Yesterland

Twelve Sixteen
New Books for
Disney Park Fans


For your 2020 wish list
New Books for Disney Park Fans

A “roundup” of books that Yesterland readers might enjoy has become an annual tradition. The emphasis is always on theme parks—their secrets and history, the process of creating them, and “behind the scenes” insight.

Last month, I published the initial 2020 list, featuring twelve books I want to read—not books I’ve already read. I’ve now added four more.

Every book in the list has a colon in its title. (Is that the law now?)

To learn more about each book, click on its Amazon link. Read the publisher’s description and reader reviews. Most of the books in this list are also available for Kindle—including some that were only sold as print editions last month.

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) after entering Amazon through these links.

Werner Weiss, Curator of Yesterland, November 26, 2020



  Disney Details: An In-Depth Look at the Secrets, Details, and Backstories of Walt Disney World, Volume One

Disney Details:

An In-Depth Look at the Secrets, Details, and Backstories of Walt Disney World, Volume One

by Tony Lobuzzetta

Publisher:
Theme Park Press

Publication Date:
January 22, 2020

 

“Attention to detail” is a phrase that’s often applied to Disney theme parks. Some guests make a point of noticing individual details consciously, while others take them in subconsciously as part of the big picture. Either way, the details give the parks their authenticity and, to use a Disney term, their “Magic.”

According to the publisher, “This is a book for the fans of Walt Disney World who love this place beyond just the rides and want to go deeper into the hidden details and backstories of its lands, attractions, shops, restaurants, and hotels. This is for the Disney fans who have seen a name on a window or an unknown word painted on a wall and wondered what it meant.”

Volume One includes Magic Kingdom Park, Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and two resorts—Polynesian Village Resort and Animal Kingdom Lodge. Presumably, Volume Two will explore more of Walt Disney World.


  California Dreamin’ Disney California Adventure: An Insider’s Journey

California Dreamin’

Disney California Adventure: An Insider’s Journey

by Lisa Baxter

Publisher:
Theme Park Press

Publication Date:
March 3, 2020

 

There are quite a few books about the history, details, and “secrets” of Disneyland Park. But where are the books about its neighbor, Disney California Adventure?

There’s The Imagineering Field Guide to Disney California Adventure at Disneyland Resort (2014). A few coffee table books from Disney Editions and several travel guides mention the park. What about the real story—the troubled history of California Adventure and how it became a wonderful park through a massive infusion of money and imagination?

There’s finally such a book!

According to the publisher, “In 2001, Disney California Adventure Park opened with high expectations as the newest member to the Disney Parks family. What happened instead was a financial and marketing flop leaving Disney execs scrambling to piece together some kind of semblance for Disney fans. Author Lisa Baxter was there at ground zero as a member of the Store Operations team and shares her experiences working in the fledgling theme park.”

Baxter covers what happened in the nearly 20 years since the shaky start of Disney California Adventure Park.


  Imagineering an American Dreamscape: Genesis, Evolution, and Redemption of the Regional Theme Park

Imagineering an American Dreamscape:

Genesis, Evolution, and Redemption of the Regional Theme Park

by Barry R. Hill

Publisher:
Rivershore Creative

Publication Date:
July 4, 2020

 

Walt Disney opened Disneyland Park in 1955. Conventional wisdom said the park would fail, but it was a big success. If a theme park could succeed in Anaheim, it could succeed in other cities too, right?

Regional theme parks popped up across America, primarily in the 1960s and 1970s. Some failed, but most remain part of the American landscape. Their emphasis tends to be on thrills, not on Disney-style storytelling.

There should be a book about regional parks. Now there is.

According to the publisher, “Imagineering an American Dreamscape tells the story of the regionals and the strong-willed individuals behind them—where they came from, how they got started, and how they’ve changed over the decades. Some of the stories you may have heard. Most you probably haven’t, and it’s a fascinating tale to tell.”


  And the Beat Goes On: My E-Ticket Ride Writing about, Working for, and Running through Disney’s World

And the Beat Goes On:

My E-Ticket Ride Writing about, Working for, and Running through Disney’s World

by Chuck Schmidt

Publisher:
Theme Park Press

Publication Date:
September 8, 2020

 

Chuck Schmidt is a journalist who has written or co-authored seven books for Theme Park Press. From the description of his newest book at Amazon, it’s unclear what overarching theme to expect:

“In The Beat Goes On, a sequel to his On the Disney Beat book, Chuck takes us on another deep dive into the behind-the-scenes world of Disney he’s experienced … from his 12-plus years working as a cast member at the Disney Store, to taking part in several runDisney road races, to his interviews with Disney Legends, to covering major press events held in New York City, including the christening of the Disney Fantasy cruise ship in 2012.”

It seems the book is about Schmidt’s experiences covering Disney events as a journalist and participating in Disney activities as a fan.


The Disney Monorail: Imagineering a Highway in the Sky
 

The Disney Monorail:

Imagineering a Highway in the Sky

by Jeff Kurtti, Vanessa Hunt, & Paul Wolski

Publisher: Disney Editions

Publication Date: September 15, 2020

If you’ve bought any books published by Disney Editions Deluxe, you know that they’re gorgeous hardcovers loaded with beautifully printed color images on quality paper. Esteemed Disney historians interpret the subject matter for a terrific total package.

The newest volume for Disney park fans celebrates the Disney Monorail. Wow!


  Polishing the Dragons: Making EPCOT’s “Wonders of China”

Polishing the Dragons:

Making EPCOT’s “Wonders of China”

by Jeff Blyth

Publisher:
Bamboo Forest Publishing

Publication Date:
September 15, 2020

 

What does it take to make a Circle-Vision movie? And how much more difficult would that have been forty years ago in China? Here’s what the publisher promises:

Polishing the Dragons is filmmaker Jeff Blyth’s detailed first-person account of the making of Disney’s Circle-Vision film Wonders of China for the grand opening of EPCOT Center, a production fraught with technical, political, and environmental difficulties. Containing over 400 of the author’s personal photographs in full color, Polishing the Dragons tells the inside story of the beautiful, breathtaking, and inspiring film that has been enjoyed by over 100 million Guests at EPCOT’s China Pavilion.”


  Boundless Realm: Deep Explorations Inside Disney’s Haunted Mansion

Boundless Realm:

Deep Explorations Inside Disney’s Haunted Mansion

by Foxx Nolte

Publisher:
Inklingwood Press

Publication Date:
October 1, 2020

 

“And now a carriage approaches to take you into the boundless realm of the supernatural. Take your loved ones by the hand, please, and kindly watch your step.” That’s what the Ghost Host tells guests preparing to board a Doom Buggy at the Haunted Mansion. Now you know how this book got its title.

There have been several other books about the Haunted Mansion, notably books by Jeff Baham and Jason Surrell. Foxx Nolte has written a new one—specifically about the Haunted Mansion at Magic Kingdom Park. Do we really need another book? Well, “There’s always room for one more…”

According to the publisher, “Not just an attraction history, this critical appreciation—written with a connoisseur’s eye for detail—encompasses American history, popular culture and folklore, and a sharp understanding of design to make a case for The Haunted Mansion as the 20th century’s definitive haunted house. Entertaining and opinionated, Boundless Realm will give you a new appreciation for Disney’s ultimate cult attraction.”


  The Phantom Manor Phenomenon: An Unauthorised Tour of Disneyland Paris’ Version of Walt Disney’s Haunted Mansion

The Phantom Manor Phenomenon:

An Unauthorised Tour of Disneyland Paris’ Version of Walt Disney’s Haunted Mansion

by Tadhg Culley

Publisher:
Theme Park Press

Publication Date:
October 2, 2020

 

The Phantom Manor Phenomenon, published the day after Boundless Realm, is another book about a similar attraction—on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean.

According to the publisher, “Pack your bags for Frontierland in Disneyland Paris, France, and prepare for an unforgettably spooky Halloween adventure. You shall be led by a mysterious tour guide, dressed in 19th century attire with top hat and cloak. You will travel to the famous theme park attraction and bear witness to its many secrets and mysteries.”


  Vault of Walt 9:
Halloween Edition: Spooky Stories of Disney Films, Theme Parks, and Things That Go Bump In the Night Paperback

Vault of Walt 9:

Halloween Edition: Spooky Stories of Disney Films, Theme Parks, and Things That Go Bump In the Night Paperback

by Jim Korkis

Publisher:
Theme Park Press

Publication Date:
October 2, 2020

 

Every Yesterland book “roundup” has had books by Disney historian Jim Korkis. 2020 is no exception.

Jim might be best known for his Vault of Walt series. Each book has around twenty or thirty chapters—or stories, as Jim calls them—providing insight into a Disney topic. Storyteller Jim knows how to present a narrative so it’s entertaining and holds your interest. The fascinating details are from Jim’s extensive knowledge and research, including personal conversations with creative people at Disney over a course of many decades.

The newest volume of the popular series has a Halloween theme. That doesn’t mean it’s just about the holiday itself. It’s a collection of topics from Disney theme parks, animation, live-action films, and even comics—all dealing with scary, spooky, or supernatural attractions, characters, and settings. Click on the Amazon link for more details.


  Hidden Treasures of the Disney Cruise Line:
Nautical Notes, Knowledge, and Nonsense

Hidden Treasures of the Disney Cruise Line:

Nautical Notes, Knowledge, and Nonsense

by Jim Korkis

Publisher:
Theme Park Press

Publication Date:
October 2, 2020

 

Another book from Jim Korkis! This one is about Disney Cruise Line. That’s not a theme park. But—in a way—it is.

Disney Cruise Line was built on the foundation of Disney’s theme parks and themed resorts. The ships’ designs mimic classic ocean liners. The themed dining rooms, Castaway Cay, and, of course, the stage shows are just some of what makes DCL a Disney theme park experience.

Although the DCL ships are currently not at sea due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it might be a good time to read this book to be reminded of past voyages and to anticipate future ones. In fact, it might be the next best thing to being on a Disney cruise ship.

This is not a travel guide. It’s a collection of eye-opening chapters related to a theme by Disney historian Jim Korkis:

“From stories of some of the cruises Walt Disney and his family took over the decades to the Disney Imagineers plan to create a floating Disney theme park that would sail to various ports around the world, the book is filled with history and storytelling that has rarely if ever been documented.”


  Secret Stories of Extinct Walt Disney World: The World That Disappeared

ADDED

Secret Stories of Extinct Walt Disney World:

The World That Disappeared

by Jim Korkis

Publisher:
Theme Park Press

Publication Date:
October 20, 2020

 

Yet another book from Jim Korkis—all published in October 2020! They’re just in time for the holidays as paperbacks or Kindle editions.

This time, “to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Walt Disney World, Disney historian Jim Korkis, who has written five previous books on WDW, takes a nostalgic look at the dozens and dozens of things that have disappeared at the vacation destination over the decades.”

It’ a follow-up to his popular 2019 book, Secret Stories of Extinct Disneyland: Memories of the Original Park—which you might also want to look into. After all, if you read Yesterland, you probably enjoy reading about things that are gone from Disneyland and Walt Disney World.


  Holiday Magic at the Disney Parks: Celebrations Around the World from Fall to Winter

Holiday Magic at the Disney Parks:

Celebrations Around the World from Fall to Winter

by Graham Allan, Rebecca Cline, and Charlie Price

Publisher:
Disney Editions

Publication Date:
October 20, 2020

 

If your holiday plans this pandemic year don’t include Disney Parks, Holiday Magic at the Disney Parks might be a good substitute.

Here’s how Disney Editions summarizes the book: “This deluxe jacketed hardcover is visual storytelling at its best. Almost 1,900 photographs (two-thirds of them taken just for this book) showcase Disney’s key locations filled with special holiday menu offerings, the biggest parade and stage productions and nighttime spectacles, the tiniest decorating details from amazing artists and designers, and, of course, the most significant historical holiday events.”


  TIME Disney: The Parks, The Movies, The Magic

ADDED

TIME
Disney:

The Parks, The Movies, The Magic

by the Editors of TIME

Publisher:
TIME

Publication Date:
October 30, 2020

 

Okay. Technically this isn’t a book. It’s a single issue magazine that’s also available for Kindle.

The editors at TIME Magazine promise a lot of content: “This special edition from TIME traces the company’s origin stories, successes (and failures) through the years as it has grown into a corporation that is in the business of bringing joy, and not just for children! Go from Walt Disney’s early days, his partnership with his brother, and the evolving animation of Mickey Mouse through the construction and expansions of the parks and resorts to the strategic growth of the last several years.”

This seems like a good way to learn about today’s Walt Disney Company and how it grew from a tiny studio started by the young artist after whom the company is named.


  3D Disneyland: Like You’ve Never Seen It Before

3D Disneyland:

Like You’ve Never Seen It Before

by David A. Bossert

Publisher:
The Old Mill Press

Publication Date:
November 15, 2020

 

When was the time you saw a book that included 3D glasses?

There have been other books with historical images of “Yester” Disneyland attractions and vantage points of the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s. But never like this.

How does this sound? “3D Disneyland: Like You’ve Never Seen It Before is full of memories for some and a glimpse into the past for those too young to have visited Disneyland at its beginnings. It will enthrall theme park fans of all ages with its stunning three-dimensional views of a bygone era at the original Disneyland park.”

Sounds great to me!


  The Curse of Big Thunder Mountain: An Unauthorised Tour of Disneyland Paris’ Version of Walt Disney’s Frontierland

ADDED

The Curse of Big Thunder Mountain:

An Unauthorised Tour of Disneyland Paris’ Version of Walt Disney’s Frontierland

by Tadhg Culley

Publisher:
Theme Park Press

Publication Date:
November 20, 2020

 

Earlier in this “roundup,” you encountered Tadhg Culley’s book about Phantom Manor in Fronterland at Disneyland Paris. Here’s another book by the same author. This time, Cully takes you to the rest of that park’s Frontierland.

The publisher’s description suggests you’re in for an imaginative journey: “You have received an invitation, in the form of an oil-stained telegram, to a private, unauthorised tour of Big Thunder Mountain and Frontierland. Pack your bags for Disneyland Paris, France, and prepare for an unforgettably thrilling and mysterious adventure.”


  A Magical Half-Century: Stories Celebrating Walt Disney World’s First 50 Years

ADDED

A Magical Half-Century:

Stories Celebrating Walt Disney World’s First 50 Years

by Christopher E. Smith

Publisher:
Theme Park Press

Publication Date:
November 25, 2020

 

The cover art evokes 1971. That’s the year Walt Disney World opened—making 2021 its 50th anniversary year.

Per the publisher, “In the half-century that has followed, Disney World has grown from one theme park and two resort hotels to an all-encompassing vacation destination that includes four major theme parks, two water parks, and more than 20 resort hotels and 200 restaurants. Notwithstanding that almost continuous change, one thing has remained constant since opening day: magic.”

Christopher E. Smith, the author of The Backstories and Magical Secrets of Walt Disney World, Volume One and Volume Two, shares stories that span the history of the 27-thousand-acre resort.


This completes the list of sixteen new books for 2020. There’s one more. It’s a book that I read and enjoyed a long time ago. Keep reading to find out why I’ve added an “old” eBook.

— WW 11/24/2020


  The Vault of Walt, Volume 1, Kindle Edition

The Revised Vault of Walt:

Unofficial Disney Stories Never Told

Kindle Edition

by Jim Korkis

Publisher:
Theme Park Press

Publication Date:
December 13, 2012

 

More than 100 million Americans have Amazon Prime. Maybe you’re one of them.

In addition to its better known benefits, including free shipping and streaming, Amazon Prime offers free Prime Reading. There are over a thousand Kindle eBooks and magazines that Amazon Prime members can read for free. This is different from Kindle Unlimited, which is a separately charged program for around a million Kindle eBooks.

As of the publication date of this Yesterland article, one of those free Prime Reading books is The Revised Vault of Walt: Unofficial Disney Stories Never Told by Jim Korkis. (That could change.)

Yes, free. You don’t need a Kindle device, just the Kindle app (available for all common platforms). Click on the Amazon link or book cover to see if you qualify, even if there’s a non-zero price on the banner.

If you’re not an Amazon Prime member, you can try an Amazon Prime 30-day free trial.

Just one warning: If you read this book for free, you might find yourself wanting to read additional volumes. But you’ll have to pay for those.


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

 

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Updated November 26, 2020