Back in December I was delighted to discover "A Walk in the Park with Rolly Crump" - an audio tour of Disneyland led by Imagineer and Disney Legend Roland "Rolly" Crump.
Rolly had a hand in iconic Disneyland attractions such as It's a Small World, Walt Disney's Enchanted Tiki Room, and The Haunted Mansion. He has also been honored with a window on Disneyland's Main Street:
I bought a copy of the tour in late December, but saved it listen to when I spent solo day in Disneyland a couple of weeks ago.
Having heard Rolly's interview on WEDway Radio, my expectations were pretty high, and I am pleased to report I was not disappointed. Given his background, it should come as no surprise that Rolly is also an excellent storyteller. Although there is some overlap with material I have heard before, I learned plenty. Most of all, it was a rare treat to feel like I was being given a personal tour by someone who clearly loved Disneyland and played a direct role in shaping it in ways both big and small.
The recording itself is professionally produced, and makes for an enjoyable experience even when listened to among the ambient noise of park. I think it can be enjoyed on it's own, but if you have the chance I would recommend listening to it in Disneyland as intended.
The tour is fifty minutes of recorded audio. It begins outside the Main Street train station, and meanders from there, with clearly identified places where the listener should pause and proceed to a different area of the park. This format allows the listener to proceed a his or her own pace, and encourages you to slow down to take in many of the small details which make Disneyland special.
Although the tour does not explicitly enter any attractions, there are obvious spots where the audio can be paused long enough to enjoy some of the featured attractions, and in some cases Rolly gives you specific details to look for while inside.
I would suggest allocating at least 90-120 minutes for the walking tour (more if you plan to visit attractions along the way).
My only wish is that there were more material like this. Rolly himself says he has many more stories to tell. Perhaps if this tour proves to be sufficiently popular we might get more (Please !! ??).
In summary - "A Walk in the Park" with Rolly Crump is highly recommended. I would consider it a bargain at twice the price. While it will be enjoyed most by Disney geeks, I think the material can be enjoyed by anyone who is willing to slow down and learn a little more about "The Happiest Place on Earth".
You can purchase the audio tour (and hear a free sample) here.
You can read more about Rolly over at Progress City, U.S.A. and also at WEDway Radio. You should also listen to his interview on WEDway Radio Episode 50.
UPDATE - Rolly is also a columnist at Disney Dispatch!
Oh - and make sure to wave "Hi" to Rolly the next time you're in Disneyland: