Lesser-Known Disney Books

shelved under Disney

Here's a handful of Disney books you probably haven't heard about— they aren't travel guides or big glossy mainstream books about Imagineering or Michael Eisner. These books cover more obscure topics, like living in Celebration (the real town that Disney built in Florida), a look at Tokyo Disneyland's impact on Japanese society, the machinations of Disney when they secretly bought the land for Walt Disney World in the '60s, and much more. Any true Disney fan will find something to enjoy here!


The Celebration Chronicles: Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Property Value in Disney's New Town

by Andrew Ross

What's not to love about this book? In the mid-1990s, Disney build its own town in Florida, Celebration. (I had the chance to visit it a few times and it really did feel super clean and master-planned like one of the company's theme parks.) The Celebration Chronicles is all about this NYU professor's study of the town, its residents and their interactions with Disney. Completely fascinating.


Married to the Mouse: Walt Disney World and Orlando

by Richard E. Foglesong

After Disneyland was build in the '50s, a ton of tacky motels, souvenir shops and other detritus built up around the park. Walt saw this and said "next time, we're going to do it differently." This book details the secretive meetings and subterfuge that went into getting the 30,000+ acres of land purchased for Florida's Walt Disney World. An entertaining read and you'll be amazed how they pulled it all off...


Window on Main Street: 35 Years of Creating Happiness at Disneyland Park

by Van Arsdale France

Van Arsdale France was one of the first Disneyland employees and in charge of all training for the park. His simple memoir is a fascinating look at how Disneyland got started; it's packed with behind-the-scenes stories and recollections (and photos!) that you won't find anyplace else.


Spinning Disney's World: Memories of a Magic Kingdom Press Agent

by Charles Ridgway

In this charming book, Disney Legend Charles Ridgway looks back on over forty years of working with the Mouse, from Disneyland to Walt Disney World to Disneyland Paris and beyond. There's so many interesting stories about outlandish publicity stunts, Disneyland flops, and celebrities at Disneyland that you'll be disappointed when you reach the end.


Vinyl Leaves: Walt Disney World And America

by Stephen M. Fjellman

This book is a bit scholarly but completely held my attention. Written by an anthropologist, the author takes an analytical look at WDW and how and why Disney made the decisions it did to represent history, time, space, and corporate sponsorship the way they did.


Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom

by Cory Doctorow

This novel is a wonderful, original work by Cory Doctorow (best known as one of the founders of the huge blog BoingBoing). Set in the Walt Disney World of the future, it's ostensibly about a group that wants to make the Hall of Presidents completely virtual, and the lead character's efforts to prevent this... but there's so much more going on. A fun little novel for anyone, but especially entertaining for hardcore Disney theme park fans (like the author!).