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A printed collection of Disney-related historical essays, and the first in a line of new Disney history publications.
A printed collection of Disney-related historical essays, and the first in a line of new Disney history publications.
364 backers pledged $16,056 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

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Update the 5th - 60 Hours Left!: The hours are counting down, so here's a brief update as to where we stand. We've passed the $10k barrier, so that means you'll all enjoy 10 of my favorite Walt Disney World recipes so you can eat as you read.

More importantly, I'm happy to reveal that artist Brice Croskey will be translating my doodles into spectacular life for the Horizons-inspired t-shirts. If my sketches didn't convince you, his art should! 

I've posted an update on the blog with some further thoughts about future book topics I've been consider, and any further funding we receive in this last push will go towards making those as comprehensive as possible. 

Update the 4th - Now Featuring T-Shirts!: Well, we're closing in on the final 10 days of the Kickstarter so the end is in sight. There are plenty more projects I'd like to make happen down the road, though, so please consider sharing this project with friends and frenemies alike!

One request I've had several times is for t-shirts. After some thought, it seems that this is not only doable, but could also lead to some cool things. I doodled down my ideas and have enlisted the help of Actual Professional Artists™ to bring them to reality. And they're going to be made available as rewards here! This is something I've wanted to do for a while, and I think anyone who is interested in the subject matter of the Primer will be interested in these.

IMPORTANT NOTE: I've added top-level tiers for those who wanted "everything" - a book, the ebook and audiobook versions, and all four shirts. If you want to add a single shirt to your book order, just up your pledge by the appropriate amount and you'll be able to select your shirt when I send out the post-funding reward surveys. Let me know if you have any questions!

I must underscore that the designs below (as will prove obvious) are merely my own very amateur doodlings (I'm a writer, Jim, not an artist..) to give an idea of where these are going - the final designs will be done by professional artists (who can draw actual circles and straight lines and everything!) and will actually look super nice and classy. Everything you see below is merely a rough concept, and might change during development, but the general ideas shall remain the same. I'll be sure and keep you updated as the artists develop the ideas. We're having these screen printed professionally so they should be pretty slick - only high quality merchandise in this establishment!

We're going to kick things off with four separate shirt designs. The first is a simple logo shirt, based on the Progress City logo used on the site. Our guest artist will be honing this into a more refined look, but you get the idea - a stylized treatment of the high-rise luxury hotel at the center of Walt's EPCOT.

For our other shirts, we're taking inspiration from my favorite Disney attraction of all time - the Epcot Center classic, Horizons. The idea is that we're doing three "travel posters" for the iconic destinations you could visit in the attraction. One shirt will be made available for each destination. Again I ask that you pardon my chickenscratch doodles - hopefully they convey what we're going for here!

The first destination is the space station Brava Centauri, seen orbiting the Earth with two intercolony shuttles swooping into the foreground. The logo is based on original Imagineering concepts for the attraction:

Next up is the floating city of Sea Castle; two "solosubs" leap into the air above, while dolphins race below:

Finally we have the desert community of Mesa Verde, with its helium lifters and cliff-side dwellings. This one will appear similar to old national park posters, sepia toned to fit its arid setting (sorry, you'll have to provide your own Lorange scent):

So that's what we're doing. I'll add these rewards to the list; people with existing orders should be able to add them separately. I plan to have more info about sizing, etc, soon, but I hope to cover everyone's needs. And I'll post actual artwork as soon as I can! Remember - details might chance as we strive to create the best possible artwork, but this gives a hint at where we're going!

If you have any other requests for stretch goals or added perks, let me know in the comments. And, of course, any left-over earnings will go towards the production of future titles. Again, thank you so much for visiting. If you're a newcomer, keep reading for more details about the project!

What is The Progress City Primer?

Funny you should ask! The Progress City Primer is a new collection of historical essays about the Walt Disney Company and its theme parks. Section topics include Walt himself, the Disney Imagineers, the history of Walt Disney World, classic Epcot Center, and never-built attractions and resorts.

I've scoured the archives of the Progress City U.S.A. blog for my favorite articles and essays from the last seven years. Each essay has been updated, expanded, or completely rewritten, and a number of entirely new articles will be included as well.

The book is currently projected to run a minimum of 300 pages, and it will include black and white photographs. 

In addition I hope that this new release will be the first in a series of Disney historical publications. Research is already underway on several new titles, and additional funding raised here will go to help speed their completion. Any extra funding on this Kickstarter will go to ensure the creation of new books, stories, podcasts, and other projects from Progress City.

Who are we?

Since 2007, Progress City U.S.A. has delivered a stream of Disney-related content online. Author Michael Crawford has also contributed material to the Walt Disney Family Museum and The Walt Disney Company, and his articles have appeared in a variety of publications including twenty-three magazine.

Please note, of course, that this is a private project and is no way affiliated, endorsed, or authorized by The Walt Disney Company.

Why self-publish?

Two main reasons: So we can do things in our own way, on our own timetable. I'm a nerd and I enjoy writing about nerdy things, for the enjoyment of fellow nerds. Often, publishers want things to be as "accessible" as possible. So even if you successfully pitch an idea to a major publisher, it's instantly being whittled away and made, for lack of a better word, boring.

University presses are better at addressing niche markets, of course, and they can definitely produce high-quality books. But they also operate on their own timetables...

There are a number of small publishers currently focusing on the theme park (or specifically Disneyana) market, but sometimes these products can seem lacking. Just because you're publishing through a small press, or even self-publishing, doesn't mean your book has to look like it. By doing everything ourselves, from typesetting to cover art, we can ensure that our books live up to our standards!

What does your money go towards?

Your generous donation will (aside from reserving you a copy of the book!) enable us to deliver a quality product, quickly.

Creating a new book involves a lot of tedious business (paperwork, clearances, buying ISBN numbers, etc.) and a lot of incidental expenses. Also, don't forget that we'll be paying fees to both Kickstarter and Amazon Payments, as well as shipping fees for your rewards and the rewards themselves.

Now usually we'd just pay this out of pocket, but that could stretch the process out for months and months. By donating now - as a pre-order, of sorts - you enable us to go full steam ahead and take care of all the piecemeal incidentals at once, and get the book to market without a lot of waiting around.

It will also allow us to provide a nice honorarium to the lovely folks - designers, proofreaders, etc. - who are helping to ensure a quality product.

What do you get out of it?

A book!

Contributors will receive either an e-book (at the $15 level) or a print copy of the book. At the $30 level we're offering a trade paperback edition, and at $45 you'll receive a hardback edition. If you want, I'll sign it. The projected public release date for the physical book is October 1st, but I hope to have it finished earlier than that (it's almost finished now) and, if I do, contributors to the Kickstarter will receive advance copies.

If you're feeling particularly generous, at the $200 level I'll be your monkey and research and write a story for the blog on the subject of your choosing - the only stipulations are that it has to be a historical topic, and it has to be something "knowable".

Finally, for those of you with your own businesses or products, at the $1,000 level you can be a participating sponsor. That will buy you a banner ad on the book's homepage, and a mention as participating sponsor in press materials and social media. If you have any other needs we can work them out, as well.

What if we raise more than our stated goal?

Well for me, this is the really exciting part. We've set an intentionally low bar for funding, because really the main goal is to get this first book out as quickly as possible. We didn't want to ask more than was necessary for that task.

However, I have big plans. Plans for a number of new books, some of which I have been researching for quite a long time. Now some of these might be a few years away still, but any extra funding will go toward the completion of these volumes. It will allow for the inclusion of more material, for more research, and for quicker production. And perhaps, eventually, it can lead to new titles from other, previously-unpublished Disney historians and writers.

There are also a couple of major "stretch goals" I have in mind. Some of these are for reasonable targets, and some are pie in the sky (you have to have at least one pie in the sky idea!) but we'll cross those bridges if and when we come to them.

Previous Updates:

Update the 1st: Wow. You guys blew through that first goal in an hour - I'm both shocked and incredibly grateful! Now we start thinking about stretch goals and new future projects.

Our first expanded target is $5,000. I've had several requests for an audiobook version of the Primer, so if we reach the $5,000 target we'll do that. Should that happen, the audiobook would be available as a separate pledge perk or as a low-cost add-on for people who have already pledged for a print book. As an added thank you, I'll also use the recording sessions as an opportunity to record three new episodes of The Progress City Radio Hour, which will be made available for free.

After several requests, I've also decided to do a hardcover printing of the book, and that is now available as a perk for the $45 donation level.

Update the 2nd: Well we've passed our $5k goal, which means that I'll be going into the booth at good ol' Arbor Ridge Studios to record an audio book version of the Primer as well as some new podcasts. I've added the audio book to the list of rewards, both as a single item and as an add-on option for the paperback and hardcover editions. Contributions at the $200 level and up will receive the downloadable audiobook free of charge.

Update the 3rd: Ok. I know a good thing when I see it. Even Walt, back in the day, knew how to tap in to the latest trends. No doubt you've seen the news of this Kickstarter, where some dude is raising an insane amount of money to make potato salad. He's blown by our funding level in a matter of days, and I want some of that potato salad lettuce. 

So I'm adding a $10,000 stretch goal. If we reach the $10k level I will research and include as an appendix to the book ten of my top favorite Disney park recipes from the past and present - INCLUDING ONE FOR POTATO SALAD. Why have me make potato salad when you can recreate your very own Aunt Polly's picnic at home!

Also note I have added a $1 contribution level. This is for those of you who haven't checked your couch for spare change in a while. For every $1 pledge and above, at the end of funding I will send you MY VERY OWN LEGENDARY PRIVATE PROGRESS CITY CHILI RECIPE.  Enjoy the new book just like we will here at Progress City Towers - alongside a large bowl of piping hot chili! There, world! Is that what you want? Will that make you happy?

Risks and challenges

The risks are minimal for our main project - The Progress City Primer. The text of the book is nearly completed and is currently being laid out. It is unlikely that any significant production error or outside intervention would occur to delay the project in any meaningful way. In fact, we're attempting to have built-in buffers to the schedule in the hopes of an early delivery.

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    Pledge $1 or more About $1.00

    The MASH THE POTATO SALAD Level - For those of you with spare change. Check your couch! Check the floor! Can you scrape together $1? We'll put it to good use! And I'll send you my own, private, proprietary chili recipe! Timely humour!

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    My eternal* gratitude and thanks! (*"Eternity" limited to the heat death of the universe. Terms and conditions may apply.)

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    Digital Copy - A high-quality digital copy of The Progress City Primer in PDF or your choice of e-book formats.

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    Audio Book - The people spoke! And they requested an audio book. At this level you'll receive your very own downloadable audio version of the Primer, in the dulcet tones of yours truly.

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    Digital Bundle - One copy of the Progress City Primer in ebook format + one download of the Progress City Primer audio book

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    T-Shirt - Wear Your Progress With Pride™! We've come up with four separate t-shirt designs, and at this level you can pick your favorite. Choose from the Progress City logo or three designs based on the Epcot classic Horizons - Mesa Verde, Sea Castle, or Brava Centauri!

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    Physical Copy - A physical paperback copy (signed or not, your choice) of The Progress City Primer. Includes digital copy in your choice of formats.

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    Paperback Copy + Digital Copy + Audio Book Download

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    Pledge $45 or more About $45

    Hardback Copy - A physical hardback copy (signed or not, your choice) of The Progress City Primer. Includes digital copy in your choice of formats.

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    Hardback Copy + Digital Copy + Audio Book Download

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    Pledge $60 or more About $60

    Two Books - Two physical copy of the Progress City Primer just in case you need a spare! Can be signed if you desire, and includes two digital copies.

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    All 3 Horizons Shirts - Majority rules! At this level you get all three t-shirts based on the Epcot classic Horizons - Sea Castle, Brava Centauri, and Mesa Verde.

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    Pledge $90 or more About $90

    Two Hardcover Books - Why buy one when you can have two at twice the price? At this level you get two hardcover copies of the Progress City Primer just in case you need a spare! Can be signed if you desire, and includes two digital copies.

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    All 4 T-Shirts - You won't have to do laundry for almost a full work week! Get four hi-quality t-shirts: the three Horizons shirts as well as the Progress City logo t.

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    The Half Enchilada - Paperback copy, digital copy, audiobook copy, and all 4 t-shirts!

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    Pledge $150 or more About $150

    The Whole Enchilada - Make it easy and get everything in one swoop! One hardcover copy, one digital copy, one audiobook copy, and four different t-shirts.

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    Pledge $200 or more About $200

    Tell Me What To Write! - Do you have a desperate curiosity about some forgotten aspect of Disney lore? At this level you get to give me an assignment, and I'll write a story on the topic of your choosing (within reason!) to post on the Progress City blog. Includes one physical and one digital copy of the book.

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    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    Participating Sponsor - Do you have a Disney-related business, product, website, or video/podcast? At this level your business will be included as a participating sponsor of The Progress City Primer, with placed link ads on the book's website as well as mentions in all press materials and on social media (Facebook, Twitter). Reach thousands of readers at once! Includes one physical and digital copy of the book.

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    THE FULL NUNIS - Are you rich? Kinda nutty? Are you Dick Nunis? Do you want to give me a lot of money to write about Disney things? Cmon, I know you had stock options!

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Funding period

- (30 days)