Each year, there are more and more Disney- and theme park-related books published. As a theme park nerd, this makes me very happy, but it also means there’s a lot of wheat to separate from the chaff. And that’s part of why ImagiNERDing exists; I always want to present a fair and unbiased look at Disney and theme park books.
With the ease of self-publishing, it means that everyone can tell their theme park story or create their own Disney book. This is a double-edged sword: not only do we get an enormous amount of material, but it also means that quality control (editing, proof-reading, copy-editing, design, etc.) is often neglected. Regardless of the content, grammar, spelling, and style are all important and are a big part of whether a book makes my list.
Books, Books, and More Books from 2020
What follows is the list of my favorite books from the past year in chronological release date.
Rolling Through the Years: a Cedar Point Atlas & Chronology by Ken Miller—This is the ultimate history of Cedar Point and might be one of the greatest amusement park books ever written. It’s a huge book and is the most comprehensively detailed book about Cedar Point. And I always recommend that Disney park fans spend time visiting regional parks, like Cedar Point, because they offer a look into the growth and development of themed entertainment.
The Disney Monorail: Imagineering a Highway in the Sky by Jeff Kurtti, Vanessa Hunt, and Paul Wolski—talk about the ultimate release for fans of Walt Disney and the history of the monorail! The book takes us on a trip through the different iterations of the monorail through history (no, Disney did not invent the monorail) and the development of monorails at Disney parks. Every Disney fan needs to own this!
Holiday Magic at the Disney Parks: Celebrations Around the World from Fall to Winter by Graham Allen, Rebecca Cline, and Charlie Price—this is a book that Disney fans have been waiting years for. It’s a massive book that looks at all the how the holidays are celebrated in all of parks, resorts, hotels, and cruise ships. There is a smattering of history, which is nice, but the majority of the 1900 photos are from the past few years. This is an important release, especially concerning the lack of celebrations happening in the parks in 2020 and for the many fans that aren’t able to travel. I enjoyed the book, mainly for the photos, but really with there had been more of a vogue on the history of the holidays in the parks.
Polishing the Dragons: Making EPCOT’s “Wonders of China” by Jeff Blythe—Polishing the Dragons is a perfect example of how small and independent publishing houses can offer incredible content that is well-written, well-designed, and, fortunately, well-edited! Disney fans will relish every sentence and they will devour Jeff’s book about the making of the Circle-Vision film. Seriously, I’m still amazed that there is a whole book dedicated to one subject. The book is awesome.
Boundless Realm: Deep Explorations Inside Disney’s Haunted Mansion by Foxx Nolte—I’ve known Foxx for more than ten years and her blog has been one of the main inspirations for what I do at ImagiNERDing. The Haunted Mansion is a fan favorite and the attraction has been plagued by a lack of a stated backstory. Foxx takes us very deep to explore all of the influences of the Imagineers that led them to make the spooky house on the hill. This book is amazing and deserves to be in every Disney and theme park fan’s collection.
There you have it: my favorite books from 2020. I’m often asked what my favorite book of the year is, and I’ve offered the ImagiNERDing Book of the Year in years past. But this year, there are so many books that deserve the title that I can’t make an effective choice. If you’re on a limited budget, the Disney Monorails, Polishing the Dragons, Imagineering an American Dreamscape, and Boundless Realm, are all fantastic titles that shed light into Disney history from vastly different points-of-view and offer a wonderful reading experience.
What Are Your Favorite Books from 2020?
FTC Disclosure: In some cases, a copy might have been provided by the company for the purpose of review. This post contains affiliate links, which means that ImagiNERDing receives a percentage of sales purchased through links on this site. Thank you for your support!
Is this book that features maps of the primary locations from the animated feature films worth adding to your collection?
There are 24 different films covered in this book. The films span the entire history of the Disney Company from its first animated feature film to the most recent blockbusters.
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,
Alice in Wonderland,
One Hundred and One Dalmatians,
The Little Mermaid,
Beauty and the Beast,
The Lion King,
A Bug’s Life,
Obviously, they couldn’t cover every film ever released, but they do offer the most popular ones. Interestingly enough, but there aren’t any page numbers, but it won’t be difficult to navigate this title, at all.
Who is Disney Maps: a Magical Atlas of the Movies We Know and Love For?
Fans oft animated films that are included will enjoy the title. It really feels like the book is meant for the tween and younger set to enjoy with siblings or parents. It’s also a great title for anyone that wants to let their imagination explore the realms of classic and modern Disney and Pixar films.
What do you think about this new Disney book release?
FTC Disclosure: A copy was provided by the company for the purpose of this review. This post contains affiliate links, which means that ImagiNERDing receives a percentage of sales purchased through links on this site. Thank you for your support!
The Magic Kingdom is nearing 50 years old. That’s a lot of history and a lot of developments and transitions. One way changes can be documented is through the different park maps that have been produced over the years. Now that we all use our smart phones to navigate the parks, I do wonder what the future of printed park maps will be. You do see less people using maps in the theme parks, which makes sense. But I still love them as collectible items.
The history of the evolution of the maps of the Magic Kingdom is an interesting tale. We would never really see a fold-out map, but different iterations of maps would be released through GAF, Kodak and Polaroid Guides. There were also maps in guide books and travel magazines. For the most part, I check out official maps produced by Disney. Some are iconic and others are very close in detail and layout. I offer over 20 different maps in the video.
Magic Kingdom Maps Video
Do you have a favorite Magic Kingdom map?
How Disney promoted the Magic Kingdom is a fascinating byproduct of reviewing these different maps. The color choices, layouts, and inclusion (and omission) of details strikes an interesting choice of what is important at the time. Also what Disney did to promote this new theme park venture.
FTC Disclosure: In some cases, a copy might have been provided by the company for the purpose of this review (but not on this post). This post contains affiliate links, which means that ImagiNERDing receives a percentage of sales purchased through links on this site. Thank you for your support!
You’ve probably seen this Vintage Want Disney World map countless times, but have you ever explored it? It was created before the 1971 opening and offers details that never saw the light of day, including the three unbuilt hotels: the Asian Resort; the Venetian Resort and the Persian Resort. This map was featured in every guest room of the Contemporary Resort and Polynesian Village Resort. It’s often referred to as the Vacation Kingdom of the World map.
Check out My Video Featuring This Amazing Vintage Walt Disney World Map!
Do you have one of these vintage Walt Disney World maps?
Collecting Disney books can be an arduous task when different editions and releases come into play. We know that there are four version of the Walt Disney’s EPCOT Center book (you can learn about three of them at this post) based on when the books were released.
Cover of the 1976 Edition
The Story of Walt Disney World is another title with multiple editions. This book was the second major publication piece released by the company to help promote and explain what Walt Disney World was. This book is a fantastic look back at the Vacation Kingdom of the World during its heyday of the 1970s. This was a different time for the Company and they spent a lot of money and energy showing you how they created the magic of Walt Disney World.
When you start to look at the different editions of the book, there doesn’t seem to be many differences. The most obvious difference is the almost two-page map that is included in the book. There are also some minor differences in the photographs on certain pages. After discussing the different editions on Twitter with Scott Otis (@otisney) and @EPCOTExplorer, we realized that there were many editions published each year from 1971 to 1980 (at least).
Back of the 1976 Edition
The following is a fun-style map of Walt Disney World from 1976. If you click on the image, you will notice that the artist emphasized the leisure activities. It is an obvious focus of a mid-1970s vacation at Walt Disney World where you would spend two days at the Magic Kingdom and the rest of the week playing golf, tennis, boating and horseback riding.
The 1971 edition is similar, save for a few small changes in some of the photographs and the following map.
This is a well-known map, since it shows the various hotels that were never built. This was also the map that was in the guest rooms at the Polynesian and Contemporary Resort.