Episode 050 – Sam Gennawey, Part 1

Sam GennaweyStories of the Magic, Episode 50



Interview Guest: Sam Gennawey




Wow, we’ve made it to 50 episodes! Thank you so much for listening. Because you’re listening, I’ve been able to interview some pretty amazing people and bring you what I hope are interesting and valuable interviews.

 This time is no exception. In this episode, we begin our 2-part interview with Sam Gennawey. Sam is an author, speaker, Disney historian, and we had a wonderful and pretty wide-ranging conversation. I listened to several hours of interview with Sam in preparation for this one, and I can tell you that we talked about a few things that I’ve never heard him cover in any other interview!

This one marks the first show where my guest has never actually worked for Disney, but is or has done something with their passion for Disney to share with others—in this case, writing books! I’m excited as we expand the format and scope of Stories of the Magic!


In this episode, Sam talks about…

  • What an Urban Planner is, particularly the kind that he is;
  • His involvement with the Glendale-Hyperion bridge, which is represented in Disney California Adventure, and what he thinks of Buena Vista Street;
  • How he became interested in Disneyland;
  • Christopher Alexander’s “Pattern Language” and how it manifests in Disneyland;
  • How Sam uses Disneyland to explain urban planning concepts to people;
  • Disneyland as “Walt’s souvenir bucket” from his travels;
  • Why he decided to write Walt and the Promise of Progress City;
  • The two purposes of his first book—one of them being to help Disney fans intellectually explain to people who don’t understand why we keep coming back;
  • Sam’s fascination with the Progress City model that used to be in the post-show area of the Carousel of Progress;
  • Walt’s vision for Epcot the city and Walt’s interest in 3-dimensional design;
  • The idea behind the Mineral King ski resort;
  • What “a sense of place” means and how it affects guests;
  • Are the expectations people have for Disneyland unreasonably high?;
  • Walt’s 3 children: Sharon, Diane, and Disneyland;
  • Why Sleeping Beauty Castle and the Matterhorn aren’t visual contradictions;
  • The writing of Sam’s second book, The Disneyland Story: The Unofficial Guide to the Evolution of Walt Disney’s Dream;
  • A couple of things he had to cut from the book;
  • Bill Evans and an interesting story about some famous trees.


Find Sam Online:

(Note: all product links are affiliate links.)


Podcasts Spotlighted in this Episode: 


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Music and voiceovers provided by Rick Moyer.

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