Having already put together Imagineering Field Guides for the Magic Kingdom, Epcot and Animal Kingdom, Alex Wright has taken a break from writing about the Walt Disney World Resort (Reportedly because the folks at Disney Editions want WDW Guests to get used to calling the park-formerly-known-as-MGM Disney's Hollywood Studios instead before they then publish a guide book about that theme park).
Not to worry, though. Orlando's loss is Anaheim's gain. For -- while we're all waiting for the April 2009 publication of "The Imagineering Field Guide to Disney's Hollywood Studios" -- Alex has turned his attention on the theme park that started it all. The Happiest Place on Earth.
Copyright 2008 Disney Editions. All Rights Reserved
And if you liked the first three books in this series, I can guarantee that you'll enjoy "The Imagineering Field Guide to Disneyland" (Disney Editions, November 2008). For Wright follows his now well-established formula with this 128-page paperback, liberally mixing fun behind-the-scenes tidbits with cool seldom-seen pieces of concept art.
What I always enjoy about Alex's books is that he genuinely strives to show his readers things that they've never ever seen before. Take -- for example -- that John Hench & Herb Ryman concept painting below. Sure, you've probably seen the exterior of Disneyland's Enchanted Tiki Room before. But take a closer look at the marquee of this Adventureland showing building. Do you notice anything unusual?
In this painting, the sponsor of this attraction is shown as being RCA. Yet -- when The Enchanted Tiki Room first opened its doors in July of 1963 -- the original sponsor of this Disneyland show was United Airlines.
You see what I'm getting at yet? Wright actually dug out the concept painting that the Imagineers used to try & convince RCA executives to sponsor this new Disneyland attraction. A sales pitch that obviously failed.
Alex clearly has a love for concepts that never quite made it off the drawing board. Be it the version of the Indiana Jones Adventure where you were to have zoomed through the Temple of the Forbidden Eye aboard a runaway mine car ...
Or Walt's original, far more elaborate vision for Disneyland's Fantasyland section. Which was to have featured a ferris wheel themed around that Academy Award-winning short, "The Old Mill" ...
... as well as a shoot-the-chutes ride that would have sent Guests careening out of Monstro's mouth.
Of course, as every good Disney history fan knows, Disney didn't have have enough money back in 1955 to put everything that he wanted into Disneyland. Which is why the fanciful exterior that Herb Ryman originally created for Peter Pan's Flight never made it out of Neverland.
Now please don't make the mistake of thinking that "The Imagineering Field Guide to Disneyland" is some sort of tribute to the Disneyland that never was. The sort of book that would only appeal to the dweebiest of Disneyana fan. Far from it. This book also has plenty of material that will appeal to even the most casual of theme park visitors. Like pointing out some of Disneyland's less obvious storytelling, like those sails that tower over New Orleans Square. Which suggest the bustling harbor that should exist just beyond those show buildings.
Wright also details the process that goes into the creation of your favorite Disneyland rides. Everything from dimensional design (IE: the talented sculptors who created all of the figures that that you find in this theme park, including the macquette of a hippo from "it's a small world" pictured below) ...
In short, there's lots to like about this pocket-sized paperback. So if you're looking for some sort of stocking stuffer for the Disneyana fan on your holiday shopping list, "The Imagineering Field Guide for Disneyland" comes highly recommended.
"Now please don't make the mistake of thinking that "The Imagineering Field Guide to Disneyland" is some sort of tribute to the Disneyland that never was. The sort of book that would only appeal to the dweebiest of Disneyana fan."
Excuse me? You mean like some of us who stop by this site because of all the cool stories about attractions that were never built? The stories that got us hooked into checking here everyday? The one's who actually might enjoy a book about these sort of never built ideas?
Be careful who you call dweebs Jim!
I hope everyone notices that the link to Disney's own website on Hollywood Studios takes you to "MGMLandingPage". It's not just the guests who still need to adjust...
I haven't got around to reading my copy yet, but it's very interesting to see the Old Mill wheel in that concept, which of course eventually ended up at Paris! Closed now, but I was lucky enough to ride it while it was still functioning.
I went and browsed the book over to compass at DTD West Coast today...a lot of the artwork therein has been published in other books, and, the pictures really need a magnifying glassto be able to truly be enjoyed. Pity that. There are a series of pictures I've not seen before - oneofthe Indy concept pieces by Jowers (the one with the blue sphere in it at the bottom of the page) and Tony Baxter's Fantasyland redo artpiece of the Alice In Wonderland exterior garden..
Good overview to Disneyland and the Imagieering process...I just wish they made these books larger and easier to see the pictures....
Skipper, I agree that the pics are small but they are field guides and designed for carrying around the parks. Apparently, it was a necessary trade off.