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Dream It! Do It! (The People, The Places, The Projects): My Half-Century Creating Disney's Magic Kingdoms
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Dream It! Do It! (The People, The Places, The Projects): My Half-Century Creating Disney's Magic Kingdoms

3.92  ·  Rating details ·  1,212 ratings  ·  108 reviews

Marty Sklar was hired by The Walt Disney Company after his junior year at UCLA, and began his Disney career at Disneyland in July 1955, the month before the park opened. He spent his first decade at Disney as "the kid," the very youngest of the creative team Walt had assembled at WED Enterprises. But despite his youth, his talents propelled him forward into substantial res
Hardcover, 384 pages
Published August 13th 2013 by Disney Editions (first published January 1st 2013)
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Average rating 3.92  · 
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 ·  1,212 ratings  ·  108 reviews

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Aug 19, 2013 rated it it was ok
I was really excited to get this book and then I started reading. It is filled with a tons of stories about the Theme Parks but the problem is that, especially in the beginning, there is no rhyme or reason for why stories were put together. It very hard to follow when in one paragraph he's talking about 1960 and in the next he's talking about 1990 and they seem unrelated. Plus it seemed like half the book was filled with quotes from other books. If I wanted to read other peoples thoughts I would ...more
Mar 20, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: disney, memoir
A bit thin on direction and content. The book tends to wander between projects and time periods, and includes a surprising number of substantial block quotes from other Imagineer's books. Particularly strange because all these issues seem to run counter to the brilliant "Mickey's Ten Commandments", written by Sklar himself:

1. Know your audience
2. Wear your guest's shoes
3. Organize the flow of people and ideas
4. Create a visual magnet
5. Communicate with visual literacy
6. Avoid overload - create t
Josh McConnell
Jan 05, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: disney, biography
I've read a lot of books on Disney as a company and the theme parks in general. I have a strong appreciation for everything Marty Sklar has done and the significance of his role with the company.

With that preface, I was really excited that he was finally writing a book. I couldn't wait to hear more behind-the-scene stories and get the dirty details.

While there certainly are stories, they seem more scrambled and thrown on the pages. Block quotes are massive. It really feels more like you're just
Tom Hinkle
May 26, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: disney
Marty Sklar is an extremely well known former Disney cast member and now Disney Legend. Before I read this book, I knew of Mr. Sklar's educational background and that he wrote many of Walt's remarks for the business. This knowledge caused me to be surprised at the way Mr. Sklar wrote the book.

I echo some of the comments written already by people about the structure of the book. The book reminds me of an artist with a fountain pen compelling drops onto a piece of paper to see if they can manipul
Christine Rebbert
Nov 16, 2013 rated it really liked it
As a huge Disney fan, I found this book enjoyable for all the "insider" info from before Disneyland even opened to the present day written by a member, and later head, of the famous Disney "Imagineering" team. The chronology did tend to jump around, and there was a lot of chest-thumping ("It was under my watch that...", "I was the last word on...", "they needed me to put the deal over the top"), and the occasional unfortunate choice of words (esp. when he winds up the chapter about Tokyo Disneyl ...more
Luiza Salazar
Sep 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
This book was great. I think it's always a pleasure to read about Disney, specially about the Imagineering efforts. I love how personal this book felt, how "real" it felt since Sklar told a lot of personal stories. It's also great to hear him talk about Walt, about how everyone worked really hard - and still does - to keep his philosophy alive. It's really inspirational to read about the flow of ideas and imagination that shaped Disney in the years Marty was there.
What I didn't like about the bo
Dec 18, 2013 rated it it was ok
This book took me a while to get through. It was nothing like I expected and maybe that was the problem. There were tiny jewels of information throughout the book but it just didn't flow well. Long list of people were mentioned with little to do with the story told. I am thinking he must have tried to mention a lot of friends.

I did learn a great deal about the parks and CEOs. And there was something mentioned in the last of the book regarding the maintenance of the parks that I had wondered abou
Amy Defilippo
Aug 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This book is a must read for fans who want the real stories of what it was like to open every Disney park on the planet from the one man who has actually done just that...and so much more in his Disney career! Thanx, Marty Sklar, for sharing your rich history and experiences with us via this book. It made me laugh; it made me cry; it gave me insight into what it was like to be there with Walt Disney and then carry his philosophy through countless projects. Truly an "E Ticket" book that I'm going ...more
Derrick Contreras
Jul 21, 2019 rated it it was ok
This was one of the hardest books to get through and I consider myself a huge Disney fan. Someone else in a different review said that it reads as if someone is just rambling about their life and I believe that could not be more true. Having been written by someone who considers themselves a writer, this was one of the most unorganized pieces of literature I’ve ever read. There were so many tangents and random side stories that he’d stop to write about and then the reader would have no idea what ...more
Aug 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
A very good inside look at the late Disney legend Mary Sklar's 50 year career helping to shape the creative direction of Disney Parks worldwide! In addition to the behind the scenes view of the planning and business of the Walt Disney Co., Marty also presents lots of great leadership lessons, especially in the areas of creativity and customer service. I read this over several months in between reading other books and it was always fun to come back to the magic of Walt Disney from the point of vi ...more
Tony Moisan
Jan 11, 2021 rated it really liked it
The title says a lot about the book. The part of the book that dealt with EPCOT changed some of my perceptions of the creation of the park. Cooperate, academic and group develop was at the hart of what was built. Disney did something very special and was very much in the spirit of what Walt had wanted. The use of big name architects to build result hotels and other on property experiences is something that was also new to me. Marty is a force for good and we could all be a little like him. I wil ...more
Sarah Wennerlund
May 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
It's always wonderful to read first-hand accounts from long-time Disney Cast Members, especially one like Marty Sklar, who actually worked with Walt. At this point, there are few Disney stories and photos that I've never heard or seen before, but Marty delivers them in spades. A great read. ...more
Jan 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
If you liked The Imagineering Story, this is a great place to start after the show. New details along with many things I heard from the documentary. A great look into Disney history.
Jun 09, 2021 rated it really liked it
Marty Sklar is just delightful, it was wonderful to read his take and influence on so much Disney history. Definitely one to return to for pep talks and inspiration!

(Thanks, Kim!)
Jenny Belardi
Feb 05, 2021 rated it really liked it
Marty Sklar has been at Disney longer than anyone and is (according to the book) the only person to work on every single Disney park. So, there are a lot of really fun stories. The book is definitely all over the place. It kind of reads like a really nostalgic person wrote it for himself, but I still enjoyed it.
Louis Prosperi
Nov 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing
A great Disney book by a true Disney Legend!

Marty Sklar started his career with Disney in 1955, one month prior to the opening of Disneyland. He remained with the company until retiring in 2009, and is the only Disney employee to have participated in the design and opening of all 11 currently operating Disney theme parks (Disneyland, Disney California Adventure, Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney Hollywood Studios, Disney's Animal Kingdom, Hong Kong Disneyland, Tokyo Disneyland, Tokyo DisneySea, Disne
W. Whalin
Jan 08, 2015 rated it liked it
For over 50 years, Marty Sklar was one of the insiders of the Walt Disney Company. This memoir is filled with insights and fun stories but tremendous insights for every reader.

I loved the personal stories and the detailed insights into the Disney culture. As Sklar writes, "I am proud to say that because my Disney career began at Disneyland one month before the park business began, I retired in 2009 as the only case member to have participated in the opening of all eleven Disney parks around the
Katy Roach
May 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is a pretty good book. It's sentimental to me because I met Marty at the 2015 D23 Expo and got my copy signed: he signed my name "Kathy" instead of "Katy" and then corrected it (I was one of the last people in line, I don't blame him.) The book is slow, I haven't actually finished it yet, but it has some very nice stories and I will always cherish it because of the memory I made while meeting Marty Sklar. (He is very sassy and sweet in real life. A real Disney Treasure if you ask me.)

Dec 31, 2017 rated it really liked it
The First book of 2018, I almost finished in 2017. This book was a real page turner.

I've always been a big fan of Walt Disney and recently I've begun to read as much Disney History as I can get my hands on. At the advice of Michael Bowling and the Connecting with Walt Podcast, I requested this book for Christmas and started reading it immediately.

Marty Sklar is a staple at Walt Disney Imagineering and his experience and stories are brought to the forefront in this book. It is 1/3 biography, 1/
Melinda Elizabeth
Oct 07, 2016 rated it liked it
Marty's book has a lot of 'hidden Mickey's' in it - but overall what you get is a fairly unstructured approach to his experience and stories.

Marty relies heavily on quoting from other books from Disney Legends throughout the book and used so lavishly detracts from Marty's own experience and story.

There was however a great deal of detail regarding EPCOT, Tokyo Disneyland and some of the other parks that you'd be hard to find in any other book about Disney.
Aydin Turgay
Mar 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Never read a business book before. This was an amazing read.
I learned so much about team leadership and the creative process. It helped that the subject matter happened to be my favorite thing in the world - Disney parks.
Great stories about Walt, imagineering, building EPCOT and other parks - and many lessons to learn from.
I will be reading this again.
Feb 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Sklar is one of those unsung heroes. While Walt Disney always takes the spotlight, what is perhaps the most interesting aspect of this book is how Sklar was there in the background making shit happen. It's a great book for both the hardcore, Disney nerd and the the creative capitalist. ...more
Matthew Duckworth
Aug 13, 2014 rated it really liked it
I really enjoy most books related to The Walt Disney Company and this is no exception. Sklar jumps around a bit and at times it was quite confusing but he has a career that is very interesting to read about.
Dec 11, 2017 rated it it was ok
I am a huge Disney fan. Love almost everything about it.

Had no idea what to expect from this book, but it was very underwhelming. Mr. Sklar had an amazing professional experience working for Disney for so long, interacting with many of the greats, and even being one of the greats himself. That said, this book was too filled with names that we never got to "know" well enough to follow along. Sure, many are Disney Legends and the names are at least familiar, but it would have been better to inclu
Dec 06, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction, memoir
This is the first book I've read about Walt Disney World, though I've visited several times, watched several documentaries, and generally consider myself somewhat of a Disney fan. While I can certainly appreciate the work Sklar has done in his lifetime of working for Disney, as a book this was just an okay read.

The book feels scrambled, without a real sense of the various stories Sklar tells being connected from chapter to chapter and within chapters. The stories had their moments, but a bit mor
Paul Miller
Apr 25, 2020 rated it liked it
Walt Disney was Steve Jobs before there was Steve Jobs. A singular visionary with singular focus on the customer experience, feared/loved by those who worked for him, and ultimately hugely transformative to culture. This is a memoir of Disney's literary and creative righthand man reflecting on his career spanning 50 years, overseeing the creative teams that built all the Disney parks around the world. DEEP Disney fans will enjoy this as its chock full of details like the lake at Epcot is there b ...more
Feb 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoir, 2019
Wow, what a career! Lots of interesting information and anecdotes about the building of the Disney parks and imagineering at Disney. I've read a lot about the history of Disneyland and Magic Kingdom, so I really enjoyed learning more about the other parks- EPCOT, Disneyland Paris and Tokyo Disney, etc which get less mention but are still equally as interesting. I especially liked that it was *his* story about what he worked on, accomplished, and events from his point of view (with a bit of imagi ...more
Jun 03, 2021 rated it it was ok
Let me first preface, the content is not bad but rather how it is conveyed. Mr. Skylars writing style is best explained like a winding path in the woods. It seems to lack focus and direction and sometimes, it just feels like you got turned around and read something again. He did not order the book well and honestly, that made the read a bit of a trudge to get through as my interest simply drops as a whole new memory is brought up out of the blue and then equally exited out of quickly at times. A ...more
Jun 10, 2021 marked it as abandoned
I thought that I would thoroughly enjoy this book because I’m a huge Disney fan, especially of the theme parks. Alas, this book focused on the author’s life and people he encountered and worked with during his time at Disney. I only made it to page 96 before deciding that it was not my cup of tea. I expected more details about the theme parks themselves, and I certainly don’t care about seeing photos of Marty Sklar’s entire family and photos of all of the other old White men he worked with. If y ...more
Joe Ludwig
Sep 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
Wonderful story of the career and philosophies of Walt Disney Imagineering's longest-tenured employee. It's incredibly in-depth, to the point of name dropping so frequently that the sea of names can be confusing, even to this diehard Disney fan. It is well-written, with Marty having started at WDI as a writer and eventually becoming Walt's own ghostwriter in print and television. The wealth of knowledge Marty shares with prospective theme park designers in this book is so rich it might require m ...more
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Marty Sklar worked for the Disney company for over 50 years. He was hired shortly before Disneyland opened and rose through the company to become Vice President of Creative Development. He was honored as a Disney legend and with a window on main street. Now in retirement he has released a book chronicling his tenure for Disney.

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