A longtime Disney enthusiast uses his journalism skills to write a brief history of four intertwined amusement parks in this new book released by Dog Ear Publishing. This intriguing work includes information on attractions and the people who created them.
Four plots of desolate land – an ex-orange grove, soggy field near a busy city, former dump and alligator-infested swampland – didn’t have much going for them until someone with vision turned them into wonderlands. This new book details a common thread that runs through entertainment venues decades apart: Disneyland in California, Walt Disney World in Florida, Freedomland in the Bronx and the 1964-65 New York World’s Fair in Queens. That common thread includes C.V. Wood, general manager of Disneyland, who went on to create his own vision – Freedomland, a U.S. history-themed park. The author visited them all.
“Disney’s Dream Weavers” weaves a tale of beloved theme parks, starting with Disneyland, the world’s first theme park, which opened in 1955. Wood worked with Disney to make the park a reality. After Wood left Disney under less-than-idea circumstances, he built Freedomland. The world’s fair highlighted another aspect of Disney: the company’s state-of-the-art Audio-Animatronics technology. Another Disney employee, Van Arsdale France, who developed customer service training programs and handled traffic during Disneyland’s opening, did similar tasks at Freedomland. He also created training guidelines for the It’s a Small World workers at the World’s Fair and for future employees at Walt Disney World.
The author’s memories take readers back to such attractions as Freedomland’s horseless carriage ride, elaborate Civil War scenes and a stagecoach robbery; the World’s Fair’s stunning Ford Motor Company’s Magic Skyway and Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln, featuring a life-like figure standing and speaking; the monorail ride leading to Disney World and the character-shaped topiary; and the Magic Kingdom at Disneyland. The book pays homage to those working behind the scenes to create parks that live on in memories as well as those still attracting tourists today. Photos, most of them from the author’s own albums, bring the parks to life once again.
Award-winning journalist Chuck Schmidt has covered several major Disney events, including Walt Disney World’s 15th and 25th anniversaries, christenings of the Disney Cruise Line’s Dream (2011) and Fantasy (2012) ocean liners and Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park’s grand opening in 1998. He shares his passion for Disney in his blog Goofy about Disney on www.SILive.com. He and his wife, Janet, have three children and three grandchildren.
Disney’s Dream Weavers: The Visionaries Who Helped Create Disneyland, Freedomland, the 1964-1965 New York World’s Fair and Walt Disney World – and the Ties that Bind Them
ISBN: 978-1-4575-1225-4 124 pages $14.95 US
Available at Ingram, Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble
and fine bookstores everywhere.
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