Sunday, September 26, 2010

Everything You always Wanted to Know about Walt Disney World!

UPDATE! New titles added.

A frequent request we receive at Imaginerding is for books about the history of Walt Disney World. While there isn't one book that covers it completely, 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.

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.
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!

You can always keep up with the Walt Disney World-related titles we have reviewed by clicking here.

General Interest
The books included in this set focus on more than just Walt Disney World. 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!

  • Beard, Richard F. Walt Disney's Epcot Center: Creating the New World of Tomorrow. 1982. This is the book that every fan of Epcot should own. An amazing amount of conceptual artwork and photos of the park during its first few months. In-depth information on the pavilions and anecdotes from the Imagineers. There are three editions: a pre-opening, post-opening and a short version. The difference in the post- and pre- is whether some of the pictures are in-park photos or close-ups of models.

  • Emerson, Chad. Project Future: The Inside Story Behind the Creation of Disney World. 2009. Emerson takes an in-depth and straightforward look at the creation of Walt Disney World. It covers the purchase of the land and the political machinations that took place. It includes a great timeline and listing of key players. You can read my review here.
  • Gordon, Bruce; Kurtti, Jeff. Walt Disney World Then, Now, and Forever. 2008. Theme Park Exclusive. Gordon and Kurtti have written a history/souvenir guide for Walt Disney World. It does act more like a family scrapbook than a history book, until you delve into its pages. You can read my review here.
  • Mannheim, Steven.Walt Disney and the Quest for Community. 2003. This book could almost be considered a biography of the Epcot that could have been. Mannheim writes a very through-provoking and enjoyable work on Walt Disney's plans for EPCOT Center and how they germinated and became reality (or didn't, in some cases). You can read my review here.
  • The Story of Walt Disney World, Commemorative Edition. Various Years (1971, 1973, 1976). An official publication that looks at the first few years of Walt Disney World. It focuses on the building of the Magic Kingdom, the resorts and the rest of the vacation kingdom. It has a great stylized map and lots of pictures.
Attraction Specific

  • Broggie, Michael. Walt Disney's Railroad Story: The Small-Scale Fascination That Led to a Full-Scale Kingdom. 1998. Broggie presents a fascinating look at Walt's Railroad--part biography and part theme park history. The majority of the book focuses on the Carolwood-Pacific, but Broggie does discuss the Magic Kingdom and Ft. Wilderness Railroads. You can read my review here.

  • Leaphart, David. Walt Disney World Railroads Part 1: Fort Wilderness Railroad. 2010. David has compiled an monumental and magnificent look at the Fort Wilderness Railroad. A must for any fan of Fort Wilderness, trains or early Walt Disney World anecdotes. Visit the author's website for more information.
  • Leaphart, David. Walt Disney World Railroads Part 1: Fort Wilderness Railroad Gallery Companion. 2010. A companion guide to David's work on the Fort Wilderness Railroad. More pictures than you can shake a stick at!
  • Surrell, Jason. The Disney Mountains: Imagineering At Its Peak. 2007. Surrell takes an in-depth look at every Disney mountain, from Matterhon to Everest, with side trips to some un-built mountains.

  • Surrell, Jason. The Haunted Mansion: From the Magic Kingdom to the Movies. 2006. If you are a fan of the Haunted Mansion, you need to own this book. Surrell starts at the earliest concepts and takes us through to the final incarnations, step-by-step. The concept art is wonderful.

  • Surrell, Jason. Pirates of the Caribbean: From the Magic Kingdom to the Movies. 2006. An in-depth history of Pirates of the Caribbean, from concept stages to Disneyland Paris. We experience all versions of the attraction through the script, artwork and photographs.
There would be no Walt Disney World without these artists.

Detailed-inspired travel guides, academic treatises and amazing photographic titles. Usually more of a time-capsule than a history title.

  • Burns-Clair, Pam and Peri, Don. Walt Disney's First Lady of Imagineering Harriet Burns. 2010. Harriet's daughter Pam and Disney Historian Don Peri craft a fascinating and beautiful collection of anecdotes and tributes to Harriet Burns, as told by her family, friends and co-workers. You can read my review here.

  • Childs, Valerie. The Magic of Disneyland and Walt Disney World. 1979. I reviewed the book here. This work is mainly a pictorial essay about Disneyland and Walt Disney World. Geared mainly for park detectives and people who visited the parks in the 1970s. You can read my review here.

  • Hannaford, Dee. The Gardens of Walt Disney World Resort. 1988. One of the most beautiful coffee-table books ever produced about Walt Disney World. Amazing photographs of the gardens and natural areas help to create a snapshot of Walt Disney World Resort in 1988. Absolutely gorgeous and belongs in every collection.
  • Imagineering Field Guide Series: Epcot, Animal Kingdom, Magic Kingdomand Disney's Hollywood Studios. 2005-2009. Written by The Imagineers, this series of guidebooks discusses some of the details and histories of the parks. They are designed to be taken into the park with you; hence the artwork can be fairly small, but exciting.

  • Marling, Karal Ann. Designing Disney's Theme Parks: The Architecture of Reassurance. 1998. Marling presents a series of academic articles written by historians, critics and architects that look at the development of the Disney theme park. Wonderful photographs.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Geek-End Update, Saturday, September 25, 2010

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Geeks, Nerds and Disney Fans Unite!


Winston-Salem, NC - Geeks, Nerds and Disney Fans Unite! Chip and Company and Imaginerding, two North Carolina-based websites with a passion for all things Disney, have joined forces to offer a new and exciting way to get your Disney-related news. Premiering on Sunday, September 26 is a brand new VLOG (Video Blog) that will bring you the latest in Disney News and Views. Two Lonely Deeks (Disney + Geeks--get it?) will entertain and inform you each week in an interesting yet humorous way (Set Sarcasm to 10!).

Host George Taylor, from, presents news from around the world of Disney while dodging barbs from his behind-the-camera co-host, Chip Confer from In addition to news and reviews, you can expect a dash of childish delight each week as the Two Deeks pontificate on all that is nerdy and geeky in relation to Disney--theme parks, books, movies, video games and more!

In addition to offering the latest in news (and opinion), Two Lonely Deeks will offer a multitude of weekly content:
  1. 60 Second Game Reviews
  2. Book Reviews
  3. Movie Reviews
  4. Contests
  5. On-location, live streaming (hint, hint Disney...) from PR Junkets and more
  6. Restaurant Ratings
  7. Live from the Parks (hint, hint Disney)
  8. Theme Parkeology
  9. Cameos and interviews with Disney Legends alive and dead!

For more information, e-mail

The 2 Lonely Deeks are:

Chip Confer is the owner and founder of Chip and Company (, Along with his many phenomenal writers, Chip delivers some of the best in Disney News & Views on the interwebs--Discussing Disney Planning, Tips, Tricks, Touring Plans and so much more. When Chip isn’t writing about Disney you can find him out doing other nerdy things: graphic and website design, playing video games, editing and recording videos, working on computers--you name it. He puts the Chip in computer chip! You can email Chip at

George Taylor is the owner of and the co-editor of When he doesn’t have his nose stuck in one of his Disney books (over 330 in his collection), he can be found playing video games with his sons, driving his wife crazy or managing a public library. George loves anything related to the Disney Theme Parks and animation. The weekly Geek-End Update feature at Imaginerding provides links to some of the best Disney-related writing on the web.
You can e-mail George at


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

It's Raining Books!

This book update is fairly eclectic and contains a duplicate title already in my library. When your book collection hits over 330 titles, it is difficult to keep from purchasing a few duplicates every once in a while. A lot of times, though, extra copies can be a good thing, especially when a spine breaks.

I do have multiple versions of the Disneyland Pictorial Souvenir, as any good Disneyland historian should. It is always fun to compare the guides and see how Disney handle changes in the parks and closures of attractions. I really enjoy seeing how Disney publicity evolved over the years. Most of the earlier guides (pre-1990) are less staged than their contemporary counterparts. It is also apparent when Disney uses the same shot across decades.

One of my all-time favorite Walt Disney World books is listed at the bottom of this post. Walt Disney World: The First Decade is a must-have for anyone who has ever visited Walt Disney World. You can read my review here. I think I have three copies of it, but I am always up for one more!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Fantasy Faire Resurgent

Sometimes, finding information on early Walt Disney World can be quite daunting. If it isn't covered by Mike Lee's Widen Your World, Foxxfur's Passport to Dreams, Michael Crawford's Progress City, U.S.A. or Jeff Pepper's 2719 Hyperion, there are chances that the information does not exist. It is possible that the photos or check-in documents have not been uncovered from someone's vacation files, yet, so we keep our eyes open! Regardless, when a good mystery or question comes a long, it is difficult to give up the scent!

Previously, we looked into discovering what background information we could on the Fantasy Faire Stage in the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World. What started out as a simple post to help identify a photo quickly turned into a mega-post that pulled information from various web and print resources.
Official Definitions

One of the resources I consulted for the article was the First Edition (1996) of Disney A to Z: The Official Encyclopedia by Dave Smith:
Fantasy Fair Outdoor stage in Fantasyland in the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World, used for live shows.
We were able to secure copies of the Second and Third Editions of the Encyclopedia and I was very excited to see that the entries had increased in size.

Disney A to Z: The Updated Official Encyclopedia, Second Edition (1998):
Fantasy Faire Covered area, also known as Fantasyland Pavilion, originally used for outdoor stage shows in Fantasyland in the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World, and later for additional seating for the Pinocchio Village Haus.
They added the "e" to the end of Faire and the information about the stage being renamed Fantasyland Pavilion at some point. I assumed that it was between 1994 and 1996 due to the information uncovered during the research for the first post. In this case, I have times guide from a 1994 visit that still calls it the Fantasyland Faire Stage.

Disney A to Z: The Official Encyclopedia, Third Edition (2006)
Fantasy Faire Covered area, also known as Fantasyland Pavilion after January 1995, originally used for outdoor stage shows in Fantasyland in Magic Kingdom Park at Walt Disney World, and later for addtional seating  for the Pinocchio Village Haus. It closed in 1996.
Wow, what a difference eight years makes. So, know we know that it was renamed in 1995 and closed in 1996.

Thank Goodness for the Interwebs

Joe Shelby, one of our readers, left a comment with a link to his Picasa album of photos that his parent took in 1972-1974. I copied the photos, retouched them and added the URL to each one. I want to thank Joe for sharing these with us.

Check out the Amazing Forced Perspective Disney used back in the day! The mice look really big...

Not sure about Smee, but I think that lady chatting up Capt. Hook is looking for more than a handout.
See, no one likes hanging with poo...

Shouldn't everyone be facing the other way?!?!?
What in the world are Pan and Hook handing out?

Take a moment to compare Joe's shot from 1972-1974 and the photo from 1985. It looks like the steps were removed which had the effect of creating a much larger stage. Or, the stage was enlarged, thus necessitating the removal of the stairs. Or, too many people were bum rushing the stage to get at Cinderella's larger than life mice!
I do urge you to get a copy of the Third Edition of Dave Smith's excellent Disney Encyclopedia; it is an amazing resource to have on hand! If you do own the First or Second Editions, it is worth the price to obtain the Third Edition.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Books Galore!

We have had a lot of books show up at Imaginerding HQ over that past week. According to my LibraryThing account, I am up to 326 Disney books!

The first two we found on eBay. There were created by Lawson Mardon Post Card in 1992 (Twelfth Printing) and 1991 (Second Printing), respectively. Both are souvenir-type guides that are full of photographs from the parks. I haven't found more information about them, though. There is no ISBN, but each has a barcode on the back (it is the same code), which means they might have been sold in a box set

  • Magic Kingdom: A Treasure Book of Memories 1992
  • Disney-MGM Studios Theme Park: An Adventure With the Movies 1991

Friday, September 17, 2010