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Book Review: Not Just a Walk in the Park: My Worldwide Disney Resorts Career by Jim Cora

Not Just a Walk in the Park: My Worldwide Disney Resorts Career Not Just a Walk in the Park: My Worldwide Disney Resorts Career is the memoir of Disney Legend Jim Cora.   In this book Jim shares stories, insights, and personal reflections on his more than forty year career with the Walt Disney Company spanning early Disneyland through the opening of Tokyo DisneySea.   He also imparts stories and thoughts on his management style and the Disney Culture/Way.

Some highlights from Jim’s career with Disney:

  • Started his career at Disneyland in 1957 as a part time attractions host
  • Over the years worked attractions for both Disneyland as well as Retlaw
  • On a chance encounter with Walt Disney, Walt suggested he go see Van Arsdale France. Jim went on to help create training and orientation programs.   He became instrumental in the creation of the Disney University and through these efforts in defining the Disney Way
  • Part of the Florida Project team that opened Walt Disney World
  • Part of the team that brought the Pocahontas Premiere to Central Park
  • Led Disneyland International & Disney International
    • Tokyo Disneyland Project from inception until opening then ongoing support for operation and expansion
    • EuroDisneyland Project from inception until opening
    • Capped his Disney Career with Tokyo DisneySea Project Opening

After leaving Disney Jim received accolades for his achievements including windows at Disneyland (2002) and Tokyo Disneyland (2003) and being named a Disney Legend in 2005 as part of the class honored during Disneyland’s 50th anniversary year. He continued to be active serving on several boards and working with charitable organizations.  He also continued to attend Disney events and share his stories and knowledge with all who asked.  Jim passed away in March 2021.

This 400+ page book follows three tracks through Jim’s career/life.   The first is a personal side. Jim shares about his family history and his personal up and downs with family life and health issues.  The second is that of a story teller.  Many stretches of the book are written in a style where you can picture yourself sitting down and listening to Jim reminisce and share his stories.   Then the third is a historical reference.  The book details events, dates, people and their role.  The mixing of these three aspects made for a great read.

I found the story telling components the most interesting to read.  Some you may have heard from other people and books but hearing them from Jim’s perspective was entertaining and different.    At times the people and positions seemed to bog down the book but having that background material in a resource like this is great.  Me being me I would have liked to have read a couple hundred more pages of stories though.

Not Just a Walk in the Park: My Worldwide Disney Resorts Career is a great read.   As soon as I heard about the book it went on my to read list and the book did not disappoint.   If you are like me and a fan of Disney history this is a definite read and a book you will want for your library to revisit later as reference.   Jim worked with Jeff Kurtti and a large contingent of others to include a vast amount of information and when coupled with Jim’s stories and voice created a solid book.

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