Tuesday, March 25, 2008

We've Been Scooped!

Did you know there is a Disneyland Encyclopedia coming out on May 1? Neither did I! Its full title is The Disneyland Encyclopedia: The Unofficial, Unauthorized, and Unprecedented History of Every Land, Attraction, Restaurant, Shop, and Event in the Original Magic Kingdom (phew!). You can find it on Amazon here. This is the publisher's description:
Spanning the entire history of the park, from its founding more than 50 years ago to the present, this fascinating book profiles 500 attractions, restaurants, stores, events, and significant people from the history of Disneyland®. Each of the main entries in the book examines in detail the history of a Disneyland® landmark, including how many of the most popular attractions went through several incarnations before becoming what they are today—Tomorrowland’s Hall of Chemistry and Hall of Aluminum were transformed into the groundbreaking Adventure Thru Inner Space in 1967, and then became the popular ride Star Tours 20 years later. Read about unbuilt concepts, including Rock Candy Mountain and Chinatown, and delight in fascinating trivia about the park, such as ride statistics and attendance records. With a daily list of events, openings, and closings in the park's history, a yearly summary of attractions that came and went, simple and clear maps that correspond to the book’s 500 entries, and sidebars with additional information on each ride, this is a comprehensive and entertaining book overflowing with detail on the most-renovated, most-loved, and most-visited theme park in the world.
The author is Chris Strodder, a name previously unfamiliar to me. You can find a listing of 442 (or so) of the 500 terms and a little more description here. It looks like it focuses almost entirely on proper nouns, though there are a few generics, like restrooms or fireworks (though the latter is undoubtedly about the specific shows). I'm a little skeptical about the claim to cover "every event"--I currently have 236 events, promotions, and programs listed in the thesaurus (and I'm just getting started!). I'll be interested to see the length and scope of the entries and what sources were used in the creation of this encyclopedia. It covers just Disneyland Park--no Disneyland Hotel, Downtown Disney, Disney's California Adventure, etc. Anybody out there know more about it? Or the author?


Anonymous said...

Well, I would wait for the book to come out and see whether the content matches the promise.

I've done book editing in the past, and I can tell you that 95% of the publishers that do books like this are not too sympathetic to what they consider to be "specialty subjects".

In a practical way, what this means is that the subject gets glossed over and "dumbed down" so that the publisher is sure to appeal to the widest market (which, after all doesn't know much about Disneyland)

My other concern is that it will just be another recycle job ... the same "Press Release" facts, garnished with internet research and things the author has "heard".

Will we hear the same things about the Tiki Room? That it was originally to be a restaurant? That the fountain was originally a beverage counter? That the birds are covered in a material inspired by Walt's green sweater?

yadda x 3.

See ... anybody can "write" one of these "encyclopedia" books ... I just did a half chapter on the Tiki Room in the preceding paragraph and it came out as fast as I could type the words.

The real trick is to write a book worth reading ... and the proof of the pudding is in the tasting.

We will see when it comes out, so don't throw your notes away just yet.

-Katella Gate

Vintage Disneyland Tickets said...

Funny, I was just on Amazon today, buying your other book: 101 Things You Never Knew About Disneyland, you’d think Amazon would have pointed me to this book!

While the description sounds compelling, it doesn’t seem exactly like your current project. Or even close. I agree with what Katella said, anyone can pull a bunch of known facts together; I have my doubts about this one.

There is a reference to “Maps” I wonder if they have created maps or are using the “big maps” or the Guidebook maps? I see “ticket books” listed on the site, that ought to be interesting. That website is, well, a little funky & busy….

I’ll be curious to see what it’s like. I see the writer is not exclusive to Disneyland, his other works are not related to Disneyland at all. I wonder what his “sources” are like? Better not be just the “E-Ticket Magazine”!

I wonder why we are only hearing of this now? DO NOT toss your notes Jason, from what you have shared with me, your project is a true "Compendium" of Disneyland, not a coffee table book!

Jason Schultz said...

Thanks for the comments. I am definitely NOT thinking of throwing away notes or any such thing! Since I hadn't heard of this--and had never heard of the author--I was just curious if anybody else was in the dark.

Katella Gate, I am definitely going to judge the book by the actual product. Even if it does match the billing it's given, what I'm working on with Kevin is MUCH broader and deeper in scope. I know he's not using all the same sources I am, but if I knew what he was using I could probably estimate what the book will be like.

That's another thing with the encyclopedia that I'm working on... I don't want it to JUST be those facts that have already been passed around a lot. I want to include things like the Shipley-Lydecker house connection, or linkages in my post tomorrow, that tie Disneyland in with broader American history themes.

Oh, and Tim, it looks like the maps are custom for the book: "...detailed maps by acclaimed graphic artist Tristan Tang pinpoint the locations of everything in and around the park's perimeter berm (even the extinct attractions)."

Anonymous said...

Harumph! I'll believe it when I see it.

Based on your research of the source of inspiration for McKim's The Haunted Mansion painting, I'm far more comfortable with your level of research than some of these others I've seen claiming to be a "compendium".

Whaddya wanna bet they mention the Castle's Golden Spike as the center of the park? Over at MiceChat, they've determined the Disney press kit opening date for the Haunted Mansion is incorrect - that it actually opened a day earlier than reported based on newspaper stories... betcha this volume gets that date wrong too. And I see there's no mention of the Time Castle buried for the 40th Anniversary, an event you'd think an Encyclopedia might want to include.