It Came from Disney!

About the Column

If Disney piled all its themed merchandise in one place, it would likely reach to infinity - and beyond. You see it everywhere: at the parks, online, in your neighbor's house. And you're tempted, sorely tempted, to make it yours: not always because you need it but because it came from Disney. For many people, that means irresistible. But fight the urge, just for a moment, until you've read what Jessica Clawson thinks about that irresistible piece of Disneyana. Chances are, she has already succumbed to the urge - and now, temporarily recovered, wants to tell you whether it was worth it.

Disney Swag: The T-Shirt

Get yours now!

Subscribe to Disney Dispatch Digest

And receive a daily email summary of new stuff on the site.

FROM: It Came from Disney! Published Tuesdays

Spinning Disney's World: Second Opinion

A few months ago, I reviewed Charlie Ridgway's memoir, Spinning Disney's World. Thumbs-up, I decreed. Now Jessica Clawson seeks a spin. Whither point her thumbs? Read her review of Charlie's book and find out for yourself.

With a love of Disney history and a desire to learn more about the its behind-the-scenes history, I was very enthusiastic about picking up Charles Ridgway's book, Spinning Disney's World. Charlie worked for several decades in the Public Relations department for the Disney Company, and wow! - does he have stories to share.

He first tells about his time as a reporter for newspapers in California and his experience covering the opening of Disneyland. We then find out how Charlie got his position with Disney and all of the challenges he faced. We follow him from his early days in Disneyland through his move to Florida and his work at Walt Disney World and Disneyland Paris, and then to his stint writing Media Guides for Tokyo Disneyland and his subsequent retirement.

Charlie tells his stories in a casual, almost conversational in tone, which at times can make you feel like he is jumping from topic to topic, but he has a knack for bringing it around full circle by the end of each chapter. The book is broken up into chapters, but each one just flows so well that, before you know it, you have read four chapters without even realizing it!

The historical details in this book are seen from a perspective not usually witnessed by everyday people. Witness the opening day of Disneyland from the perspective of an optimistic journalist, walk down Main Street of a Walt Disney World still under construction without getting your shoes muddy (like Charlie did), and learn about the opening of EuroDisney from the perspective of the media.

Reading this book, I felt like I knew Walt personally and was reminiscing with Charlie about working with him, even though I was not even thought of during Walt's lifetime. I love the way Charlie can grab your attention and relive moments in time, making you feel as if you were there. The amount of detail helps paint a vivid picture of the events.

This book not only entertained and informed me, but it even made me change my way of thinking. No longer will I refer to Disney parks as "theme parks" after a comment that Charlie made in his book that really hit home for me. There are even some well-known names and ideas in the parks that were created, sometimes out of the blue, by Charlie himself, which may surprise readers. Charlie is not only a Disney employee, but he is a Disney fan, and that is what makes all the difference.

This book was an absolute joy to read. I loved it from cover to cover, and recommend it to anyone who has a passion for Disney and a love of learning. The book is available from Amazon and on the publisher's site, Intrepid Travel.

I would like to close this column by thanking Charlie for sharing his passion, knowledge, and love of Disney with all of us fans. We are forever grateful for what you have shared!