive. It would be a shame if Disneyland didn't sell this book in its stores. Indeed, I think the time capsule buried a few years ago should be pulled out again, with this book inserted in it. There has never been a book that has truly detailed the park like this book has. Definitely the one you will need in your library.

J. Jeff Kober
DisneyatWork.com
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Wulfstan TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on December 6, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book, by part of The Un-official Guide to Disneyland team(and it's in the same format) is a solid and readable history of Disneyland. Not a hagiography, nor a tell-all, it's a simple and honest tale of the Happiest Place on Earth by a person who clearly loves the parks and knows the subject.

It's marred only by it's format- due to the book size, it can't have all the wonderful color pictures you would like to see. So, if you can find a copy, get "Disneyland, the Nickel Tour" (which has not much text, but great pictures) and read The Disneyland Story: The Unofficial Guide to the Evolution of Walt Disney's Dream" while paging thru The Nickel Tour to see what Sam Gennaway is talking about.

This book even had stuff I didn't know! Very readable, and a MUST for any Disney history buff or fan of the park.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By oz reader on February 15, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is a very interesting and informative history of Disneyland but I don't understand how he could have thought it was complete without maps showing the various stages of the park. This is a very detailed, step-by-step inventory of what went up and what came down and where but without maps or a photographic memory you get lost in where he's talking about. The photos of the early years of the park bunched together in the beginning were good but he should have gone much further. Lost opportunities and disservice to the reader.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By R. D. Flores on November 20, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Excellent in depth history of how the Park came to be the why it is and why it is the way it is. Sam takes his passion for Disneyland, his training as an urban designer, his ability to dig deep into the research, and his flair for telling a great story and combines them inot this wonderful book. Sam has really gone the extra mile to make what I believe to be the definitive history of the making of Disneyland.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Susan Foster on December 6, 2013
Format: Paperback
Having grown up in Los Angeles, it wasn’t easy being unenthusiastic about Disneyland. Sure, my parents took us to the park when we were kids, and I did love the Disney films, and an elementary school friend’s dad could get special all-E Magic Kingdom ticket books (which I did think was mighty fine), and my best friend in high school often talked me into going to Disneyland to listen to the music and stroll around Main Street. It was fun—but magical? I was comfortable there, but I couldn’t begin to understand my friends’ enthusiasm for this place. As a child I would head for Tom Sawyer’s island and find a good hiding place so I could avoid my friends’ disdain for my apathy.
All that changed when I met Sam Gennawey. Initially amused by his love for all things Disney, I took a leap of faith and began to read his blog posts and his first book, Walt and the Promise of Progress City. I hoped to experience, as so many people did, the magic. I was not to be disappointed. Through Sam Gennawey’s eyes—and his unimpeachable research—I discovered the essence of the Disneyland magic: its elegance and beauty as a space perfectly designed for enjoyment. The Disneyland Story adds another delicious layer. Sam Gennawey’s enthusiasm for Disney and Disneyland could so easily give birth to a candy-coated biography; but Sam has a larger gift to share: the full picture of Walt Disney’s bigger-than-life, often difficult, always brilliant creative genius. This is not just a book for Disneyphiles; The Disneyland Story is an important work for anyone interested in American history, creativity, design, leadership—and, yes, magic.
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