Book Review: “Together in the Dream” by R.J. & Suzanne Ogren

I love reading stories about Disney history and the early days of Disney Parks. There’s a special kind of magic captured in the tiny details, and I’m not talking about all the hidden Mickey’s, but rather the talented people behind the scenes whose own dreams and aspirations were part of the continuation of Walt Disney’s original dream. That’s why I felt a sense of joy when I started reading “Together In The Dream: The Unique Careers of a Husband and Wife in the Early Decades of Walt Disney World,” as it was clear from the very beginning that the story of R.J. and Suzanne Ogren is exactly that kind of detail. It’s the little individual stories of people R.J. and Suzanne living their dream that make Walt Disney World such a magical place!


Getting to Know R.J.

As a member in multiple Disney fan groups and sites, I came across a live stream from a talented artist who was sharing not only his incredible talents with the world but also telling some incredible anecdotes, experiences, and stories about his career as an Audio-Animatronic Artist in the early days of Walt Disney World. I was instantly captivated by R.J.’s artistic ability, as he was applying fine details to one of his latest paintings, but also by how genuinely humble he is when it comes to sharing his contributions about a time and a place many of us Disney history buffs could only wish to have witnessed. I also learned that Suzanne, R.J.’s equally talented wife, who is a professionally-trained dancer and actress, also entertained crowds as Sleepy the Dwarf and other characters we love in the park’s early years. These were two people who were living the Disney dream! A dream I have had for years but never the bravery to pursue, and I have now found two people who had done it themselves and were so open to sharing their experience. Naturally, I had to learn more.


Storytelling the Magic | Chapter-by-Chapter

When “Together in the Dream” arrived at my house it was the day before I was about to board a flight to San Jose for a business trip. I was traveling there that morning and returning home to Phoenix on the same day, so I was banking on the autobiography to help me pass the time.  Little did I know that I would be more than 3/4 through the book by the end of my trip. I simply couldn’t put it down and found myself smiling, chuckling, and even tearing up at times with how incredible (and challenging) this journey has been for the Ogren family. The stories in this book put you right beside R.J. and Suzanne as they struggled to begin and the influences/experiences that helped them grow during their journey with Disney. The format of swapping authors chapter-by-chapter between R.J. and Suzanne will have you justifying to yourself, “oh just one more chapter and I’ll go to bed,” when in reality you’ll want to do that every single page.


Dreams Can Come True

I don’t want to give away everything in this book, because joining R.J. and Suzanne on their journey is something that any Disney history buff will enjoy, but it’s a perfect source of inspiration for anyone who has the dream of someday working for Disney. “Together in the Dream” is available for purchase on Amazon.


Connecting with R.J. and Suzanne

The Ogren’s are an incredibly talented and fascinating couple who have more stories to tell, from their time at Disney and beyond.

You can learn more about R.J. and Suzanne on their official website and social media pages. R.J. even goes live regularly with his live stream videos, so you’ll likely get a chance to “meet him” the very same way I did. You never know what this amazing duo will be up to next, so be sure to follow.

 

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