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The Disney Mountains: Imagineering at Its Peak
by Jason Surrell

The Disney theme parks are renowned worldwide for their innovation and theming, and this “imagineering” is no better exemplified than in the various mountain-themed attractions found scattered throughout the parks. Take, for example, the Matterhorn, Disney's first engineered mountain. It was the first roller coaster in the park, and a new track system had to be developed. But unlike most roller coasters, which send riders whipping along tracks with nothing but the sky around them, this track flew in and out of an artificial mountain with animatronic characters inhabiting it. Nothing like it had been tried before. After successfully erecting the ride in the late 1950s, Disneyland followed the peak with Space Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain, and Splash Mountain. If you're a Disney nerd who loves getting deep into the creative process of the Imagineers, you won't want to miss this chance to explore the Disney mountains in a new way.

My favorite part of the book was a section discussing mountain-themed attractions that never made it past the conception stage. For example, while the Matterhorn was being worked on, Walt Disney and his creative team toyed with the idea of a second ride: Candy Mountain. Oddly, the candy-encrusted peak would house a Wizard of Oz-themed ride – Disney had acquired the rights to the fist eleven books and wanted to incorporate the characters into the parks. Learning that, I'm rather disappointed that an “Oz-land” never got added to Disneyland. I'm sure it would have been AMAZING.

There are tons of pictures in here, ranging from concept art to historic photographs of the attractions to modern day pictures. It's really cool to see how some of these rides evolved over the years! There are quotes from interviews from the creators who worked on the scale models or final buildings, and the pride that they feel in their work shines through.

Obviously, if you aren't a fan of the Disney theme park franchise, there's not going to be a lot to interest you here. But if are the sort of person who wonders what goes on behind the scenes to create the classic rides that attract millions of riders every year, The Disney Mountains is a really fun way to explore some of the world's most striking roller coasters.

4 out of 5 stars

To read more about The Disney Mountains, buy it or add it to your wishlist click here.

Peeking into the archives...today in:
2011: The Black Stiletto by Raymond Benson
2010: The Sea of Monsters (Percy Jackson #2) by Rick Riordan
2009: Discussion Question: Back to school, back to textbook spending...
2008: Book Blogger Appreciation Week: Kiva.org Giveaway Winner


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