Episode 051 – Sam Gennawey, Part 2

Sam Gennawey

Stories of the Magic, Episode 51



Interview Guest: Sam Gennawey


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This time, we conclude our 2-part interview with author, speaker, urban planner, and Disney historian Sam Gennawey. In part 1 we talked about how he became interested in Disneyland, how he uses the park 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 and the two purposes of it, Walt’s vision for Epcot the city and his interest in 3-dimensional design, what “a sense of place” means and how it affects guests, the writing of Sam’s second book, The Disneyland Story, and more.

In this episode, we pick up with a story he was telling about some famous trees, and then

Sam talks about…

  • Some insights on the history and changes of Fantasyland;
  • The practice wall;
  • New Orleans Square as Disney’s first representation of a real live place;
  • Why the PeopleMover was designed and built;
  • The two budgets for each attraction, especially in Walt’s time;
  • The difference between the idea for how lands were originally created and what they’re doing now—and how this is more similar to Universal Studios than the way Walt did things;
  • Understanding how generational changes affect the use of space;
  • If Disney were to decide to do a Marvel Land or a Star Wars Land, what they have to keep in mind to do it right and do it well;
  • How “a sense of place” is the secret to Disneyland—and the original virtual reality machine;
  • Disneyland as “a giant salad”, as described by Rolly Crump;
  • The subjects he’s generally invited to speak on;
  • His presentation at the Walt Disney Family Museum about Mineral King, and why it was so much fun;
  • A brief tribute to Diane Disney Miller;
  • Something he never gets to talk about—some of the ways Tomorrowland was testing new technology that most people never realized, and giving credit to Bill Martin;
  • What inspires him;
  • His advice to you for following your dreams;
  • Shameless Plug Time.


Find Sam Online:


Faith and the Magic Kingdom:

(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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