Walt and the Promise of Progress City (Book Review)


Walt and the Promise of Progress City by Sam Gennawey

This is a great book and just in time for Epcot Center’s 30th Anniversary. What makes it unique is that it isn’t a retread / rehash of old Disney anecdotes but a well constructed study that demonstrates how Walt’s many projects/passions culminated in EPCOT (not Epcot Center).

You also don’t have to be an urban planning wonk since Gennawey’s work is more of a primer that may inspire trips to your local public library for something by Gruen, Sullivan, or Jacobs. It is a also a great companion to Gabler’s tome, Vinyl Leaves (Fjellman) and The Architecture of Reassurance (Marling).

If your bent is more Disney than urban planning, find a copy of Designing Disney by John Hench or Tomorrowland (Walt Disney Treasures DVD) which includes an interview with Marty Sklar, Ray Bradbury, and the original film, Project Florida, which was prepared for the Florida legislature.

For the practical minded, see the section on charrettes [page 118] and the contributions of Harrison “Buzz” Price to the success of Walt’s many endeavors. Also, this article from the WSJ is also timely.

Perhaps the greatest message in the book is captured by this quote: “Walt Disney seemed to be the embodiment of the old adage that if you follow your bliss, you will find the greatest happiness.”

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