Walt Disney World History Books

Written by George Taylor. Posted in Disney, Disney History, Features, Imaginerding, Walt Disney World

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Published on February 04, 2013 at 4:01 am with 11 Comments

I’ve been collecting Walt Disney World books since 1994. My current count of Disney-related titles puts me at 661 books. I field a lot of questions about books specific to Walt Disney World history, especially books that discuss the history of the Vacation Kingdom of the World (I usually recommend Jeff Kurtti’s Since the World Began and David Koenig’s Realityland since there isn’t one book that does it all).

The majority of my columns are about books and showcasing the various titles about Walt Disney World. It’s obvious from my column here at Mice Chat, that I have an obsession with Disney-related books. They are the basis for most of my research and have inspired most of the projects I have done.

Unfortunately, there isn’t one book that covers it completely, but there are several titles you can digest that will give you a very good picture. There are a lot of titles available and they come from different sources; check out the ones that look most interesting.

Most of us have written papers in high school or college that required a bibliography, which is usually a lists of sources cited in the paper. You can also have a list of books about a subject that stands alone.

The definition of a bibliography is:

a complete or selective list of works compiled upon some common principle, as authorship, subject, place of publication, or printer.http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/bibliography

This bibliography is by no means a complete list of books available on Walt Disney World; I have only added books that I own. Feel free to leave a comment if I have missed something good!

General Interest

The books included in this set focus on more than just Walt Disney World. They look at the people behind the parks and the company. I consider each title an essential part of any Disney enthusiast’s library.


The following titles are specific to Walt Disney World and cover more than just an attraction. The Kurtti, Koenig and Beard titles are a must! If you are interested in the history and construction of Walt Disney World, check out these books.

Attraction Specific

These books are dedicated to specific attractions at Walt Disney World. If you have a favorite attraction that is featured in the book, then you need to track a copy or two down.


There would be no Walt Disney World without these artists. The Kurtti/Gordon book offers wonderful concept art.

  • Handke, Danny; Hunt, Vanessa. The Poster Art of Disney Parks. 2012. A long time coming, this gorgeous books shares the amazing posters created for Disney attractions. A great look at some past attractions through posters. You can read my review here.
  • Hench, John. Designing Disney. 2009. Hench shares his thoughts on helping to design every Disney theme park. The text is insightful and the artwork is astounding. Hench was the master designer of EPCOT Center and most of Walt Disney World.There is also a 2003 edition.
  • Kurrti, Jeff; Gordon, Bruce. The Art of Walt Disney World. 2009. Theme Park Exclusive. Jeff and Bruce have collaborated again to create a sister volume to the wonderful Art of Disneyland. This large-scale book presents concept artwork from every phase of Walt Disney World’s history. Many of the images are seen here for the first time. Every fan of Walt Disney World should own this title. You can read my full review here.
  • Mumford, Dave; Gordon, Bruce. A Brush with Disney : An Artist’s Journey, Told through the words and works of Herbert Dickens Ryman. 2000. A look at Herb Ryman’s art–not just work done for Disney, but over his entire career. There are some amazing concept paintings of the Magic Kingdom. You can read my full review here.


Detailed-inspired travel guides, academic treatises and amazing photographic titles. Usually more of a time-capsule than a history title. There are some fantastic books in this section. Some of them are geared more towards the serious student of Walt Disney World history and some offer images that will please anyone.


Although Disney has divested themselves of Celebration for most intents, it is still an important part of the Walt Disney World story. These titles look more at the after effect of Disney’s town and less on Walt’s vision.


Food is a huge part of the Disney Parks experience. Dining at Walt Disney World has changed considerably over the past 40 years. The following cookbooks are a great way to see what was being served at various restaurants over the years.

  • Brandon, Pam. Chef Mickey: Treasures from the Vault & Delicious New Favorites. 2010. An updated release that mixes new and historical recipes. There are some great photos, too.
  • Brandon, Pam. Cooking with Mickey and the Disney Chefs. 2004. Mostly modern recipes, but there are a lot of favorites from all Disney parks.
  • Brandon, Pam. Delicious Disney. 2006. More recent recipes from Disney parks and the Disney Cruise Line.
  • Chapman, Dorothy. Thought You’d Never Ask (Part I and Part II). 1979 and 1983. One of the first compilations of recipes from Walt Disney World and local Orlando restaurants. This could surprise you with what was actually being served and what was considered haute couture dining. You can read my review of Part II here.
  • Cooking with Mickey: Walt Disney World’s Most Requested Recipes (Volume I and Volume II). 1986 & 2000. Another look at Disney recipes. Not as much flash as some of the newer books, but it has a lot of recipes from restaurants that are no longer or have changed substantially.

This is by no means a complete list. There are a few titles I have left out simply because I do not own them.

Are there any that I should include on the list?

Do you have a favorite book about Walt Disney World or one that you always recommend?

ImagiNERDing is written and edited by George Taylor

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About George Taylor

George has been obsessed with Disney theme parks since the first time he saw a photo of the Haunted Mansion in the early 70s. He started writing about Disney in 2007 and has amassed one of the world's largest Disney-related libraries.

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  • Trumpet

    Great Article George

    It is amazing how many books there are about WDW. I have not got many, only a unofficila guide book, but I do have the 50Th Anniversary book about Disneyland. It has a really cheesy article about DCA, saying that is mixes ‘Disney magic with California fun’ I don’t think that is particularly true, but is is really good. Dyou have this book George? What are your opinions of it?

    Thanks Again George


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  • jcruise86


    Thanks for the list!

    George, this is a bit awkward, but have you decided who will receive your 661 books in your will? Did you know I named both of my twins “George Taylor Jcruise86″ after you? Actually the girl is “Taylor Georgette Jcruise86.”

    • jcruise86

      Oops, I just looked over that post and realized it was REALLY in bad taste. Just kidding, except about my son’s name. We can’t edit posts about articles. SORRY if I offended you or anyone else.

      • George Taylor

        It’s not like my wife and I haven’t talked about that!

        I just need to make sure my boys don’t sell them willy-nilly. Some of them are worth a lot of money. ;)

      • jcruise86

        Thanks! That was magnanimous of ya. Maybe, if they don’t want them, have the kids sell the most valuable ones ones to pay for a trip to WDW. Maybe Cornell University or the Orlando Public LIbrary would like the rest.