I have read quite a few Disney books in my day, being a lover of all things Disney, history and any combination of the two. One of the greatest stories I have ever had the privilege of reading has been Dream It, Do It by Marty Sklar, a long time Disney Imagineer, head of Imagineering and friend to Walt Disney himself.
His book is less of a straight biography and more of a collection of stories that he has compiled together from his half a century working for Walt Disney and his company. He started off as a writer for the paper that was published and sold on Main Street USA in Disneyland and ended his career as the head of Imagineering for the Walt Disney Company. He is the only man to be involved in the development and opening of every single park in the Disney Parks owned by the Walt Disney Company. He has a window on Main Street USA in Disneyland, the Magic Kingdom of Walt Disney World, Disneyland Paris, and Hong Kong Disneyland. The pages of Dream It Do It cover a fifty year career with Disney and the opening of Disneyland, all four parks of Walt Disney World, Disneyland Paris (originally founded as EuroDisney), Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea and Hong Kong Disneyland.
The book reads far less like a diary and much more like a fireside chat, a cup of coffee with a friend. Every story is totally honest sounding and does not hide the stress of being on the opening team of so many projects. He had the job of keeping Walt’s legacy alive after both Walt and Roy had passed away. He covers the raw emotions that swept through the company at the time of Walt’s passing. What happened when the man with the ideas so crazy they just might work was no longer there to support those ideas.
I had the extremely wonderful opportunity to meet Marty and to have him sign my copy of his book. He was an absolute joy to speak to and a stunning example of the sort of passion for Walt’s legacy that every cast member ought to embody. He was incredibly kind and had nothing but encouraging words for my passion for Walt and Disney history. He hopes that his book will be well loved and I told him that from what I had read so far, there was no way for it not to be. The book is incredible, at times raw and fantastically honest but none the less magical. It takes a special kind of person to be able to put so much magic into words but Marty Sklar certainly has. The book is a must read for Disney fans and those passionate about the heritage of the Disney Company. It contains beautiful stories and stunning photographs to accompany them. The words of a man who truly embodies Disney heritage and what it is to be a Cast Member for the most magical company on earth are truly words to be cherished, read, and reread. I hope that everyone who reads them enjoys them as much as I did.