Book Review - The Disneyland Encyclopedia: The Unofficial, Unauthorized, and Unprecedented History of Every Land, Attraction, Restaurant, Shop, and Event in the Original Magic Kingdom by Chris Strodder
Even though I've been to DisneyWorld *many* more times than Disneyland (and I live on the *west* coast!), there is a certain "magic" that Disneyland holds over its bigger sibling. It's where it all began, and the history of the place is incredible. Chris Strodder has made an excellent contribution to that history with his book The Disneyland Encyclopedia: The Unofficial, Unauthorized, and Unprecedented History of Every Land, Attraction, Restaurant, Shop, and Event in the Original Magic Kingdom. Using souvenier books, maps, and anything else he could find (short of having access to Disney archives), he has compiled an encyclopedia of just about everything that's ever been located at Disneyland. If you last went to Disneyland in the '60s and wonder where that quaint little shop you remember disappeared to, you'll find it here. And along the way, it'll bring back fond memories of what once was...
As a young child in Southern California, my parents apparently took me to Disneyland a number of times. Unfortunately, I remember few of them as I was so young. But I did visit a few times as I got older, and that's where my love of all things Disney began. I have vague recollections of Adventure Thru Inner Space, Autopia, and other classics. But when I go back now, everything just seems "different". That's because Disneyland is not a static attraction, and rides, shops, and attractions come and go. Strodder takes his love of Disney, adds a heavy dose of research, and creates this guide that answers all the "didn't there used to be an <something> over there?" questions that go through your mind. Complete with maps, chronology, and history, you can use this book to trace back any location at Disneyland and see how it's morphed over the years. There's no pixie dust spin here, either. While PeopleMover was an incredible concept when it first came out (and was still fun to ride), it was removed for what was supposed to be another thrill ride called Rocket Rods. But the hype never lived up to the reality, and continual mechanical issues led to Rod's early demise. The PeopleMover infrastructure is still there, just not being used for anything right now. A graphic reminder that not everything the Imagineers touch turns out magical.
On top of all the accurate information, I personally enjoyed the trip down memory lane. He brought to mind rides and areas I had forgotten about, and I loved the nostalgic feeling I had reading the book. I'd love to be able to head down to Disneyland again with book in hand, and spend a few days just looking up different areas to see how they've changed over the years. If you're a Disney addict with a particular bent towards the Anaheim version of the Magic Kingdom, then you will enjoy this book quite a bit.