People Behind the Disney Parks – Stories of those honored with a window on Main Street, U.S.A. is an outstanding resource to learn about those who contributed to the parks. This 350 page hard cover book includes bio sketches and images of all those with windows in the US Parks . If you have ever wondered about the names you see on the windows along Main Street USA this is the book for you. It delves into the history of each person and details the role they played in the parks.
The primary focus of the book are the windows on Main Street USA at Disneyland and the Magic Kingdom. Some other honors like those in Adventureland, Toontown, and the Haunted Mansion are included too. The overseas parks are not included, which I thought was a missed opportunity and just begging for a follow-up book to include those parks.
The book is organized into 8 chapters (Planners, Builders, Virtuosos, Businesspeople, Advocates, Artists, Caretakers, Visionaries). Within each chapter the individuals are in alphabetical order. Each person receives their own entry that features a picture of the person and their window plus the years the person worked for Disney, the text of the window and a blurb chronicling their career highlights. Also noted are the year the window was added, its location, and if they are a Disney Legend the year of that honor.
I found the chapter organization of the book to be the least appealing aspect. So many people span multiple areas it can be hard to find someone you are looking for or understand why they are listed where they are. I am not sure a better approach.. each has a pro and con to it. For example do you list it by park, by location, by year with the company, year the window was added, straight alphabetical, how? I am sure this was a challenging decision and they opted for a system that does not seem straightforward to me.
To augment the bio sketches the book is filled with a number of photos including rare construction photos from the parks as well as concept art. There is also a multi-part series spread throughout the book taking you on a tour of Main Street sharing some details of each segment of the street at both parks. Other call outs highlight elements such as transportation or gardens.
The finale to the book is a great appendix. It contains seven lists of those honored as well as numbered diagrams of the window locations for both Disneyland and the Magic Kingdom so you can cross reference them with the lists. The lists also include those with multiple windows, Disney Legends, fictitious names and finally those honored at the Haunted Mansion with a tombstone epitaph.
I was looking forward to People Behind the Disney Parks – Stories of those honored with a window on Main Street, U.S.A. for quite a while. The release kept getting postponed and the wait turned out to be worth it. This is a great addition to my reference library. Having these brief bios and window details in an easy to use book will be useful in the future. I also found the number of construction photos and concept art images to be a value add I was not expecting. I enjoyed reading the book and look forward to flipping through to look up information or just read random factoids in the future.
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** A review copy of this book was provided to us