I love reading about Disneyland’s history. It’s so fascinating to learn not just what appeared when, but why the park developed the way it did, and the thinking behind each choice. So when a family friend recommended I read The Disneyland Story, I couldn’t wait to pick it up!


The Disneyland Story is all about the thinking behind Disneyland, from its initial development all the way through to the present day. You’ll learn how Walt decided on its location, why the park has its layout, even why the castle’s placement was so crucial. And as the park grew and expanded, so did its story. Why New Orleans for the park’s new square? How would demand for roller coasters affect the quaint park? Which characters/franchises should be represented, and where? All of these questions (and many, many more) are closely examined in this book.


From the book sleeve:

Sam Gennawey is the author of The Disneyland Story: An Unofficial Guide to the Evolution of Walt Disney’s Dream, Walt and the Promise of Progress City, a contributor to Planning Los Angeles and other books as well as a columnist for the popular MiceChat website. His unique point of view built on his passion for history, his professional training as an urban planner, and his obsession with theme parks has brought speaking invitations from Walt Disney Imagineering, the Walt Disney Family Museum, Disney Creative, the American Planning Association, the California Preservation Foundation, the California League of Cities, and many Disneyana clubs, libraries and podcasts. He is currently a Senior Associate at the planning firm of KPA.


This book does a fantastic job of exploring Disneyland’s history. I’ve spent a lot of time reading about Disneyland’s development, and I learned something new on virtually every page. The author takes a great deal of time to thoroughly explain not only decision-making around the park, but the players involved and how their relationships impacted the park’s development. This book is truly the history of Disneyland in one condensed source.

A word of caution – this book’s detail can also be its downfall, if you’re a new Disneyland fan. I would recommend familiarizing yourself with a Disneyland map before reading. If you don’t know the basic layout of Disneyland, you’ll have absolutely no idea what’s being discussed at times. But if you know the drill, this book is the perfect way to become a park history expert!

4 comments on “The Disneyland Story: The Unofficial Guide To The Evolution Of Walt Disney’s Dream”

  1. I have seen this book recommended to me on Good Reads for awhile now. Will definitely have to download and read, thanks for the recommend.

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