As with many of my favorite Disney stories, this one begins with a love
of Disney, Disneyland in particular, and contains many fascinating
encounters with Disney luminaries. As a reporter for the Los Angeles
Mirror-News Charles Ridgway was assigned to cover Disneyland as it was
under construction. He took in a neighbor’s kid and posed him around
the park pretending to have snuck in for some fun. The boy got in
trouble at school for making up stories about having visited
Disneyland, that is until the article with his photos ran in the paper
three days later.
Spinning Disney’s World: Memories of a Magic Kingdom Press Agent is full of
wonderful little anecdotes like that. Each little tale laid end to end
tells the story of how Ridgway parlayed his reporters beat and know how
into a 50 year (plus) relationship working to spread the word about
Walt Disney’s magical theme park kingdoms. It is a fascinating read
filled with reminisces about time spent with the big names and the
regular folk who helped to make Disney’s parks so special.
If there is a focus for the book its on Ridgway’s
relationship with other people in the Journalism field. Of course,
that’s fair since that was his magic. Getting great public relations
for Disneyland and Disney World simply by getting journalists to attend
events and hardly ever by spending money on an ad campaign was Ridgway’s specialty. In the book he lays out how he came up with each scheme, many of which are still being used by publicity today.
would have liked to see more of the behind the scenes mechanisms and
dark secrets of how the Mouse House works revealed, but there are
plenty of other books that cover that angle, if you’re looking for
Spinning Disney’s World is a thoroughly enjoyable read
for anyone that wants to see from an insider’s perspective thee role
public relations played in the growth of Disney’s theme park empire.
Other Disney fans will enjoy it simply for the great stories told