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 Amazon.com for prices ranging from $.01 to a few dollars (click each title for current prices on Amazon.com). 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… (more…)

Ultimate 2014 Disney World Christmas Guide

Christmas and the holiday season at Walt Disney World is a very special time of year. This 2014 Ultimate Guide will give you tips about Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, Candlelight Processional, the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights, and everything else Walt Disney World has to offer at Christmas!

We’ll include some of our tips and tricks for best-experiencing the Walt Disney World at Christmas-time, and we hope this thorough guide will prove helpful for everyone from first-time guests to yearly visitors. This isn’t merely the Disney-marketing copy you’ll find on every other site offering the same generic information about Christmas at Walt Disney World. Much like Captain EO, these tips are here to change the world. Or, at least, the way you experience the World at Christmas!

When To Visit



If you’re visiting Walt Disney World at “Christmas,” the first thing you’ll need to figure out is when you want to visit. There are quotes (they would be air quotes, but science has yet to invent a way to type those) around Christmas back there because the holiday season at Walt Disney World, much like the holiday season at your local mall, actually begins in early November and doesn’t conclude until after Christmas, in January.

Veterans know that the week leading up to Christmas and the week between Christmas and New Year’s Eve are terrible times to travel if you dislike crowds. The idea that anyone should avoid these times at all costs, however, is actually a misconception that has been perpetuated for years and has just become repeated so often that it’s accepted. Both of these weeks can be great times to go, but only if they closely match your personality and touring style. If you don’t like being in dense crowds, these times of year are probably out. If you can’t get up really early and take a long midday break, these times of year are also probably out.

No matter when you go, you will also want to remember to pack for the season. Check out our Winter Packing Tips for Disney post for more insight on what to take on your trip. Just because it’s Florida doesn’t mean it won’t be cold!

Now, let’s take a look at all of the Christmas offerings at Walt Disney World for the 2014 season, plus how and when to best see it all… (more…)

Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party 2014 Tips

The 2014 Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Parties at Walt Disney World will occur in September and October. This post covers our tips and tricks for Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party 2014, which is scheduled for the following dates: September 1, 9, 12, 14, 16, 19, 21, 23, 26, and 28; October 2, 3, 5, 9, 10, 13, 16, 17, 19, 21, 23, 24, 26, 28, 30, and 31. You can purchase tickets (ranging from $57-77 per person) on Walt Disney World’s event page.

On these nights, the Magic Kingdom closes at 7 p.m. to guests who haven’t not purchased tickets for the Halloween Party. So you can prepare for the Halloween Party now, here is our analysis based upon the last several years (we go to it yearly) to help you determine whether this expensive hard ticket event is worth it to you, and if so, what your “Plan of Attack” should be to efficiently conquer the various offerings. Between this party and Epcot’s International Food & Wine Festival, plus improving weather, the fall months at Walt Disney World are one of our favorite times of year to visit!

Note that this guide covers Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom, not Mickey’s Halloween Party at Disneyland. For info about the latter, read our comprehensive Guide to Halloween Time at Disneyland!

Should You Attend?

So at over $60 a pop for tickets to the 2014 Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, you might be trying to determine, “is Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party worth it?” Our opinion, as Disney-biased tourists, is that it most definitely is worth the price at least once. Once you’ve experienced the party once (it doesn’t change much year-to-year), you might determine that it’s simply too expensive to experience again. For a one time event, it’s definitely worth it if your budget allows. While we prefer Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, we do attend both every year.

There’s a lot of special entertainment including one of Disney’s best parades and a great fireworks show, a great ambiance to the party including special decorations and lighting, lots of unique character meet & greets, and even seeing other guests in Halloween costumes makes for a fun experience.

If you do decide to do the Halloween Party, make sure to buy your tickets in advance, and use any available discounts (Disney Vacation Club member, Annual Passholder, etc.). Tickets are more expensive on the day of the party, and several nights each year sell out completely. It would stink to wait until the last minute and have your dates sell out!

If you’re a potentially returning guest to Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, here’s what’s new for 2014. The big news is that there is actually a hard ticket event within this hard ticket event. Called Villains’ Sinister Soiree (we still wish they went with “Mickey’s Halloween Inception”), it’s essentially a dessert party in Cinderella’s Royal Table with reserved seating for the Boo to You Parade and HalloWishes fireworks. This costs $99 per person on top of the ~$60 Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party ticket. So, if you’ve been thinking that the Halloween party is just too darn cheap, this option is for you!

Seriously though, we have absolutely no intention of doing this party. The reserved viewing area is not a good spot for viewing the fireworks, as it’s too close to Cinderella Castle (for the best spots, check out our Magic Kingdom Fireworks Viewing Locations Guide), and there are just too many other great things to do at Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party (it’s unlikely you can do all of the regular entertainment in a single night) to justify attending a dessert party, especially at the $99 price point. In fact, we wouldn’t do this dessert party even if it were “only” $25 per person. It’s just not worth taking the time from the regular awesome entertainment of the Halloween party to do this. Plus, the idea of another upcharge event within an upcharge event just makes us cringe.

Fortunately, the other “significant” new thing (besides some minor changes to the Boo To You Parade and a couple of different meet & greet characters) is the Club Villain dance party in Frontierland, and it offers guests the opportunity to ‘mingle’ with some villains without paying the upcharge price. Beyond that, it looks to be mostly the same entertainment as last year.

As for what you should do during Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, here’s our guide, fully updated for the 2014 parties! (more…)

101 Delicious Disney World Dining Tips

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There are a lot of restaurants at Walt Disney World and dining can be an important and fun part of any Disney trip. In fact, the single largest component of Walt Disney World vacation planning typically is (or at least should be) dining. Beyond just making “good” Advance Dining Reservations and purchasing the Disney Dining Plan, there are a lot of things that can save you time and money, or improve your Walt Disney World experience just based on little decisions–or big ones–that you make with regard to where you eat at Walt Disney World.

Many of you have loved our 101 Great Walt Disney World Tips post, and since dining is such a big thing, we thought we would see if we could follow that up with one specific to dining. This was no easy task. While there are literally 1,000 tips we could share based on our experiences eating at Walt Disney World, many of those would be hyper-specific, probably too specific, and thus not things we really thought would be good for more than a few slots on the list here and there.

Rather than a list with tons of menu recommendations and things like that, we decided to come up with 101 random tips based upon our experiences in years of dining in nearly every restaurant at Walt Disney World that would be helpful to most readers. These tips consist of both fundamental, high level tips (like the necessity of making ADRs) and some more specific tips (like what to order for breakfast at Roaring Fork).

You’re going to find that some of these tips aren’t applicable to you–that’s probably a good thing, as following 100+ tips just relating to dining on a single Walt Disney World trip would probably take a bit of tenacity. You may also disagree with some of these tips, but such is the nature of such a list, which offers subjective tips.

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We do want to point out that many of these tips were submitted by fans of the Disney Tourist Blog Facebook page. We mention this not to say “thanks” but as a follow up to that last point about you possibly disagreeing with some tips. If you do disagree with any of the tips here, they are definitely the tips submitted by readers. The tips with which you agree are the ones I thought up. ;)

Just kidding on that–and a huge thanks to the readers who offered their two cents. Although this list is 95% things we thought of, there were several comments that corroborated our tips, and other pretty clever ideas we had never considered. Plus, it’s always helpful to get multiple perspectives when it comes to anything Walt Disney World-related. On that note, if you have some tips of your own that we didn’t cover, please help others out and share them in the comments!

We have a lot of ground to cover, so let’s get started with our list of 101 Delicious Walt Disney World Dining Tips… (more…)

Best 2014 Walt Disney World Discounts

Disney World has already announced discount vacation packages and other room only, military, and free dining discounts for 2014. Some of these Disney World discounts are better than others and discounts are quite predictable as they typically repeat, so to get an idea of how the various discounts stack up, we’ve put together this article rating Disney’s discounts. To see which discounts are best for particular “types” of guest read our summary and review of all Walt Disney World discounts below.

Rather than this being a generic post providing specific details (like dates) of the various discounts at Walt Disney World, this post will instead editorialize. You can find the information concerning applicable dates and the like on DisneyWorld.com or on a myriad of other fan sites that simply copy and paste the information from DisneyWorld.com. This post is meant to help those of you who are unfamiliar with Walt Disney World discounts get an idea of how good the discount you’re considering really is (despite Disney’s best marketing efforts, some discounts are better than others).

I’ve planned every Walt Disney World trip we’ve taken over the course of the years, and I’ve learned a lot about traveling frugally to Walt Disney World in the process. Hopefully this provides a primer for those who don’t visit as often, but are looking to save the most money possible when planning their Walt Disney World trip! (more…)