Disney Author Sam Gennawey in Orlando This Week

Recently, I had the pleasure of reading Walt and the Promise of Progress City, a fascinating new look at the origins of Walt Disney World's EPCOT, from Disney historian and urban planner Sam Gennawey. Sam's book is the most in-depth analysis I've read since the classic Vinyl Leaves that delves into the architectural and engineering philosophy behind Walt's ambitious "Florida Project."

If you'd like to hear Sam's insights in person, you can meet him at one of several Orlando-area appearance of the next few days. Sam will soon be presenting this material in California to members of Disney Imagineering, so this is your chance to get the scoop before the Mouse insiders do.

Here are the details on Sam's appearances. Maybe I'll see you there!



Author and urban planner Sam Gennawey will be in the Orlando, Florida area from May 2-8 as part of a whirlwind trip packed with multiple speaking appearances to promote his new book Walt and The Promise of Progress City.

Those appearances will include the Congress for the New Urbanism conference, Disney Institute Leadership Team, as well as several opportunities for the general public including the Winter Park Library, the Orlando County Library and the World Chapter of the Disneyana Fan Club.

Gennawey will be doing a special presentation entitled Walt Disney's Great Big Beautiful Tomorrows. The presentation will review how Walt and his artists developed the building blocks that have resulted in meaningful and functional urban spaces. In particular, Gennawey will explore Walt’s plans for the future including the concept of the Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow (EPCOT).

His new book, Walt and The Promise of Progress City,details step-by-step Walt’s decades long achievements in urban spaces that led to the development of his final dream, the Epcot project. Gennawey’s speaking tour will include expanded insights from this well received first book.

Gennawey is currently the Senior Associate at Katherine Padilla and Associates (KPA) and planning historian and member of the Board of Directors for the Los Angeles Region Planning History Group

Over the past 12 years, he has worked on more than 120 projects, many of them garnering awards, and led more than 700 community workshops and design charrettes.

Gennawey is a long time Disney enthusiast with his own respected website devoted to Disney theme park design,www.samlanddisney.blogspot.com that combines his two passions in life, Disney and urban planning

“Walt Disney redefined what it meant to watch an animated film or to experience an amusement park,” commented Gennawey. “In his final years, Walt wanted to influence the public's expectations once again and bring about the same level of transformative change with the creation of an arts college (CalArts), a year-round mountain resort (Mineral King), and an Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow (EPCOT). We will also explore the building blocks that determine how and why guests understand and experience those spaces.”


Several of Gennawey’s presentations will be open to the general public:


Thursday, May 3: Winter Park Library 10:30 am

For further information:

Winter Park Library

460 E. New England Ave.

Winter Park, FL 32789

(407) 623-3300



Thursday May 3 Orlando County Library 6:00 pm

For further information:

Orlando County Library

Albertson Room

101 East Central Boulevard

Orlando FL 32801

(407) 835-7320



Saturday May 5 World Chapter Disneyana Fan Club 6:00 pm

For further information:

Disneyana Fan Club/World Chapter

Holiday Inn at Summer Bay Resorts

105 Summer Bay Boulevard (on Route 192 West, Near Route 27)

Clermont, Fl 34714

(Approximately 12 miles from Walt Disney World Resorts)

(407) 275-2756



Sunday May 6 Kevin Yee Meet and Great 2:00 pm

This is not a formal presentation but an opportunity to meet and talk with Gennawey or get a book signed at the Italy Pavilion at Epcot


Some excerpts from the many laudatory internet reviews of Walt and The Promise of Progress City from Disney enthusiasts:


“[Sam has] captured much of the attitude and events of the times, and hit on much of Walt’s drive and inspiration. [His] research into materials and people who were important in one way or another is exemplary. The notes from Buzz Price, John Hench, and Marvin Davis, for example...the apparent influence of Victor Gruen’s theories...a relationship that developed with James Rouse - all insightful. It is clear, well researched and useful and thoughtful to anyone studying urban planning.”

​--- Disney Legend Marty Sklar

“The author brings all the concepts of urban planning to the level of Disney fans that will find themselves entertained by how he uses familiar Disney theme park landmarks to bring his readers to a deep and complete understanding of how these concepts work.”

​--- Mike Scopa www.AllEars.net

“Working as an urban planner, Gennawey's in a better position than most to speak authoritatively about whether Epcot-the-City would have actually been a viable project.”

​---Jim Hill www.jimhillmedia.com

“(Gennawey) describes the most important theories in urban planning and shows us how these theories were applied by Walt Disney and its Imagineers while designing Disneyland and the original EPCOT.”

​----Maxime Bogaert www.designingdisney.com

Sam Gennawey


Phone: 626.200.8903

E-mail: gennawey@yahoo.com

Sam Gennawey is available for interviews, podcasts and events.