Walt’s Apprentice: Keeping the Dream Alive Book Review

PRESS RELEASE: Walt’s Apprentice: Keeping the Dream Alaric’s 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 book touches on decisions that defined the guest experience and Disney’s reputation for quality. Few people have enjoyed a life so immersed in Disney magic.

Disney Publishing sent me a copy of Walt’s Apprentice: Keeping the Dream Alive to review for this blog.

Dick Nunis’ book, “Walt’s Apprentice: Keeping the Dream Alive”, was first announced at the Destination D23 event held at the Contemporary Resort at Walt Disney World in November 2022. There was a Dick Nunis panel where he shared several of the stories that are included in this book. It was easily the best panel of the entire event weekend. Ever since that panel, I have been highly anticipating the release of his book.

The book was released in October and features 294 pages with stories from his 44 year Disney career including 11 years that he spent working with Walt Disney himself. Dick was hired on May 26th, 1955 which was only a few months before Disneyland’s Opening.

You often hear that it is the Disney Cast Members which is the magic and heart behind the Disney theme park vacation experience…it is true. A lot of that magic can be attributed to Dick Nunis. Dick was on Disneyland’s opening training team and helped come up with the Disney Look. Later he would launch Disney University and Traditions. He believed in treating Disney park guests as guests and not customers. Dick Nunis had some big tasks on his plate throughout his career, but he always accepted them and did what needed to done to get the job done.

You may have heard the expression What “Would Walt Do?” or Walt would roll in his grave about some of the choices that are made by the Walt Disney company today. Since Dick had the pleasure of working with Walt as his apprentice for 11 years, he extended Walt’s philosophies surrounding his park until Dick retired in 1999. Dick Nunis shared Walt’s attention to detail and care for the guests to always improve the park experience. Dick is known to be a “People Mover”. The definition of people moving from the book is the fine art of keeping guests happily engaged as they move through your property.

The book is an easy read as Dick Nunis has a lot of great stories to tell. This book is also a great way to celebrate the history of WDW for the 50th anniversary since he was so important and influential to getting the Magic Kingdom and Epcot opened. Dick shares a great story about making sure the sod was perfect around the Contemporary Resort before it was opened. Green side up!

Final Thoughts

There are a lot of Nunisms of sayings from Dick over his career throughout the book. Every individual section and story ends with an inspirational Lessons Learned section. He has had so many life experiences with important lessons learned, that is a great collection of thoughts. Just having the lessons learned sections pulled out and put into a Dick Nunis quote book would be an outstanding Disney leadership or business guide for any company. I love the way that he got things done and how he treated guests and his casts. It is all about the guest and cast experience. Disney enthusiasts will love this book!

You can order the book at the following link:

Order: Walt’s Apprentice: Keeping the Dream Alive

*By purchasing from Amazon.com through this link above, you are supporting DuckTalks at no additional cost to yourself!

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