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"Today in Disney History" is a perfect last-minute gift for the Disney obsessive on your holiday shopping list

Jim Hill

Jim's musings on the history of and rumors about movies, TV shows, books and theme parks including Disneyland, Walt Disney World. Universal Orlando and Universal Studios Hollywood.

"Today in Disney History" is a perfect last-minute gift for the Disney obsessive on your holiday shopping list

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It's Christmas-crunch time, kiddies.

You know what I mean. That horrible moment that arrives every holiday season. When you're feeling all smug & self-satisfied because you think that you've completed your Xmas shopping. Only to suddenly sit bolt upright in your chair and say: "Oh, cr*p! I forgot to get something for Cousin Louie!"

Or Aunt Sophie. Or your Uncle Fred. You get the idea, right?

Anywho ... Anyone who's sane really doesn't want to go back to the mall right now. Not without a plan, anyway. Because it's in these desperate moments of blind holiday panic that -- typically -- your really stupid Christmas presents are purchased. Things like electric shoe trees and solar-powered bun warmers. Stuff that no one ever wants to find under the tree.

Now don't worry. We here at JHM are ready to help you through your Christmas crisis. Particularly if you've still got a Disney dweeb left on your holiday shopping list.

Sooo ... You need something cheap (More importantly, something that's easy to wrap) for the Mouse fan in the family? Not to worry. Here's a simple solution: Go to your local bookstore and pick up a copy of Eve Zibart's "Today in History: Disney " (Emmis Books, October 2005).

Copyright 2005 Emmis Books

The subtitle of this 368-page paperback pretty much says it all. It describes Eve's latest book as being " ... a daily dose of Disney Magic for every fan and fanatic."

Now, Zibart's name is undoubtedly known to the Disney faithful out there. After all, she's the author of "The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World for Grown-Ups," "The Unofficial Disney Companion" as well as "Inside Disney: The Incredible Story of Walt Disney World and the Man Behind the Mouse." So Eve obviously already knows her way around the Mouse House.

And Zibart has used her in-depth knowledge of the history of the Walt Disney Company, its movies, TV shows, theme parks and resorts to pull together this breezy read that's just chock-full of interesting tidbits & trivia.

 Take -- for example -- March 18th (I.E. My daughter Alice's birthday). For that date, Eve came up with this "Did You Know?"

Although for years the slightly befuddled voice of Sterling Holloway was identified with Pooh, Walt Disney initially approached George Gobel about the job, but was turned down. (Since Holloway's death in 1992, the task has fallen primarily to voice specialist Jim Cummings, who took on the Pooh television series.)

Or -- flipping open to a random page now -- how about May 7th? Where Zibart writes about how -- on that date ...

The Walt Disney Company formally applied for approval from the Anaheim, California, Planning Commission to add a third park to the Disneyland and Disney's California Adventure complex. Although details were not announced, earlier reports had suggested that it might be either a water park based on Typhoon Lagoon at Walt Disney World or an amusement park based on the Tokyo DisneySea concept. The new park, originally scheduled to open in 2010 (though the opening is since rumored to be pushed back), will cover 78 acres and serve to join the 55-acre Disneyland with the 75-acre California Adventure.

Or -- better yet -- let's see what this prospective Christmas present has to say on December 25th:

Hong Kong Disneyland opened on September 12, 2005, at 1 p.m., a time determined by feng shui rules to make sure the park was in harmony with natural forces.

You see what I'm saying? This stocking-sized paperback is loaded with (quoting from the cover now) "Quotes, questions, trivia and facts!' So no matter what page you turn to, you're bound to learn something new or interesting about the Walt Disney Company.

So if you're looking for something for that Disney obsessive who's left on your holiday shopping list (Or if you're thinking about how you're going to spend that Barnes & Noble gift card that your fat Aunt Francine always sends you), Eve Zibart's "Today is Disney History" is probably the safest way to go.

As for the rest of your shopping list ... Sorry, pal. I got nothin'.

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  • Great... except that Ms. Zibart is notoriously inacurate!

    Ever read "Inside Disney: the Incredible Story of Walt Disney World and the Man Behind the Mouse"?  Her book is chock full of glaring factual errors, once you come across one of the really obvious ones (like the OLD urban legend that the tallest spire of the castle can be removed in the event of a hurricane), your faith in the rest of her books pretty much goes down the drain.

    Also... and this is my personal opinion... she's a freaking bleeding heart liberal! There are two seperate chapters in "Inside Disney" that are completely devoted to ripping apart the whole concept of the Disney Parks!

    As a reviewer put it on Amazon: "Her chapter on Disney's view of history is particularly mean spirited, and deconstructionist in nature. She often gets it wrong, looking for political correctness. She overlooks Disneyland as an historical antecedant to the WDW Magic Kindgom, in terms of ride development and change. She overlooks the value of Disney style entertainment in stimulating interest in history. She also applies a kind of psuedo-psychological analysis of Disney, which ultimately says much more about Ziebarts psychology than Walt's or Eisner's."

    I think your readers need to know this...

  • Why is it that anyone that comes up with an interpretation of Walt and the Studio's creations that deviates from "Walt is our dear old uncle and a saint and all of his movies and attractions are shining examples of wholesome American family values" is automatically lableed a liberal nutcase with looney ideas by folks like original19?  

    BTW, Jim's not even considering Zibart's "Inside Disney" except for a brief mention to show that she's written other books about the Mouse. Even if you didn't care for some of her conclusions and interpretations in "Inside Disney", that doesn't automatically mean the new book's bad (for the record, I thought "Inside Disney" was OK overall although I didn't agree with several of her conclusions, and I thought the new book was pretty good).  I'm sure even you're favorite author's written a dog or two at some point in his or her career.

    P.S.: Jim, "Inside Disney" and "Unofficial Companion" are the same book. "Inside Disney" was the book's original title.

  • My main point was NOT that she is a liberal (that was an aside). My main point was all of her factual errors. In the second chapter of "Inside Disney" she says the company shuts it's gates to the general public the first week of June in observance of Gay Days. Um... I was there that week and I'm not Gay.

    That's just ONE. I pointed out that she writes about the old and debunked story about the top of the castle being able to be removed. Her book is chock full of crap like that. Sorry, but her political/idelalogical stance are mute points when compared to piss poor research.

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