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Spinning Disney's World: Memories of a Magic Kingdom Press Agent (Paperback)

General Information:

Media Type: Book
Type: Backstage/Behind the Scenes
Release Date: 2015-04-16

Geek's Thoughts: This is the paperback release, the original hard cover release was back in 2007. Here are my thoughts from the original release: Charles Ridgway is a "Disney Legend" having worked for the Walt Disney Company for over four decades in his role as a public relations manager. He is even honored with a window at WDW's Magic Kingdom that reads:
Ridgway Public Relations
Charles Ridgway Press Agent
No Event Too Small

So with that sort of background I was really looking forward to reading this book and I was not disappointed. The book can best be described as a collection of short stories as the author remembers his time with Disney and he walks us through the years covering milestone, personal, and other interesting events. The book starts off semi-biographical then wanders into several key Disney milestones and events told from an angle many do not think of, that of someone working with the press.


One section that I found interesting was the one that dealt with Walt's Weather as Charles calls it. What he means by this is somehow the weather always cleared for the big events. I was able to experience this to some extent a couple of years ago when I was down in Orlando for the kickoff of the Happiest Celebration on Earth. It was a bit rainy and threatening all morning. The event went off as planned, then it poured rain. Charles talks about several events over the years that had similar experiences ranging from the opening of new parks, to attractions, to the resorts.

Another story that I found really interesting was his take on Black Sunday @ Disneyland. That was the press day, July 17, 1955. He talked about the afternoon madness and the live TV broadcast from the perspective of someone covering the event (at the time he did not work for Disney). He then went on to talk about the early evening after the festivities had ended and how the park regained its footing (and lost its crowd for the day) to close the day on a strong note for him and those lucky few who stuck around.

I also found it interesting to see how the company’s events evolved over time and with the various leadership changes. Charles Ridgway got to experience the Disney Company from Walt’s prime (some would argue) through Michael Eisner. He attended the opening of Disneyland right through the opening of Hong Kong Disneyland. I would recommend this book to any disneygeek out there who wants to hear another side of many of the stories and events they are familiar with. I really enjoyed learning about some different aspects to even some well covered pieces of Disney history, for example he had a great story on how the Orlando Sentinel reporter who broke the story about Disney coming to Orlando wound up in Burbank with Walt and got the story.

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