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Thursday Treasures

May 22, 2014

Dream It! Do It! My Half-Century Creating Disney's Magic Kingdoms By Marty Sklar Disney Editions: 2013

Book Review by Dan Baggott

There are numerous books about the Walt Disney Company; travel guides, theme parks, biographies of Walt himself, and a few memoirs by longtime Disney legends including In Service to the Mouse: My Unexpected Journey to Becoming Disneyland's First President, by Jack Lindquist. Recently, another Disney Legend published his memoir adding to the abundant literature of the Company. Marty Sklar, in his Dream It! Do It! My Half-Century Creating Disney's Magic Kingdoms, writes about his fifty four year career creating Disney Magic.

Marty Sklar book

He joined the Walt Disney Company one month before Disneyland opened in 1955 and became part of the Park's early publicity and marketing staff. In 1961, he moved to the Imagineering Department and eventually became president. Sklar played a significant role in the creative development of Epcot, Tokyo Disneyland, the then-Disney-MGM Studios, Disneyland Paris, Disney's Animal Kingdom, Disney California Adventure Park, Tokyo DisneySea, the Walt Disney Studios Park, and Hong Kong Disneyland. In 2001, he was recognized as a Disney Legend and retired in 2009.

This memoir provides the reader with a detailed account of Sklar's tenure with the Walt Disney Company and his working relationship with numerous colleagues that created Disney Magic. The book, twenty chapters long, is organized in a chronological order but sometimes repeats himself in subsequent chapters. A lot of material that he used for his book came from many documents he saved and also his own personal recollections.

This book has both strengths and weaknesses. He does a good job explaining that every Disney concept has some type of story to tell the audience and also making the Disney Park brand different from its competitors calling it the Disney Difference. For example, they would use words like 'attractions,' 'adventures,' and 'experiences' unlike other theme parks who use generic words like 'rides.' However, for the reader to understand some of his stories its best to have a working knowledge of the Company since he doesn't clearly explain the background of these stories thoroughly. Also, it would help the reader if he lists the many names of people and their roles in what some books title 'Cast of Characters' so they could refer back to them if necessary.

Dream It! Do It! My Half-Century Creating Disney's Magic Kingdoms is an important book to help understand how the Walt Disney Company and its Parks evolved over time. Marty Sklar deserves to be called a Disney Legend because of his long service and dedication to one of the most powerful companies in the World. Hopefully, future Disney Legends can follow in his footsteps and write about their own experiences working at the Company.


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