Disney’s Land: Walt Disney and the Invention of the Amusement Park That Changed the World
Scribner (December 2019)
After 65 years, still a magic kingdom that is an “oasis for happiness”
I visited Disneyland soon after Disneyland’s doors were opened for the first time (on July 17, 1955) and immediately knew that it was a very special place, indeed a magical place, unlike any other. Since that day, I have returned several times and hope to have at least one more visit.
What we have in this volume is probably a definitive examination of what was required to create what was then an amusement park wholly unlike any other in the entire world. Richard Snow thoroughly explains every possible dimension of what is best viewed as a collective HOW. How it was planned and then the plans were revised. How it was built and all the construction problems that developed. There were site location issues, financial issues, legal issues, marketing issues, personnel issues….and a wide range of refinement issues that continue until now.
However, one vision has remained the same throughout more than six decades. It was developed by one of history’s greatest storytellers: Walter Elias Disney (1901-1966). Here it is: “to entertain, inform and inspire people around the globe through the power of unparalleled storytelling, reflecting the iconic brands, creative minds and innovative technologies that make ours the world’s premier entertainment company.”
Briefly, Walt Disney was an American entrepreneur, animator, voice actor and film producer. A pioneer of the American animation industry, he introduced several developments in the production of cartoons. As a film producer, Disney holds the record for most Academy Awards earned by an individual, having won 22 Oscars from 59 nominations.
In the 1950s, Disney expanded into the amusement park industry, and in 1955 he opened Disneyland. To fund the project he diversified into television programs, such as Walt Disney’s Disneyland and The Mickey Mouse Club; he was also involved in planning the 1959 Moscow Fair, the 1960 Winter Olympics, and the 1964 New York World’s Fair.
The impact of all of Walt Disney’s own experiences, ones that date back to his childhood, played a major role in the creation of Disneyland as he led efforts to create both a “magic kingdom” and all the happy memories visitors carried with them for the rest of their lives. That’s quite a legacy.