Book recommendations for WDW

I know there are some readers on here. I’m wondering if anyone has recommendations for history type books about Walt Disney World. Something that you just really enjoyed, learned a lot from, etc. Not guide books–I’ve read most of the recent ones.

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It depends what kind of flavour you like for your history. I have a few of the coffee table books, and highly recommend ‘Maps of the Disney Parks’ (especially if you have a magnifying glass) and ‘Holiday Magic at the Disney Parks’. There are a couple of new books that came out for the 50th anniversary that look good, but I haven’t purchased either yet.

If it is for teens, a 90s copy of ‘Imagineering’ was great at that age.

One day at Disney was one of the few I regretted purchasing, in case you’re looking for the other side of things as well.

NOT a book, but you haven’t seen it, The Imagineering Story on Disney+ is SUPER good. I was really disappointed when it was over!


I did see that. LOVED it.

I created a topic on this a few months ago, but never really found a good WDW history. My Feb 19 post in that thread notes a book I enjoyed, but it’s not a comprehensive WDW history.

Thank you for the recommendations! I’ll check those out. I do enjoy maps.

As far as flavour, I like learning about why things are as they are, the thought process behind the way things are done, and looking at old pictures of the way things have changed over time. Understanding and learning about these things adds depth to my experiences, I guess you could say.

Excellent thread, lots of ideas there. Thank you! I’m going after the Thinking Fan’s Guide now.

I have the Thinking Fan for Magic Kingdom. There’s also a separate one for Epcot.

There’s an updated ‘Walt Disney’s Imagineering’ book that I just ordered, as it looks amazing.

‘Marc Davis : In His Own Words’ covers exactly what you describe, with the thought process behind the development of items and how they have evolved. You’ll love it!


This one?

It’s going on my list!

That’s the one. My favorite book from years ago is The updated version I just ordered is here


If you really want to put your thinking hat on, read Vinyl Leaves: Walt Disney World and America by Stephen M. Fjellman. The author is a professor of anthropology. I got that book (paperback) when it first came out in 1992. Amazon shows a newer version, but it’s likely just a reprint with no new text. Maybe you can find one in a library, or college library?


Yes! Sounds good :smile:

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I’m glad you might actually be interested in it. It goes really deep into the reasons for designing the details the way they did, to hit a guests psyche just right so the guest has a particular response (emotion, etc.). The title refers to the fact that the Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse has fake leaves, but they are very detailed leaves complete with veins! Yes, WDW is manmade, but the fine details help make it feel real.
Maybe this summer I should make time to re-read the book.

This sounds like one I’ll buy for my collection, thanks for the tip.

And I’ll definitely be looking more closely at the leaves :blush:

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I kid you not there’s one on Amazon for 603.99!! I think I’ve found a less expensive copy, but I’m not sure of the quality.

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I saw that earlier. Ouch! I wonder if he’s using it as a textbook. College textbooks are super expensive nowadays. I hope you can find one from a library, or else I can loan you my copy. It’s definitely written on a higher level.

I purchased the paperback copy I found for $15. If it actually arrives in decent condition, it will be a bargain!! Crossing my fingers. Thank you btw for the loan offer!

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I’m very glad you could get an affordable one. Now there will be three of us with that book. I saw it in Erin’s home office when she wrote a blog about her place.

Fun Disney Stuff!: Erin’s Home Office – Blog

Thanks for the recommendation @mkmuzzy ! I found a copy for $15 at Abebooks and look forward to reading it. There were other reasonable copies on that site if anyone else wants to purchase.

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