12 New Books for
Disney Park Fans

Books 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 on theme parks—their secrets and history, the process of creating them, and “behind the scenes” insight.

This 2020 edition features twelve books I want to read—not books I’ve already read. The order is based on publication dates.

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. If you decide to buy, choose between the printed book and the Kindle eBook.

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, October 16, 2020

  New Books for Disney Park Fans, 2020

Disney Details:

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

by Tony Lobuzzetta

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.

  New Books for Disney Park Fans, 2020

California Dreamin’

Disney California Adventure: An Insider’s Journey

by Lisa Baxter

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.

  New Books for Disney Park Fans, 2020

Imagineering an American Dreamscape:

Genesis, Evolution, and Redemption of the Regional Theme Park

by Barry R. Hill

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.”

  New Books for Disney Park Fans, 2020

And the Beat Goes On:

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

by Chuck Schmidt

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.

New Books for Disney Park Fans, 2020

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!

  New Books for Disney Park Fans, 2020

Polishing the Dragons:

Making EPCOT’s “Wonders of China”

by Jeff Blyth

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.”

  New Books for Disney Park Fans, 2020

Boundless Realm:

Deep Explorations Inside Disney’s Haunted Mansion

by Foxx Nolte

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.”

  New Books for Disney Park Fans, 2020

The Phantom Manor Phenomenon:

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

by Tadhg Culley

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.”

  New Books for Disney Park Fans, 2020

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

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.

This book is so new that the Kindle eBook is not yet available—but Jim assures everyone that Amazon has it, so it’s just a question of when (should be soon).

  New Books for Disney Park Fans, 2020

Hidden Treasures of the Disney Cruise Line:

Nautical Notes, Knowledge, and Nonsense

by Jim Korkis

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.”

  New Books for Disney Park Fans, 2020

Holiday Magic at the Disney Parks:

Celebrations Around the World from Fall to Winter

by Graham Allan, Rebecca Cline, and Charlie Price

Disney Editions

Publication Date:
October 20, 2020


We now come to two books whose publication dates are right around the corner. They’re available for pre-order.

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.”

  New Books for Disney Park Fans, 2020

3D Disneyland:

Like You’ve Never Seen It Before

by David A. Bossert

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!

This completes the list of twelve 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 as the 13th book.

— WW 10/16/2020

  The Vault of Walt, Volume 1, Kindle Edition

The Revised Vault of Walt:

Unofficial Disney Stories Never Told

Kindle Edition

by Jim Korkis

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.

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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DVD: Disneyland Secrets
Books for Disney Fans, 2019

© 2020 Werner Weiss — Disclaimers, Copyright, and Trademarks

Updated October 16, 2020