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Considered by many to be the mother of all travel guides, this perennial favorite is longer than most Harry Potter books and packs more information per square inch.
For many years, Birnbaum’s Guides were the only Walt Disney World travel books with pictures.
First published in 2007, the Neal’s guide took the Walt Disney World travel guide market by storm and won many awards. The Passporter guides have always done a great job of offering a resource for the people with an obvious eye for planning and details. Written by Imagineer Alex Wright, this series of field guides are an excellent source for learning the details, designs and decisions behind the attractions, shows and architecture of the Walt Disney World theme parks. To keep this blog going I often recieve product or payment for posts or include advertising links in my posts, but this does not change the integrity of my writing or influence my opinions.
From Ariel to Zurg, this jacketed hardcover guide features fun facts, tricky trivia, and cool quotes about over 150 Disney heroes (and villains!). This will be so much fun getting autographed and it can be used trip after trip as you try to fill in any characters you are missing! And this is the most recent edition (published June 2014) so it features Anna, Elsa and other frozen characters and Wreck-It Ralph as well as our beloved favorites!
Unfortunately this book does NOT contain Disney Junior characters like Jake, Sofia, Doc McStuffins or Handy Manny. Plus, when it’s over, you’ll have a very special story book for your little Disney Junior fan!
Here is our list of the Top 10 rides at Disney World that you definitely do not want to miss!
Toy Story Mania at Hollywood Studios (the wait was too long and Fast Passes were out, but hear it’s great ~ we are going back so we can ride this ride)!
I love going when I was a child and can’t wait until the boys are old enough to enjoy it! Kristin Wheeler is a Rhode Islander who was an educator of eight years, has a Masters in Middle School Education, and provides parenting tips, travel tips and ideas, book reviews, and product reviews.
Ultimate Valentine’s Day Round-UpTanger Outlets at Foxwoods in CTAnnie Playing at PPAC in RI this December! With 4 theme parks and over 150 attractions, Walt Disney World can seem daunting, especially if you have kiddos running around your feet while you’re trying to plan your vacation! Thankfully, there are dozens of books from experts who know everything there is to know about Walt Disney World.
Since most moms don’t have time to read through dozens of books, I am sharing my Top 5 Walt Disney World Planning Books. The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World with Kids is easily one of my favorite travel guides. This might be the most unique book on this list, partially because it is completely designed to be used by kids. Plus, at the end of your trip, your kids will have created a one-of-a-kind souvenir that will make the magic last even longer.
The first thing you will notice when you open The Complete Walt Disney World is the stunning photos.
You may not realize it, but by visiting Walt Disney World you are actually going to one of the most amazing dining venues in the country. Now’s your chance to enter for a chance to WIN one of four Walt Disney World Planning Books!
There is something for all of us to enjoy from my 92 year-old mother-in-law taking her first trip to my tween and teen wanting to find some adventure.
Donna and I decided we need a big wall map of the entire WDW complex to go on the Disney wall we are creating.
George, from Imaginerding has written a post about the top five travel books related to Walt Disney World.
This is a great guide for people who have visited more than once and are looking to optimize their vacation dollars, time and enjoyment. Readers will also learn about the stars of the latest Disney and Disney*Pixar films, like Wreck-It Ralph, Frozen, The Good Dinosaur, and more! The wait time usually seemed to average around an hour, so again the Fast Pass here is a great option. The scariest part is watching others take off  at the beginning!” It truly goes like 0-60 mph in 2 seconds.
The wait time usually seemed to average around 45 minutes, so again the Fast Pass here is a good option. It is right near the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad ride in Frontierland, so it’s great to grab a Fast Pass for one of these rides while you wait for the other one.
We got the Fast Pass for this one and then waited in line for Soarin’ (another great ride that you may need a Fast Pass for at Epcot).
Expedition Everest is a the top of my daughter’s list too and Winnie-the-Pooh and Test Track are favorites of both my son and daughter. I’m not a fan of coasters, but pretty sure I could handle the flying Dumbo Thanks for sharing. I’ll always love Space Mountain and Splash Mountain and Test Track for the memories, but I’ve GOT TO GET BACK to Disney with all of my grandkids together for MORE memories! I haven’t been to Disney World in ages and now I want to go & bring my almost five year old!
They release new books every year, updated with the newest information and carefully outlining the parks. If you only read one book about Walt Disney World, one of these five books is a great place to start. They have detailed ride descriptions, complete with ratings from several different age groups like preschool, grade school, and teens based on a survey of over 40,000 families. It is packed full of photos, stickers, activities, space for autographs or photos, and even a trip journal. The authors excel at guiding you through the details like hotel selection, budget, reservations, dining and more. Of course you can find your average burger and chicken fingers, but Disney World has so much more to offer than your standard theme park fare. This post reviews some of the books in my Disney Parks library, and provides links for finding inexpensive copies of the books.
Make sure to head over to Imaginerding and check out all of the other nerdy Disney stuff that George writes about. The current editions do offer color photos and they have always offered a colorful and very pleasing format.
The book is fairly comprehensive and does a great job of straddling the Unofficial and Official Guides.

If you remember reading our Disney World Tips and Tricks 2013 post, then you will recall we visited Disney World quite recently!
I will say we lucked out with a little rainstorm that rolled in and we were able to get on this ride in 10 minutes without a pass! Rides like Toy Story Mania at Hollywood Studios can be a 120 minute wait, so really 45 minutes is not that bad. Of course, every child is different (some toddlers are scared of dark rides, but mine thinks they are hilarious!) and this planner will help you decide what will be age-appropriate for your kiddos. It includes a full page spread for each attraction and a few pages for each different world or land complete with a scavenger hunt. This is not a planner to just read – it is spiral bound specifically so that you can easily write, earmark, and highlight the pages.
This is the book that I check out from the library every single year whether we are visiting Walt Disney World or not. They have 5-star restaurants, unique quick service experiences from around the world, and snacks that you will crave when you return home.
Megan writes about her adventures as a mom and loves to share ideas for raising little ones, dating your spouse, and living an intentional life. Although there is plenty for first-timers to learn by reading this book, it can be very overwhelming.
This is the book that I recommend to first-time visitors since the information is presented in such an easy-to-use format.
The book has a great layout and they spend a majority of the pages describing and rating the attractions and shows.
We couldn’t agree fully on which order the rides should be in, as we all had our very own favorites. Our plan of attack was to grab the Fast Pass at the Kilimanjaro Safaris ride first, and then wait in line for Expedition Everest. Another fun thing about this ride is to go and watch others coming down the mountain after you are done.
There is a trip journal where kids can record what they did on each day, the weather, and more. Disney Food Blog has long been an incredible resource for guests before they visit the parks, but now they have created a comprehensive guide to Walt Disney World dining in an e-book that can help you plan before you leave and you can take with you on your phone! Outside of Wit & Wander, she loves traveling, crafting, photography, and attempting to cook. Many people I have discussed the guide with confess to buying it every year and using it to research their upcoming trip–you are not required to read the whole book every year.
The attempt is to give the reader an overview without offering too much information that could confuse or confound.
They do cover everything else, like the resorts, restaurants and recreation, and they do it well. In addition to offering space for your planning needs, the Passporter guide also includes spaces for journaling. We waited about 40 minutes for the ride and then walked straight on the Kilimanjaro Safaris which had been a 55 minute wait. They expertly cover each of the four parks (including fold-out park maps), 22 hotels, and 300+ dining options. If the authors don’t think something is worth your time, they are not afraid to tell you! From stunning photos to unbiased reviews, if you love great dining, you will not want to miss this book that can help you be 100% confident in your dining decisions.
My Disney library focuses on coffee table books with strong visual elements that were originally sold as souvenir books in the Disney Parks.
The maps are very similar to what you pick up at the parks so you can familiarize yourself before you head down.
This is a good book for first-timers but it is still geared more towards the veteran Walt Disney World visitor.
Also, the books are a fun read after your trip; they are a great way to relive your trip and read about the things you may have overlooked (to help you plan for your next trip).
My kids also liked checking out our photos at the end of the ride because our faces always looked funny from all the screaming. You sit in a shell and are taken throughout the story of The Little Mermaid from the beginning until the end when Ariel is with her prince. My kids loved the part of the ride (you ride in a honey pot) when we bounced around like Tigger! My favorite feature of PassPorter must be the pockets in the back designed to keep all your important documents (tickets, stubs, confirmations, etc.) together.
There are tons of Disney biographies and other non-fiction titles, and although I have or have read a good number of these, I only touch upon some of what I consider to be the highlights here.Many of these books are out-of-print, so they can only be purchased on the secondary market.
It does go upside down about three times, so definitely safer for him not to ride if he’s not big enough.
This ride is a bit dark, but it is very cool because you fly above London and go through the Peter Pan story! However, it turns out that creating an eBook takes longer than I remember, especially as I keep going back and tweaking things I’ve written and edit a ton of new photos for the book.Speaking of photos, there are a lot of them!
When we last moved, I discovered that I had more boxes of Disney books than I did clothing…and books are slightly heavier! Previously, the eBooks were sold, and with that came a certain pressure to comport with the general public’s expectations.
It’s not the best title on the Disneyland list, but it’s relatively inexpensive, accessible, and offers some information about extinct attractions that pre-dated present favorites at Disneyland. It has made the process a lot more fun for me, as I feel like I’m writing it for friends. The premise of Disneyland Nickel Tour is brilliantly simple: use a complete set of Disneyland postcards (and other photos) as a vehicle for telling the story of Disneyland. I don’t have to worry about someone leaving a scathing review due to nonsensical references to ALF or an overly long ode to Baby Sinclair (and rest assured, this will have both).
This voluminous 392-page title is quite the page turner as the authors inject their humor into it to make the dense history engaging. The value of Nickel Tour will only increase in the coming years (it has already increased since I purchased it in 2011) as both authors are deceased and the publisher is out of business.
Although the book was written in the late 1980s, surprisingly, it doesn’t feel incomplete as to Disneyland (it obviously doesn’t cover Disney California Adventure). Seeing the early art in this title gives me goosebumps, and reading the story of Herb Ryman being told by Walt that he was going to draw the now-famous concept art for Disneyland always brings a smile to my face. My favorite portions of the book (unsurprisingly) involve the various incarnations of Tomorrowland.

They were joking, right?!Disneyland, Memories of a Lifetime – This book is one of the best of the newer titles, and is cheap as compared to the books above.
It’s not as good as the upper echelon, but the photos are pretty good and unique from other Disneyland books, and the accompanying text is good. It’s such a niche title, but it is so incredibly well-researched and presented that I think it could be of interest to most Disney theme park fans.
Still, a cheap title for completionists.Walt Disney WorldThese are the Walt Disney World-centric titles in my collection.
It’s detailed with plenty of interesting text, and is a snapshot in time during a great time in Walt Disney World history. I’m very excited to read the eBook and share it with other friends (mainly just my friends on monkey island). It features mostly concept art and explanations thereof, much of the art predating the Resort itself, and much also never coming to fruition. The art in the book is large while the text is kept small (as it should be), and the layout is wonderful.
It’s the perfect coffee table book for any fan who wants something to randomly flip through from time to time. Gardens of the Walt Disney World Resort – Not to be confused by a newer title with a similar name (Glorious Gardens), this book is absolutely amazing, and shows just how beautiful Walt Disney World once was with its many gardens and water fixtures. The biggest difference between the larger books is when they were produced, either pre-opening or post-opening of EPCOT Center; they also have different titles (EPCOT v. The pre-opening versions contain more photos of models, whereas the post-opening version contain photos of actual pavilions. This is a souvenir book in premise, but the photos are gorgeous and this book probably has the coolest cover of any souvenir book ever released. The author had amazing behind the scenes access during the construction of Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and this book reflects that. If you’re a casual collector, owning this or the 15th anniversary version is probably sufficient. It includes information about the design process, why certain details are significant, and how things in the parks came to be (or didn’t come to be). Had I found this back in 1996 when it was released, I think I might have pursued a different career path. As it stands, it’s one of the titles to which I turn when I want to be inspired, and it has never let me down. This covers Disney California Adventure, Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and Tokyo DisneySea and other newer developments that opened following the first book. More than just a catalog of posters, this book shares concept art, artist quotes, and other information concerning the technical and artistic process. Tis book is sure to give even the most ardent Disney fan a new appreciation for the posters that make them smile each time they enter the parks. Editor Karal Ann Marling and the essays in the book provide a very thought-provoking, but not unapproachable, glimpse into the design of Disney. It seems to be a more objective title than others on this list as it’s academic, rather than trying to market the parks. It’s one day in the worldwide Disney theme parks, presented as the day unfolds around the world. It’s visually engaging because  contrasting photos are presented next to one another. I was floored when I found a plethora of unique and well-composed photos and a rather nice book.
The upside to that is the author was granted a lot of access to other key individuals and the Disney Archives.
It’s approachable-enough for the Disney newcomer, but still has enough depth to satisfy a die-hard fan. I’ve long been under the impression that he, and others, designed Disneyland on an instinctive, gut level.
With this in mind, a lot of his later writings have come across to me as ex post facto intellectual justifications for why these gut decisions were made. Sklar also had a lot of relationships with key individuals in Imagineering and elsewhere within Disney, and he covers both the good and bad of that. The art that was curated for the title is mostly stunning, but there are some notable omissions and the text isn’t all that special. If you’re looking for a coffee table book featuring art from one of the most legendary Imagineers of all-time, I recommend it.
To be fair, the former are focused on one attraction each, whereas this was focused on multiple mountains, so it necessarily couldn’t have been as in-depth as those titles.
There is a lot of concept art, which is great, but the mountains in this book existed at the time of the publication, so more photos would have been appropriate.
All of these books are entirely in Japanese and are overpriced on eBay (about the only place to find them short of going to Japan).
They all feature breathtaking photos of the Tokyo parks, and the photos are the stars of the show, so not reading Japanese makes no difference. With the proliferation of self-publishing and the interest in the Disney theme parks, in general, it’s not pragmatic to list every Disney book I own here. Between that and The Walt Disney Company’s attempt to market Walt as somewhat of a caricature of a real person, he is often viewed is infallible, more creative than any other human ever, etc. The best thing about this book is that it was not published by Disney, so instead of trying to sugarcoat Walt Disney’s personality, it presents a more candid take. Ron Schneider recounts his days as Dreamfinder and in a host of other roles in entertainment at various theme parks. The same is true here, as he presents 30-some anecdotes about Walt Disney and those around him. His Disney work is breathtaking, and this book gives insight (perhaps too much) into his non-Disney work as well.
Most of these books do not have ISBN numbers and have similar-sounding names, and are thus prone to being mis-listed by sellers if there is no photo on the item page. I have several other souvenir books and miscellaneous biographies, so if you have questions about other titles not listed here, ask!We hope this helps you fill your bookcase with Disney Parks titles! If you are considering a purchase of any of these (or anything else for that matter) just click the links here to get to Amazon and navigate to any items you might need.

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