Monday, August 10, 2015


Turning 60 is often regarded as no fun unless you are celebrating the birthday of the happiest place on earth. Yes, we are talking about Disneyland, which opened in July 1955. Disneyland was the only amusement park created directly by Walt Disney, who originally thought it could be built on 8 acres in Burbank. Instead 160 acres in Anaheim were purchased. Opening day critics called it “Walt’s Nightmare,” but the public knew better and, according to the Los Angeles Times, 750 million people have visited the Magic Kingdom in the last 60 years. Want to know more about the park and its creator? The Monrovia Public Library has several books of interest.
Disneyland: The Inside Story by Randy Bright was written almost 20 years ago, but remains a definitive book about the park’s inception and early days. Illustrated with historic photos, this book will especially appeal to Disney fans and to old time Southern Californians who remember their first Disneyland visits.

It all started with Walt Disney. Two of the best biographies are Neal Gabler’s Walt Disney: The Triumph of the American Imagination and Animated Man by Michael Barrier. Gabler, known for his incisive show business books, focuses on Disney the visionary and innovator who was involved in multiple facets of the entertainment industry. Animated Man also recognizes Disney’s creative energy and is a well written and interesting biography.

The Art of Walt Disney: From Mickey Mouse to the Magic Kingdoms and Beyond by Christopher Finch is a terrific coffee table book with beautiful illustrations. From movies to theme parks to musical theater, this book highlights how Disney design has captured the world’s attention and imagination.

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