George’s Favorite Books of 2020

George’s Favorite Books of 2020

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.

Haven’t Quite Finished It Yet…

My Favorite Books of 2020?

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!

2016 Best Disney Books from ImagiNERDing

2016 Best Disney Books from ImagiNERDing (Including the 2016 ImagiNERDing Book of the Year!)

Check out my 2016 Best Disney Books of the year! Every year, I take a look at all of the Disney-related books that have been published during the calendar year and that I’ve reviewed. I’ve reviewed 56 books in 2016, including many that were released over the previous years (so, many of those don’t count for this award). The best Disney books run the gamut from animation to theme parks to history and from large and small publishers. The books are presented in no particular order!

2016 Best Disney Books: Walt Disney’s Silly Symphonies: a Companion to the Classic Cartoon Series by Russell Merritt and JB Kaufman

The first section of the book is a, history of the Silly Symphonies animated shorts. About 30 pages are dedicated to looking at the cultural effect of the animated shorts as well as how they evolved as the needs of the Disney Studios changed. We’re introduced to a lot of key players who would go on to leave a lasting mark on animation forever. The section dealing with the shorts is incredibly comprehensive—even the price of the negative was included. Merritt and Kaufman provide all of the basic information that you’d expect, usually over a page and a half per animated short. There’s a lot included and the information on the Silly Symphonies truly makes this book an essential purchase and a one-of-a-kind research tool.

2016 Best Disney Books: The Disney Story: Chronicling The Man, The Mouse & The Parks by Aaron H. Goldberg

The Disney Story: Chronicling the Man, the Mouse & the Parks by Aaron H. Goldberg is a book that takes us on a journey through the high marks of Disney history through the eyes of the media. This is a fantastic title for anyone who wants a good overview of Walt and his entertainment empire. The Disney Story isn’t just a book for people who are new to Disney history, but for anyone who is interested in learning more, especially in a non-confrontational and non-academic tone. (Seriously, some Disney history books can be a little overwhelming for the lay person.) Goldberg has also presented the book in two fairly unique ways: he has reprinted articles from media outlets verbatim and he is offering the Disney Story website as a larger repository of articles. Goldberg includes original scans of the articles for further reading at the website.

2016 Best Disney Books: Drinking at Disney: A Tipsy Travel Guide to Walt Disney World’s Bars, Lounges & Glow Cubes by Drunky and Rhiannon

Drinking at Disney? Someone has finally published the book that everyone has been thinking about writing forever! We’re talking about Drinking at Disney by Drunky (seriously, that’s his name) and Rhiannon. It’s a guidebook from Bamboo Forest Publishing that covers every single drinking location at Walt Disney World. It includes full bar menus as well as tips and tricks for your visit. The reason to grab this new book is simply to have an amazing resource for enjoying libations at Walt Disney World. And it’s an astounding reference guide. It’s funny, charming, slightly sadistic and quite sardonic.

2016 Best Disney Books: Maps of the Disney Parks: Charting 60 Years from California to Shanghai

The book is broken down into six major sections that closely follow the operating decades and major developments. The book is large and the publishers took great advantage of the physical size of the book when reproducing the maps. And, of course, that’s what people want to see. Many of the maps take up one entire page and a lot of the artwork actually covers two pages. Remember the Disneyland Fun Maps? You’ll find reproductions of many of them by Sam McKim and, most recently by, Nina Rae Vaughn. They also take a section of the map and blow it up on the following page to give you a better view of the art that went into the map. There’s a lot of concept art, which makes the book different from what most people expected.

2016 Best Disney Books: The ImagiNERDing Book of the Year!

The award for the 2016 ImagiNERDing Book of the Year goes to…

Drinking at Disney by Drunky and Rhiannon!

Congratulations to Bamboo Forest Publishing for creating an informative, funny and extremely entertaining guidebook to Walt Disney World.

What’s your thoughts on the 2016 Best Disney Books?