Saturday, August 13, 2022

Review: Walt's Apprentice by Dick Nunis

Genre: Biography/Memior 
Publisher: Hyerion Ave
Releases: Oct. 11, 2022
320 pages
About the Book:

Walt’s Apprentice: Keeping the Disney Dream Alive is the memoir of Disney Legend Dick NunisIt is a warm personal reminiscence of learning directly from Walt Disney for 12 years, followed by more than 30 years devoted to championing his vision and standards as the Disney empire grew.

The story covers Disney’s highlights, including the 1960 Winter Olympics, 1964-1965 New York World’s Fair, and the development and opening of Disneyland, Walt Disney World, Epcot, Tokyo Disneyland and Disneyland Paris. Unlike other Disney books, this story is told from the perspective of operations rather than Imagineering. It touches on decisions that defined the guest experience and Disney’s reputation for quality in areas ranging from capacity and people-moving, training, delivering a consistent “good show,” food service, and more.This first-person narrative is presented as a series of wide-ranging vignettes. Some vignettes focus on personal, character-shaping events, such as the injury that ended his collegiate football career. Other stories touch on national events, such as Nikita Khrushchev’s derailed visit to Disneyland, the decision to close the park following the assassination of John F. Kennedy, and Ronald Reagan’s assistance in expediting the visa process for cast members staffing the Epcot World Showcase. Few people have enjoyed a life so immersed in Disney magic.

These stories share that magic through the memories of one of the original doers and dreamers.

My Rating & Thoughts:    

I enjoyed reading Dick’s perspective about his years 44 years working for the Disney company. He worked his way up from a gofer to Director of Park Operations. He was there at the beginning of Disneyland opening and then the opening of Walt Disney World and some of the other Disney parks around the world. He worked directly with Walt for first 12 years of his career and then with his brother Roy until both of their deaths. His goal over the years was to keep Walt’s dream alive and the way that Walt envisioned it to be. Each chapter was dedicated to a specific story or topic, and I enjoyed at the end of each chapter Dick included a lesson learned from that topic. I enjoyed many of the stories shared and finding out some of the inside details of why certain things were created the way they are. There were times I had to stop and share what I just read with my husband. I found myself agreeing with Dick’s philosophies on work principals – “Do the best job you can with the job you’re given to do”. There are so many lessons shared in this book that can be applied to readers lives, both in work and personal life. The only part I struggled with were the sports references, as I am not a football or golf person I did not fully understand some of what he was talking about.  Overall I enjoyed this book and recommend it to those interested in Disney or enjoy memoirs. 

Favourite Quotes: 
“Incentives don't have to financial - they can be memorable experiences.”
“People notice and remember what you do, not what you say.”

(I received an ARC of this book from Hyperion Ave through NetGalley; opinions expressed 
in this review are my honest opinion and completely my own.)

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