Friendly, POV history from 'the Last Original Disneylander'
In ‘The Last Original Disneylander: Stories and Secrets from the Last to Retire of the First to be Hired,’ Bob Penfield writes about his experiences working at Disneyland from 1995 through his retirement and beyond. The stories are honestly told, and often, it’s as if grandpa is recounting some cool tale from the time he worked at Disneyland. Since Penfield started when the park was open, these are tales that need to be told.
These stories at the beginning of the book are clearly from a Disneyland of a different era. Drinking, smoking and gambling were all pastimes that early employees may have taken part in during the parks slow times and after hours at the nearest hangout.
Penfield had a hand in developing in park festivities like the Canoe Races, and his chapter on the Jungle Cruise is a fascinating look at its operations. Penfield also worked on the New York World's Fair in 1964 where Lincoln and it’s a small world debuted. He helped with the Olympics in Squaw Valley and opening Walt Disney World and Tokyo Disneyland. His history with the company is the company’s history itself.
For those who aren’t big fans of Disneyland, ‘The Last Original Disneylander’ may not hold much interest. For everyone else, this is a must have book for its history alone – its friendly style is just a bonus.
(Bob Penfield is in the very first vehicle of Disneyland's 60th Anniversary Parade video below.)