Designing Disney: Imagineering and the Art of the Show

Designing Disney sets into history and puts into context the extraordinary contributions of John Hench, who, at the age of 94, still comes into his office at Imagineering each day His principles of theme park design, character design, and use of color have made him a legendary figure, not only for Disney fans but also for students and aficionados of architecture, engineerDesigning Disney sets into history and puts into context the extraordinary contributions of John Hench, who, at the age of 94, still comes into his office at Imagineering each day His principles of theme park design, character design, and use of color have made him a legendary figure, not only for Disney fans but also for students and aficionados of architecture, engineering, and design Designing Disney reveals the magic behind John s great discoveries and documents his groundbreaking work in several key areas, including the values, attitudes, aesthetics, and logic that went into the original design concepts for Disney theme parks Hench details the essence and various meanings of colors and how they work in the parks, and lets the reader in on how and why of the Disney character s inherent popularity their timeless human traits, archetypal shapes and gestures that suggest their qualities graphically, and their emotional resonance in our lives.
Designing Disney Imagineering and the Art of the Show Designing Disney sets into history and puts into context the extraordinary contributions of John Hench who at the age of still comes into his office at Imagineering each day His principles of th

  • Title: Designing Disney: Imagineering and the Art of the Show
  • Author: John Hench Peggy Van Pelt Martin A. Sklar Frank Gehry
  • ISBN: 9780786854066
  • Page: 440
  • Format: Hardcover
  • 1 thought on “Designing Disney: Imagineering and the Art of the Show”

    1. I'd love to buy this book for my permanent collection, but the lowest going hardcover price is $110. I guess that says something about how good it is, though. I really enjoyed this book and can honestly say I learned a lot about Imagineering, which I wasn't expecting after reading Marty Sklar's "Mickey's Ten Commandments" (a bit of a letdown in terms of educational content). I wasn't overly impressed with the first half of the book (had it ended there, I would have only give it three stars). A l [...]

    2. Great and informative, however, many areas seemed repetitive and not as in depth as the title suggested. Fantastic nuanced stories from the early days of Disneyland/ Walt Disney World.

    3. Reading John Hench’s Designing Disney: Imagineering and the Art of the Show reminded me a bit of my trip to Las Vegas last December. Although we usually think of Imagineering in terms of Disney theme parks, the core ideas of the job apply to most anywhere people gather to relax and have fun. In that respect, Vegas must be the biggest example of Imagineering on Earth. While exploring the various casinos, I was very aware of how everything was designed in a way to create a world away from the wo [...]

    4. Artists can always profit from lessons delivered by the masters, and, often times, the lessons transcend the different artistic forms. Musicians can learn from writers. Painters can learn from architects. Dancers can learn from sculptors. As John Hench says in this book, "The rules of art are the rules of life." The things that make art work do so because art - in all its forms - is both a reflection and an expression of human experience. Given all of that, plenty of books have been written abou [...]

    5. As a Disney nerd, I'm ashamed to admit I had not heard of John Hench prior to reading this book. However, I now have a much greater appreciation for what a unique talent he is. Probably the most enjoyable aspect of this book is its wealth of concept drawings created by Hench for various attractions at the parks. Hench began as an animator, so his skills as a draftsman are very impressive. But his concept drawings even go beyond that, they are absolutely full of life and creativity. In addition t [...]

    6. While the book is peppered with insights, it's really, really, really incoherent. I can't tell if it's because Hench is insane, or if it's because he's insecure about the points he's making, and therefore fluffs them up into Highfalutin Language.At the beginning, for example, he states that the three basic components of themed design are Story, Character, and Color. He never goes on to explain why he believes that Color is as important as Story, or why it's more important than, say, Architecture [...]

    7. I was excited for this book, because I'm always interested in an Imagineer's view of the Disney Parks, and of course John Hench is one of the greats. The book features amazing concept are of attractions past and present, along with many that were never built. Sadly, the text is a jumbled mess.The book is full of headings about the value of "color" and "story", each followed by paragraph after paragraph of whimsical nonsense.It would have been great to hear some stories from WED Enterprises and f [...]

    8. This book is worth a read by any Disney fan worth their salt. Ever wonder why the Haunted Mansion looks so foreboding? Why they lay things out the way they do at the parks? Hench gives fascinating insight into the design philosophy at Disneyland.Really, it's like diving into the guy's head and digging around for a while. I'm no good with design, but it's so much fun to read his clear passion for the subject that the book is hard to put down. I recommend it even if you just have a passing interes [...]

    9. If you've ever been to Walt Disney World or Disneyland, you know the attention to detail that goes into everything created there. This book is a pretty good overview about all the work that goes into making dreams possible. If you want a book about the Disney parks history, this probably isn't a good choice, but if you want to learn about how Imagineers create color schemes and archive them, as well as plan layouts, and scale and model everything that will be built, then this is the perfect book [...]

    10. This book was enjoyable on several fronts. The pictures (especially Hench's drawings from the late 50s and 60s) are gorgeous. The chapter on using color was a revelation. And the reminiscences of Walt Disney and Imagineers Hench worked with over a long career are nuggets of gold. I read the first half of the book on the plane coming back from DisneyWorld, so it is not a ponderous tome. But I chose to slowly savor the remainder of the book. That's the only reason it sat in my "currently reading" [...]

    11. This is the best design book I've read. John Hench's style is very forward, and full of personal reminiscences of a man who stood next to Disney and Dali, and is a key to many of the designs in Disney's history. He opens the door into his mind, showing us not only what he did, but why, and how it all came together. Filled with sketches and notes about attractions built and only dreamed up, it's a wonderful trip to take. And the graphics are beautiful as well. A well put together, fascinating boo [...]

    12. Wonderful and interesting book full of amazing archival photos, drawings and sketches. The only reason it's not 5 stars is because it was a little surface. I would have loved MORE details, MORE depth and MORE behind the scenes info. There was some and I learned a few things (tough for a Florida Resident Annual Passholder who really knows her Disney trivia!) but I could have gone for even more.Still, it's a really cool book and worth being on the library shelf of any Disney fan.

    13. One of the very best books about the design philosophy of Disney Imagineering, written by a Disney Legend. John Hench, whose work at Imagineering included work on signature attractions like the Cinderella Castles at Orlando and Tokyo, Space Mountain, and many others, records here his thoughts on design, theming, and the audience relationship. Seldom have I felt so much as if I were being given a personal glimpse of an artist's self-understanding. The book is a joy to read.

    14. Great book by a Disney Legend! If you're an Imagineering fan or a Disney fan this gives you a great glimpse into the mind of one of the most legendary designers Disney has ever seen. This is filled with some truly beautiful original sketches, it answers some questions and has some details that even the greatest enthusiast might not know, but above all its a great Disney fix for the time being. Warning: If you are a Disney fan this will make you want to plan a trip!

    15. I enjoyed this very much. It's a rare look inside what makes the Disney theme parks so amazing ---a first hand account of the Imagineering creative process by one of the oldest Disney Imagineers still actually in the business--John Hench. Interesting discussions of design techniques and color theories for creating immersive story worlds.

    16. This book was pretty neat. While the text was relatively light in terms of content, the images of concept art from the Disney Parks were very inspiring. My favorite thing about Disneyland is the incredible attention to detail and completely immersive and carefully planned design, and it was fun to get a look behind the scenes from one of the key guys who made it all happen.

    17. Interesting book by a man who spent his career helping create the Disney theme parks. I would have liked it more if it hadn't been so DisneyLand-centric. Also, it is pretty out-of-date now, so many of the rides and items discussed have been changed. Definitely would be a fun read before visiting.

    18. Part of my pre-Disney reading. This is mainly sketches with thoughts thrown in. I really like the shots of the old school - 70s era Mickey Mouse costumes, which look so human because it was just a head with a human body underneath. Some interesting information and beautiful photos.

    19. I have yet to find a Disney book detailed enough for me but I really enjoyed the perspective of this book since the design of Disney is one of the aspects of the parks that interests me the most. I also really liked all of the concept art. I just want it to go on longer.

    20. Pretty much the Disney Imagineering Bible for anyone interested in the how and why of the Disney Parks and their creative. John Hench gives an underrepresented look into the methodology behind Disneyland and the other Disney theme parks.

    21. This is like the how-to book on designing a world of Warcraft zone. One of two, but I can't recall the name of the other.

    22. Read it on the plane to Disney World. Easy, quick read but read it along with Marty Sklar's book to give you a fuller picture of designing the parks

    23. If you're a fan of old Disney concept sketches or rambling incoherent nonsense, you will not be disappointed. Despite Hench's long Disney career, this was a complete waste of time.

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