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Disney's Land

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Disney’s Land: Walt Disney and the Invention of the Amusement Park That Changed the World by Richard Snow is a non-fiction book chronicling the creation of Disneyland in California from conception to execution. Mr. Snow spent many years as an Editor in Chief of American Heritage magazine, as well as consultant on historical movies and documentaries.

I always knew that to build a park is not easy, but I’ve never imagined the huge chances Walt Disney took when dreaming up a park (the phrase “theme park” did not exist before Disneyland) which will make all the others look amateurish. I could only imagine the horror of Roy Disney who was responsible for the finances of making Walt’s dream come true.

In Disney’s Land: Walt Disney and the Invention of the Amusement Park That Changed the World by Richard Snow tells us how this seemingly insane dream took shape. Walt’s pipe dream of “the happiest place on Earth” became a reality at an immense cost, in both sweat and treasure. Disney sold sponsorships to the park in order to make the cost more palatable.

My favorite part of the book was the engineering of the rides, pioneering technologies in miniature, engineering, and materials such as fiberglass. I enjoyed reading a chapter dedicated to the Peter Pan Flight, which to this day is my favorite ride in the park, albeit it is Disneyworld in Florida.

Walt Disney’s attention to detail is amazing, but like many great men this part of his personality caused great concern and setbacks when it came to the park. He insisted on details being absolutely right even though no one but him and the workers will see it. Whether he was right or not depends on who you ask, personally I’m amazed at the details in the parks and could enjoy simply walking around appreciating them all without ever going on an actual ride.

To promote his park Disney started a weekly show on ABC, who also promised to sponsor the park, which worked even better than he planned, when opening day was mobbed with people. The rides broke, there was no drinking fountain because the plumber had to decide between operating bathrooms and operating fountains – and wisely chose the former. The story about Walt eating lunch with the workers, buying a hotdog and walking away hence deciding how far apart garbage cans need to be was enlightening and as it was charming and a great example of some of the anecdotes in this book which are worth the admission price (pun intended).

I really enjoyed reading about the engineering issues, which needed bright minds and ingenious ideas to solve. The author also goes into Walt’s dispute with laborers and unions, he was under immense pressure to open the park as soon as possible and drove the workers hard.
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A history of how Disney Land in California came to be. Little mention of Disney World in Florida. A well-balanced description of the challenges Walt Disney faced. I didn't realize how unprecedented Disney Land was at the time of its opening compared to other amusement parks.
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I have been to Disneyland once and was interested in learning more about the conception and creation of it.  I didn't realize that when Walt was envisioning this "amusement park" that others around the world (including Coney Island!) were on the decline and many of his family and friends thought that it was a ridiculous endeavor.  I think we all know who ended up being right in this scenario.  Things didn't go perfectly or smoothly from the beginning, but eventually things righted themselves and worked out.  Definitely a lot of interesting history and behind the scenes information in this book, very in depth and I enjoyed reading it and now will have to plan another trip to Disneyland once traveling to CA will be safe again! 

I received a free e-copy of this book in order to write this review, I was not otherwise compensated.
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I am an absolute sucker for anything Disney history related. So I really enjoyed this one! Lots of little known facts and well researched.
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That laughable fool Disney & his "Land." Well, who's laughing now?!
It was funny to hear how idiotic people thought Walt Disney was. All the ironic things that they told him how & why it wouldn't work are now just givens of Disneyland itself.
Even funnier was Disneyland's opening day. A big television special introducing the park to everyone was a perfect example of TV magic at its finest. With all the right cuts, angles, and celebrities, the viewing world thought it was wonderful but behind the scenes in the park everyone was miserable - rides weren't working, paint still wet, food and drink sold out by noon, sweltering heat. Worst experience ever. 

Overall I liked this book but it was rather long- winded in parts. Too much detail of some side associates or activities but then other parts were skimmed over or barely mentioned. I would've liked to known the time overlap with what was going on at Disney studios at the same time as far as the movies and weekly TV shows they were making for ABC.
I felt like it ended rather abruptly, briefly talking about the updates Walt was planning and finishing in the first few years of the park. And of course it ended on a sad note with Walt Disney's death.
3.5 stars rounded up to 4.

(I received a complimentary copy of this book from NetGalley.)
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Fans of Disney and Disneyland will be absolutely riveted by this book by Richard Snow. 
Disney's Land shows a well researched behind the scenes look at the making of Disneyland from concept through creation. It does not shy away from criticism and shows the ugliness that was the opening day fiasco off camera.

As a die hard Disneyland fan, i have to admit that I did gloss over the criticism chapters at the end of the book because they were a bit harsh. It was not the authors opinion but the reviews of the park and the continued criticism it garners from certain sectors of the population.
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If you enjoy Disney and visiting the amusement parts then you'll enjoy learning more about the history. There are many interesting details in this book. There is more to the history of these parks than you know or have heard before and perhaps you'll learn some different elements in this book.
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"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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