Our holiday gift guide and Christmas shopping list for features the best new Walt Disney World books, fun games, travel gadgets, and other must-haves to make you a holiday hero. Plus, inspiration for your wishlist, so your family doesn’t get you more socks or ties.
The latest update to our Christmas gift guide for Disney fans brings with it a ton of cool new stuff, including many items from Walt Disney World’s 50th Anniversary. From books to ornaments to tech gadgets that’ll help “power” Genie+ and Lightning Lanes, there are some great new finds.
Over the last few years, we’ve fine-tuned our Ultimate Disney Fan Christmas List with tried and true favorites, as well as some fun and new surprises that you never knew you needed. It’s not just a bunch of obvious things like the top-sellers on Amazon with the word “Disney” in their titles. This is serious stuff forDisney dorks. 😉
We’ve combed the internet to find these awesome items that will make perfect holiday gifts for Disney enthusiasts. For this Christmas, a lot of our personal lists are dominated by items in the Walt Disney World 50th Anniversary Collection.
However, that’s very taste-specific (most of my tastes are things from the Vault Collection) so there’s no point in rehashing all of it here. Instead, we’d recommend browsing that link (or better yet, visiting the Marketplace Co-Op at Disney Springs if you’re traveling to Walt Disney World this holiday season) and seeing what piques your curiosity.
Beyond that, here are our picks, loosely organized by category–with some fun top picks first…
Mickey Mouse Plaid Fleece Pajama Pants – Super soft and plush fleece fabric that keeps you extra comfy and warm. These are thick, perfect for a chilly morning–probably not so much for Floridians!
Christmas Mickey Mouse Santa Red Graphic T-Shirt — I love the vintage look of this shirt, featuring pie-eyed Mickey Mouse as Santa Claus. This would be great with a simple “Walt Disney World” or “Disneyland” script below it; all of this year’s park Christmas clothes have way too much going on.
The Haunted Mansion Little Golden Book— Disney Parks just started doing this new line of Little Golden Books, and they have been crushing it so far. While we definitely aren’t the target audience for the stories, we absolutely adore the art and style—they’re great for anyone with kids, theme park fans, or anyone who was a kid and has fond memories of Little Golden Book. Here are other recommended titles:
DisneyWar– Another title that I recommend constantly, this real account of a battle within Disney reads like a soap opera, except it’s all true. This is Shakespearean melodrama–a real page turner. Even those in your family who aren’t Disney fans will enjoy DisneyWar. You can purchase used hardcover copies for less than $2 on Amazon, making it a great stocking stuffer.
Galactic Snackin’ Grogu – This is a follow-up to last year’s the Child Animatronic Edition, which won several “Toy of the Year” awards. The new version just came out, having been inspired by Grogu eating his way through the galaxy in Season 2 of The Mandalorian on Disney+.
Snacking expands the range of Baby Yoda’s interactives and reactions–basically, the design and development team further innovated on an already innovative toy. If this sells out before you start your holiday shopping, the Child Animatronic Edition is still a great (and slightly cheaper!) option that should be easier to find.
Thomas Kinkade 2022 Disney Calendar – You’ve seen Kinkade’s work if you’ve ever been in an Art of Disney store. It’s the dreamy, improbably-lit paintings that you want to step inside. With their mix of artistry and impressionism, Kinkade’s Disney designs are mesmerizing, and this calendar is a great way to look at them all year long…without spending $1,000+ on a painting!
Personal Neck Fan— The little device is shockingly effective. You know that refreshing feeling when briefly hit by a burst of air-conditioning while walking in front of an open door on Main Street? This is like that, but constant. The technology isn’t perfect yet and battery life could be better, but it’s great for hot days in the parks.If you want to splurge on a nicer and more effective model, check out the TORRAS Coolify Portable Air Conditioner Neck Fan.
Anker Slimline Phone Charger 10000mAh External Battery Pack — Even before Genie+, we recommended bringing a backup battery pack to charge your phone while using My Disney Experience or social media at Walt Disney World. Now, it’s downright necessary. This one has great capacity (ideal for more than one person) and the fastest charging capabilities (it can power iPhones to 50% in under 30 minutes).
Haunted Mansion: Call of The Spirits Board Game – I’m a total sucker for cheesy and cheeky board games, as well as Walt Disney World board games. This is the perfect intersection of those interests. It’s a fairly strategic game that’s easy enough for kids but also deep enough for adults. Our one warning here is that the instructions are a bit confusing, but there are several superior YouTube videos that break it down in easy-to-understand terms. Highly recommended.
Jungle Cruise Adventure Board Game– Same goes with this, although it’s not as “deep” as the Haunted Mansion game. The goal here is to transport passengers and cargo, while avoiding perils and delivering the trademark dry wit of the Jungle Cruise skippers.
Codenames: Disney Family Edition– Personally, I don’t like this as much as the two above games, which are specifically based upon theme park attractions. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a fun game, but it can be challenging if you haven’t seen a particular film or blank on a given character’s name.
Hocus Pocus: The Game – Halloween might be over, but the sun never sets on the Sanderson sisters. Well, actually it does, and that’s sorta the point in this cooperative card game. Players work together to protect Salem’s children and stop the Sanderson sisters from completing their wicked potion before the sun rises. Play potion ingredients to the cauldron and match all the colors or ingredients.
Villainous Disney Strategy Board Game – A lot of Disney fans are really into all things villains. We are not. Consequently, we overlooked this when it came out, despite it being by Ravensburger and receiving rave reviews. After winning the prestigious ‘Game of the Year’ Award at the TOTY Awards, we remedied that and found it to be a very deep and satisfying game. We still don’t like it as much as the Jungle Cruise and Haunted Mansion games, but that’s a matter of taste.
Funko Pop! Chip ‘n’ Dale Christmas Treasures Game — As a huge fan of Pluto’s Christmas Tree, this was an “instant pre-order” for me. The fast-paced, easy-to-learn card game features beautiful illustrations inspired by the classic 1950’s Disney Christmas cartoons. I cannot wait.
Sorry! Disney Villains – This family game combines classic Sorry! gameplay with a Disney Villains-inspired board, spell cards, and pawns featuring favorite characters. This is more on the superficial side, but if you’re looking for a classic game with a Disney twist, you can’t go wrong here.
Disney Villains Monopoly— This is a fun twist on Monopoly, with Poison Apple and Power cards, plus players hiring infamous Disney villains, and buying and selling Villain Contracts instead of locations.
Disney Household Goods
Mickey Mouse Waffle Maker – We’ve recommended this for the last few years, and have actually bought it multiple times for ourselves (got lost in a move) and given it as gifts to family and friends. (It helps that it’s really cheap!) Pocket the money you’d otherwise spend on those Chef Mickey’s or Crystal Palace breakfast reservations.
“A Year of Disney Animation” 2022 Daily Calendar – This calendar features one full-color Disney image per day. It features full-color art from Disney and Pixar’s most iconic feature films and shorts, accompanied by fun trivia, interesting notes, and memorable quotes from the films.
Poster Art of the Disney Parks– If you have to choose between the ‘Maps’ book above or the ‘Poster Art’ book, this is the better one, hands down. It features posters from around the world, including a ton you’ve never seen before. This book was curated by Walt Disney Imagineering, and it shows–the design and artwork is fantastic.
The Disney Monorail: Imagineering a Highway in the Sky — If you’re a fan of Disney’s monorails (who isn’t?!), you’ll love this. There’s a ton of concept art and photos, as the authors take readers on a historical ride the Highway in the Sky. From Walt Disney’s Progress City ambitions to the future of this innovative transportation system.
Eat Like Walt: The Wonderful World of Disney Food — This is neither a cookbook nor a phony attempt at sharing foods Walt Disney might’ve liked. Rather, it’s a look at the history of the parks with rare photos, all through the prism of food. Don’t let the title put you off–it’s actually more unique as a result of that premise, while still being approachable and interesting to all fans.
Travels with Figment On the Road in Search of Disney Dreams – The last title by Imagineering Legend Marty Sklar, published posthumously. It’s an interesting look at Sklar’s globe-trotting adventures in developing the Disney theme parks, with plenty of amusing and humorous anecdotes along the way.
Disney A to Z: The Official Encyclopedia – By the incomparable Disney Legend Dave Smith, this comprehensive encyclopedia covers everything you want to know about the Walt Disney Company, from theme park attractions to songs, and animators from Disney films and shows and so much more!
Maps of the Disney Parks– The next two books are staples of our gift-giving guides, and that’s in part because they are both titles that look really nice, making them eye-catching gifts. We covered this in our Top 10 Disney Park Books list, but it bears mentioning again. You can buy this in the parks for $40…or ~$25 online.
The Art of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge— This new book about Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge offers an inside look at the creation of the Disneyland and Walt Disney World lands, documenting the art and innovations that led to the construction of Galaxy’s Edge. Featuring hundreds of full-color concept artworks, sketches, blueprints, photographs, and more, the book reveals Walt Disney Imagineering’s creative process. Also, what could have been. (In some ways, that makes it a bit depressing–but that’s pretty common of Imagineering concept art books.)
This is one of many older books that we recommend in Our Disney Theme Parks Library post. Several of those books are now out-of-print, but are available used.
Walt Disney’s Disneyland – The best theme park book to be released in years (read our full review of it here), this is a must-have for Disneyland fans. Even if you’re a more of a Florida person, there’s a good amount on Walt Disney here, making it a worthwhile option for WDW fans, too.
From All of Us to All of You: The Disney Christmas Card – This oversized coffee table book goes through the history of the Disney Christmas card designs with lavish artwork of the cards. It also serves as a history lesson on the Walt Disney Studios, as its most legendary artists created many of the card designs, and those artists are profiled throughout the book.
Boundless Realm: Deep Explorations In Haunted Mansion– Everything you could possibly want to know about Disney’s iconic Haunted Mansion, from history to artistic critique. It’s a truly comprehensive and deep dive, probing American history, popular culture, and folklore, to examine why Haunted Mansion is the definitive haunted house.
A Portrait of Walt Disney World: 50 Years of The Most Magical Place on Earth – This is the best Walt Disney World-specific coffee table book ever. In style, structure, and quality, this is more like a Disneyland deep-dive than one of the past Walt Disney World souvenir books. From Florida history pre-Disney and the Preview Center to the development and history of the Vacation Kingdom, there is a wealth of knowledge thoughtfully presented here in a way that is engaging, informative, and entertaining. There are also tons of photos and concept art I’ve never seen–a rarity for Walt Disney World books, which often recycle not just information–but images.
It reads like a love letter to Walt Disney World (or many love letters, as the authors have cleverly inserted essays from key figures in Walt Disney World’s history, bringing other interesting voices and perspectives to the mix) that is for fans–by fans. This is one of the best things to come out of Walt Disney World’s 50th Anniversary, and not just in terms of merchandise. It’s no surprise this book is sold out almost everywhere, and has already become hard to find. It is the must-buy item this holiday season for Walt Disney World fans.
Delicious Disney: Walt Disney World– This is a cookbook, with recipes for iconic dishes like the Grey Stuff, Tonga Toast, Captain Jack’s Clam Dip, Kungaloosh, Ronto Wrap, Orange Bird Flip, Hoop-Dee-Doo Fried Chicken, Hollywood Brown Derby Grapefruit Cake, and Le Cellier Steakhouse Canadian Cheddar Cheese Soup. However, it’s also so much more. You’ll also find rare restaurant concept art (like that for Columbia Harbour House, Downtown Disney, and the Disney Inn), history (my favorite is “Walt Loved Fried Chicken”), and old menu scans.
Whether you want to learn about the history of the Handwich or development of Kitchen Kabaret, this has you covered. For any fan of food at Walt Disney World–even those like me who don’t cook–this is an interesting and enjoyable read. It’s available now exclusively on shopDisney or at the parks–and will see a wider release in April 2022.
(Both of these books would be at the top of our list–and were earlier this year–but they’re next to impossible to find now, unfortunately.)
Disney Travel Accessories
Packing Cubes — These are perfect for organizing, and make it easier to to manage your luggage. I love this 4-piece set as they’re the perfect size for organizing a carry-on size suitcase.
Compression Cubes— There are two great options here—I’ve moved on to these compression cubes, as I find they save more space in my luggage, which is huge for me. Below is the cheaper alternative, if you’re simply looking to stay organized.
Frogg Toggs Chilly Pad — By far the most popular item on our Unique Disney Parks Packing List (which is where the things in this section are from, so skip down to ‘Disney Media’ if you’ve already read that list), Chilly Pads use some sort of space-age science material to be “cool and dry.” Essential for those unbearably hot days in Walt Disney World or Disneyland!
2-Pack of “Pro” Ponchos — These are a thicker and higher quality material than most ponchos, making them easy to reuse. This makes them more environmentally–and budget–friendly. They’re also just flat out superior to disposable ponchos, and will keep you drier as a result. Great as stocking stuffers!
Life Straw Go Filter Water Bottle — Florida water tastes awful straight from the tap, so it’s key to get a bottle with a filter. This bottle is the best option, hands down. It’s durable, BPA-free, dishwasher safe, and uses a 2-stage activated carbon filter reduces odor, chlorine and leaves zero aftertaste!
What from this Disney Christmas Gift Guide is a must-have for you? Any clever gift ideas for Disney fans (or travelers) 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!