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The Geekiest Book on Earth

book_dlandencycChris Strodder’s book The Disneyland Encyclopedia: The Unofficial, Unauthorized, and Unprecedented History of Every Land, Attraction, Restaurant, Shop, and Event in the Original Magic Kingdom (whew) was a holiday gift from my spouse that I just finished reading — cover to cover. What Strodder has done here is compile every attraction, restaurant, and shop that has ever existed within Anaheim Disneyland’s perimeter berm (even the berm itself gets an entry!). Also included are profiles of notable people involved in the park’s history and tantalizing glimpses at lands and attractions that were planned, but never built. This book contained a lot of fascinating info that even a Disneyland History geek like me didn’t know. Stoddard’s writing style is enthusiastic and well-informed, full of delicious factoids — and blessedly different from the upbeat blathering that characterizes most Disney fansites. Just read his little bio of Walt Disney himself to get a feel of the even-handed but fun tone present throughout this book. Want to know more about Aunt Jemima’s Pancake House, the Main Street Electrical Parade, Princess Fantasy Faire, the Monsanto Hall of Chemistry, or even the expertly themed restrooms? It’s all in here.

Funny postscript — one of the first things I checked in this book was the Wizard of Bras shop (did you know one could shop for ladies’ unmentionables on Main Street?). Sure enough, it’s listed in here. I mistakenly thought the shop itself was called Wizard of Bras, but that was actually the name of a display that was housed inside the more humbly monikered Intimate Apparel store which only operated during the first two years of Disneyland’s existence. You learn something new every day.

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