Book Review: Travels with Walt Disney: A Photographic Voyage Around the World

Hi everyone!

We received Travels with Walt Disney: A Photographic Voyage Around the World by Jeff Kurtti to review. Kurtti also has two other books coming out this year, From All of Us to All of You The Disney Christmas Card and Practically Poppins in Every Way: A Magical Carpetbag of Countless Wonders and is well known to many who read Disney books on a regular basis.

My first impression after an initial flip through the book was that it is heavy on photos but lighter on text than many of the books I’ve reviewed in the past couple of years. That impression didn’t change once I started reading. There are a treasure trove of photos here, many that I have never seen before – along with captions and paragraphs that discuss Walt and his journeys. Sometimes his travels took him far – to Europe in particular numerous times and there are photos and mentions of his El Grupo South American trip. The first chapter of the book deals more with his early life, and his travels to Paris as part of the Red Cross Ambulance Corps when he was just 16. Many of his travels were domestic, including scouting out the Florida location for Walt Disney World.
Travels with Walt Disney includes Walt’s early life and love of trains. One of Walt’s first jobs was on a train as a “news butcher” (selling magazines and other items). While it was hard work and not profitable, he eventually established not only the Carolwood Pacific Railroad in his backyard but then the Disneyland Railroad.
The book travels through topics and locations very quickly. For example, there are a few pages with wonderful photos from Tournament of Roses parades and then the next page is Walt and Lillian skating at Yosemite. There are pages about the 1960 Winter Olympics and Disney’s part in it, and a couple pages later is the Smoke Tree Ranch in Palm Springs. These are all part of the “California Dreams” chapter and thus they are tied together as part of California, but also feel very different from each other.
There are a hundreds of wonderful photos along with interesting quotes and ancedotes in Travels with Walt Disney. Walt with Lillian, with his children, on location – so many photos from early life until months before he passed. Walt’s Gulfstream is shown in photos before it went to Disney’s Hollywood Studios (where it no longer resides, but did for many years until recently). There are some fun photos of Walt in Hawaii, he looks relaxed in a way we rarely see in photos. Early photos of Walt during his Red Cross time include pictures I’ve seen and some I haven’t.
Travels with Walt Disney: A Photographic Voyage Around the World offers a really nice look into Walt Disney’s life and his travels, and I learned some things I didn’t know along the way.
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