Christmas is my absolute favorite time of year. As a child, it was my favorite time of year because of all of the presents and getting to play in the snow. Ironically, it doesn’t snow much where we live now and presents aren’t that big of a deal. Now, Christmas-time is more about the beautiful decorations and lights, delicious foods, festive music, that inarticulable holiday spirit, and spending time with family. Gift-giving (and receiving!) is still fun, and for those of us who are Disney fans, Disney has made sure there are no shortages of potential presents for us!
Here are some of what I feel are the highlights for things you should give (or receive!) this year:
Poster Art of the Disney Parks – Without a doubt the biggest release of the year as far as Disney theme park books go, this oversized title not only highlights the art used in the most beautiful attraction posters, but also details the process of making the posters, and shares some rejected concepts. For ~$26 on Amazon (as compared to $50 in the parks!), this beautiful hardcover book should be under plenty of Christmas trees this year! (Read our full review by clicking here)
The Muppet Christmas Carol – Putting this on your Christmas List is actually a huge mistake. You should buy it this instant and immediately start enjoying it before Christmas. It’s my favorite Muppet movie and a great retelling of the Dickens classic. No, it doesn’t have “When Love is Gone,” (and chances are no release ever will again) but it’s such a good release that fans should be willing to overlook that. (Read our full review by clicking here)
Gardens of the Walt Disney World Resort (1988) - I drew attention to this highly underrated Walt Disney World book earlier this year when I called it one of the best Walt Disney World books ever in my review. I’ll repeat what I said then: this book belongs in every Disney fan’s collection, and the wonderful photography and closeup look at the horticulture of Walt Disney World (in the late 1980s) will give you a new appreciation for the parks. Please note that this recommendation is for the 1988 book, and not for the relatively lackluster 2006 Secrets of Disney’s Glorious Gardens. While both are about gardens, that’s about where the comparisons end. (Read our full review by clicking here)
Epic Mickey 2 – From everything I’ve heard, this takes the success of the first Epic Mickey (unique gameplay and tons of Disney references) and gives it a better camera and control system. I’ve also heard some reports that it tries to “be too much” and misses the mark. Regardless, I’m asking for a copy for Christmas, and since it’s on sale for $29 today as a Cyber Monday special, I might just have a copy in my hands before then!
Disney Magic Kingdom Game – This game is fairly fun, and we play it a decent amount, but it’s definitely more fun with more than 2 people. The objective is to visit five attractions (no FASTPASS!) in the Magic Kingdom. There are obstacles along the way and a bit of strategy must be employed. The first player to visit each of their five attractions and return to the park’s entrance wins. I wish the strategical elements were emphasized a bit more, but that’s what I think would improve if you had more players than 2. This game is definitely worth picking up, especially while prices are as low as they are at present. (Read all of of Disney game reviews by clicking here)
Color Companion to Walt Disney World (2012) – I’m admittedly biased on this one, as I contributed photos and material to it, but I think the Unofficial Guide’s 2012 Color Companion far exceeds the first edition, with plenty of new photos, and illustrative content (like photos of the same fireworks burst from multiple vantage points) that just cannot be accomplished with a text-only guide.
Walt Disney Imagineering: A Behind the Dreams Look at Making More Magic Real - I received this last year for Christmas, and it instantly became one of my favorite Disney theme park books. The media on the pages is rich, the photos and art are vivid, and the price is very reasonable considering what you get. I think it’s better than the first edition (although you really ought to own both), and definitely the perfect gift for anyone interested in learning more about the creative process of Walt Disney Imagineering! (Read all of our book reviews by clicking here)
Canon RX100 Point & Shoot Camera – Okay, I know that this is not really Disney-specific. But, since writing a glowing review of this camera back in July, I’ve become even more convinced since using this camera in October at Walt Disney World and last week in Disneyland Paris (don’t worry, photos are coming soon!) that this is the perfect camera for anyone interested in carrying a bulky DSLR. Plus, it’s fairly pricey, making it the perfect thing to ask Santa to bring you! (Read our full review by clicking here)
Walt Disney Treasures – Disneyland USA - I’ve never met a Walt Disney Treasures title that I haven’t liked, but unfortunately, they’re usually out of print for expensive prices or aren’t something I’d watch enough to justify purchasing. Luckily, Disneyland USA fits into neither category, and is a great historical title that I’ve already watched a few times since having received it last year for Christmas!
TouringPlans eBooks – TouringPlans launched its eBook lineup in 2012, and so far there are three titles, all of which were photographed by me. My personal favorite is the Disneyland: Sunrise to Sunrise title, which is a collection of photos from Disneyland–all of which were taken on “One More Disney Day.” The title presently drawing rave reviews is the Walt Disney World Christmas 2012 eBook, which has tons of great information, and some swell photos, too!
Prep & Landing: Totally Tinsel Collection Blu-ray – I’ll have a full review of this up later this week, but suffice to say, if you are a fan of these television specials (and who isn’t?) and have a decent home theater system, this is something you’ll want to own. These specials look great, and are perfect to get you in the mood for Christmas!
Emmet Otter’s Jug-Band Christmas DVD – After years of not watching this too much due to Sarah not caring for it, I’ve watched this a ton the last couple of years, playing our copy each time she goes shopping without me. Emmet Otter and his band try to win a talent show to give his impoverished family a merry Christmas. Classic Jim Henson and a really heartwarming Christmas story.
Disneyland: Inside Story - Inside Story is an incredibly detailed look at the creation of Disneyland and its first several decades of existence. The price on this book fluctuates widely. It’s currently only $30, but I’ve seen it with a $100 “low” price. It seems like $25 is about the lowest it gets (every once in a while). If you have any interest in Disneyland but don’t own this book, you need to add it to your list. (Read all of our book reviews by clicking here)
Disney Food Blog Guides - Disney Food Blog is easily the best resource for all things related to Walt Disney World dining, and they’ve released a variety of helpful eBooks this year. Their flagship 2012 Dining Guide is the must own title, with the “Adventures” series being a great primer for killing time snacking throughout Walt Disney World, and the new 2012 Walt Disney World Christmas eBook providing plenty of holiday-specific tips!
Dinner at a Disney Restaurant “Gift Certificate“ - If the quickest way to someone’s heart is truly through their stomach, consider creating an all expenses paid “gift certificate” for a loved one to visit the Disney restaurant of their choice. A lot of times we seem to avoid more expensive restaurants, so the cost of one of those expensive restaurants is a perfect Christmas gift!
The Muppets: A Green and Red Christmas – This is an incredibly fun Christmas album, with a variety of different (and new) Christmas songs as opposed to an album full of recycled “classics.”
Kinect Disneyland Adventures – This game has dropped in price a lot since it came out, making it a better deal than ever. I think it has some great mini-games and a beautifully recreated environment that makes it worth owning. Unfortunately, due to low sales I doubt we’ll ever see a Walt Disney World follow-up, but I can dream…
Disney Hallmark Ornaments - It’s not a great year for Disney ornaments from Hallmark (thankfully?), but there’s one that I think is really awesome. Unfortunately, it’s also $35. I’ll wait to see if I can scoop it up on clearance after Christmas for 75% off, as it’s just not worth $35 to me. Luckily, this awesome ET ornament is only $18. (I know, it has nothing to do with Disney, but it’s still awesome!)
Celebrations Christmas Memories (2011) - Before the TouringPlans Christmas 2012 eBooks, I contributed to this Christmas book last year. It features photos from myself and a few other photographers, along with a few stories written by Lou Mongello, Jim Korkis, and others! It makes a great coffee table book.
What Disney-related items are on your Christmas list? Anything listed above? Trips? Cruises?! Something better? Share in the comments!