My Disney Theme Park Library

Disney theme park books

There are many Disney Parks books that focus on Disneyland, Walt Disney World, and Walt Disney Imagineering. This post reviews some of the books in my Disney Parks library, and provides links for finding inexpensive copies of the books. Over the last 5 years, I’ve gradually accrued a substantial collection of Disney Parks books.

Currently, an Amazon search for “Disney books” yields 94,266 results. That’s a lot of books. My Disney library focuses on coffee table books with strong visual elements that were originally sold as souvenir books in the Disney Parks. There are tons of Disney biographies and other non-fiction titles, and although I have or have read a good number of these, I only touch upon some of what I consider to be the highlights here.

Many of these books are out-of-print, so they can only be purchased on the secondary market. Luckily, you can still find many of them on for prices ranging from $.01 to a few dollars (click each title for current prices on A few are quite expensive, costing a few hundred dollars, but most can now be purchased much cheaper than they were when sold new at Walt Disney World or Disneyland.

A word of caution before we begin: although these books are individually cheap, the costs of collecting them is deceptively expensive, and these books can take up a lot of space. When I updated this post to add new books in December 2014, I decided to go back and approximate how much I had spent “for fun” and the number was a bit staggering. The good news is that the values on most of the rare titles have risen since I purchased them, so consider buying to be a “pragmatic investment” if you need to justify a purchase!

With that, let’s take a look at my Disney theme park library…


Disney Parks Books

These books focus solely on Disneyland. They may touch upon other parks briefly (mostly in the context of Walt Disney World being the “continuation of Walt Disney’s dream”), but their main subject is Disneyland.

Disneyland Then, Now, and Forever – This is a great place to start your collection. It’s not the best title on the Disneyland list, but it’s relatively inexpensive, accessible, and offers some information about extinct attractions that pre-dated present favorites at Disneyland. My personal favorite is the section on the Mine Train Through Nature’s Wonderland. It’s not as comprehensive as some of the titles that follow, but it’s a great way to get your feet wet without breaking the bank.

Disneyland the Nickel Tour: A Postcard Journey Through 40 Years of the Happiest Place on Earth – Unquestionably the best book about Disneyland, Nickel Tour is humorous, detailed, fun to read, and a great resource. The premise of Disneyland Nickel Tour is brilliantly simple: use a complete set of Disneyland postcards (and other photos) as a vehicle for telling the story of Disneyland. Unfortunately, it’s also rare and incredibly expensive. I think it’s well worth the money, as hard as that is to believe. I was skeptical myself, but I’m very glad I bought it. The authors spent over a decade researching and writing this title, and it really shows. This voluminous 392-page title is quite the page turner as the authors inject their humor into it to make the dense history engaging. The value of Nickel Tour will only increase in the coming years (it has already increased since I purchased it in 2011) as both authors are deceased and the publisher is out of business. It’s very unlikely that any reprints or future editions will be written. Consider this a true investment.

Disneyland: Inside Story – Prior to Disneyland Nickel Tour, Imagineer Randy Bright’s Disneyland Inside Story held the crown as the best and most comprehensive Disneyland coffee table book. At 240 pages, this book balances history with exceptional photos. Although the book was written in the late 1980s, surprisingly, it doesn’t feel incomplete as to Disneyland (it obviously doesn’t cover Disney California Adventure). It can be a bit on the pricey side, but it’s another title that is well-worth the money.

The Art of Disneyland – This is another expensive title that is an essential for any Disneyland collector. Seeing the early art in this title gives me goosebumps, and reading the story of Herb Ryman being told by Walt that he was going to draw the now-famous concept art for Disneyland always brings a smile to my face. The Art of Disneyland is a visual treat with its amazingly detailed concept art, just don’t be surprised if once you open it you can’t put it down. My favorite portions of the book (unsurprisingly) involve the various incarnations of Tomorrowland. Although I did laugh at the authors’ positive remarks about the warm colors in Tomorrowland ’98. They were joking, right?!

Disneyland, Memories of a Lifetime – This book is one of the best of the newer titles, and is cheap as compared to the books above. This title has some of the best photos out of all of the books here, too. From a historical perspective, it doesn’t hold a candle to Disneyland Nickel Tour or Disneyland Inside Story, but it’s a solid title, nonetheless.

Disneyland Dreams Traditions and Transitions – This is another title that I found surprisingly good. It’s not as good as the upper echelon, but the photos are pretty good and unique from other Disneyland books, and the accompanying text is good. Plus, it’s relatively inexpensive.

Disneyland Hotel – The Early YearsAs soon as you open this book, you can tell it was a passion-project. It’s such a niche title, but it is so incredibly well-researched and presented that I think it could be of interest to most Disney theme park fans. Kudos to Mr. Ballard for creating this title!

Disneyland Hotel 1954-1959 – This is Donald Ballard’s follow-up title to The Early Years, and it offers some great insight into the beginnings of the hotel. It is hyper-focused and really interesting for those interested in the early years of Disneyland.

Disneyland – There’s Magic In The Stars – Celebrating 45 Years Of Magic – If you see this book for $20 or less, grab it. It’s a good title with plenty of unique photos, but the price is all over the place. Monitor it and wait until you can find a cheap copy.

Disneyland the First Quarter Century – The next 3 books are all 75% the same, with minor differences. One of them is worth owning because they are all cheap and offer a nice snapshot in time of Disneyland, but since the photos and text is largely the same in all of these titles, there’s little sense in owning all three.

Disneyland: The First Thirty Years – Very similar to the other two collector’s books that bookend it, but this is probably my favorite of the three. It seems to have slightly better photos and I really like the cover. Lame justification, but it is what it is. It’s cheap, so it’s not a bad idea to pick it up even if you own the others.

Disneyland: The First Thirty Five Years – Apparently nothing happened in five years, as this book is nearly identical to its predecessor. I haven’t gone through and counted, but I’d say 80-85% of the content is duplicative. Still, a cheap title for completionists.

Walt Disney World

These are the Walt Disney World-centric titles in my collection. Some deal with Disneyland as a prefatory background, but the focus of each of them is Walt Disney World, and each book was for a time sold as an official souvenir book in the Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, or elsewhere at Walt Disney World.

Since the World Began: Walt Disney World – Not the best Walt Disney World book, but a cheap way to start your collection. It’s detailed with plenty of interesting text, and is a snapshot in time during a great time in Walt Disney World history. It includes fairly common information, but also more detailed information such as the rationale behind the coloring on the roadway signs at Walt Disney World.

Tom's Picks:  The Art of Walt Disney World

The Art of Walt Disney World – This is my favorite book on this list, but it is a tad pricey. It features mostly concept art and explanations thereof, much of the art predating the Resort itself, and much also never coming to fruition. I consider those shots perfect visual explorations. The art in the book is large while the text is kept small (as it should be), and the layout is wonderful. I found myself captivated by the breathtaking artwork I’d never seen. It’s the perfect coffee table book for any fan who wants something to randomly flip through from time to time.

Gardens of the Walt Disney World Resort – Not to be confused by a newer title with a similar name (Glorious Gardens), this book is absolutely amazing, and shows just how beautiful Walt Disney World once was with its many gardens and water fixtures. Even if you don’t care about gardening, this book is awesome. I gush over it at length in my full review of it.

Disney Parks Library

Walt Disney’s Epcot: The New World of Tomorrow – Any fan of EPCOT Center owes it to themselves to have this book in their collection. There are actually four versions of this book and they’re dramatically different from one another.  There are two large ones that are 240 pages each and two smaller ones  that are 127 pages each. The biggest difference between the larger books is when they were produced, either pre-opening or post-opening of EPCOT Center; they also have different titles (EPCOT v. EPCOT Center in the names). The pre-opening versions contain more photos of models, whereas the post-opening version contain photos of actual pavilions. The 240 page version is obviously the better version to get, but it’s difficult to determine which version you’re getting until it arrives in the mail.

Walt Disney World 15th Anniversary Edition – The proper title of this book is simply “Walt Disney World” but I added the 15th anniversary portion to differentiate it from 1993’s book by the exact same title. This is a souvenir book in premise, but the photos are gorgeous and this book probably has the coolest cover of any souvenir book ever released. Given its price and the photos, it’s an absolute must-own.

The Making Of Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park – This book, by Joe Rohde’s wife, is far more text-heavy than any of the other titles on this list. The author had amazing behind the scenes access during the construction of Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and this book reflects that. It’s not simply a fluff piece. This will definitely make you appreciate the park more, and its low price and uniqueness make it a must-own.

Walt Disney World: A Magical Year By Year Journey – Another great option because of its price and due to the time period in which it was produced (1998), this book has become a real favorite of mine as a Wikipedia-style source of background information concerning attractions, and a timeline of the resort in general. Most of the photos are overly-staged or edited “Guide Map Style” pictures, but they’re cool and different, nonetheless.

Around the World with Disney – This book is an interesting departure from the standard souvenir books produced each year, as it compares and contrasts attractions from the global parks to one another with a strong emphasis on Walt Disney World. It hasn’t been out of print for more than a few years, but it’s surprisingly cheap given its out-of-print status and unique nature. Well worth purchasing.

Walt Disney World Then, Now, and Forever – One of the more recent titles, this is one of the few titles that showcases current attractions and extinct attractions that were previously there in their place. This book was co-authored by the now deceased Bruce Gordon (buy any book you can bearing his name–they’re all gems), which means it has shot up in price since going out-of-print. Even though it was released in 2008, copies of it regularly sell for $50.


Walt Disney World: The First Decade – The content of this book is fairly similar to the 15th anniversary edition, but it does contain some really cool photos, notably of Cinderella Castle. If you’re a casual collector, owning this or the 15th anniversary version is probably sufficient. The obvious advantage to the 15th anniversary edition is that it includes EPCOT Center.

Walt Disney World (1993) – Fairly unique photos (including a hilarious one of some tourists wearing decidedly 90s Little Mermaid shirts) in a book organized by attraction, this book is one to definitely check out. Features fairly in-depth coverage of The Disney-MGM Studios and the Vacation Kingdom. If you can find it for $10 or less, get it.

Walt Disney World Resort 100 Years of Magic – This is incredibly similar to the Souvenir for the New Millennium title. Near the same number of pages, 80% of the same photos similar. They basically have different covers and layouts. Buy one or the other.

Walt Disney World Resort: A Souvenir For The New Millennium – Nearly identical to 100 Years of Magic title above.

Walt Disney World 20 Magical Years – This title is pretty similar to the 15th anniversary title, but does feature some new photos. Because it’s relatively cheap, I think it’s also worth picking up. There is another title, released the year before this, simply called Walt Disney World with a white cover, the Castle, and fireworks, that I’ve heard is almost identical to this.

Other Disney Parks & Imagineering

These are books that might cover Disneyland, Walt Disney World, Disneyland Paris, Tokyo Disney Resort, and/or Hong Kong Disneyland. Basically, books that can’t be specifically placed on only either list above. Plus, some excellent titles on Walt Disney Imagineering.

Walt Disney Imagineering: A Behind the Dreams Look At Making the Magic Real – I honestly don’t have the superlatives to describe this book. Quite simply, it will change the way you look at the Disney theme parks. It includes information about the design process, why certain details are significant, and how things in the parks came to be (or didn’t come to be). Had I found this back in 1996 when it was released, I think I might have pursued a different career path. As it stands, it’s one of the titles to which I turn when I want to be inspired, and it has never let me down. Every Disney theme park fan should own this book.

Walt Disney Imagineering: A Behind the Dreams Look at Making More Magic Real– The follow-up to the above title, this is another must purchase. It’s an oversized hardcover coffee table book, and is worth every penny. This covers Disney California Adventure, Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and Tokyo DisneySea and other newer developments that opened following the first book. It illuminates the design-process, the rationale behind specific details, and provides stunning fold-outs and ‘different’ page-types within the book. If you only buy two books on this entire list (including the Walt Disney World and Disneyland-specific titles), these two Imagineering: Behind the Dreams titles should be the two you purchase.

Poster Art of the Disney Parks – Much like the Behind the Dreams books listed above, Poster Art is an oversized coffee table book by Walt Disney Imagineering. Poster Art narrows its focus to a single topic: Disney theme park posters. More than just a catalog of posters, this book shares concept art, artist quotes, and other information concerning the technical and artistic process. Tis book is sure to give even the most ardent Disney fan a new appreciation for the posters that make them smile each time they enter the parks. Read my full review of this book here.

Designing Disney’s Theme Parks: The Architecture of Reassurance – This is considerably more academic in nature than the books above, with more text and fewer diagrams and photos than in other books, but don’t let that scare you away. Editor Karal Ann Marling and the essays in the book provide a very thought-provoking, but not unapproachable, glimpse into the design of Disney. It seems to be a more objective title than others on this list as it’s academic, rather than trying to market the parks. This is my “sleeper hit” of the list; I really enjoy this book for its depth.

One Day at Disney – Conceptually, I love this book. It’s one day in the worldwide Disney theme parks, presented as the day unfolds around the world. It’s visually engaging because  contrasting photos are presented next to one another. While it’s daytime in one park, it might be nighttime in another. This adds a real hook. The photos, largely, are beautiful, too. The text only really offers explanatory captions, which is absolutely fine. This book is on the expensive side, but I feel it’s worth the money given the quality and concept.

The Magic of Disneyland and Walt Disney World – I expected very little from this book by Valerie Childs. It was a $.99 purchase, just something to fill out my bookshelf. I was floored when I found a plethora of unique and well-composed photos and a rather nice book. Don’t expect an amazing book, but for the low prices, it’s well-worth purchasing!

The Imagineering Field GuidesImagineer Alex Wright has done an excellent job with these titles, and they are great take-to-the-park books for guests who want to a bit more background information about the parks or the “why” behind the attractions and lands. If you’re going to Walt Disney World or Disneyland Resort, especially for the first time, these titles are a great in-park companion to give you a greater understanding and appreciation of the parks.

Walt Disney: An American Original – There are 1,349 (rough approximation) Walt Disney biographies, and reviewing them all, or even some of them, would be cumbersome. This is the “official” one. The upside to that is the author was granted a lot of access to other key individuals and the Disney Archives. The downside is that it’s fairly sugary. Still a good read, but realize it’s somewhat sanitized.

Designing DisneyJohn Hench is a Disney Legend, and easily one of the greatest Imagineers of all time. This book is a thoughtful examination of how he and others designed the parks. It’s approachable-enough for the Disney newcomer, but still has enough depth to satisfy a die-hard fan. Hench himself has always perplexed me. I’ve long been under the impression that he, and others, designed Disneyland on an instinctive, gut level. With this in mind, a lot of his later writings have come across to me as ex post facto intellectual justifications for why these gut decisions were made. A must own.

Dream It! Do It! – Marty Sklar’s autobiography is interesting in that Sklar is the only person who has had a hand in opening every single Disney theme park to date. Sklar also had a lot of relationships with key individuals in Imagineering and elsewhere within Disney, and he covers both the good and bad of that. Despite being published by Disney, this book is surprisingly frank. Read my full review here.

Walt Disney’s Imagineering Legends – Jeff Kurtti authors this title that offers mini-biographies of a number of early Imagineers who all had ties to Walt Disney, in some way, and provides anecdotes, quotes, and some background information about each and how they worked in the grand scheme of the design of the theme parks. Definitely a worth addition to any collection.

Marc Davis: Walt Disney’s Renaissance Man – Biography of another Disney Legend, this one is sort of hit and miss. The art that was curated for the title is mostly stunning, but there are some notable omissions and the text isn’t all that special. If you’re looking for a coffee table book featuring art from one of the most legendary Imagineers of all-time, I recommend it. Read my full review of this book here.

The Haunted Mansion: From the Magic Kingdom to the Movies – This is an incredibly detailed and well-written book that covers the Haunted Mansion attractions in all of the worldwide parks inside and out. Best of all, it dispels a lot of fan-generated myths about the Haunted Mansion. If an attraction-based film is what it takes for more books like this to be written, I hope Disney keeps churning them out.

Pirates of the Caribbean: From the Magic Kingdom to the Movies – Same idea and quality as the Haunted Mansion book, except for Pirates of the Caribbean. This is another must own.

The Disney Mountains: Imagineering At Its Peak – A book featuring text and art of the Disney mountains, this title is somewhat superficial as compared to the Pirates and Haunted Mansion books. To be fair, the former are focused on one attraction each, whereas this was focused on multiple mountains, so it necessarily couldn’t have been as in-depth as those titles. There is a lot of concept art, which is great, but the mountains in this book existed at the time of the publication, so more photos would have been appropriate. Still a great book. If you can find a copy for $25 or less, get it.

Building a Dream: The Art of Disney Architecture – This is another title that pertains to the architecture of the Disney Parks, mostly from the Michael Eisner era. It isn’t exactly critical, but it’s a nice coffee table book that provides insight into design choices.


Disneyland Paris: From Sketch to Reality – This book is right up there with Disneyland Nickel Tour, which is incredibly high praise. For a while, it was cost-prohibitive for me, as list prices soared above $500. Prices have since come down, and I finally purchased it. This book is a big part of the reason why we visited Disneyland Paris. Enough said.


Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea Books – I’m going to lump all of these books together because they probably don’t interest many of you. All of these books are entirely in Japanese and are overpriced on eBay (about the only place to find them short of going to Japan). The upside? They all feature breathtaking photos of the Tokyo parks, and the photos are the stars of the show, so not reading Japanese makes no difference. I only recommend the 5 books pictured above; there are a lot of other books, but they are all character photos.

Independent Titles

Many other books in my collection are independent titles produced by third party publishers (ones that Disney doesn’t own). With the proliferation of self-publishing and the interest in the Disney theme parks, in general, it’s not pragmatic to list every Disney book I own here. Here are the highlights…

Disney WarThis sparked my fascination with the workings of The Walt Disney Company. Reduced to its most basic terms, it covers the rise and fall of Michael Eisner, culminating in the “civil war” within Disney between Eisner and Roy E. Disney. Author James B. Stewart was granted unprecedented access to write a book on the Eisner regime before the “war” began unfolding, so he was there to witness it all. It reads almost as a Shakespearean tragedy, and proves that sometimes the truth is more compelling than fiction. Super cheap, and super interesting–it’s a must own.

The Animated Man: A Life of Walt Disney – For many Disney fans, Walt Disney is the ultimate hero. Between that and The Walt Disney Company’s attempt to market Walt as somewhat of a caricature of a real person, he is often viewed is infallible, more creative than any other human ever, etc. This book does not do that. It also doesn’t demonize him as other books have tried to do. It presents a balanced view of Walt Disney, both good and bad. The stories aren’t as humorous or enthralling as those in some other books, but it’s very interesting, and is the best Walt Disney biography I have read.

Hidden Mickeys Guides – The Hidden Mickeys Guides (to Walt Disney World, Disneyland, and Disney Cruise Lines) are books that are really fun to take on your trip to give the experience some extra dimension. Fun “game” for vacation, and a good gateway to noticing other depth in the Disney Parks!

The Walt Disney World Trivia Books – Lou Mongello does an excellent podcast, and his trivia books provide the same kind of historic/’did you know’ content you might find on his show.


It’s Kind of a Cute Story – Imagineer Rolly Crump is one of the last Walt Disney-era Imagineers, and this book covers everything from the design and approval process for Disneyland projects to Crump’s relationship with Walt Disney. The best thing about this book is that it was not published by Disney, so instead of trying to sugarcoat Walt Disney’s personality, it presents a more candid take. It is still far from a ‘tell-all’, but you just feel a different tone with it. Another incredibly well done book.

From Dreamer to Dreamfinder – If you are a child of EPCOT Center who loved Figment and Dreamfinder, this is for you. Ron Schneider recounts his days as Dreamfinder and in a host of other roles in entertainment at various theme parks. This is another unofficial title that offers a candid, and sometimes depressing (albeit accurate) look on decisions made in theme parks.

The Revised Vault of Walt – Disney historian Jim Korkis knows how to weave a yarn. He has been the guest on several podcasts, and his stories are always really captivating. The same is true here, as he presents 30-some anecdotes about Walt Disney and those around him. Unlike many books that seem to repeat the same stories as one another, this is fresh material presented in a fair and even-handed tone.


A Brush with Disney – Disney Legend Herb Ryman had an illustrious career with Disney, working side-by-side with Walt Disney and doing concept art for the parks for decades. His Disney work is breathtaking, and this book gives insight (perhaps too much) into his non-Disney work as well. It’s pricey, and probably best for the serious Ryman fan.

Walt and the Promise of Progress City – Author Sam Gennawey details the plans for EPCOT as envisioned by Walt Disney before he passed away. This vision was one for an actual community, which was starkly different from the theme park that was eventually built.

Project Future: The Inside Story Behind the Creation of Disney World – This book focuses on many of the legal aspects of Walt Disney World’s establishment and some of the nuances of how the Florida Project came to fruition.

One final note: when buying older Disney souvenir books, make sure the item listing includes a photo. Most of these books do not have ISBN numbers and have similar-sounding names, and are thus prone to being mis-listed by sellers if there is no photo on the item page. I’ve received the incorrect book a couple of times.

Reviews from a HUGE library of Disney Parks books, including where to find CHEAP old books!

I have a lot of other Disney books in my library, but these are the highlights that pertain to the Disney Parks. I have several other souvenir books and miscellaneous biographies, so if you have questions about other titles not listed here, ask!

We hope this helps you fill your bookcase with Disney Parks titles! If you are considering a purchase of any of these (or anything else for that matter) just click the links here to get to Amazon and navigate to any items you might need. Using these links benefits the site, doesn’t cost you anything, and helps us to keep providing you with useful content!

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Your Thoughts…

Which books in this list do you own? Do you have any favorites? Which Disney theme park books do you own that aren’t listed here? Share your thoughts in the comments!

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62 Responses to “My Disney Theme Park Library”

  1. Wendy says:

    Great timing on this post! I’ve really been itching to expand my Disney book collection lately and this will be a GREAT resource. Of the ones mentioned, I only have the MK Imagineering Field Guide, Lou’s trivia books, and WDW Then, Now, and Forever. I’ve got some work to do!

  2. Great list and even better photographs of the books.

  3. Brandon McCain says:

    I have read a book that i think you might enjoy and thats The Kingdom Keepers by Ridley Pearson. i have only read 4 out of the 5 and they have been great storys and has some hidden secrets of walt disney world in it.

  4. Andrea says:

    I also have a WDW book collection! I have 2 WDW books that are very similar to some that you listed, but not quite the same. I bought both books, separately, at thrift stores.

    One is a 20th Anniversary souvenir book. It is pretty much the same as the 10th and 15th anniversary books, plus and minus a few pictures. The cover of it is my favorite of all the souvenir books!… A photo of many characters in front of Cinderella castle, surrounded by drawings of different park icons(incl. Figment) in metallic blue ink, and “20 Magical Years” and stars in twinkly silver ink.

    The other one is a 25th anniversary book. It seems to be an updated, more 90s themed version of the 10th and 15th anniversary books, but almost all the photos are newer and it profiles MGM and Epcot in more depth, as well as waterparks and DTD. I think it has the same picture of guests wearing very 90s Little Mermaid shirts! (in a shop, with a CM showing them a different shirt). The cover is blue with a drawing of Sorcerer Mickey and other character in front of Cinderella’s carriage, and the Castle, Spaceship earth and the Earful tower in the background. It says “twenty-fiver years” at the top.

    Here are the covers:

  5. Darrin Kosanovic says:

    Tom, I own 96% of these books and you are absolutely right about the top picks.but I have to say you should get the Disneyland Paris book (probably in the late 90s or early 2000s). I bought it when it went on sale in the Disney catalog getting the gold edition($100.00) and it is the best book I ever picked up. The pictures are well worth the price I payed And it came with 4 lithographs ) . Great article!!

  6. Hilary says:

    My bookshelves are weighed down by a number of these! Including the Disneyland Paris book, which is indeed beautiful. I did think of you when I read about the reprint! There’s also a new book about to be published to celebrate the 20th Anniversary (I believe it goes on sale next week).

    Just got hold of a second hand copy (missing the dust jacket but, aside from that, in great condition) of Disneyland: Inside Story, after Tom recommended it on Twitter.

    Also purchased The Art of Walt Disney World & Building A Dream: The Art of Disney Architecture while I was at WDW last month. So, of course, I paid full price but vacation money doesn’t count, right?

  7. Great work! That is the kind of information that should be shared around the web. Disgrace on Google for now not positioning this post higher! Come on over and consult with my web site . Thanks =)

  8. @WToddShirley says:

    Disneyland Hotel – The Early Years is being reprinted. Visit for ordering info.

    Happy buying!!!


    • Don Ballard says:

      We have been given permission by Disney to do a reprint of Disneyland Hotel The Early Years 1954-1988. We also have Disneyland Hotel The Little Motel in the Middle of the Orange Grove which has an amazing record of history and photographs on the Hotel in the 50’s. Both at our website.

      • Tom Bricker says:

        Thanks for dropping by, Donald!

        I forgot to add the newer book of yours to my “want list,” but it’s definitely one I want. I’ll make that addition shortly.

        In the meantime, you can find it here:

  9. I enjoyed Project Future, but felt it just scratched the surface. I was left wanting more.

    We have been buying the Art of… books that coincide with the movies, which are filled with early concept art and background details.

    There are two books that were released via Disney Cruise Line, the first
    Disney Magic: The Launching of a Dream, Talks about the birth of DCL and the conception of the Disney Magic. And just released last year, Welcome Aboard! The Creation of the Disney Dream which continues the story with the introduction of the Disney Dream. Both are good reads for cruise line junkies. The first book features some early concept designs Imagineering came up with for the design of the ship before they settled on the Classic ocean liner design.

    • Tom Bricker says:

      I had never thought of books about DCL. Since Disney considers it part of Parks & Resorts, so should I. I’ll check those out. Thanks for the heads up!

    • Trey says:


      I’m not sure if you’ve read it, but Walt and the Promise of Progress City is an interesting take on the history behind Walt’s research and progression from building, theme park, and city planning. If you haven’t read it and are interested in how Walt wandered into the realm of city planning, it might be worth a read! I’m actually planning to pick up a copy of the book that the author claims is the only city planning book Walt read. It sounds like it was the heaviest influence on his ideas for EPCOT.


      Great, very comprehensive list. I hadn’t heard of Walt and the Promise of Progress City until it was recommended by a Reddit user who many theorize to be a recently retired famous Imagineer. I highly enjoyed the book and look forward to others on your list. Cheers!

  10. Julia says:

    I really enjoyed The Disneyland Encyclopedia, very thorough. I just wished it had more pictures.

  11. Evan C. says:

    Great article Tom! A great reference to begin my
    collection. My question was, being that you mentioned
    getting those books really cheap, what is your cutoff on
    quality level (acceptable, good, like new, etc.)?
    Again, awesome work and thanks!

    • Tom Bricker says:

      I will usually roll the dice on ANY quality if the price is right, but I’ve ended up with books I had to resell myself because of that.

  12. Scott Baxter says:

    Tom, you included one of the books on Disney gardens in the list and mentioned the other. Of the two, which would be more useful to an active gardner hoping to incorporate into her own yard’s landscape a little of what makes the Disney gardens so nice? My wife spends all day and into the night out in the yard, digging into the dirt, and I’ve thought of getting her one of these books.

  13. John T says:

    Excellent review Tom. I have just received my copy of Disneyland Paris from sketch to reality and have to say it has become an instant top of my list Disney book.

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  16. What a wonderful collection, I have many of these as well. I loved it when they released a book each year about the park that was the first thing I would pick up on each trip. Wish those would come back.

  17. Phil says:

    The Art of Walt Disney World is currently $30 in the two outlet stores near WDW! Beats paying $150 over at Amazon.

    • Tom Bricker says:

      Wow, great tip! I wish we lived closer to those outlets!

      • Phil says:

        I also paid the princely sum of £1 sterling for my Pirates of the Carribean book, but that hardly makes up for the airline passenger duty tax levied on flights to the states…

  18. Drew says:

    What about that womderful book: The Unofficial Guide: The Color Companion to Walt Disney World?

  19. Amy says:

    Great info! I have just ordered 7 of these and can’t wait to get them. I was wondering if there is a book that has pictures of the architectural building process of the Magic Kingdom. I would love to see the step by step creation of the utilidors and what we see now. Thanks for the awesome website and info!

  20. David says:

    Awesome info! Thanks!
    I am wondering if anyone has advice as to what book I should purchase that’s close to Fall 2010 in WDW. I have collected many Disneyland Souvenir books almost each time I was there, but didn’t find one when in WDW in 2010. Any advice?

  21. Jeff says:


    Are you aware of any English-language books that focus on Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea? I’ve been struggling to find more extensive information before a trip I’m making this fall and would love to find a book…in a language I can actually read!

    • Tom Bricker says:

      I’ve found a few souvenir books, but they wouldn’t help with trip planning. There are a couple of planning books out there, but I’ve never read them. Make sure to drop me a line after your trip. I’d love to hear about it–seriously.

  22. DRToohey says:

    Great list! I have Designing Disney and it’s fantastic and I got Disney War a few weeks ago and am itching to start it. And now I think I’ll know what I’ll be asking for if any family has no clue what to get me for Christmas.

    If I may make a suggestion (since you seem to enjoy your Disney books), I would strongly recommend “Walt Disney: The Triumph of the American Imagination” by Neal Gabler. I am almost done with it now and it may be one of the most fascinating biographies I’ve ever read and a must-read for any Disney fanatic. It paints a great portrait of Walt as both a complicated and not-perfect figure but simultaneously dispels a lot of the negative rumors that have haunted his legacy. It also just puts you in awe of how Disney Studios came to be, survived and flourished and eventually became the Disney Company. Plus, you’ll be spouting new Disney trivia to everyone you talk to.

    • Tom Bricker says:

      I’ll put that title on my “to buy” list. Thanks for the recommendation!

      • EResto says:

        I totally agree with DRToohey. The Neil Gabler Disney Bio is probably my favorite of the many, many I have read. In fact, I have read it a handful of times. It’s that good.

        Love your recommendations on this list and have a remarkable number of them. Thanks for putting this together. Already adding new ones to my Amazon wishlist.

      • Tom Bricker says:

        Ha, I said I’d add it to my “to buy” list over two years ago, and I *still* haven’t read it. I really need to get on that. I’ve found that many Walt biographies are either rosy pictures that paint Walt to be the Santa Claus of animation, or a Hitler-like figure–neither of which are accurate. Few seem to treat him as a real human being.

  23. Rico says:

    Great article, thank you! Like many of your readers, I have a good number of these books too. My all time favorite:’DL Paris from Sketch to Reality’. Last year I bought ’20 Years of Dreams’, a nice companion ($) to the above mentioned tome. I’m a HUGE Epcot fan and fondly remember the 1967 model atop DL’s Carousel of Progress; so recommend ‘Celebration the story of a town’. Lots of great photos. Also the 2011 ‘Walt and the Promise of Progress City’. Question: I have the 2007 edition of ‘The Disney Mountains: Imagineering @ it’s Peak.’ Do you know if this was updated? Seems I heard that somewhere, but can’t find anywhere. Thanks from Washington’s Olympic Peninsula.

    • Tom Bricker says:

      I’ve recently added both Disneyland Paris books you mentioned to my collection (haven’t had the chance to update this page yet!), and you’re right, both are great. I don’t believe Imagineering at its Peak has been updated.

  24. Gareth says:

    Very interesting reading Tom. Having been on the hunt for a few disney related books a number of these have poped up along with others you didn’t talk about. So have decided to take the plunge and get a few. The only down side I’ve found is that the ones I would really like don’t come cheap, either through the conversation from dollers to pound sterling or I get stung on the postage. But I’m sure with a bit of searching and patients I’ll build my self a lovely collection. Keep up the good work.

  25. GiggleGoddess says:

    What’s the best book that compares all the Disney theme parks (Euro/Disneyland/WDW/Tokyo/etc) over the years? Is there anything like it out there?

  26. Maureen says:

    Hi Tom :) Couple questions…. I have a couple Walt Disney Biographies but purchased them (years!) ago, Walt Disney – An American Original and Walt Disney The Triumph of the American Imagination (Neal Gabler). Gablers is one I put down being I continually found myself drifting. I since have gone on to other “Disney” books.. wondering if you have a favorite Walt Disney Biography you could recommend. Also, in reference to Walt and the Promise of Progress City …. do you think this book is worth purchasing and reading? I am just about to finish Dream It! Do It! and my take on the book very closely mirrors yours :) Thank you for your time :)

  27. Michelle Vicky says:

    I own the Haunted Mansion book, bought it as a “present/souvenir for my young daughter ..actually it was for me it ..this is the one thing I wished I bought more of on my two trips ..thanks for the tips on purchasing at Amazon. One book that I should have purchased when I saw it at Pop Century Resort in 2012 was one about the behind the scences people …whose name could be found on the display windows etc. That one I wanted to serve as inspiration for my kids to dream big ..however on my trip in 2013… I stayed at a different resort and did nit get time to go back for it ..May be next time .

  28. Jeff says:

    Tom, have you looked into Walt Disney’s Railroad Story by Michael Broggie? There’s a lot of early DL pictures I’ve never seen anywhere else in that book. Also, at some point I picked up an incredible 24 page book created for the opening of Expedition Everest which details the behind the scenes prep work of the Imagineers for that ride.

  29. Hey Tom,

    I love this post. It’s so thorough and I’ve put a few of the titles on my to-read list. I was wondering if you’ve ever heard of Walt Disney’s America? There seem to be two books with this title. The one I am talking about was written by Christopher Finch and was published in the late 1970s. It’s about Walt’s vision of America in his movies and theme parks. I just picked up a copy at a local used bookstore. I’m looking forward to reading it!

  30. Rodney says:

    That is a great tip especially to those new to the blogosphere.
    Short but very accurate info… Many thanks for sharing this one.
    A must read post!

  31. Adam Berger says:

    Great list, Tom. Like many of the others posting responses, I also own a great many of those titles and I agree with your descriptions. May I suggest another book I think you would like a lot? It goes under the “Independent Titles” heading. It’s titled “Every Guest is a Hero: Disney’s Theme Parks and the Magic of Mythic Storytelling”:

    Here’s what Melody Malmberg, the author of “Walt Disney Imagineering: A Behind-the-Dreams Look at Making MORE Magic Real” had to say about it:

    “Want a great way to view Disney theme parks? Every Guest is a Hero provides a unique lens–Joseph Campbell’s pioneering work on storytelling–that helps explain just how and why the parks continue to exert such a hold on audiences worldwide. After reading this book, you will see the parks in a new light.”

  32. Anne says:

    The two Imagineering books…do they cover different things or simply different eras? Should I buy both? If I only purchased one should I begin with the earlier book or go for the more recent, updated one?

    Love the Poster Art one. It’s amazing!

    Your posts are so helpful and your photography is incredible!

  33. Carol S says:

    Hi Tom,
    Great post as usual. I just started my Disney books collection with: Since the World Began and WDW 15th Year Anniversary. I can’t wait to add some of the other titles you recommended to my collection. The big question is, when will you write a book or books about the parks? With all your amazing pictures and information I’m sure it would be great. I would definitely buy it! :)

  34. Dan Heaton says:

    I have a lot of Disney books, but there are still a ton from your list that I need to grab. I wish some of the best ones weren’t so expensive! Another one that I like is Vinyl Leaves, which takes a sociological approach to Disney World. The best part is the way he describes the EPCOT attractions that are long gone in close detail.

  35. Len says:

    I know your fantastic article focuses on books, but I would be remiss in not mentioning The
    E-Ticket Magazine formerly published by Leon and Jack Janzen. The amount of information, articles, rare photos, and interviews (with Imagineers & various Disney legends) contained in these issues is treasure beyond belief. The love and admiration the brothers had for Disneyland shines through on each and every page. Issues are out of print and hard to come by, but I’m pretty sure CDs containing the entire run is still available at the Walt Disney Museum.

    • Tom Bricker says:

      Oh yes, E-Ticket, Tales from the Laughing Place, Vacationland, etc. – there are a TON of great magazines to own that cover or covered the parks. I haven’t started collecting a lot of these yet, but I think that will be my next mission. Sadly, some of those cost a lot more than the books–and there are more of them!

  36. Bob McLain says:

    You missed a few:

    All available via Amazon, some via the Walt Disney Family Museum, and (soon) the Disney theme parks (one or two titles, anyway).

    Jeff Baham’s “The Unauthorized Story of Walt Disney’s Haunted Mansion”, recently featured on, is currently my best-seller, and makes a great stocking stuffer.

    And Original Mouseketeer Bobby Burgess wowed them at the Walt Disney Family Museum during a book signing this past weekend: his autobiography “Ears & Bubbles” will fit nicely into that stocking, too.

    • Tom Bricker says:

      Thanks, Bob. I haven’t had a chance to read Baham’s “The Unauthorized Story of Walt Disney’s Haunted Mansion” yet, but it’s on my radar.

      Jim Korkis’ “Who’s Afraid of the Song of the South” ( might actually be my favorite book that TPP has published. Don’t know why I forgot to include it on this list. Like I said, I have a lot of Disney books…guess it got lost in the shuffle!

      Can’t see what else you come up with; I think it’s great that you are a dedicated publisher of theme park books!

  37. Tennor says:

    I’ve kept track of my Disney book list on Pinterest:

    Here’s the link:

  38. Matt Windsor says:

    Great list and post as always Tom. I want to order “Dream It! Do It!”, but it seems as if the version you post a link to isn’t available in the UK?

    The UK version only has 368 pages –

    Whereas the US version that you posted the link to is a Deluxe version with 384 pages –

    Do you have any idea what the difference might be? I’ve checked the ‘look inside’ option on both books, and both seem to have the identical 20 chapters. I may just have to bite the bullet and pay the extra for shipping from the US.

  39. Benjamin Heidegger says:

    Hi, thanks for the interesting list. I’m especially interestes in Disneyland Paris. I do have the from sketch to reality book and the 20th anniersary book but dident know the one in the middle … can you tell me the name of this book?(the purple one) thanks so much!

    • Tom Bricker says:

      It’s simply called “Euro Disney”. No ISBN, nothing. I assume it was a souvenir book sold back in the day.

      • Benjamin Heidegger says:

        Hey Tom, thank you for the information. Actually I really got inspired by your beautiful collection and I would like to start one myself :) As I told you i focussed on Disneyland Paris until now. You have so much great books in your collection so it would be very helpful if you could give me a hint how to start the project. Maybe 2 musthaves for Disneyland Anaheim and 2 for Disneyworld. Even if most of them aren’t that expensive I have to pay the shipping to Europe (super expensive), that’s why I can’t buy the whole list at once and sadly most of these books aren’t available in Europe. Thank you very much for every information and even more important: thank you for the inspiration!! :)

  40. Garri says:

    Hi Tom

    In the first photo there is a purple book spine with the title ‘Walt Disney World EPCOT center’.
    It’s just below the WDW 20 Magical Years book…

    Can you give me some more information on this title please?


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