/ Monday, September 10th, 2012

by Caitlin Corsello

Seeing as September is Disney Book month here at WDW Radio, I wanted to add my thoughts of books which I think have the most appeal for those visiting the actual parks. While there are more books written on the topic of Disney World than I could imagine (trust me, they need their own bookshelf in my house!), they range from fun and factual to very in depth and detailed. Depending on how much you would actually like to research and read about the parks, there are plenty of options for you to peruse.

The first set of books that I am going to recommend offer fun facts and anecdotes about the parks to enhance your visit without being too detailed or overwhelming. They are the books that will make your trip more enjoyable by opening your eyes to the little details that many visitors miss.

The Imagineering Field Guides by the Imagineers

Written by Disney, this series includes four different books covering each of the parks in Walt Disney World. They offer an informative yet enjoyable overview of details in many of the lands and attractions of each park without being too overwhelming. One of the aspects I particularly enjoy about the books in this series is the inclusion of many concept drawings for attractions which you can actually compare to the final products as you experience them in the parks. You can find these books for about ten dollars each on Amazon.

The Hidden Magic of Walt Disney World by Susan Veness

If you are looking for a very reader friendly book which still provides details to search for in the parks, this is a good bet. While the author tends to focus much more on certain areas or attractions, she still covers almost the entire World while providing interesting and fun details which can enhance your experience in the park. You can purchase this book new on Amazon for around ten dollars.

Hidden Mickeys: A Field Guide to Walt Disney World’s Best Kept Secrets by Steven M. Barrett

Perhaps one of the most fun and interesting books to utilize on your vacation, this master guide to all Hidden Mickeys can turn waiting in line into a game where the time flies by. Virtually everywhere you look in Disney World, there are Hidden Mickeys; in décor, in artwork, on props, etc. They also range from being very obvious to fairly difficult to identify. Broken down by park, land, and attraction, this guide first offers hints of where to find the Hidden Mickeys and follows up with more in depth descriptions if you are having trouble. It also assigns points to each Hidden Mickey so that you can turn it into a game with your group in the parks. A favorite of many, this book is definitely one that can add some extra fun to your vacation as you experience the parks. Now on its 5th edition, you can purchase this book for around eight dollars on Amazon or purchase it in many of the merchandise shops located within the parks.

The Walt Disney World Trivia Book: Secrets, History & Fun Facts Behind the Magic Volumes I & II by Lou Mongello

Now what would a Disney World book list be without these amazing trivia books by WDW Radio’s own Lou Mongello! Offering countless bits of fun trivia facts, these books provide a great way to not only learn more about the parks you are experiencing, but also to have fun doing so through a group friendly multiple choice format. See who in your group can score the highest with their knowledge of Disney trivia! You can find these books in WDW Radio’s shop for around eleven dollars each.

While those books tend to be easier to read and slightly less detail oriented, some of you may be craving a more in depth look at the parks. There are two books that I refer to as the “holy grails” of Disney park research and would be your best bet for a more detailed look at the parks you experience on your vacation.

Walt Disney Imagineering: A Behind-The-Dreams Look at Making the Magic Real by the Imagineers

Published in 1998, this is the first book released by the Imagineers which features not only concept art and Disney details, but also an in depth look at how many attractions and experiences in the parks came together to form what we now know and experience today. The information and images provided are riveting and really help you to picture the entire process of how an attraction comes to be. Covering everything from brainstorming to certain shades of paint, this book helps you to really appreciate the ridiculous amount of thought, creativity, and execution that goes into everything Disney produces. Just keep in mind that since this was published in 1998, Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Disney’s California Adventure and several international parks are not included. You can find this book used on Amazon for around forty dollars.

Walt Disney Imagineering: A Behind-The-Dreams Look at Making the Magic Real by the Imagineers

While they have the same titles, this is the follow up to the first book and was published in 2010. Providing the same stunning images and details, this book chronicles the more recent parks and attractions that have opened since the original book’s release. You can find this book new on Amazon for around forty dollars.

So there you have it, my most recommended Disney books for both those looking to learn a little more about the parks and enhance their visit and those looking to really go deep into the Disney details. While those are my favorite ones, here are a few other recommended titles:

  • Disney in Details: A Scavenger Hunt Through the Walt Disney World Resort
  • The Haunted Mansion: From the Magic Kingdom to the Movies
  • Disney Trivia from the Vault: Secrets Revealed and Questions Answered

Which Disney book is your favorite? Have another suggestion for the list? Let me know in the comments below, I would love to hear from you!


Caitlin Corsello was born and raised in New York. She graduated from Adelphi University with a Masters in Mental Health Counseling in 2012. Her love for Disney started as an infant and has continued to grow with family vacations to Disney parks almost every year since. She holds a particular interest in WDW’s parks and attractions, never passing up an opportunity to visit. She looks forward to continuing to explore and learn about all things Disney and to share that passion with readers.



4 thoughts on “Disney From A Twenty-Something: “Must Have” Disney Books”

  1. Sheila says:

    I have the first four mentioned and LOVE them all. However I often lend my Imagineering Field Guide to first timers , so they have a better appreciation for the parks and realize before they go this isn’t just another amusement park.

    I re-read them before each trip.

  2. Blake says:

    Nice list! My favorite is the 2010 version of the big Imagineering book. Usually I think coffee table books can be overpriced for their content, but it’s worth every penny (and like you said is discounted a ton on Amazon). Such great insight and visuals! I could look at it for hours.

    The Hidden Mickeys are fun, too. Last trip I actually saw Mickey himself helping a family at a character breakfast find one of the restaurant’s Hidden Mickeys using the book. Pretty neat! He then proceeded to “hide” behind a pole and then jump out… pretending to be a “Hidden Mickey”!

  3. Caitlin Corsello says:

    Sheila- I love that you re-read all of the books before visiting the parks. I do the same thing before each of my vacations (and sometimes at home when I just need a little dose of Disney!)

    Blake- How cute that Mickey was pretending to be a Hidden Mickey! It’s the little magical moments like that which make me love Disney all the more. Also, I agree that the Imagineering books are worth every penny!

  4. Angie Carreiro says:

    I’ve been looking to tart a collection with just this theme, so this is perfect!