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Disneyland Through the Decades: A Photographic Celebration

General Information:

Media Type: Book
Type: Parks - Picture
Release Date: 2010-04-27

Geek's Thoughts: Jeff Kurtti checks in again with another great book on the parks. This one features a look at Disneyland over the years. Each chapter features another decade in Disneyland's history. It starts off with the formation of the park in the early 1950's then goes decade by decade up through the current, 2005-present including the growth from a single park to the Disneyland Resort which includes Disney's California Adventure, the Grand Californian, and Downtown Disney. Throughout the book are great historical pictures as well as some taken within the last few years. The most recent pictures I noticed in were from last year, one of Dumbo from Magical that debuted last summer as well as the new Tinkerbell float for the Electrical Parade.

One feature of this book that sets it apart from others I have read is how has several excerpts from other pieces. Whether its the Disneyland Park proposal, a newspaper article such as the one from the New York Times on the first ten million guests from Feb 2, 1958, the Disney News, or other Disney books. I thought it was great to read some of these pieces and see how the story unfolded. It reminded me I need to go back and re-read some of the Disney News Magazines that I have in my archives...


One of my favorite features of the book is the time line at the end. It contains a listing of attractions and their opening dates at both Disneyland and Disney's California Adventure. I thought it was fun to see this list and skim through it.. amazing how fast time flies!! Many of the "new" attractions that we watched being built and still call new are actually over 5 years old already.

I found it interesting how California Adventure took over the last chapter of the book. There are quite a few pages (including some of the concept art) for the expansion of the park. No mention of any Disneyland updates/coming soons though.

There are quite a few full page and a couple multi-page spreads that feature some amazing images. I really enjoyed seeing some of the older images from the park as well as more modern ones from angles/points of view we do not have access to as regular guests. One image that stood out to me is the page panoramic shot of Paradise Pier before its make-over. What a difference.. easy to forget what it originally looked like. Another that stands out is a high angle shot on Main Street, I assumed it was from one of the roofs. I also found some of the layouts great.. seeing the juxtaposition of construction, old/classic shots, and then new new adventures all on the same spread within the book. For example there is one that features the the classic shot of a submarine being delivered to the park and on the same page is a shot of the sub lagoon with the Nemo subs and a new Mark VII monorail overhead, on the opposite page is a classic shot of the Mark V monorail and another shot of the construction of the sub lagoon, monorail, Matterhorn.

Thought it may be of interest to you, here are most of the excerpts(or features) that were reprinted in the book:

  • Disneyland Reports on its First Ten Million - New York Times - Sunday, February 2, 1958
  • Walt Disney's America, 1978 by Chrisopher Finch
  • Disneyland World of Flowers, 1965 by Morgan "Bill" Evans
  • Walt Disney Spoken Here - Marty Sklar
  • Feeling Groovy? Disneyland Weathers the Far-Out 1970s by Tim O'Day
  • The Greatest Bunch of Characters You'll Ever Meet - Disney News, Fall 1976
  • Building the Perfect Race Car - Disney News, Fall 1978
  • Costuming a Cast of Thousands - Disney News, Fall 1979
  • Disneyland: Inside Story, 1987 by Randy Bright
  • Disneyland's 35th Anniversary by Tim O'Day
  • A Carefree Realm - Disneyland: Inside Story, 1987
  • Wally Boag - Disney News - Summer 1990
  • Disneyland: Then, Now, and Forever, 2005 - Julie Andrews
  • The Happiest Celebration on Earth - Tim O'Day
  • You Can Always Come Back to Disneyland Park - Tim O'Day
  • It Takes People - The Magic Begins With Me - 2005

In closing I would say this is a nice addition to your library of existing Disneyland books, I know it is for mine. At this time this is a themepark exclusive and the price is $24.95.

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