“Disneyland can be the place that inspires and show us how to make our dreams come true.”Jeffrey A. Barnes, Ph.D., California Baptist University, taken from the Foreword
I have The Imagineering Story up on my second screen right now. It’s just started, flashing through a series of sculptures, tools, models, paint brushes, story notes on a pin board, and wonderful narration provided by Angela Basset. It’s by far the best documentary series on Disney+ they’ve done (even including that one that Will Smith did where he does all the awesome stuff around the world just to show how awesome he is and just edging out The Jeff Goldblum Show starring Jeff Goldblum).
It’s Imagineering, the design and development techniques used to create within the Disney theme parks.
And it’s something that’s fascinated me for years.
The Imagineering Pyramid: Using Disney Them Park Design Principles To Develop and Promote Your Creative Ideas by Louis J. Proseperi has been on my wish list for a while. I never got it for myself, only remembering it every time Secret Santa comes around, and my brother-in-law got it for me this year. I guess I have that issue, denying myself the thing I want the most.
Whooaaa. That’s too deep for this starter post.
Anyway, I love books like these, specifically when it comes to Disney because I love their theme parks, most of their movies, and come to really appreciate their place in the world’s lexicon.
They tell stories.
They make magic.
And that’s what this book, and Prosperi, promise.
I’m not going to give my entire life story about why I love Disney, my history with the company, or how growing up I used to think kids who got to watch The Disney Channel were the “rich kids.” Seriously, there’s an entire era of my life (maybe from 5-11?) where the kids in my school who talked about Disney Channel movies were the ones I thought, “Figures. Of course THEY’D have The Disney Channel.”
Then by the time we got satellite when both of my parents started working I thought myself too old to watch it? “This is baby stuff,” little 13-year old me would say, wishing for a time when it would have been acceptable to watch The Disney Afternoon or stay up late on a Friday night to check out the newest DCOM.
Not knowing that what was deep inside was a yearning, a wish to be part of something, this larger community that was brought about through original series and movies about girls discovering they’re actually witches (which happened on more than on occasion).
As I got older, and a steady, reliable (albeit, small [come on, I’m a teacher]) income became a part of my life, the Disney Parks became closer. The first book I picked up, The Imagineering Way, became a staple of my nightstand reading for years after. I wanted to gain something from it, to become a better creative because of it.
Because when I bought this, at the Disney Store in Downtown Disney, I’m in the store, watching other people live in the moment, in the magic, and I think, “These are the kinds of stories I want to tell. Stories for people to get swept up in, to feel this way.”
So that’s what I’m hoping to gain from this book, from the lessons Louis J. Prosperi discovered in all the conversations he’s had with actual Imagineers, the structure of creation and imagination, and how to generate the type of experiences I want my readers to have.
The cover states this is the first in the Imagineering Toolbox Series. Maybe I’ll get around to future installments if I like this one, but for now, expect this:
A complete dissection of what I learned from Imagineers. I’ll go chapter by chapter, bringing forward what I’ve learned, and hoped to learn, as I steal the secrets then bring that style and that craft into, not only my writing, but my life.
It’s a lot less sinister than it sounds, I promise.
All I want is for my book to be picked up by Disney+ to become a live-action series so I can get discounted entry to Disneyland for my family and me the rest of my life.
Is that too much to ask?
Thanks for reading,