Walt Disney World Books, a Bibliography

disney world books

Walt Disney World Books!

Collecting Walt Disney World books can be a very pricey habit. I’ve been collecting Walt Disney World books since 1994. My current count of Disney-related and theme park titles puts me at 1000 books. I field a lot of questions about books specific to Walt Disney World history, especially books that discuss the Vacation Kingdom of the World (I usually recommend Jeff Kurtti’s Since the World Began and David Koenig’s Realityland since there isn’t one book that does it all).

disney world books

Unfortunately, there isn’t one book that covers Walt Disney World history completely. There are several titles you can digest that will give you a very good picture. There are a lot of titles available and they come from different sources; check out the ones that look most interesting.

Most of us have written papers in high school or college that required a bibliography, which is usually a lists of sources cited in the paper. You can also have a list of books about a subject that stands alone.

What’s a bibliography?

The definition of a bibliography is:

a complete or selective list of works compiled upon some common principle, as authorship, subject, place of publication, or printer.http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/bibliography

This bibliography is by no means a complete list of books available on Walt Disney World; I have only added books that I own and have read. Feel free to leave a comment if I have missed something good!

Walt Disney World Books—General Interest

The books included in this set focus on more than just Walt Disney World. They look at the people behind the parks and the company. I consider each title an essential part of any Disney enthusiast’s library.


Walt Disney World Books—History

The following titles are specific to Walt Disney World and cover more than just an attraction. The Kurtti, Koenig and Beard titles are a must! If you are interested in the history and construction of Walt Disney World, check out these Walt Disney World books.


Walt Disney World Books—Attraction Specific

These Walt Disney World books are dedicated to specific attractions at Walt Disney World (and other parks, as well). If you have a favorite attraction that is featured in the book, then you need to track a copy or two down.


Walt Disney World Books—Artwork

There would be no Walt Disney World without these artists. The Kurtti/Gordon book offers wonderful concept art.

  • Handke, Danny; Hunt, Vanessa. The Poster Art of Disney Parks. 2012. A long time coming, this gorgeous books shares the amazing posters created for Disney attractions. A great look at some past attractions through posters.
  • Hench, John. Designing Disney. 2009. Hench shares his thoughts on helping to design every Disney theme park. The text is insightful and the artwork is astounding. Hench was the master designer of EPCOT Center and most of Walt Disney World.There is also a 2003 edition.
  • Kurrti, Jeff; Gordon, Bruce. The Art of Walt Disney World. 2009. Theme Park ExclusiveJeff and Bruce have collaborated again to create a sister volume to the wonderful Art of Disneyland. This large-scale book presents concept artwork from every phase of Walt Disney World’s history. Many of the images are seen here for the first time. Every fan of Walt Disney World should own this title. You can read my full review here.
  • Mumford, Dave; Gordon, Bruce. A Brush with Disney : An Artist’s Journey, Told through the words and works of Herbert Dickens Ryman. 2000. A look at Herb Ryman’s art–not just work done for Disney, but over his entire career. There are some amazing concept paintings of the Magic Kingdom. You can read my full review here.

Walt Disney World Books—Miscellaneous

Detailed-inspired travel guides, academic treatises and amazing photographic titles. Usually more of a time-capsule than a history title. There are some fantastic Walt Disney World books in this section. Some of them are geared more towards the serious student of Walt Disney World history and some offer images that will please anyone.

disney world books

Walt Disney World Books—Celebration

Although Disney has divested themselves of Celebration for most intents, it is still an important part of the Walt Disney World story. These titles look more at the after effect of Disney’s town and less on Walt’s vision.


Walt Disney World Books—Cookbooks

Food is a huge part of the Disney Parks experience. Dining at Walt Disney World has changed considerably over the past 40 years. The following cookbooks are a great way to see what was being served at various restaurants over the years.


  • Brandon, Pam. Chef Mickey: Treasures from the Vault & Delicious New Favorites. 2010. An updated release that mixes new and historical recipes. There are some great photos, too.
  • Brandon, Pam. Cooking with Mickey and the Disney Chefs. 2004. Mostly modern recipes, but there are a lot of favorites from all Disney parks.
  • Brandon, Pam. Delicious Disney. 2006. More recent recipes from Disney parks and the Disney Cruise Line.
  • Chapman, Dorothy. Thought You’d Never Ask (Part I and Part II). 1979 and 1983. One of the first compilations of recipes from Walt Disney World and local Orlando restaurants. This could surprise you with what was actually being served and what was considered haute couture dining. You can read my review of Part II here.
  • Cooking with Mickey: Walt Disney World’s Most Requested Recipes (Volume I and Volume II). 1986 & 2000. Another look at Disney recipes. Not as much flash as some of the newer books, but it has a lot of recipes from restaurants that are no longer or have changed substantially.


This is by no means a complete list. There are a few titles I have left out simply because I don’t own them.

Are there any that I should include on the list?

Do you have any favorite  Walt Disney World books or one that you always recommend?

12 thoughts on “Walt Disney World Books, a Bibliography

  1. I love Disney. With over three hundred Disney books I have most, but not all of the books listed. For those interested in Disney history I recommend the Official and Unofficial Guides to Walt Disney World to track the year to year changes. I also use the park maps (I have most of the maps and times guides going back to the beginning of the parks) as well as my video collection. I have over 8000 hours of Disney parks videos that I have made over numerous visits. Much of this is pre-digital and I am in the process of digitizing the VHS ,VHS-C , 8mm , Super 8mm . and hi 8 tapes and films. Want to see real elephants at The Magic Kingdom? Got it. A disabled monorail being towed backwards to be repaired? Yep. Space Mountain all lit up with people being evacuated during a hurricane? Have that too. I have been going to WDW since their first year of operation (7/4/72). It had been open a little over 9 months. We stayed at The Contemporary with the wave pool in the back. I also have over 10,000 photos much of which , pre 1997 , need to be digitized. Massive project. Another recommendation , if you have them , are Disneyland Line , Disneyland Line Japan , Eyes & Ears , and En Coulisse (Euro Disney). I have complete sets and much can be garnered from them as well as such publications such as WDI (Imagineering) , Eyes & Oars (boat captains newsletter) and others. Each department had its own newsletter – boat captains , monorail operators , bus drivers , food service , etc. I also have most of the Annual Reports. A major source of Disney history can be obtained from cast members. Look for name tags with 10 year , 15 year , 20 year or more pins attached and talk to them. An amazing amount of history is there. Many are delighted to talk about their experiences. One of my favorite sources is a bell hop at The Grand Floridian. He’s been there forever and knows Disney history going back 30 years.

  2. Hello, I have spent the last 16 years finding all books published by or about Disney from 1931 until 2000. I have amassed a price catalog that includes many of the books listed here. Would you have any objection if I compare your list with mine to be as inclusive as possible. I will give your site a reference in the bibliography. Thanks, Vince

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