Flipping through the pages of Imagineering

While on vacation in Seattle, my mom and I happened upon a cool consignment store: The Seattle Children’s Hospital Bargain Boutique. It was extra neat since my sister J is currently on a residency with Seattle Children’s, and 100 percent of the proceeds benefit the hospital – so we stopped in to see if there were any goodies to be found…and in fact, there was! I picked up this huge 1996 book (originally $29.95 – you can still find it from some sellers on Amazon here) for just $7.50!


Although much of the information inside is dated, it has incredible images and some timeless stories and quotations from a variety of imagineers (and even Walt) that make it a very enjoyable read. I thought I’d share a few highlights of the content for this Throwback Thursday!


The book starts off with a sort of memo, meant to appear as it was delivered in an Inter-Departmental envelope, addressed from “The Book Team” to Marty Sklar, (now) former International Ambassador of Walt Disney Imagineering. It is cheesy, yes, but delightfully so! Here’s a section that made me chuckle:

“We know that Michael Eisner is sensitive about revealing too many “secrets” about what we do here, but it seems we should be able to tell our story without giving the store away.”

Then, “written” in red ink is the reply from Marty, in which he says:

“TEAM Book – Great Idea! Let’s set up a meeting with Michael E. to discuss. Is Hyperion (book publisher) on board?”

From there, the story takes off – after a short forward from Chairman and CEO, Michael Eisnerย – it delves into the birth of Imagineering – from the first conceptualization of Disneyland, to the idea-generating process, embracing failures and more, with the help of dazzling visuals, from the most rudimentary sketches to spectacularly masterful concept art.

Gorgeous concept art of Tokyo Disneyland
One little spark...
One little spark…
"it's a small world" panels.
“it’s a small world” panels.
Cinderella Castle.
Cinderella Castle.

…and even cool stuff like this:

The construction of Spaceship Earth.
The construction of Spaceship Earth.

…I really could go on and on about the amazing images! There are even some neat sections of fold-out attraction art that I just discovered today:

Attraction posters…which is your favorite?

All in all, I’d say it was well worth the purchase price, and I definitely look forward to going through and reading more of the stories, as time allows…but before I go, I thought I’d share one more selection from the book, quoted by Ray Bradbury, from Letters to the Editor, NATION, June 28, 1958, in regard to criticism toward Disneyland:

“[…] I admit that approached Disneyland with many intellectual reservations, myself, but these have been banished in my seven visits. Disney makes mistakes; what artist doesn’t? But when he flies, he really flies. I shall be indebted to him for a lifetime for his ability to let me fly over midnight London looking down on that fabulous city, in his Peter Pan Ride. The Jungle Boat ride, too, is an experience of true delight and wonder. I could go on, but why bother?

I have a sneaking suspicion, after all is said and done, that Mr. Halevy (the writer who compared Disneyland to Las Vegas) truly loved Disneyland, but is not man enough, or child enough, to admit it. I feel sorry for him. He will never travel in space, he will never touch the stars.”

…couldn’t have said it better myself, Ray ๐Ÿ™‚

What’s your best thrift store find?ย 


    • Aww that’s awesome, T! What a small world ๐Ÿ˜€ Agree, Seattle is an awesome place!!

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