It’s going to be another great year for books about Walt Disney World and Disneyland, with some highly-anticipated titles coming out this fall in time for Christmas 2022. This post lists the coffee table books about which we’re most excited, with info and our “hype level” for each.
We’re putting this most anticipated Disney book list together so far in advance of the holiday season for a couple of reasons. First, last year’s #1 book by far, A Portrait of Walt Disney World: 50 Years of The Most Magical Place on Earth, was impossible to find at Christmas. Unless you placed an order during the summer or ordered from Canada, you probably didn’t get it until this year.
Second, we’ve already done the “research” for our own Christmas lists given the aforementioned issues. Both of us are notoriously hard to buy for (most of what I like is either obscure or electronics), so books are a reliable go-to for our families. Since this is all fresh in our minds, figured we might as well share it and save you all the potentially dreaded backorder/delay messages come the holiday shopping season…
100 Disney Adventures of a Lifetime: Magical Experiences From Around the World – We’ve had a few of these National Geographic “100” books, and they are excellent at generating two things: hype and conversation. Page through one of these and you’ll immediately feel an insatiable sense of wanderlust. Put one of these on your coffee table before a gathering, and travel will become the topic of conversation.
Expect the same here, as this title goes around the world to cover theme parks and other Disney-branded destinations as well as real world stops on the itineraries of Disney Cruise Line and Adventures by Disney. That last part is what makes this most interesting to me. It positions this book as an intriguing bridge between real and fantasylands, and a gateway for “non-Disney” friends to potentially see the parks in a different light.
Poster Art of the Disney Parks, Second Edition – This is an expanded and updated edition of the beloved book that ranks highly in our library. This promises more than 85 new posters and concept art pieces and a narrative about their behind-the-scenes development.
In particular, it’ll feature the new posters made for EPCOT’s reimagining (released at the last D23 Expo and also displayed in the Odyssey/EPCOT Experience). In the decade since the original’s release, Shanghai Disneyland has opened and various expansions pretty much everywhere have resulted in a treasure trove of new poster art. We can’t wait!
The Imagineering Story: The Official Biography of Walt Disney Imagineering – This is the companion book to the highly acclaimed Disney+ documentary series, The Imagineering Story. This title greatly expands on award-winning filmmaker Leslie Iwerks’ narrative of the fascinating history of Walt Disney Imagineering.
If you’ve watched the Imagineering Story on Disney+, that’s likely all you need to know to make this book a must-own. If you haven’t watched the Imagineering Story…well, remedy that immediately!
Walt’s Apprentice: Keeping the Disney Dream Alive – Disney Legend Dick Nunis has a reputation that precedes him, and his name is often brought up by famed Imagineers in D23 panels, as an “admirable adversary” or well-liked foil. Joe Rohde’s recent Instagram post called Nunis “a dragon in a cave” while offering an amusing anecdote that’s representative of tales other Imagineers have told.
If that’s what Nunis’ memoir is like, it has the potential to be an insightful, illuminating, and even humorous read about how the “old guard” did business. My worry is that, this being a book released by Disney Editions, it’ll be a bit overly romanticized or toned down. I’ll be getting it regardless, hoping for the best.
Not Just a Walk in the Park: My Worldwide Disney Resorts Career – Not an upcoming release, but still new to me and going on my Christmas list is Disney Legend Jim Cora’s memoir. Before his passing last year, Cora was a staple of the D23 scene, and had some great stories.
Cora joined the company as a Disneyland attractions host in 1957, and worked his way up the domestic parks in the following two decades. In 1979, Jim became managing director of Operations for the Tokyo Disneyland Project and thereafter assumed similar roles spearheading the development of Euro Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea at head of Disneyland International. My interest stems from all of that, as Cora is frequently cited by his colleagues as shaping the Japan parks into what they are today–the gold standard of Disney operations and customer service.
Santa Stops at Disneyland (Little Golden Book) – Finally, a book suitable to my reading level! The Disney Parks Little Golden Books released thus far have been fantastic, with gorgeous art and cute stories. This mixes Christmas and Disneyland, making it a must-own for us.
According to Little Golden Book, the premise here is that on Christmas Eve, Santa stops at Disneyland to spread a little holiday cheer before flying around the world to deliver presents. It’ll feature art of beloved locations throughout Disneyland, and makes the perfect stocking stuffer. (On a related note, there’s a new box set of previous Disney Parks Little Golden Books.)
Dawn at Mineral King Valley – This very niche book is the intersection of topics that hold a lot of personal interest: law, conservation, U.S. National Parks, Country Bears, and Disney. It tells the surprising story of how the US Forest Service, Disney, and the Sierra Club each struggled to adapt to the new, rapidly changing political landscape of environmental consciousness in postwar America.
Proposed in 1965 and approved by the federal government in 1969, Disney’s Mineral King development plan would have irreversibly altered the a beautiful alpine area in the Sierra Nevada mountains that became part of Sequoia National Park. This book tells how Sierra Club successfully pushed back with a lawsuit that propelled the environmental era by allowing interest groups to bring litigation against environmentally destructive projects. (Keep in mind that this is a list of my anticipated titles, not yours. 😉 )
The Disney Afternoon: The Making of a Television Renaissance – As a child of the 1990s, the Disney Afternoon was what quenched my thirst for all things Disney on a daily basis and kept me excited about characters between pilgrimages to the parks. It’s impossible to understand just how big of a deal these shows were, unless you’re also around my age and likewise tuned in every day after school.
Darkwing Duck, Gargoyles, TaleSpin, and DuckTales changed the game, redefining television animation. This book offers the behind-the-scenes history of the Disney Afternoon shows, interviews from the creative teams, and rare artwork, plus the full making of story of the modern-day DuckTales series and its legacy connections to the past.
The Art of Disneyland Paris – Two of my favorite Disney books are the “Art of” titles about Walt Disney World and Disneyland, which are now long out of print and fetch absurd sums on the secondhand market (both absolutely deserve second editions). The Art of Disneyland Paris sounds similar in nature, with a different stylistic approach. If it’s even half as good as its domestic counterparts, it’s a must-own.
This book promises to dive into the heart of the creation and evolution of Europe’s leading tourist destination through more than 300 photos, concepts, and preparatory drawings made by Imagineers and artists of the Entertainment Department, over its 30-year history. From the first sketches to the projects to come, discover an art book like no other, both a souvenir album and a portfolio of passionate artists.
That’s our 2022 Disney books hype list…for now. Disney Publishing has already announced that it’ll have a presence at the D23 Expo; in the past, these events are where they’ve announced some new high profile titles. (It’s unlikely anything revealed at the D23 Expo in September will be released this year, though.)
As a reminder, we receive a small commission from your purchases, so buying through these links helps support the site. However, neither the price you pay nor our recommendations (or lack thereof) are impacted by that. There are numerous other Disney books being released this year, but you don’t see those on this list because many sound totally unappealing to me!
If you’re looking for other book recommendations for Walt Disney World, Disneyland, or beyond, check out Our Disney Theme Parks Library post. Many of the newer releases from the last few years will almost certainly be on sale during Amazon’s Prime Day in mid-July 202. Several of those books are now out-of-print, but are available used. Some older titles you can get for pennies, while others cost hundreds of dollars. Like any collectibles, prices are really all over the place for old Disney books!
If you are planning a Walt Disney World or Disneyland vacation, check out our planning resources! The best place to start is our comprehensive Walt Disney World Trip Planning Guide or Disneyland Trip Planning Guide to make the most of your experience!
What from my list of most-anticipated Walt Disney World and Disneyland books coming out this year is a must-have for you? Any upcoming or recent books about Disney that you’d add to the list? Any questions we can help you answer? Hearing your feedback–even when you disagree with us–is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!