Walt and the Promise of Progress City

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9780615540245: Walt and the Promise of Progress City

  • In the middle of Central Florida swamplands and ranch property, Walt Disney aspired to build the greatest American city ever conceived--EPCOT.  While Disney would die before realizing this epic achievement, he still left behind the blueprint for one of the boldest and most unique projects ever proposed on American soil.
  • Walt and the Promise of Progress City is an amazing new book that explores how Walt Disney--the master of fiction--was determined to bring new life to the non-fiction world of city design and development and, in doing so, fundamentally improve the Great American way of life.
  • This 374-page paperback by Sam Gennawey explores Walt Disney's vision for a city of tomorrow, EPCOT, and how this great city would be a way for American corporations to demonstrate how technology, creative thinking, and hard work could change the world. Quite simply, Disney saw this project as a way to influence the public's expectations about city life, in the same way his earlier work had redefined what it meant to watch an animated film or visit an amusement park.
  • Gennawey, a professional planner and highly-respected theme park and attractions industry expert, also breaks new ground in detailing the process through which meaningful and functional spaces have been created by Walt Disney and his artists as well as how guests understand and experience those spaces.
  • Gennawey has spent years researching the history of EPCOT and Walt Disney's love for city planning while interviewing a wide variety of key players familiar with Walt and his vision for EPCOT. 
Disney Legend Marty Sklar says;"[Sam has] captured much of the attitude and events of the times, and hit on much of Walt's drive and inspiration. [His] research into materials and people who were important in one way or ano the r is exemplary. The notes from Buzz Price, John Hench and Marvin Davis, for example... the apparent influence of Victor Gruen's theories...a relationship that developed with James Rouse - all insightful. It is clear, well researched and useful and thoughtful to anyone studying urban planning."

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From the Author:

  • Disney Legend Marty Sklar
"[Sam has] captured much of the attitude and events of the times, and hit on much of Walt's drive and inspiration. [His] research into materials and people who were important in one way or another is exemplary. The notes from Buzz Price, John Hench and Marvin Davis, for example... the apparent influence of Victor Gruen's theories...a relationship that developed with James Rouse - all insightful. It is clear, well researched and useful and thoughtful to anyone studying urban planning."
  • Lee Cockerell, Retired & Inspired WDW Executive VP
"I thought I knew a lot about Walt Disney World and especially EPCOT until I read Walt and the Promise of Progress City. This book really details how Walt Disney thought, which I found fascinating. I will now view Walt Disney World in a whole new way."
  • Jim Hill, Jim Hill Media
One of the more interesting aspects of "The Promise of Progress City' is how Sam connects the dots. So to Gennawey's way of thinking, it's a fairly logical series of events that leads from Disney driving the design of his new animation studio in Burbank to him then coming up with a site plan for Disneyland. Then - using the urban sprawl that happened in & around Anaheim in the late 1950s / early 1960s as his inciting event - Walt begins exploring the idea of building a city of the future in Central Florida.
  • George Taylor, Imaginerding
After Sam explains all of the projects that led Walt to want to create a Utopian city, he takes us on a visit to the EPCOT Center of 1982 that could have been. Sam takes us place-by-place through what an average visitor would experience at EPCOT Center. We start wit the jetport and end with the industrial park; in between, Sam covers the governance, living in EPCOT, shopping, entertainment and transportation. It is an amazing journey where you realize, that for every dream Walt had for his new town, at least half of them came to fruition in the first ten years at Walt Disney World.
  • Ryan Wilson, Main Street Gazette 
My inability to put a book down is the highest praise that I can heap on a book. In the case of Walt and the Promise of Progress City, I woke up on a vacation at 4:30 in the morning to continue reading and finished the entire 366 page volume before the end of the first week I had it. Sam has something special here, a rare educational text that embodies the spirit of Walt and carries with it the stories that well-versed armchair historians clamor for. This is, without a doubt, one of the best books I've read in the past couple of years. I cannot wait to see what Sam comes up with next.

From the Back Cover:

PRAISE
Sam's writing is terrific; he truly enriches the discussion. Not only may you learn something new about the chosen subject, he'll likely open up another perspective on it for you too. Al Lutz Founder/MiceAge
 
tour de force. this is a must-read for any urban planner wanting to understand city-building and how people use urban space.  sam gennawey provides a rare glimpse into the creative "backstage" of how walt disney planned his theme parks and the experimental prototype community of tomorrow.  the irony is that the future 21st century 'economy of ideas' is finding a happier home on walt's human-scale main street than in an epcot community, an irony walt would have loved.
Marsha V. Rood, FAICP; Principal, URBAN Reinventions
 
 
Gennawey not only provides his readers with a deeper understanding of Walt's vision for Progress City, he offers insight into the world of urban design as it relates to theme park design.  This book serves as an ideal example of how we can apply a wide variety of principles to help us appreciate Disney's dream of a utopian city.
David Zanolla, Department of Communications, Western Illinois University

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