Yesterland

Twelve New Books for
Disney Park Fans


For your 2022 wish list
New Books for Disney Park Fans

Yesterland’s book roundup is an annual tradition. Here’s the 2022 edition. As always, the emphasis is on theme parks—their secrets and history, the process of creating them, and “behind the scenes” insight. The books are listed in the order of their publication dates.

These twelve books look interesting to me, but they’re not books I’ve read yet.

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.

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, “As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.” 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 14, 2022



  TITLE

Women of
Walt Disney Imagineering:

12 Women Reflect on their Trailblazing Theme Park Careers

Foreword by
Ginger Lee

Publisher:
Disney Editions Deluxe

Publication Date:
March 15, 2022

Hardcover, Kindle, Audiobook

In his wonderful 2008 book, Walt Disney’s Imagineering Legends and the Genesis of the Disney Theme Park, Disney historian Jeff Kurtti profiled 29 individuals who worked with Walt Disney to define what we expect from Disney theme parks. All but one of them were men. That’s how it was in the 1950s and 1960s. Things have slowly changed over the decades since then.

In Women of Walt Disney Imagineering, a dozen women have written personal accounts about being Imagineers—designing for Disney theme parks worldwide.

From the official description: “Illustrated with the women’s personal drawings and photos in addition to archival Imagineering images, the book represents a broad swath of Imagineering’s creative disciplines during a time of unprecedented expansion. Intertwined with memories of Disney legends are glimpses of what it takes behind the scenes to create a theme park, and the struggles unique to women who were becoming more and more important, visible and powerful in a workplace that was overwhelmingly male.”

This should be an interesting book for aspiring Imagineers and anyone who wants to know more about how Imagineering works—with the added bonus of insight into how women have made their mark there.


  TITLE

Delicious Disney:

Walt Disney World: Recipes & Stories from The Most Magical Place on Earth

by Pam Brandon, Marcy Smothers, and the Disney Chefs

Publisher:
Disney Editions

Publication Date:
April 19, 2022

Hardcover, Kindle

Walt Disney World isn’t just a place for attractions and shows. It’s also a place for one-of-a-kind restaurants and memorable meals.

From the official description: “Filled with a heartfelt narrative and behind-the-scenes anecdotes, mouth-watering food photos, gorgeous Walt Disney Imagineering concept artwork, nostalgic restaurant menus and ephemera, and a little Disney magic, this cookbook-meets-culinary-history coffee table book enchants with more than sixty recipes. Including an assortment of appetizers, main courses, sides, desserts, and even joyful libations, these dishes come from fine-dining and quick-service establishments across the resort. Each has been tested by home chefs to help you bring your cherished vacation memories to life… and inspire new ones for years to come.”

Reviews warn that this is primarily a coffee table book, not a cookbook. For some of us, that actually makes this book more appealing.


  TITLE

Disney Parks Little Golden Book Library:

It’s a Small World, The Haunted Mansion, Jungle Cruise, The Orange Bird, Space Mountain

by various authors and illustrators

Publisher:
Golden/Disney

Publication Date:
May 10, 2022

Hardcovers

This book—actually a set of five books—may seem out of place in this list. After all, these books are for children.

The first Little Golden Books were published in October 1942. That’s 80 years ago. Perhaps you had The Pokey Little Puppy as a child, regardless of how old you are now. There have been around 15 million copies of that title sold since 1942, making it the bestselling picture book of all time. Amazon currently lists 553 Little Golden Books titles. Little Golden Books have distinctive golden spines, art by wonderful illustrators, and affordable prices.

In Disney Parks Little Golden Book Library, four classic Disney theme park attractions and a beloved character related to a fifth attraction are given the Little Golden Books treatment. This should be a big hit in Disney fan families (and extended families)—with adults likely to enjoy these books as much as children.

If this set interests you, you may also want to take a look at Disney’s 100th Anniversary Boxed Set of 12 Little Golden Books, with “12 iconic Disney, Pixar, Marvel, and Lucasfilm Little Golden Books, brought together for the first time to celebrate Disney’s 100th anniversary.” Amazon is taking pre-orders for this 100th Anniversary set, which will be released December 27, 2022.


  TITLE

Disneyland Historical Highlights

The Walt and Roy Disney Years, 1954-1972

by Jim Korkis

Publisher:
Theme Park Press

Publication Date:
June 11, 2022

Paperback

Disney Historian Jim Korkis has written many books for Disney fans, but this volume released a few months ago promises to be especially appealing to Yesterland readers. The title succinctly sums up what the book is about:

“Take an anecdotal time-travel trip back to the memorable years when Walt Disney and his brother Roy were operating Disneyland. Those magical years were a time when Walt’s park was not an overpriced reservation vacation but truly the Happiest Place on Earth.

“Each chapter in this book is devoted to a specific year in that early history of Disneyland from 1954 to 1972 and are filled with stories that have been forgotten or never told.”

You can expect a book packed with details drawn from Jim’s decades of research, personal experience, and exclusive interviews with the Imagineers and executives who were there during the Walt and Roy years.


  TITLE

Final Secret Stories of Walt Disney World:

Conclusion of the First 50 Years

by Jim Korkis

Publisher:
Theme Park Press

Publication Date:
July 16, 2022

Paperback

In 2016, I had the honor of writing the foreword to MORE Secret Stories of Walt Disney World: More Things You Never Knew You Never Knew, the second book in a series by Disney historian Jim Korkis. In 2017 and 2018, Jim followed up with two more volumes (OTHER Secret Stories of… and EXTRA Secret Stories of…).

This year, Jim concluded the series with a fifth and final volume, fittingly titled Final Secret Stories of Walt Disney World: Conclusion of the First 50 Years. In the tradition of the series, you can expect around a hundred two-page topics, each packed with keen observations, relevant quotations, historical perspective, significant facts, and entertaining trivia.

Instead of quoting from the Amazon blurb, I’ll quote from the foreword I referenced earlier:

“Jim is generous with his knowledge. His articles and books are a reflection of who he is. As a columnist, author of books, and speaker, Jim shares stories about all things Disney with appreciative audiences.

“It’s not just the quantity of Jim’s knowledge; it’s also the quality. Jim knows the difference between real back stories and the myths that only seem real. Jim knows the historical context that gives meaning to how things are today. And Jim knows the stories beyond the carefully crafted corporate Disney versions.”


  TITLE

Off to Neverland:

70 Years of Disney’s Peter Pan

by Jim Korks

Publisher:
Theme Park Press

Publication Date:
August 29, 2022

Paperback

Now, after two books by Jim Korkis in this list, we come to… another book by Jim Korkis!

I wasn’t sure if I should include Off to Neverland: 70 Years of Disney’s Peter Pan. In these annual lists, I concentrate on theme parks, not movies.

Then again, Walt Disney’s Peter Pan (1953) has had a major role at Disney theme parks worldwide—including such current and past elements as Peter Pan’s Flight at five Disney theme parks, flying Tinker Bell as part of fireworks shows, Skull Rock and Captain Hook’s Pirate Ship, walk-around characters from Peter Pan, the Neverland Pool at the Disneyland Hotel, and parade floats—as well as shows, attractions, and characters based on Peter Pan spin-offs.

It makes sense that discovering more about Peter Pan would provide a richer knowledge of these parts of the Disney parks.

On top of that, Jim’s book has several chapters about Peter Pan at the parks.


  TITLE

Walt’s Apprentice:

Keeping the Disney Dream Alive

by Dick Nunis

Publisher:
Disney Editions

Publication Date:
October 11, 2022

Hardcover, Kindle

This book just came out this week.

It’s the memoir of Disney Legend Dick Nunis, who joined Disneyland on May 26, 1955. For almost a dozen years, Nunis learned directly from Walt Disney. He then spent more than 30 years holding increasingly important executive positions at Disney parks, carrying forward Walt’s culture. Nunis retired on May 26, 1999, as the Chairman of Walt Disney Attractions.

According to the blurb on Amazon:

“The story covers Disney’s highlights, including the 1960 Winter Olympics, 1964-1965 New York World’s Fair, and the development and opening of Disneyland, Walt Disney World, Epcot, Tokyo Disneyland and Disneyland Paris. Unlike other Disney books, this story is told from the perspective of operations rather than Imagineering. It touches on decisions that defined the guest experience and Disney’s reputation for quality in areas ranging from capacity and people-moving, training, delivering a consistent ‘good show,’ food service, and more.”

Not only is the story told from the perspective of operations, it’s told by someone who spent 44 years in key roles helping the Disney theme park empire grow. Seems very promising.


The five remaining books have not yet been published, but you can pre-order them now on Amazon.

With Amazon’s “Pre-order Price Guarantee,” you’ll get the best price. You won’t pay anything until Amazon ships to you. Then you’ll pay the lowest price offered by Amazon between the time you placed your order and the end of the day of the release date. See the link on the order page for details and exclusions.


  TITLE

100 Disney Adventures of a Lifetime:

Magical Experiences From Around the World

by Marcy Smothers

Publisher:
National Geographic

Publication Date:
October 25, 2022

Hardcover

National Geographic magazine is known for great photography, and Marcy Smothers is known for her books about Disney (including her contributions to two other books on this list). The Walt Disney Company owns 73% of National Geographic.

This book invites you to “discover 100 beloved and little-known Disney adventures.” What does that mean? Here are some examples from the Amazon blurb:

Wake up to the sight of giraffes grazing outside your window. Watch the Disneyland fireworks from the Tomorrowland Skyline Lounge, far away from the crowds. Taste your way through six continents at Epcot’s International Food & Wine Festival. Go on a family journey to Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks with National Geographic.

It seems that “adventures” can mean experiences at Disney parks and resorts, as well as tours from Adventures by Disney. For more examples, click on the Amazon link.


  TITLE

The Imagineering Story:

The Official Biography of Walt Disney Imagineering

by Leslie Iwerks

Publisher:
Disney Editions

Publication Date:
November 8, 2022

Hardcover, Kindle

Have you watched Leslie Iwerks’ wonderful documentary series, The Imagineering Story, on Disney+? If not, sign up for Disney+ or find a friend who has it. After you watch it, it’s likely you’ll want more.

Soon there will be an accompanying book with more about the fascinating history of Walt Disney Imagineering. From the official blurb:

“The entire legacy of WDI is covered from day one through future projects with never-before-seen access and insights from people both on the inside and on the outside. So many stories and details were left on the cutting room floor—this book allows an expanded exploration of the magic of Imagineering.”

It’s billed as “a must-have for Disney Parks fans!” That seems apt.


The three remaining books are scheduled to be released March 7, 2023. They’re all branded with Disney 100 logo for Disney 100 Years of Wonder, celebrating the company that Walt and Roy Disney founded in 1923 and the ten decades of creativity since then.


  TITLE

The Story of Disney:

100 Years of Wonder Hardcover

by John Baxter, Bruce C. Steele, and the staff of the Walt Disney Archives

Publisher:
Disney Editions

Publication Date:
March 7, 2023

Hardcover

I’m not sure what to expect from this book. It’s the official companion to a touring exhibition by Walt Disney Archives and SC Exhibitions. The official description is glowing, but says almost nothing about the content:

“The Walt Disney Company honors its 100th anniversary in 2023. As part of the festivities, this must-have coffee table book showcases the company’s history and rich legacy—past, present, and future—through vibrant voices and rare Disney concept art and photographs.

“On October 16, 1923, Walt Disney and his brother Roy founded what we now know to be The Walt Disney Company. Walt’s passion and vision continues to inspire creative development across the company. As a result, Disney characters—and their stories—have touched the lives of generations of fans. They encourage a belief that dreams really can come true.”

The book will undoubtedly be gorgeous. It will make a great souvenir of the company’s 100th anniversary. But how do you cram 100 years of Disney history into one coffee table book?


  TITLE

The Official Walt Disney Quote Book:

Over 300 Quotes with Newly Researched and Assembled Material

by the Staff of the Walt Disney Archives

Publisher:
Disney Editions Deluxe

Publication Date:
March 7, 2023

Hardcover

I’ve previously noted that Mark Twain, Abraham Lincoln, and Walt Disney might be the three most quoted Americans. Perhaps you have at least one of the Walt Disney quotation books by Dave Smith—Walt Disney: Famous Quotes (1994) or Quotable Walt Disney (2001). Or maybe you have Jim Korkis’ Walt’s Words: Quotations of Walt Disney with Sources (2016).

Soon these will be joined by The Official Walt Disney Quote Book. From the official blurb:

“This collection of quotations from the co-founder of The Walt Disney Company ranges from the well-known to the obscure, but all are assured to entertain, enlighten, and inspire. His words have been gleaned from publications, productions, and interviews over the breadth of his amazing career. Some are simple nuggets of homespun wisdom, while others are statements of knowledge gained while he crafted the enchanting films, televisions shows, and unparalleled experiences that are so beloved by audiences the world over.”


  TITLE

Walt Disney:

An American Original: Commemorative Edition

by Bob Thomas

Publisher:
Disney Editions Deluxe

Publication Date:
March 7, 2023

Hardcover

The final book in this list—one of the three newest, based on its 2023 release date—is also the oldest. Simon & Schuster released the original edition of Walt Disney: An American Original in 1976. It was republished by Disney Editions in 1994.

Now there’s the new “Commemorative Edition.” It adds commemorative essays, a 32-page photo insert, and endnotes “to add further context and connect Walt’s story to today.”

If you’re a Disney fan and you haven’t read a biography of Walt Disney, you really should. This is a good one. Bob Thomas interviewed Walt Disney dozens of times. Thomas had written two previous books on Walt and his work. He wrote this third book in the mid-1970s when people with direct connections to Walt still had fresh, recent memories of him. On top of all that, Thomas was given access to a trove of Walt Disney documents.

You can probably get an earlier edition of this book from your public library, but you might prefer your own copy of the “Commemorative Edition.”


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

 

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Updated October 14, 2022