The Imagineering Field Guide Series – Books to Treasure

The front cover of The Imagineering Field Guide to Disney California Adventure
The front cover of The Imagineering Field Guide to Disney California Adventure

If you love park trivia and you love reading about the minute details about what goes into building a Disney theme park, then hopefully you already own The Imagineering Field Guide series.  This terrific series of books is written by the Imagineers themselves and takes you on a tour land-by-land of the different US theme parks.  The most recent edition is The Imagineering Field Guide to Disney California Adventure at Disneyland Resort.  Like all the others, it is chalk full of interesting tidbits of information sure to whet the palate of any Disney Nerd!

Title: The Imagineering Field Guid to Disney California Adventure
Author: The Imagineers
Cost: $14.99 (softcover)
Age: Anyone who loves park trivia and the details of each attraction (ages 12 and up)
Publisher: Disney Editions
Genre: Non-fiction, reference
Bottom Line: Well worth the money – 5 out of 5 stars

Buena Vista Street with the California Limited sign in the background
Buena Vista Street with the California Limited sign in the background

Printed in 2014, this book includes Buena Vista Street, Cars Land, the revamped Paradise Pier and all of the development that went into Disney’s largest do-over ever.  The book explains design elements incorporated to immerse the guest in the surroundings of whatever land they happen to be in.  My favorite is probably the non-electrical electrical wires that rest above the trolley route.  The trolley doesn’t need them for power, but because it would look awkward without them, the Imagineers included them as elements in the design of the attraction even though they don’t serve a functional use.  It’s these kind of trivial elements along with concept designs and sketch renderings of the various attractions, shops, and restaurants that bring this book to life.  Another aspect of the book I enjoy is the back flap that unfolds to show a map of each park just as you would find at any entrance turnstile.  The only difference being that instead of numbers marking locations, the numbers next to the attractions are the reference page within the book to make its description easy to find.

Mickey's Fun Wheel in the revamped Paradise Pier
Mickey’s Fun Wheel in the revamped Paradise Pier

The cover of the book is attractive, featuring Mickey’s Fun Wheel from Paradise Pier and each section is color coded so you can also easily find it by flipping through on the side.  The book is sized to easily fit into your back pocket or to carry around in a purse or small pouch, making it easy to bring with you while adventuring in your favorite theme park.  The only complaint I have about the book is it never explains why they changed the name from Disney’s California Adventure to Disney California Adventure.  It just seems grammatically incorrect.  Other than that, you’re in for a real treat of interesting “facts, figures, photos, stories, concept art & more” as it says on the front cover.  Here’s an example of a few fun tidbits I found while reading:

  • The “California Limited” billboard has locations that trace Walt’s migration west (p.27)
  • Grizzly Peak is only 110 feet high (p.45)
  • The linear induction launch system used for California Screamin’ takes you from 0 to 55mph in just 4 seconds! (p. 64)
  • Cocina Cucamonga and Lucky Fortune Cookery switched places in the Pacific Wharf dining area in 2009 (p.82)
  • The area restroom in Hollywood Land was designed to “evoke the architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright” (p.116)

Those are just a few of the many details you’ll find when reading any one of these Imagineering Field Guides.  Some of the older ones might be harder to find but they are definitely well worth the read.  But check your local bookstore or order online through or other online retailers.

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