Selected Books

Disneyland 50th Anniversary Books

For its 50th anniversary, Disneyland released a number of books exploring different aspects of the park. Some of the most interesting:

The Art of Disneyland: More than just an update of the Sun-tzu original, The Art of Disneyland is a treatise on how to make people have fun -- no matter whether they want to or not. The book begins by discussing how you must size up your guests. What do they want? What do they expect? What do they think you think they expect and want? From there it goes on to describe how to put together Disneyland-style theme-park entertainment in military terms, with each attraction a battle and each land a campaign combining a park-wide war. Too bad that this book wasn't around a few years back, or the section on the difficulty of victory when your forces are divided might have made executives rethink the creation of Disney California Adventure.

Disneyland Then, Now, and Forever: A intriguing look at Disneyland attractions as they were when they first opened, how they look now, and how a professional Disneyland futurist believes they will look in the future. For example, across a two-page spread The Mad Tea Party is shown first in its original 1955 location, then in its current location, and finally as an artist's concept in which the teacups hover above the table and ram each other like tea-time bumper cars. If an attraction no longer exists, its "current" picture is of either the attraction that took its place or a tribute to the old attraction somewhere in the park, so the "now" entry for the Bathroom of Tomorrow shows the scene in Star Tours where the star speeder smashes through a wall and you can just see the bathroom of tomorrow in the corner of the screen.

Some of the "forever" entries may give Disneyland speculators reason to pause. We all agree that classics like Pirates and the Haunted Mansion are likely to be permanent and unchanged aside from internal "plussing," but does anyone really believe that The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh will become a multi-story E-ticket within our life time? Or anyone's, for that matter? And showing Tim Sawyer Island with an airstrip is extremely silly -- although not so much so as the speculation that Main Street will one day be a tribute to the "old-time" 1970s.

Around the World with Disney: In this unusual travel guide, inspired by stories of people kidnapping garden gnomes and traveling the globe with them, we are shown the adventures of Walt Disney, whose frozen body has been taken around the world and photographed in front of landmarks and beautiful scenery from South America to Africa to the densest jungles of Asia. The book contains at least one photograph from every country in the world and from each American state and Canadian province. Highlights include frozen Walt sliding down an Olympic luge course, Walt at a Las Vegas blackjack table, Walt surrounded by emperor penguins, and poor Walt-on-ice standing next to a faux iceberg in a museum Titanic exhibit.

It is not clear to us whether we are supposed to believe that this really is Walt Disney's body or that it's some kind of fabrication, but in any case Disney's family has expressed outrage and the company has publicly apologized for the book, making sales skyrocket.

Disneyland in Natural Color: This reprint of an original tour guide from the park's first year is a curiosity for two reasons. First, why does the title say "Natural Color"? The color in this book is oversaturated and not realistic, more like something from the 1950s than any book you'd find today.

And second, who would buy this think. It's inexpensive, sure, but the map of the park is all wrong (many attractions are misnamed), there's nothing about Space Mountain or Indiana Jones (or any of the best rides, for that matter), and the photos show stuff that doesn't even exist at Disneyland (after purchasing the book we compared the photos to the supposed locations and found almost nothing but differences). Heck, this book is so full of inaccuracies that you'd think someone from this Web site wrote it. Come to think of it, we're suing.

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