Top Ten Disneyland Books

Written by George Taylor. Posted in Disney, Disney History, Disney Parks, Disneyland Resort, Features, Imaginerding

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Published on April 21, 2014 at 2:00 am with 14 Comments

I’ll be spending a few days in Disneyland next week as part of the CommuniTOUR and as a general tourist. I was checking over my book collection for some Disneyland titles and wanted to share my top ten Disneyland books.

There are a lot more books about Disneyland than I could cover here, but I highlighted my absolute favorites. (I did manage to sneak in two bonus items, as well!)

  • The Disneyland Encyclopedia by Chris Strodder (2012)
    Check out my full review, here. Strodder’s book is a must-have for anyone interested in Disneyland. It has over 500 entries with more than 350 entries. Strodder covers approximate ride times and Disneyland restrooms!

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  • Seen, Un-Seen Disneyland by Russell D. Flores (2013)
    Russell has just released a second edition of the book. It’s truly a Disneyland-lover’s dream solely because of the amazing amount of full-color photographs that Russell has included. He’s also done a great job of finding those little details that often go unseen by most guests.

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  • Disneyland Through the Decades by Jeff Kurtti (2010)
    Jeff is one of my favorite Disney-related authors (and one of the most prolific) and this book doesn’t disappoint. It’s more of a love letter than a history, with some great photos that will bring back fond memories and smiles.

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  • Wally Boag, Clown Prince of Disneyland by Wally Boag and Gene Sands (2009)
    Check out my full review, here. Wally Boag’s name is pretty synonymous with early Disneyland. Not just for his performances, but also because of how he helped shape Disneyland by his creative input through show-writing and voice characterizations. This is a great read.

Bonus Disneyland Book!

  • Disneylanders by Kate Abbott (2013)
    Read the full review, here. It’s very rare that there’s a good fiction book set at a Disney park. Kate has written a wonderful young adult book about a young girl on a family trip to Disneyland and the changes see she’s in herself and her life. Kate really knows her Disneyland history and layout so Disneyland fans will love the setting of the book as well as the story.

 

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  • Walt Disney’s Railroad Story by Michael Broggie (1998)
    Check out my full review, here. This is the definitive work on the railroads of Disneyland and Walt Disney World. It offers a lot of biographical information on Walt Disney and the development of Disneyland. If you can find a copy, snag it!

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  • Jason’s Disneyland Almanac by Jason Schultz and Kevin Yee (2011)
    Read my full review, here. This might be the nerdiest Disneyland book ever but it’s got some incredibly detailed information about EVERY day that Disneyland was open from 1955 to 2008, including: park hours, weather, openings, closings, events, dedications, debuts, endings and famous visitors.

Bonus Disneyland Music!

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  • Musical History of Disneyland (2005)
    You can’t ask for much more than this, really. Six discs that span the history of Disneyland with music from every land and every time period. It’s truly spectacular.

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  • The Art of Disneyland by Jeff Kurtti and Brice Gordon (2006)
    Read my full review, here. This is a gorgeous book by Jeff and Bruce that really shares some fantastic concept art from Disneyland’s history. Many are pre-opening, but the coverage is through the first 40 years. It’s pretty darn expensive but worth every penny.

  • Disneyland, Inside Story by Randy Bright (1987)
    Read my full review, here. This was the first real history book on Disneyland and pretty much every title since has used it as a reference resource. Randy looks at the first 30 years (he started working at Disneyland in 1959) and this is an essential addition to your Disneyland library.

  • Disneyland, the Nickel Tour by Bruce Gordon and David Mumford (2000)
    Read my full review, here. This is the most sought-after Disneyland book and with good reason. It’s the most comprehensive and most beautifully designed book about the beloved park. The postcard images tell the story in wonderful way and Bruce and David’s humor is intelligent and unparalleled. This is the best book on Disneyland period.

So, which book is your favorite? Is there one that should be in my top ten?


ImagiNERDing is written and edited by George Taylor

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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14 Comments

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  1. I recently purchased the Decades book by Jeff Kurtti and love the Disneyland history book. Thanks for the suggestions, I’ll have to see what’s available o Amazon and can afford!

    • That’s the problem with most Disney books. If you don’t grab them when they are released, the value tends to skyrocket!

      • It’s surprising how many older books I have found on the cheap over the years. Clearly the Nickel Tour, Art of Disneyland and Inside Story are probably going to continue to be a bit expensive to track down but many of the books released by the parks i.e. Then, Now and Forever or The First Quarter Century can be found at reasonable prices.

  2. Disneyland’s 50th book, “Disneyland, Then, Now, & Forever” should probably be included. I bet it was your #11!

    • I thought about adding that one. I really should have done a top 15!

  3. Allow me to suggest “The Disneyland Story: The Unofficial Guide to the Evolution of Walt Disney’s Dream” (Unofficial Guides, November 2013) by Sam Gennawey, with foreword by Jeff Kurtti.

    It’s a terrific “biography” of Disneyland.

  4. Thanks Werner. I am also fond of The Disneyland Story: The Unofficial Guide.

    Sam Gennawey

  5. I agree. Disneyland Story is great. Also, what about the Imagineering Field Guide? I love that book because it not only has a ton of information about each part of the park, but it fits in a (admittedly large) pocket or easily in a backpack so you can take it into the park!

    Thanks for the awesome ImagiNERDing posts George! Love your show too!

  6. I usually find it hard to use words like best but totally agree with your usage in this case.

  7. Great list! I need many of these. I’m a big Disneyland and Disney Animation book collector.

    You can see my full collection on Pinterest here:

    http://www.pinterest.com/tennor/my-disney-book-collection/

  8. So many great Disneyland books so it’s always challenging to make up a list like this. As an obsessive Disneyland book collector, it would be hard to disagree with many of your picks.

    The Nickel Tour, Disneyland: The Inside Story, The Art of Disneyland and The Disneyland Encyclopedia would easily be in my top 10. Have not picked up Seen, Unseen Disneyland yet though may finally do so. The Almanac is a tough one as while I appreciate all of the work that was put into it, it really did nothing for me and is the only Disneyland book I have ever returned…which says alot being the completist that I am. I would also add Sam’s Disneyland: The Unofficial Guide.

    And as long as you are including Fiction like Disneylanders, I’d heartily recommend the Hidden Mickey Books by Nancy Temple Rodrigue and/or David Smith and Hidden Mickey Adventures by Nancy. There are 7 books in total across those series and are not to be confused with the Hidden Mickey books where guests look for Hidden Mickey’s throughout the park…two completely different things.

    Other fun fiction series:
    The Deadliest Cast Member Series by Kelly Ryan Johns
    Voyageers by Kelly Ryan Johns
    The Disneyland Quest 1 and 2 by Matt Ainsworth

    Other fun “history” books:
    In Service to the Mouse by Jack Lundquist
    Mouse Tales 1 and 2 by David Koenig
    Mouse Trap by Kevin Yee
    In the Shadow of the Matterhorn by David Smith

    and of course you can’t forget some of the great pictoral souveniers i.e. the First 10 years, First Quarter Century, Then, Now & Forever…too many to list but always great for pictures and a simple history of the resort.

  9. So. I read this column last night, went right over to Amazon and bought two of them (and a third that Amazon recommended). And bookmarked two others for later purchase.

    Stop it, George. Not good for someone on a fixed income.

  10. I am honored to make this list. Thank you.

    Don Ballard

  11. My Top 2 are
    1. Mouse Tales by David Koenig (I like the original even more than the sequel.)
    2. The Nickel Tour (I wish there were a similar book for WDW, though that would only go back to the early 70s.)

    Like many Disney fans, I also love Bob Thomas’ biography or Walt Disney which includes Disneyland. Some day a biographer will hopefully write a better biography or Walt, but no one has yet done so.