Saturday, July 13, 2013

Book Review: Disneyland Through the Decades by Jeff Kurtti

Stars: 3 out of 5
Pros: Interesting behind the scenes and historic essays
Cons: Pictures almost all from the last few years
The Bottom Line
Pictures too modern
But interesting essays
Are still worth reading

Disneyland Through the Decades in Words if Not Pictures

While browsing the stores at Disneyland, I started drooling over the photo book Disneyland Through the Decades.  I wish I had spent a little more time looking at it before I bought it.  I enjoyed it, but it wasn't what I expected.

The book is advertised as a photo journey through Disney's history.  And each chapter focuses on a different decade of the park's history.  There are plenty of essays, and they are posted in the appropriate decade when they were written as well.  We get the history of Walt creating Disneyland and thoughts from various cast members about such things as the plants, creating the cars of Autopia so they don't wear out, and the appeal of the costumed characters in the park.

However, what it doesn't have are pictures through the decades.  Most of the pictures are taken from the last few years.  For example, in the section on the 70's, the decade that saw the introduction of Space Mountain, there's a picture of the outside of the famous roller coaster.  However, in the foreground is an attraction that didn't appear in the park until 1998.  If you are really going to be a photo book of Disneyland Through the Decades, then show me pictures of the park from those different decades.

Despite my disappointment, I did find myself enjoying the book.  The essays were interesting, and the pictures definitely made me long to visit the park.  Pretty neat trick considering I have a pass this year and have been there at least once a month.  There are some interesting insights and perspectives.

I just wish the pictures really covered the decades.

Each chapter also starts with a bit of history putting the happenings in the park in perspective of the time in history and the culture of the Disney Company.  Finally, the book ends with a list of attractions and the date it opened.

The book contains about 160 pages.  It was published in 2010, so it ends with sketches of the recently opened CarsLand in California Adventures.

It's not that Disneyland Through the Decades is bad, but it's not what I was expecting.  Die hard Disney fans like me will still enjoy it even if it isn't a pictorial history of the park.

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