Disney's Land

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 03 Dec 2019

Member Reviews

"To all who come to this happy place: Welcome."

I'll never forget my first trip to Disneyland in California. I was fifteen years old and was visiting the park on a trip with my high school band. Because we were performing in the park, our bus went through a security checkpoint that dropped us off in the backstage area located in the back of the property. My first views were not of the historic walk down Main Street USA leading to Sleeping Beauty's Castle. Instead, I exited the utilitarian buildings of the backstage portion into the stylized Toontown section of the park. I was instantly obsessed, amazed at the stark contrast between the idyllic world inside the park and the industrialized outside.

In Disney's Land, author Richard Snow chronicles the journey of bringing Disney's dream to life. There are countless stories about what inspired Walt to create the park. Snow points to truths on several fronts. Partly disillusioned by the state of the animation business, partly inspired to create a place where children and parents could play together, and perhaps mostly looking for a new outlet for creative development, the germ of the idea that would become Disneyland started as a miniature train set in Disney's back yard. For months, craftsmen in Disney's studio machine shop labored to make a working scale version of a steam locomotive. Walt obsessed over each detail, painstakingly ensuring all the materials were correct, and even buying a new home with the perfect backyard to set the tracks. This not only foreshadowed the strict adherence to quality that would define Disney's park but created relationships that would be vital to bringing the park to life.

At a time when the bright lights of amusement parks were thought more of in terms of decaying glory, Walt sought to build a new type of park. Everyone who heard of his plans told him he was crazy. It would cost too much money. No one was going to travel all the way to the small orchard town of Anaheim. He was throwing good money after bad. Whatever objections were raised, Walt quietly moved past them to achieve his dream. 

Disney's Land combines weaves many historical excerpts into a stunning tale of one man's willful ambition to achieve his ultimate dream. As an avid Disney Parks fan, there was little new information gleaned from this book, but Snow imparts his writing with the small human details that make the events jump from the page. I was struck by just how much new ground was being covered by Walt and the men and women he employed. It is difficult to imagine a time where Disneyland did not exist. The famed attractions have become engrained into the very being of American culture. But before Walt dreamed it, there was no precedent for the kind of place he created. As an adult, I visit a Disney Park each year and continue to be transported to new worlds that allow me to escape from everyday life. Disney's Land by Richard Snow expertly tells the tale of how the place that so many find magic in came to be.
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This book was so much more than I had expected!!  Richard's research was better than anything I have ever read about Walt Disney.  By the end of the book I feel like I learned about who Walt Disney really was.  He did such an amazing job of putting in perspective of what was going on in the world during the entire span of this book!!
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In spite of the fact that I am no lover of Disneyland, theme parks, or amusement parks, I loved this book. Snow relates, in riveting detail, the building and early years of the park. It's fascinating how the vision of one man for something that didn't exist led to so many innovations.

The book tells a story and one that's full of great characters and fascinating detail.
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The author's painstaking research and attention to detail is obvious in the writing of this book.  There were many facts that I only discovered after reading this!
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A wonderfully insightful look into the mind of Walt Disney. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and the history it gives us of how Disneyland came to be.
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Are you a Disney Fan you will want to pick up your copy of Disney Land.  If you know the history of Walt Disney this book will really not bring too much more information out but you will still enjoy the little bits that people have come to know as Disney Land as well as the man Walt Disney.

Richard Snow gives readers a chronological order of Walt and his life along with the creations of the different Theme Parks that have changed the world of theme parks.

The author did a wonderful job of giving readers a inside look at Disneyland as well as the creator of the parks and how amazing and difficult it can be.

This will have readers want to visit this amazing park.


Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for the advance copy of Richard Snow Disney's Land.
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Disney's Land tells the complete story of Disneyland from concept to the present day. This novel is one of the best histories of Disneyland that I've read (and there are quite a few out there.) The tone of the book is so friendly and readable that you feel as if you are listening to a friend tell the story.
One fact I hadn't heard before reading this was that Walt was pretty bored making cartoon movies and wanted a new challenge. I also diagnosed Walt with ADHD just by reading his behavior descriptions. :)
There were so many challenges to create what was the first theme park anywhere, and to do it so well out of the gate was amazing. Not everything went as planned, and reading about the ins and outs of the details was fascinating.
I'm tempted to purchase the audio version of this book. The chapter containing the transcript of the live broadcast of Opening Day would be fun to hear. It sounds like Ronald Reagan wasn't very happy that his role narrating the parade did not include a script.
Overall this book will appeal to not only Disney fanatics but to anyone interested in building a creative business from the ground up. There is a lot to learn from the process of creating Disney's first Land.
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A fascinating, detailed look at the creation of the most famous theme park in the world. Occasionally a little breathless--Snow is clearly a lifelong fan, and brushes off some criticisms of Walt Disney the man. Also feels a little padded in sections, as when Snow devotes a chapter to describing the entire "Dateline Disneyland" broadcast from opening day. But fans of Disney, pop culture, trains, and American history will find it very readable and entertaining.
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If you're enjoying the Imagineering Story on Disney +, this is the read for you! 
Many thanks to NetGalley, the publisher, and the author for my ARC. All opinions are my own.
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This is one of the best histories of Walt Disney and the creation of Disneyland that i have read over the years. As a life long Disney fan I was thrilled to receive this for review.  Thank you with gratitude to the publisher and to Net Galley for the opportunity. My review opinion is my own. This review will be cross posted across platforms. I highly recommend this amazing body of work for all Disney fans. 

What I found most profound here is the absolute perfection of the author's detail of every aspect of the brilliance of  Walt Disney. I loved learning of the creation of Disneyland as a sketch on a park bench idea to creation of the park. This is brilliantly done as the author takes us into the mind of our beloved Walt and we learn his beginning struggles, his magical ideas from formation of a idea to creation.   We learn here of the early imagineers , the developers and the builders that worked with Walt.  It was so intriguing to read about how the rides were created and the lands came to be. The well crafted narrative here goes through the early years, the creation, frustration and series of difficulties that Walt faced building the park. The author does a wonderful job here for all Disney fans this is a true testament to the man that was "Walt Disney" and how he inspires us today.   I highly recommend this book for all Disney Fans and those who love Walt Disney.
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4 out of 5 stars

[[I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book from NetGalley. All thoughts and opinions are my own.]]

This was a very thorough and informative history of Disney Land. There were some facts that I already knew, but there were other facts that were brand new to me, which I smiled at and enjoyed. There were parts that were very heady and full of information, but it flowed well. There was also some information about trains and the process of making the cars for Disneyland which were confusing at times, but the information is necessary to be there in order to tell the "story". I don't normally read non-fiction, so this was a new experience for me. This read like a fiction book, which made it easier to read!

If you love Walt Disney and the Disney company, then you will more than likely enjoy this book.
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I'm a huge Disney fan and of Mr. Disney in particular. I find all things related to the building of his parks fascinating. Ingenuity at its finest can be found in these pages. Disney is still hiring the most wonderful "Imagineers" even to this day. This book is a wonderful read for any fan of Disney, the parks or engineering.
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"The Main Street lights coming on at dusk looked just as good to me in 2019 as they had in 1959, easing my gloomy wonder that sixty years had disappeared since Uncle Win and I had together watched them shine." 

I had fun with this novel. I am a huge Disney fan and it was easy to see that I would enjoy this. Richard Snow really went in depth about the stories and information about Disney & Walt himself. 

I am someone who has never to been to California, only to Florida. It was very interesting to learn about the history of Disneyland itself, not just Disneyworld. Every word was thought out and informational. 

The only reason why I didn't give this a five-star rating is because it could be a little dry at times. However, when giving off that much information and knowledge about a specific topic like Disney, it's bound to happen at some point.

I'd recommend this to anyone who loves Disney and anyone who loves history. Learning about everything that happened with Walt and how certain characters came to light, etc., was very intriguing and I'm glad I picked this one up!
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I really enjoyed every minute reading Disney's Land.  This book was packed full of Disney history and was presented in an easy format where it felt like I was actually ' there '.  Having read a few other book on Walt Disney, I can say that this one was enjoyed the most.  Whether you are a casual Disney enthusiast or a veteran fan, you're sure to pick up a lot from reading Richard Snow's book.
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I will read anything and everything about Walt Disney and his life and his lands. Give me all of them and I will enjoy them all I am obsessed and I don’t care who knows if!!
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Disney biographies are often focused on either vilifying or lauding Walt Disney as a person. What works so well about this book is how it presents the events leading up to Disneyland's opening and the ensuing weeks as simply an event that happened, and includes lots of trivia and technical detail. Never before, to my knowledge, has a book sent so many pages talking about the type of metal used in the Autopia cars. Thrilling, if you love technical details about theme park worldbuilding.
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This is a must read for any disney fan. A fascinating look at the development of the disney theme parks. Full of information I highly recommend
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I am a huge fan of all things Disney and I loved reading about the development of Disneyland.  It was quite an adventure for Walt and his family.  So glad it worked out for them
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A superb history chronicling the conception and creation of Disneyland. Richard Snow has done a superb job of detailing the history!
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Read if you: Want to learn more about the improbable origins of Disneyland. 

When Walt Disney proposed the idea for an amusement park, people thought it was an odd idea. In the 1950s, amusement parks had the reputation of being old, dirty, and not much fun. But Disney was used to people rejecting his ideas, so he paid them no mind. Disneyland revolutionized amusement parks (and created the "theme park") and the amusement/theme park experience. 

Although there are some minor quibbles to be made (Snow objects to the Dumbo crows being labeled as "racist"), this is overall a fun and entertaining read. Disneyland's opening day was quite the disaster! 

Many thanks to Scribner and Netgalley for a digital review copy in exchange for an honest review.
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