Top 16 books about Disney World
By Helen Wright
It’s fair to say, you could deck out a whole library with books about Disney World. From stylish Disney coffee table books to memoirs, character tributes and Disney World books to help you plan a Florida trip; you better get comfortable because you have a lot of reading to do!
The best books about Disney World
Disney can tell a story like no other, but the tale of Walt Disney World itself also happens to be a beautiful chronicle in its own right. There are some absolutely gorgeous books that tell the Disney story so far, celebrate some of your favourite characters, pay homage to the Disney imagineers and provide a carry-with-you guide for your big trip. We have put together the definitive list of the most lovely (and gift-worthy) Disney books, along with some lesser-known personal favourites and our choice of the absolute best guide books about Disney World to help you plan your own magical holiday.
If you are planning a visit to Walt Disney World, we have a wide range of helpful posts on how to get the best deals, where to start planning a Disney trip and top tips on everything from car hire to churros. Start here, with our Ultimate Disney Trip Planner or our two-week sample itinerary for Orlando (posts open in a new page).
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Our favourite 16 Disney World books
1. Poster Art of the Disney Parks
If you’re anything like me and can’t help but swoon at beautiful advertising posters from across the decades – and you love Disney – this Disney World book features a curated collection of Disney attraction posters starting from the first one ever displayed in 1956. This colourful book contains concept art and posters from Disney parks around the world, including Tokyo, Paris and the USA and is a fascinating look at the evolution of Disney’s poster graphic design.
Poster Art of the Disney Parks, £33.99
2. The Disney Book of Maps: A Guide to the Magical Worlds of Disney and Pixar
If you have a holiday to Walt Disney World planned, don’t be mistaken into thinking this book contains maps of the six Disney theme parks in Florida! In fact, this beautiful collectors coffee table book is a collection of beautifully illustrated maps from the worlds of Classic Disney films. Discover the dangers of the Pride Lands, dive under the sea with Ariel, try to make sense of Wonderland with Alice, fly to Neverland with Peter and hitch a ride onto the East Australian Current with Marlin and Dory. A clever idea and makes a unique Disney gift for a film lover.
3. Brit Guide to Orlando 2020
For anyone who went to Walt Disney World Florida in the 90s or 00s, before the age of the Internet (and helpful travel blogs like this one!), this book was the going-to-Orlando bible! Imagine my delight when I met writers, Susan and Simon Veness, and they agreed to contribute to my Orlando Insider Expert Tips post?
Susan and Simon, (Simon is a Brit and Susan is American) have written all 25 editions of the Brit Guide to Orlando and are the absolute knowledge when it comes to all things central Florida. If you know someone with a trip planned or you’re old school, like me, and love a good guide book to read on the plane – this is the book for you. Especially if you are a Brit!
Brit Guide to Orlando 2020, £11.99
4. The Hidden Mickeys of Walt Disney World
True Disney fans know that all around the Walt Disney World Resort are ‘hidden Mickeys’ –and if you haven’t heard of Hidden Mickeys before, you definitely need one of these fun books about Disney World! In simple terms, Hidden Mickeys are cheeky little (and sometimes big) Mickey ears hidden in plain sight all over the parks. You can spot the motif engraved onto wooden beams, set in concrete, carved into trees and in the form of decorative items (such as three circular plates set up together to represent the three circles of Mickey’s head in The Haunted Mansion).
This is a fun game to play to keep everyone entertained as you travel around the parks and wait in line for the attractions. Plus, it creates a little competition to play over your holiday. This book helps you out on the resort-wide scavenger hunt – you’ll be guided toward each Hidden Mickey, first with a general hint (if you’re up for a challenge) and then with a very specific clue if really can’t find him!
5. Walt Disney World Hacks: 350+ Park Secrets for Making the Most of Your Walt Disney World Vacation
This top book about Disney World was also written by Susan Veness (of Brit Guide to Orlando) and features a wealth of knowledge about the Disney theme parks and some clever tips for beating the crowds, riding the most popular attractions and how to plan your days at the parks.
6. A Magical Half-Century: Stories Celebrating Walt Disney World’s First 50 Years
This is a new book (out at the end of 2020) and I love the retro cover! It’s one of the best Disney World books published in celebration of the 50-year anniversary of Walt Disney World in 2021. Happy Birthday Disney! The fun scribe looks back at the origins of the park, cultural connections and the story behind Disney’s most secretive group: the Society of Explorers and Adventurers…
7. One Day at Disney: Meet the People Who Make the Magic Across the Globe (Disney Editions Deluxe)
Of all of the books about Disney World, this is one with a difference. Get look at what it’s like to work as a The Walt Disney Company cast member. Step behind the scenes to immerse yourself in one “ordinary” day at Disney. Every photo in the book was taken on the same day, beginning early in Tokyo and following the sun around the world through Shanghai, Hong Kong, Paris, Madrid, the Bahamas, Costa Rica, and dozens of places throughout the United States. More than 40 hours after it began, the day ended as the sun set on the Aulani resort in Hawaii.
80 Cast Members opened up their workshops, dressing rooms, kitchens, cubicles, TV studios, labs, locomotive engines – and some even more surprising and diverse workspaces. They also share their personal stories and childhood dreams. A unique idea, brilliantly executed and a fantastic Walt Disney World book keepsake to celebrate half a century of Disney.
8. The Walt Disney Studios: A Lot to Remember (Disney Editions Deluxe)
This collectable hardcover book about Disney movies and their history would make a beautiful gift for any Disney fan. Packed with illustrated drawings, behind-the-scenes photographs and artwork from the studio’s ninety-plus years of productions, it’s a great keepsake and one that you’ll find yourself dipping into time and time again. Ah, the good old days!
9. Yesterday’S Tomorrow: Disney’S Magical Mid-Century
For anyone excited about EPCOT’s huge refresh in 2022 to celebrate 40 years of Walt Disney World’s second park, this brilliant book about mid-century Disney designs should hit the spot. Taking a cooler, more industrial look at the Disney brand, we absolutely love this coffee table book that showcases rarely seen art and photography from the mid-20th century, reflecting the unique style that Walt Disney and his artists contributed to this extraordinary era.
10. Dream Guide: An Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World – 50th Anniversary Edition
This author is a British YouTuber and former Disney employee who is popular with the Generation Z crowd. Packed with punchy language, humour and modern references, this is one of the more easy-to-read books about Disney World, ideal for teenagers. As a former worker at Disney and Orlando resident, Adam includes lots of great tips and cute must-sees for your family holiday to Walt Disney World.
11.The Wonders of Walt Disney World
This is one of my favourite guide books about Disney World and a must for first-time visitors and super Disney fans. As well as a Walt Disney World guide, this book also fills you in on the stories behind the scenes of each attraction, really bringing them to life. Even a well-travelled Disney guest would devour this and the book makes a fantastic gift – especially for someone who has a magical trip coming up. Did you know Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, features a hidden Millennium Falcon? You will after this…
The Wonders of Walt Disney World, £10.25
12. The Art of Disney Costuming: Heroes, Villains, and Spaces Between
Disney – but make it fashion! Oh, this is an absolutely delightful book and an excellent coffee table book for anyone who loves Disney films and the incredible costumes featured in them. This loveliest of books about Disney covers the fascinating and beautiful breadth of costumes designed for the Disney Classics. Look deeper into the craft, imagination, passion, and attention to detail from some of the greatest costumiers in ever.
13. The Art and Flair of Mary Blair: An Appreciation
This is an oldie, but a goodie. A beautiful and simple collectable book that focuses on the classic designer, Mary Blair, a quiet force behind the exuberant colour palette that stamped the look of many classic Disney animated features, including Cinderella and PeterPan. I became obsessed with the artist after she featured on the Disney+ Imagineers documentary, in particular because she was responsible for all the 200 costumes seen on the It’s A Small World attraction. The perfect gift for anyone with a passion for fashion and one of the most loved books about Disney World.
14. I am Walt Disney
Awww, this super cute kids book features the main man – Walt Disney! This is a perfect gift to take on the plane for kids heading to Walt Disney World for the first time. Of all the books about Disney aimed at kids, this lovely story (from a series on people who changed the world). Walt certainly is someone who made dreams come true for himself and countless children around the world. Our hero!
I am Walt Disney, £10
15. Ink and Paint: Women of Walt Disney Animation
Mulan, Merida, Belle, Queen Elsa… the list goes on, but our favourite girl power Disney characters were all following in the female footsteps of some incredible women behind-the-scenes. In this glossy coffee table book about Disney World are never-before-seen photos, artwork, and detailed accounts, the process, techniques, and contributions of the women who defined the Walt Disney Studio’s legendary Ink & Paint Department over the years. Pricey but amazing. I’m going to treat myself!
16. Walt Disney’s Mickey Mouse: The Ultimate History
The last book on our list is certainly one for the true Disney fans among us – it was all started by a mouse, after all! Mickey Mouse is over 90 now but his appeal is ageless. This king of the Disney World books showcases Disney’s vast historical work as well as public and private collections. From concept art, story sketches, background paintings, and animation drawings, as well as historical photographs that trace the origins and of the timeless character. An expensive, but wonderful collectors book that you could pass down through the generations.
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Planning a trip to Walt Disney World? We have a series of mini guides to Disney and Orlando to help you save money and plan the perfect holiday:
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