As a blogger, I may be compensated in some way (either pay, product, or experience) for sharing the post below All opinions are my own. ~Heidi
By now, I feel I’m becoming a bit of a broken record when it comes to singing the praises of The Intrepid Traveler. I have yet to read a book published by them that I haven’t liked. Recently, I had the opportunity to read one of their older publications – but one that still deserves some time in the spotlight:
From opening day in Anaheim to opening day in Hong Kong, from Donald Duck’s fiftieth birthday bash to secret visits by royalty, from Walt Disney to Michael Eisner, Disney Legend Charlie Ridgway, a Disney press agent for forty years, has the scoop.
The man who told Walt where to stand for photos, helped usher in the era of electronic news gathering — and befriended generations of movie stars, television hosts, and news reporters — now shares his wry and revealing reminiscences of life in the world’s greatest Mickey Mouse outfit.
“Ridgway was present at the creation of Disneyland and
Walt Disney World, and he spins wondrous tales.”
Bob Thomas, author of Walt Disney: An American Original
If you’re wondering who Charles Ridgway is, here’s a bit more about this fascinating man:
Charles Ridgway served as press agent for “Walt Disney’s Mouse Houses” for 40 years. He was charged with arranging media events for celebrities, ambassadors, heads of state and US presidents, and even ducks at the various Disney Parks – Disneyland, Walt Disney World, and the Disney properties in Paris and Hong Kong. He was named a Disney Legend in 1999.
Charlie began his career as a journalist, working for newspapers in the Midwest and California after serving in World War II. He covered Disneyland’s opening in 1955 and moved somewhat reluctantly into the public relations position there in 1963. It was a decision he never regretted.
Spinning Disney’s World is a collection of Charlie’s insider tales: How he arranged for 50 Peking ducklings to march in Donald Duck’s 50th birthday celebration; how he loosened up a group of stuffy ambassadors; and how he made the parks known worldwide without spending a cent on advertising.
He says the best part of the experience was meeting thousands of fellow journalists from around the world, entertaining them and guiding them around the Disney parks. He was instrumental in arranging events such as Disneyland’s yearlong 50th anniversary, various celebratory parades, the opening of various Disney properties. Charlie worked at Disneyland for seven years before moving on to Walt Disney World.
After all how many people get to tell Walt Disney where to stand?
So, what does Heidi say?
I savored this book! As soon as I received it and cracked open the cover to see inside, I knew this was a book that I wanted to read somewhat slowly, so that I could take it all in.
Mr. Ridgway shares from his heart as he reflects back on his many, many years as an employee of Disney. He worked directly under Walt in the beginning, so he shares thoughts on Walt as a man, as a boss, and as a friend. I really enjoyed that up-close and personal perspective on Walt Disney.
Charles remained with the Disney company for many years at Walt’s passing – he saw the opening of lot and lots of new parks, hotels, water parks, and shopping districts, as well as many Disney movies. His stories are endearing and fun to read.
I wish I could walk just one mile in this man’s shoes. Well, actually, I feel that I have. By reading Spinning Disney’s World, I got a front row seat for the behind-the-scenes operations at the place I call “my happy place”. And, I’m even happier as a result!
I’d highly recommend Spinning Disney’s World. If you’d like your own copy, it’s currently being offered at 50% off retail when you order direct from the publisher. A hardback book for only $12.48! It’s totally worth it and will make a wonderful addition to your Disney book collection.