Building Disney’s Dream
The Little Company that Could
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The story of Arrow Development, which began as a humble machine shop in then sleepy Mountain View, CA, grew to become the builder of many of the first ride systems for Disneyland and then the largest and most successful amusement ride builder in the world. Building Disney’s Dream completes and compliments Robert Reynolds 1999 book with additional details, background and stories on Arrow's other founders and owners, like Walter Schulze, the Wharton MBA who made them profitable, and the later years in Utah, when successor Arrow Dynamics was caught up in the Coaster Wars that drove the company, it's rides and riders literally to their limits and eventually led to Arrow’s demise.
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Well worth your time
This book is interesting, informative and a lot of fun. Mr. Francis' love of the topic is obvious from the moment you begin reading, which results in a book that draws you in and holds your interest.
I have a large collection of books on Imagineering, theme park design and the ride design, and I often find that many of the books that I buy contain very little new information for me. That was not the case with this book. I already knew some things about Arrow, especially regarding their work with Disney, but this book contained a lot of information and stories that I had never encountered before. It is clear that Mr. Francis put a great deal of work into researching the people behind Arrow and their contributions to the roller coaster and theme park industries.
The illustrations in the book are wonderful. There some beautiful pictures of Arrow rides (including an amazingly beautiful picture of a carousel), drawings from patent applications, old Arrow marketing materials and much more.
To be honest, the book jumps around a bit. At one moment it can be discussing the history of the company, then change topics to a specific ride, then to a specific ride designer, then to certain elements of ride design. It took me a bit to get used to it, but the style actually serves the book well. It gives the book a more conversational tone that helps to communicate the author's passion for the subject matter.
If you enjoy books on theme parks or roller coasters and the people behind them, or even if you are just curious about the topic, I highly recommend this book.
Excellent history of Arrow Development.
Having interviewed both Ed Morgan and Karl Bacon for the biography of these theme park pioneers, I was happy to see Dexter Francis add to our knowledge of this exciting period. This heavily researched and informative book is well worth the price, and a fantastic resource for anyone interested in the early days of amusement park ride systems.