Photo courtesy of Orange County Archives.


  • Jim Denney (How to Be Like Walt w/ Pat Williams) returns to his first love with a great concept
  • A perfect read for first time visitor to Disneyland Resort
  • See the park the way Walt did, and meant you to, decades later

Jim Denney dives back into the world of his youth and heart with his book Walt’s Disneyland. Bringing the reader along on a novel journey, he invites us to see Disneyland Resort — with it’s myriad of changes over the last 60+ years — the way that Walt did.  Like most books surrounding the man who built a kingdom, the start of the book is a very ‘Cliff’s Notes’ tale of Walt’s beginnings in Marceline to the many successes (and failures) that shaped the Disney empire.

Chapter Three starts our real journey, and as Mr. Denney writes in a very conversational tone, you definitely feel as if you’re taking a private tour of the park with an old friend.  Each successive chapter is a different section of the park, with not only highlights and details to look for, but also a true look as close as you can get through Walt’s eyes; what he intended and what (and sometimes how) he accomplished it.

The book is written both in an easy-to-follow tone and easy to read font with plenty of photos that share concept to completion of “The Happiest Place on Earth”.  Many historical books, even about a place as magical as Disneyland, can end up stuffy or hard to get invested in.  Mr. Denney does a great job of sharing a great deal of insider knowledge, while never making you feel like you’re at a lecture.

Walt’s Disneyland is a great book to have in your library.  For lifelong WDW’ers like me, it’s the perfect book to have on the flight headed to your first (or sixth!) trip to Disneyland Resort in California.  For West Coast Mouse fans, it’s a great way to see the park in a new way, even if that new way is rooted in 1955!

Orange Bird gives it: