The best books about Disneyland
Disney can tell a story like no other, but the story of Walt Disney himself is also a great chronicle. There are some absolutely fantastic books that tell the story of Disney to the present day, honor some of your favorite characters, pay tribute to Disney’s inventors, and give you a guide for your big journey. We’ve compiled a definitive list of the best Disney books (and books worth gifting), as well as some lesser-known personal favorites and our selection of the best Disney World guide to help you plan your own magical vacation.
If you are planning to visit Walt Disney World, we have a great selection of helpful articles on how to get the best deals, where to start planning a trip to Disney and the best advice on everything from car rentals to churros. Start here, with the Ultimate Disney Trip Planner or our example of a two-week trip to Orlando (posts open on a new page).
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Our 10 favorite books about Disneyland
1. Disney Card Book: A guide to the magical worlds of Disney and Pixar
If you are planning a vacation to Walt Disney World, make no mistake, this book contains maps of six Disney theme parks in Florida! In fact, this beautiful coffee table collectible is a collection of beautifully illustrated cards from the worlds of classic Disney films. Discover the dangers of Pride Land, dive with Ariel, explore Wonderland with Alice, fly to Neverland with Peter and sail the East Australian Current with Marlin and Dory. A clever idea and a unique gift from Disney for the movie lover.
The Disney card book: A guide to the magical worlds of Disney and Pixar, £14.99.
2. Disney Art Park Poster
If, like me, you swoon over the beautiful promotional posters from all those decades – and you love Disney – you’ll find a collection of Disney attraction posters in this book about Disneyland, the first of which was displayed in 1956. This colorful book presents art concepts and posters from Disney parks around the world, including Tokyo, Paris, and the United States, and offers a fascinating look at the evolution of Disney poster art.
Disney Art poster, €33.99.
3. Orlando 2020 Guide.
For anyone who came to Walt Disney World Florida in the 90s or 00s, before the age of the internet (and handy travel blogs like this one!), this book was the Orlando Bible! Imagine my joy when I met authors Susan and Simon Veness and they agreed to write a post for my Orlando Insider Expert Tips. Susan and Simon (Simon is British and Susan is American) have written all 25 editions of the British Guide to Orlando and are absolute connoisseurs of all things Central Florida. If you know someone who is planning a trip, or if you are old school like me and like to have a good travel guide to read on the plane, then this book is for you. Especially if you’re British!
British guide to Orlando 2020, £11.99.
4. Hidden Mickey Walt Disney World
True Disney fans know that Hidden Mickeys are hidden all over the Walt Disney World Resort – and if you’ve never heard of Hidden Mickeys, you definitely need this fun Disneyland book! Simply put, hidden Mickey’s are little (and sometimes big) cheeky Mickey ears hidden all over the parks. You see the pattern on wooden beams stacked in concrete, carved into trees, and as decorative objects (such as three round panels attached together to represent three circles of Mickey’s head in a haunted house).
It’s a fun game that keeps everyone entertained as you travel through the parks and stand in line for attractions, and it creates a bit of competition to play at your party. This book will help you conduct a station-wide treasure hunt. You’ll be led to each hidden Mickey, first with a general clue (if you accept the challenge), then with a very specific clue if you can’t find it!
Walt Disney’s Hidden Mickey, 10 pounds.
5. Walt Disney World Hacks: 350+ Park Secrets to get the most out of your Walt Disney World
This leading book on Disneyland, also written by Susan Veness (Brit Guide to Orlando), is a wealth of knowledge about the Disney theme parks and includes some smart tips on how to beat the crowds, set up the most popular attractions and plan your day.
Walt Disney World Hacks: 350+ Park Secrets to Make the Most of Your Walt Disney, $6.99.
6. Magic Half Year: Stories celebrating the first 50 years of Walt Disney World
It’s a new book (coming out in late 2020) and I love the retro cover! It’s one of Disney World’s best books, released to celebrate the parks 50th anniversary in 2021. Happy birthday, Disney! An amusing author looks at the park’s origins, cultural connections and history of Disney’s most secret society: the Society of Explorers and Adventurers….
Six magical months: Tales of the first 50 years of Walt Disney, £15.
7. A day at Disney: Meet the people who make magic around the world (Disney Editions Deluxe)
Find out what it’s like to work for the Walt Disney Company. Go backstage and dive into a normal day at Disney. All the photos in the book were taken on the same day, starting in Tokyo and following the sun around the world, via Shanghai, Hong Kong, Paris, Madrid, the Bahamas, Costa Rica and dozens of places in the United States. More than 40 hours after the day began, the day ended with a sunset at the Aulani Resort in Hawaii.
The 80 artists opened their studios, dressing rooms, kitchens, cabins, television studios, laboratories, locomotives – and more amazing and varied workplaces. They also tell their personal stories and childhood dreams. A unique, brilliantly executed idea and a fantastic book by Walt Disney keep the memory of half a century of Disney alive.
Once upon a time in Disney: Meet the people who make magic around the world (Disney Editions Deluxe), $38.75
8. Walt Disney Studios: Space (Disney Editions Deluxe)
This hardcover collectible book on Disney movies and their history would make a great gift for any Disney fan. With its illustrated drawings, backstage photos and artwork from the studio’s 90 years, it’s a great souvenir that you’ll be able to find again and again. Ah, the good old days!
Walt Disney Studios: A Lot to Remember (Disney Editions Deluxe), £46.50.
9. Yesterday is tomorrow Middle Ages Disney Magic
For those who are eagerly awaiting the major update to EPCOT in 2022 for the 40th anniversary of Walt Disney World’s second park, this brilliant book on Disney’s mid-century drawings should be a huge sales success. This illustrated book presents rarely seen works of art and photographs from the mid-twentieth century. These are the finest films of the 20th century, reflecting the unique style that Walt Disney and his artists contributed to an extraordinary era.
Yesterday is tomorrow: Disney’s Magical Ages, £25.
10. Dream Guide: The unofficial guide of Walt Disney World – 50th anniversary edition
This author is a British YouTuber and former Disney employee who is popular with Generation Z. This Disneyland book is packed with clear language, humor, and modern references and is one of the easiest books to read, perfect for teens. As a former Disney employee and Orlando resident, Adam shares many practical tips and must-haves for your family vacation at Walt Disney World.
A guide to the dream: The unofficial guide to Walt Disney World – 50th anniversary edition, £10.99
Walt Disney Wonder
It is one of my favorite Disneyland guides and a must for new visitors and super Disney fans. Not only is this book a guide to Walt Disney World, it tells the behind-the-scenes story of each attraction and really brings them to life. Even a well-traveled Disney guest will devour it, and the book would make a fantastic gift – especially for someone who has a magical trip ahead of them. You knew about Star Wars: Is there a thousand-year-old falcon hidden at the edge of the galaxy? And after that…
Walt Disney’s Wonder, £10.25.
Disney Art Calculations Heroes, villains and free spaces
Disney – but make it child’s play! Oh, it’s an absolutely adorable book and a great coffee table book for anyone who loves Disney movies and the incredible costumes in them. The Best of All Disney Books covers the fascinating and beautiful range of costumes developed for Disney Classics. Discover the craft, imagination, passion and attention to detail of some of history’s greatest costume designers.
Disney costume design: Heroes, villains and interspaces, £27.
12. Mary Blair’s art and eyes Damping system
It’s old, but it’s good. A beautiful, streamlined collectible dedicated to classic designer Mary Blair, the quiet force behind the exuberant color palette that defined the look of many classic Disney cartoons, including Cinderella and Peter Pan. I became obsessed with the artist after her appearance in the Disney+ Imagineers documentary, especially since she was responsible for the 200 costumes featured in It’s A Small World. The perfect gift for anyone with a passion for fashion, and one of Disneyland’s favorite books.
The Art and Eyes of Mary Blair: Thank you, $32.99.
13. I’m Walt Disney
Oooh, this super cute children’s book has a main character – Walt Disney! It’s the perfect gift for kids going to Walt Disney World for the first time. Of all the Disney books for kids, this is a great story (from the series about people who changed the world). Walt is certainly someone who has achieved a dream for himself and countless children around the world. Our hero!
My name is Walt Disney, 310 years old.
14. Ink and Ink: The Women of Walt Disney Animation
15. Walt Disney’s Mickey Mouse: Final story
The newest book on our list is one for the true Disney fans among us – after all, it all started with a mouse! Mickey Mouse is 90 years old, but his appeal is timeless. This Disney King of the World book presents Disney’s extensive historical collections, as well as public and private collections. From conceptual art, narrative sketches, sets and animations to historical photographs that explore its origins and timelessness. An expensive but beautiful collector’s book that can be passed down from generation to generation.
Walt Disney’s Mickey Mouse, 80 pounds.
YOU THINK YOU KNOW DISNEY? A member of the Disney cast with over 25 years of experience scored only 75% of the points on our REAL Disney quiz. Can you do better?
Are you planning a trip to Walt Disney World? We have a series of mini guides on Disney and Orlando to help you save money and plan the perfect vacation:
Start with our Disney trip planner.
The best reasons to go to Disney in 2021 or 2022.
Want to see what else is in Orlando? Check out our two-week guide to Orlando, featuring Disney, Universal Orlando and more.
What else is there to do in Orlando but Disney!
How much does a vacation at Walt Disney World REALLY cost?
How to get the best packages to Orlando
Disney Park tickets explained and how to get the best deals.
Do you need a car in Orlando?
What happens as a tourist during a hurricane in Orlando?
Disney clothing for adults and children – where to buy the best products.
Where to stay in Orlando?
What is the best hotel in Universal Orlando?
frequently asked questions
What is the best guide to Disneyland?
Best Walt Disney World guides The unofficial guide to Walt Disney World 2020 – Of all the guides, the unofficial guide is the most comprehensive. Authors Bob Salinger and Len Testa don’t take it upon themselves to tell you how best to organize your trip and avoid hassles and flights.
What are your best memories of Disneyland?
Best memories of Disney…
How much money should I bring to Disneyland for souvenirs?
That’s why snacks are among the perks of a trip to Disneyland. No matter how many times I go to Disneyland, I always find what I want. To be realistic, keep in mind that souvenirs will probably make up at least 50% of your spending budget.
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