I make no secret of my lifetime love for all things Disney. Sunday nights, when "Wonderful World of Disney" came on at 7:30 PM (after "Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom") were my favorite night of the week - and not just because I got to stay up a whole 30 minutes past my regular bedtime of 8 PM.
I didn't visit Disneyland for the first time until I was 23 years old. At that time, I rode a lot of the attractions that can no longer be found in the park, because those were the ones I remembered from my mother's colorful souvenir guidebook.
They are also the ones that make up the history of the park as told in this book, which is why I gave a rather lengthy introduction to my review.
Author Sam Gennawey traces the history of Disneyland through its financing, construction, and even ride design. The ups and downs of getting everything to work just right so that visitors would have an outstanding experience with each visit are discussed quite frankly through the pages, with an eye to understanding how we got to where we are. Gennawey also examines the corporate and leadership changes at the Walt Disney Company, and how they affected the park for both good and ill.
This is an honest look through a historian's eyes at the growth and development of a now 60-year-old iconic landmark that delights visitors daily without us ever having looked behind the scenes. Doing so, via this book, gives me both a greater understanding and a greater appreciation.
Highly recommended for Disneyphiles.