Top 7 Imagineering Books Every Fan Must Read

Walt Disney Imagineering is the research and development arm of The Walt Disney Company, responsible for the creation, design, and construction of Disney theme parks and attractions worldwide. But what exactly does that mean? Find out with out list of the Top 7 Imagineering Books Every Fan Must Read.

Walt Disney’s Imagineering Legends and the Genesis of the Disney Theme Park by Jeff Kurtti

Fifty years ago, Walt Disney utterly transformed the concept of outdoor entertainment venues from tawdry carnivals and seedy amusement piers called “amusement parks,” to an entirely new destination that would come into common vernacular as the “theme park.”

Although Disneyland was the inspiration of one man, Walt did not achieve this history-altering concept on his own. Using his innate talent for combining disparate skills and personalities, he assembled a creative team that blended imagination with engineering. Walt called this group his “Imagineers.”

Why We Love It: This book offers an endless array of tidbits and factoids with accompanying pictures. It is also a great starter’s guide to learning about the Imagineers and their various projects.

Bob Gurr: Legendary Imagineer by Bob Gurr

Legendary Imagineer includes highlights of Bob’s childhood thru high school, which established the basic approach to his philosophy of design and to his passions for life experiences. BOB GURR: Legendary Imagineer probes deeper into his life and times. While a few more of his projects are described, the primary tales that Bob weaves are about the passions and adventures in his life that the reader might find most interesting, quite beyond the general public knowledge of his connection with Walt Disney.

Why We Love It: Bob Gurr, the man responsible for countless iconic Disney ride vehicles, opens the vault and gives us a rarely seen insiders glimpse into his life. It affectionally captures his humble and sincere personality, as seen in The Imagineering Story on Disney+.

Dream It! Do It!: My Half-Century Creating Disney’s Magic Kingdoms by Marty Sklar

 

Marty Sklar was hired by The Walt Disney Company after his junior year at UCLA, and began his Disney career at Disneyland in July 1955, the month before the park opened. He spent his first decade at Disney as “the kid,” the very youngest of the creative team Walt had assembled at WED Enterprises. Soon, he’d become Walt’s literary right-hand man. Over the next forty years, Marty Sklar rose to become president and principal creative executive of Walt Disney Imagineering, and he devoted his entire career to creating, enhancing, and expanding Walt’s magical empire. This beautifully written and enlightening book is Marty’s own retelling of his epic Disney journey, a grand adventure that lasted over half a century.

Why We Love It: While there are scores of books written about Imagineers, this one is written BY an Imagineer. And not just any Imagineer, Marty Sklar! Few have the in-depth history and knowledge of the Walt Disney Company like Marty. His upbeat optimism and pragmatic understanding of the artistic process is well-documented and worthy of any Disney fan’s time.

It’s Kind of a Cute Story by Rolly Crump

The Imagineers, those men and women who helped Walt Disney bring his creations to life, have achieved legendary status among theme park enthusiasts. IT’S KIND OF A CUTE STORY is the life story of one of the most beloved Imagineers, Rolly Crump. Covering his long and varied career, including designing some of Disney’s most famous attractions and working directly with Walt himself, Rolly’s stories weave into a lighthearted yet riveting narrative of his life and accomplishments. Packed with over 200 photos, many of which have never been seen before, IT’S KIND OF A CUTE STORY is a tribute to the life and work of a true original.

Why We Love It: Rolly is one of the most unique and lovable Imagineers of all time. He is a true storyteller, in every sense of the word. His whimsical artwork comes across in every story.

Walt Disney Imagineering: A Behind the Dreams Look at Making Magic Real by The Imagineers

A full-color book reveals the engineering and scientific wizardry behind Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Disneyland Paris, and Tokyo Disneyland through the drawings, models, and stories of the Disney Imagineers, beginning with Walt Disney himself.

Why We Love It: This book is an endless treasure trove of notes, sketches, and details. If you look pulling back the curtain, this book is an absolute must have.

Walt Disney Imagineering: A Behind the Dreams Look at Making More Magic Real by The Imagineers

In this sequel to the best-selling Walt Disney Imagineering: A Behind-the-Dreams Look at Making the Magic Real, the Imagineers serve up another dose of magic with an even closer look at who they are, what they do, and how they do it, illuminating their theories and explaining the tools they use, and where and how they use them. Contained within this deluxe tome are rough drawings, conceptual models, and behind-the-scenes stories showcasing Disney’s newest attractions and innovations from the inside out. There’s also an exclusive peek inside the Research and Development Lab to see what new magic will soon be appearing.

Why We Love It: Just like it’s predecessor, this book provides an behind the scenes look at the creative process. We could not resist putting it on our list of the Top 7 Imagineering Books Every Fan Must Read. Personally, I prefer it to Walt Disney Imagineering: A Behind the Dreams Look at Making Magic Real by The Imagineers. But the two together make up an unbeatable collection. 

Walt Disney: The Triumph of the American Imagination

The definitive portrait of one of the most important cultural figures in American history: Walt Disney.
Walt Disney was a true visionary whose desire for escape, iron determination and obsessive perfectionism transformed animation from a novelty to an art form, first with Mickey Mouse and then with his feature films–most notably Snow White, Fantasia, and Bambi. In his superb biography, Neal Gabler shows us how, over the course of two decades, Disney revolutionized the entertainment industry. In a way that was unprecedented and later widely imitated, he built a synergistic empire that combined film, television, theme parks, music, book publishing, and merchandise. Walt Disney is a revelation of both the work and the man–of both the remarkable accomplishment and the hidden life.

Why We Love It: You simply cannot look over the original Imagineer… Walter Elias Disney! It all started with a man… this man. This comprehensive biography goes into great depth to capture the inner genius and frustrated artist that was Walt. Not everything in this book is sunshine and roses, which is exactly why we love it. It shares a true portal of the man, the myth, the legend. And you know what? Even with all that truth… he was still a true rag to riches American hero!

Final Thoughts on Imagineering Books Every Fan Must Read

And there you have it, our list of the Top 7 Imagineering Books Every Fan Must Read. Are there any you feel should be added to the list? Be sure to leave a comment on our Facebook page.

And remember, if you’re fascinated by the world of Imagineering – there is no better place to visit than the Disney parks! Be sure to reach out to your Traveling Mouse Company Travel Agent to book your next trip!

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