‘Walt Disney’s Disneyland’ Book Review

Walt Disney was a master of promotion. His Disneyland television show was basically a weekly commercial advertising his upcoming theme park. And in that theme park, he continued this self-promotion with the release, each year, of souvenir booklets, pamphlets, and hardcover books, all designed to keep guests dreaming about Disneyland long after the visit was over!

This post is a review of one such publication:

This 70-page book has no ISBN number and no publisher but does reference Walt Disney Productions. It was printed in the U.S.A. possibly in February of 1971. However, the copyright date is 1969.

This book was first published in 1964 and was re-released every year afterwards. For how long, I don’t know. Slight changes to this publication likely would have been made as new attractions were added to the park and others removed.

The book is filled with beautiful two-page spreads of popular attractions. The Jungle Cruise, above,  is a personal favorite!

One of the best reasons for purchasing such an old book is because of the history it contains. Attractions like The Skyway, now gone (but rumored to be returning to Walt Disney World), are fun to see again!

Young and Old Enjoy Disneyland

A panoramic shot like this one shows both the Columbia and the Mark Twain. Would you like to be sitting on one of those benches right now?

Beautiful!

The book covers many of the classic attractions with colorful pictures and informative text.

The book actually starts with a brief history of the construction of Disneyland. It then covers each of the cardinal lands in turn: Fantasyland; Adventureland; Frontierland; Tomorrowland; and of course, Main Street U.S.A.

Next it covers the first and second decades of the park in their own sections. New Orleans Square and the updated Tomorrowland are also featured. The book ends with a ‘what is to come’ page featuring the soon-to-be opened Walt Disney World.

COOL FACTOR: 4.5/5

For the casual Disney fan, this book would be a fun read. For the diehard fan, it is an essential read of the history of Disneyland!

I would have given it a higher rating if not for the fact that it is merely a reprint of earlier, essentially the same, publications. But even so, I highly recommend it!

I picked it up at a thrift store for just $5.00 CAN.

Magical Blogorail: Disney Ride Secrets – Big Thunder Mountain

Every ride has a ‘sweet spot’ where everyone wants to sit. Especially roller coasters! Where should you sit on Big Thunder Mountain? And what other secrets does this attraction hold?

Welcome to this month’s Blogorail Red Loop. Today we are sharing some of the secrets you’ll find while enjoying Disney attractions.


So what isn’t a secret about this iconic Walt Disney World attraction? The official site says: “Big Thunder Mountain Railroad is a speedy rollercoaster-type attraction designed with your entire family in mind. However, some parts of this attraction are bumpy and, in some instances, take place in the dark.”

Obviously, this isn’t the fastest or wildest ride in the Magic Kingdom. But what it lacks in thrills it more than makes up for in fun and theming. However, if you want the biggest possible thrill on the Big Thunder Mountain railway, here is how to get it:

TIP: Don’t Sit Up Front

When I rode this attraction for the first time, I assumed that the best place to ride would be directly behind the ‘engine’. But when I asked the loading Cast Member if we could ride up front, he told me that if I wanted to really feel the drops, I needed to ride in the back. He directed us there and… he was right!

Why? On the main drop, the coaster train slows, and the front starts down the drop before the cars are released. So the first two cars don’t experience the full length of the drop. But the last car, still slightly behind the crest of the hill when the drop begins, gets the full effect!

So whereby with other coasters the front cars are the best, with Big Thunder Mountain, it’s the rear that gives the best ride!

But there is one more tip I can share to help you get the most out of this attraction. As mentioned earlier, Big Thunder Mountain is heavily themed, so you will want to see everything. But how can you do that whilst whizzing around the track? You can’t. Therefore…

TIP: Ride Other Attractions

The picture above was taken from the Liberty Belle Riverboat while plying the Rivers of America. This allows you a leisurely look at the majestic spires of the mountain.

You can also watch the ride vehicles go by and listen to the screams of the riders.

You can also see the mountain from the other side if you take a ride on the Walt Disney World Railroad:

You will have less time to see things from this perspective as the train moves a little faster than its lake-going counterpart. But most of the small details are on this side, so be sure to sit of the right side of the train cars for the best views and photo opportunities.

I’ll let you discover the rest of the secrets on your own when you ride Big Thunder Mountain for yourself!

For more Disney ride secrets,
check out the other great posts from the Blogorail!


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Magical Blogorail: How We Know We’ve Arrived at Disney – Check In

Welcome to this month’s Blogorail Blue Loop. Today we are sharing How We Know We’ve Arrived at Disney.


STAYING ON-SITE: CHECK-IN!

Nothing says “You have arrived!” like seeing a giant sign with the name of a Disney resort on it. This is where you will be staying and from where all the Disney magic you experience will start from. From parking the car to checking in to finding your room, don’t rush the process!

I’m going to show you how you can make the check-in at your resort a truly magical way to start your Disney vacation. If you follow my suggestions, you will truly know that you have arrived at Disney! I will be using Disney’s Art of Animation Resort as our model, with one picture from Pop Century thrown in for good measure.

FIRST: Approach the Check-in Desk.

Here you will meet your first friendly Cast Member. Enjoy the smiles and get ready to see more of them! These wonderful people are there to make your stay a memorable one.

SECOND: Get Your Bearings.

These maps are handy to find your building but also to familiarize yourself with the entire property. You’ll want to find the pools, restaurants and food service locations, the bus stop, and the resort retail store.

THIRD: Find Your Home-Away-From-Home.

         

         

Squaring away your things before you set out to explore is always a good idea. You can also use the time to relax and freshen up after your long journey to Disney. Once you have put everything away, it’s time to…

FOUR: Explore Your Resort.

    

This is a great way to get your first taste of Disney magic and to take those vacation photos that everyone back home will be waiting to see. So take lots of shots and pose with everything in sight!

FIVE: Visit the Resort Store.

You will visit many retail locations during your visit. Some of these you will visit voluntarily while others will be thrust upon you. For example, after most big attractions you will exit into retail spaces and be jostled by some rabid shoppers and many others who just want to get out of there and hit the next ride! Visiting your resorts retail location will give you a chance to browse the merchandise at an unhurried pace.

In conclusion, the basic idea here is that checking into your on-site resort will whet your appetite for everything to come. Usually most of us arrive at the resort later in the day and after an exhausting drive or harried plane flight. Try to resist the urge to rush right off to a park. Instead, relax and enjoy your check-in  experience, for it truly is how you will know that you have arrived at Disney!

For more ways we know we’ve “arrived” at Disney, check out the other great posts from the Blogorail!


Here is the map of our Magical Blogorail Blue | How We Know We’ve “Arrived” at Disney Loop:

Magical Blogorail: Best Frozen Treats at Disney – Mickey Bars

Welcome to this month’s Blogorail Teal loop. Today we are sharing the best frozen treats you can find at Disney.


M I C K E Y     B A R S

Everyone knows about this classic/iconic Disney treat! And I doubt there are too many theme park guests who haven’t had at least one.

Is it tasty? Yes. Is it good for you? Sure, why not. Is it addictive? Yes. Should you buy a box of them and smuggle them back to your home State or country? Sure, why not.

Ah, that first bite! It’s like a Disney rite of passage. But do you bite into the left ear or right ear first? Scientists have spent millions conducting an exhaustive study on that conundrum but as yet have only determined that biting into too many Mickey Bar ears causes stomach aches. Money well spent people!

Fun Facts: There are some things you may not know about this funny-shaped treat.

  • It’s gluten-free!
  • You can find it off-property (at the Vero Beach and Hilton Head resorts, for example)

And we end this loop just as we should all end each and every one of our Disney vacations: With a Mickey Bar!


Here is the map of Magical Blogorail Teal | Best Frozen Treats at Disney Loop:

Top Five Things Disney Wouldn’t Do Today Due to Accountability

Things were much different in the 1950’s and even in the 1970’s when it came to acceptable practices. Construction projects were rushed to completion with minimal thought to safety. And nothing was off-limits for entertainment if it put a smile on the face of a paying customer!

We can’t judge Disney too harshly for any of the questionable things on this list as they were common practice in the past. But now in a world ruled by the PC Police and environmental concerns, there is no longer any room for the Top 5 things Disney wouldn’t do today:

NO-NO NUMBER FIVE

Radical Terraforming

Orange groves? We don’t need no stinking orange groves! Cut them down. Bulldoze the landscape. We have a theme park to build! This is very close to the mentality of the builders of Disneyland back in the 1950’s. It was better in the 1970’s when Walt Disney World was built, but things were still done that wouldn’t fly under today’s environmental rules and regulations.

Of course, all things were done within the current understandings of those days. It is good to see that Disney is in the forefront of modern environmental practices today!

NO-NO NUMBER FOUR

Paying Women Less

This could easily be Number One. But back in the early days of animation, no one was making a good living, and this lasted longer than you might think. Just read this informative post by Floyd Norman called There’s No Money in Animation for confirmation of that.

But if the average guy was having a hard time making ends meet, the average gal was practically working for charity! And women, or girls as they were called, were not allowed to be animators. Ink and Paint was the highest rung of the ladder for the ladies!

Times have changed with more female animators and Imagineers, but I think we still have a way to go.

NO-NO NUMBER THREE

Fast-tracking Attractions

Disneyland was built in just over a year. A single year! The entire park.  No wonder most of the rides were broken down at the end of Disneyland’s first day! It can take up to five years just to build a single attraction today.

Would you have wanted to trust your life to an opening-day attraction in Disneyland? Again, it’s good to see that Disney has slowed down and made safety and longevity the keys to every building project today.

NO-NO NUMBER TWO

Releasing Balloons

Doesn’t that look beautiful? How many balloons do you think are in the sky in the above picture? Now, how many birds do you think died because of choking on these same balloons when they finally deflated and landed on the ground?

For an eye-opening education into this problem, check out balloonsblow.org to have your mind blown and your view of such beautiful spectacles changed.

NO-NO NUMBER ONE

Foreign Waters in Small World Ride

What could possibly be wrong with doing this: Bringing actual untested water samples from some of the dirtiest rivers of the world and dumping them into a clean water source in the United States? This is just another example of money being able to do whatever it wants in the 1960’s.

Fortunately the samples were dumped into a closed water system that was likely highly chlorinated or otherwise treated. But still! Any number of foreign and dangerous parasites could have been released into the greater water sources of the park, and thusly, the US!

Being as you can’t take an apple across international borders today, I’m guessing that untested water samples would probably get you detained in Customs.

CONCLUSION

So what do you think of my list? Are you glad things are different today?