Arnold was introduced to the storytelling genius of Walt Disney when he was about 4 years old and his mother read to him the story of “Dumbo the Flying Elephant.” A few years later, he became hooked on Disney’s television series “Davy Crockett” and had to have a Davy Crockett outfit, complete with coonskin cap. Still later, Arnold saw Disney’s movie adaptation of Jules Verne’s “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea” for the first time, which peaked his interest in science fiction. Watching Walt Disney’s anthology shows on television every Sunday evening also became a “must do,” with the most interesting episodes being those that showed behind-the-scenes glimpses into the Disney theme parks.
Although, as a child, Arnold knew about the existence of Disneyland, he didn’t have an opportunity to visit Walt’s original theme park until he was an adult and a business trip to California in 1985 afforded him the chance to take some vacation time to visit Disneyland with his wife and daughter.
Arnold’s first visit to Walt Disney World was in 1973. At the time, he was in his first full-time job, was still single, and had the opportunity to take a vacation trip to Florida with his younger brother Steven. Besides doing all of the usual sightseeing stops around Miami, they took a 2-day Gray Line bus tour that included a day at the Kennedy Space Center and a day at Walt Disney World. At the time, Walt Disney World consisted of only the Magic Kingdom and the Contemporary and Polynesian Village resorts. The park was still using booklets with tickets of different value for different levels of attractions. The minor rides required an “A” ticket, while the best rides required the more expensive “E” ticket. If you used up all of the tickets in your booklet, you could buy more at ticket booths throughout the park.
In this third of a series of photobooks, Arnold presents a visual journey through time with more than 700 full color photographs of the Walt Disney World theme parks over a period of 40 years. Rather than trying to catalog every attraction in each park, this is more a journey of exploration, with the emphasis being on what had changed and what had been added to the parks from one visit to the next. It all started with a 1-day visit to the Magic Kingdom in 1973 and continued through occasional summer visits by Arnold with his wife and daughter during summer vacations in the 1980s, Christmas-time visits in the 1990s and, eventually, annual visits in the 2000s and 2010s – now as a Disney Vacation Club member and with his granddaughter and son-in-law as part of the group. This photobook would be a great souvenir for anyone who wants a keepsake to remember treasured visits to Walt Disney World or a visual record of the theme parks as they were through the years.