Twelve New Books
for Disney Park Fans

For your 2017 wish list

It’s safe to say that readers of Yesterland enjoy Disney park history, stories about how things came to be, and little-known secrets about the parks.

Many readers are also fascinated by Walt Disney. It’s been more than 50 years since his death, but his achievements live on. His creative vision continues to be at the core of the company that bears his name.

In the 20th century, there were few books about the parks beyond Disney souvenir books; and there were just a handful of biographies about Walt. Now, in the 21st century, there’s a crop of new books every year from authors who care deeply about Disney parks, WDI, Walt Disney, and related topics.

I highlighted such books at the end of 2015 and at the end of 2016. Today, I have the 2017 edition. Although I have not yet read them, they all seem promising.

To learn more about each book, click on its Amazon link. Read the publisher’s description and reader reviews. You can often peek inside the book. If you decide to buy, choose between the printed book and the Kindle edition.

Just a reminder… “Yesterland is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.” That means I benefit financially if you buy any of these books (and any other items at Amazon) using these links.

Werner Weiss, Curator of Yesterland, November 24, 2017.

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Secret Stories of Disneyland:

Trivia Notes, Quotes, and Anecdotes

by Jim Korkis

Publisher: Theme Park Press

Publication Date: Apr 28, 2017


Although Jim Korkis has written three “Secret Stories” books about Walt Disney World, this is his first “Secret Stories” book about the park that started it all, Disneyland. The book has more than 90 bite-sized “mini chapters,” packed with Disneyland history, back stories, and “secrets.”

As I wrote in my foreword to one of his “Secret Stories” books about Walt Disney World (2016), “Jim has spent a lifetime collecting historical details about Disney parks, Disney animation, Disney live action, Disney merchandise, Disney publications, the talented people who created them, and the life of the genius who started it all, Walt Disney.”

This is the first of three books by Jim Korkis in this list.

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Walt’s Disneyland:

It’s Still There If You Know Where to Look

by Jim Denney

Publisher: CreateSpace Platform

Publication Date: May 6, 2017


I like the premise of Walt’s Disneyland: There are parts of Disneyland that have remained essentially unchanged since Walt Disney left us, and, “if you know where to look, Walt’s pristine, unchanged Disneyland is still there, waiting to be discovered and enjoyed.“

Based on this premise, I was concerned that the book might just enumerate everything at Disneyland that’s still similar to how its was from 1955 to 1966—such as the location of many of the restrooms or the Bank of America vault that’s now part of the Disney Gallery on Town Square. However, “Leafing through” sample pages online at Amazon, it turns out that’s not the case. Jim Denney writes about the creative decisions that Walt made, how Disneyland changed during Walt’s lifetime, and what guests experienced in those years.

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OTHER Secret Stories of Walt Disney World:

Other Things You Never Knew You Never Knew

by Jim Korkis

Publisher: Theme Park Press

Publication Date: Jul 21, 2017


I promised three books by Jim Korkis in this list. Here’s number two. It’s Jim’s third “Secret Stories“ volume about Walt Disney World.

In my foreword to the second volume in the series, I wrote, “As you read this book, think of it as walking all over Walt Disney World with Jim. You’ll find yourself in corners you never knew about. Sometimes, you’ll travel back in time. You’ll meet some of the people who created the ‘World.’ You’ll experience places that never escaped from the planning process. And you’ll see familiar spots in a new way.”

It’s safe to say that this latest volume will deliver the same pleasures.

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Extinct Attractions

at Disney Theme Parks

by Chris Ware

Publisher: Theme Park Press

Publication Date: Sep 7, 2017


Yesterland is a website that’s primarily about shows and attractions that disappeared from Disney theme parks. And that’s what Extinct Attractions at Disney Theme Parks is about, although it’s completely unrelated to Yesterland.

Chris Ware is also the author of Disney Unbuilt: A Pocket Guide to the Disney Imagineering Graveyard (2016), about “the Disney that might have been,” if projects had made it off the drawing boards and into the parks.

I have not read either of these books, but the topics should both provide plenty of interesting material.

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Walt’s Pilgrimage:

A Journey in the Life of Walter Elias Disney

by Christopher W Tremblay

Publisher: CreateSpace Platform

Publication Date: Sep 27, 2017


Since 2015, Dr. Christopher Tremblay has taken a group of college students on a “Walt’s Pilgrimage” tour each summer for Lee Honors College at Western Michigan University. The tour begins at Walt Disney’s birthplace in Chicago, Illinois, and ends at his gravesite in Glendale, California.

Now, Tremblay has made “Walt’s Pilgrimage” into a book—with far more stops than his nine-day student tours. According to the publisher’s description at Amazon, “While designed as a travel guide, non-travelers and Disney history buffs will also enjoy this sense of place in Walt’s life. This book is part history, part adventure. It features more than 275 sites in Walt Disney’s life spanning 80+ cities in 25 states, Canada and Mexico.”

I’m not aware of any other Walt Disney book like this. It’s on my short list.

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Beyond the Wisdom of Walt:

Life Lessons from the Most Magical Place on Earth

by Jeffrey Allen Barnes

Publisher: Aviva Publishing

Publication Date: Oct 1, 2017


Author Jeff Barnes is a university professor and administrator, professional keynote speaker, leadership/success coach, and major Disney fan. In his well-received 2015 self-help book, The Wisdom of Walt, Barnes wove together Disneyland history, Walt Disney’s accomplishments, and Barnes’ personal experiences to share leadership lessons with his readers.

Now, Barnes is back with a follow-up, Beyond the Wisdom of Walt. This time, according to the publisher’s description, “Learn how you can use Walt Disney’s final dream of EPCOT—the Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow—to see your own dreams come true.”

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Wizarding Worlds:

Inside the Harry Potter Theme Parks, Exhibitions, and Studio Tours

by William Silvester

Publisher: Theme Park Press

Publication Date: Oct 13, 2017


What’s a book about Harry Potter attractions doing in a list of books for Disney park fans?

It’s because when Universal brought Hogsmeade Village, Hogwarts, and Diagon Alley to life at its parks, it simultaneously built on Disney’s theme park traditions and redefined what guests would expect from Disney parks henceforth.

There’s also Harry Potter: The Exhibition, an international traveling exhibition; The Harry Potter Movie Magic Experience at Warner Bros. Movie World in Australia; and The Making of Harry Potter at Warner Bros. Studio Tour in London, England—and probably others that I don’t know about yet because I haven’t read the book yet.

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Sunday Nights with Walt:

Everything I Know I Learned from “The Wonderful World of Disney”

by Richard Rothrock

Publisher: Theme Park Press

Publication Date: Nov 1, 2017


My parents bought a Philco color TV in 1961, right around the time that Walt Disney’s weekly television show, Walt Disney Presents (1958–1961), moved from Fridays on ABC to Sundays on NBC, becoming Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color (1961–1969). I’m one of those baby boomers who tuned in almost every Sunday throughout much of the 1960s.

My favorite episode each season featured Walt Disney proudly showing off the latest enhancements coming to Disneyland Park. But the other episodes of Walt’s anthology series were worth watching too. It was a family show, not just a kids’ show.

And now it’s the subject of a book by Richard Rothrock. According to the publisher, “Rothrock combines meticulous backstories and episode synopses with insight into how Walt’s TV show shaped American culture and how it shaped his own childhood and adolescence, gently exposing him to the wide, wonderful world outside his rural town—a world not just of Disney, but of nature, technology, history, foreign cultures, and even romance.”

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Disney Demystified:

The Stories and Secrets Behind Disney’s Favorite Theme Park Attractions (Volume 2)

by David Mumpower

Publisher: Theme Park Press

Publication Date: Nov 5, 2017


Keep in mind that this Yesterland article is a list of recent titles, not a list of books I’ve read. That makes it hard for me to describe how David Mumpower’s Disney Demystified, Volume 2, and last year’s Disney Demystified, Volume 1, compare to Jim Korkis’s ”Secret Stories” series. Both seek to do something similar, and both are from the same publisher.

My guess is that each author has different stories, and—in those cases where there might be an overlap—different insight and perspective.

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Call Me Walt:

Everything You Never Knew About Walt Disney

by Jim Korkis

Publisher: Theme Park Press

Publication Date: Nov 13 2017


We’ve arrived at the third book by Jim Korkis on this list.

Who was Walt Disney?

There have been biographies, glowing corporate publicity pieces, slanderous whisper campaigns, journalism of varying degrees of accuracy, and even statements by celebrities and politicians—all claiming to have answers.

In his newest book, Korkis presents a collection of mini-chapters, each addressing one aspect of Walt, including his lifestyle and hobbies. Korkis debunks myths about Walt, but also writes about his actual flaws.

Knowing Korkis as I do, the book will be packed with well-researched facts, many of them obtained from people who knew Walt personally or from primary historical sources. It should provide real insight into the man, without the amateur psychoanalysis that some journalists use to explain Walt’s complex personality in simplistic terms.

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Yesterday’s Tomorrow:

Disney’s Magical

by Don Hahn

Publisher: Disney Editions

Publication Date: Nov 14, 2017


The first ten books in this list are not published by Disney, and while a few include some photographs, they are not picture books. The final two are official Disney Editions books. As such, they can—and do (or will)—take advantage of Disney’s extensive image archives.

Disney’s Magical Mid-Century is by Don Hahn, whose credits as a movie producer include The Lion King (1994) and Beauty and the Beast (1991). Hahn has also authored books about Disney animation, but this book is not limited to animation.

The Mid-Century Modern Style of the 1950s and 1960s—clean lines, bold color styling, minimal ornamentation, and departure from tradition—is enjoying a strong resurgence in interior design, architecture, graphics, and other design disciplines. There’s renewed respect for the artists who worked in this style and contributed to its development—including Walt Disney’s artists of the era.

I haven’t seen this large-format (11.4" x 14.2") hardcover yet, but it promises to be a wonderful book. I have high expectations. I’ve already mentioned to my kids that it would make a great Christmas present for their father.

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Travels with Walt Disney:

A Photographic Voyage Around the World

by Jeff Kurtti

Publisher: Disney Editions

Publication Date: Apr 3, 2018


This list ends with a book that won’t be published until 2018—but is available for pre-order.

According to the publisher, “Throughout his life, Walt was a frequent and enthusiastic tourist, visiting destinations around the United States of America and across the globe.”

The author is Jeff Kurtti, so I’m sure this book will be wonderful. And there will be photos from the Disney Archives.

“In Travels with Walt Disney: A Photographic Voyage Around the World, seldom-seen and never-before-published photographs are showcased along with eyewitness recollections and enlightening anecdotes, arranged into a one-of-a-kind travel journal as if Walt himself might have documented these exciting excursions in one special place to keep the memories alive and to share with readers.”

Sounds great to me!

Would you like to read about 23 other books from recent years? Then check these Yesterland lists from previous years:


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Books for Disney Fans, 2018
Book: DL Encyclopedia 3

© 2017-2022 Werner Weiss — Disclaimers, Copyright, and Trademarks

Updated October 14, 2022