June 15, 2024

High-Hype Disney Books for Holidays & 2024!

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It's already been another great year for books about Walt Disney World and Disneyland, with more highly-anticipated titles coming out in time for Christmas 2023 and in early 2024. This post lists the coffee table

It’s already been another great year for books about Walt Disney World and Disneyland, with more highly-anticipated titles coming out in time for Christmas 2023 and in early 2024. This post lists the coffee table books about which we’re most excited, with info and our “hype level” for each.

We’re putting this most anticipated Disney book list together so far in advance of the holiday season for a couple of reasons. First, books can sell out if you wait too long to buy them. A couple of years ago, A Portrait of Walt Disney World: 50 Years of The Most Magical Place on Earth was basically that holiday shopping season’s Tickle Me Elmo (am I dating myself?).

Unless you placed an order during the summer or ordered from Canada, you probably didn’t get it until this year. Speaking of which, that book is currently 40% off and absolutely worth owning if you didn’t pick it up during the 50th Anniversary. Definitely one of the best books ever about Walt Disney World. I’d say it’s the best.

Second, we’ve already done the “research” for Christmas lists given the aforementioned issues. We’ve also been stocking up on books for Megatron, who is finally giving us an excuse to go crazy with kids books. Since this is all fresh in our minds, figured we might as well share it and save you all the potentially dreaded backorder/delay messages come the holiday shopping season.

One final note is that we receive a small commission from Amazon for your purchases, so buying through these links helps support the site. However, neither the price you pay nor our recommendations (or lack thereof) are impacted by that. There are a ton of Disney books coming out this Christmas or early 2024 that aren’t listed here because they’re unappealing to us!

Figment Little Golden Book – Our most-hyped book by an incredibly wide margin is the Figment Little Golden Book. To be entirely honest, seeing the cover art for this little beauty was the main motivation for putting together this list. We’ve already ordered two copies: one for Megatron, one for the Bricker Figment Archives.

We’ll probably order even more, making this our go-to gift for the year to come. To paraphrase a famous dreamer, “buy the Figment book early and buy the Figment book often.” Seriously, nothing sends a message to Walt Disney World like voting with your wallet. The more support shown for all things Figment–whether it be merchandise, popcorn buckets, or the new meet & greet–demonstrates demand for the character. The more demand, the more likely it is that Journey into Imagination gets a big budget reimagining and restoration to its former glory.

According to Little Golden Book, this features lyrics from the beloved Disney song “One Little Spark” and is about the purple dragon from Walt Disney World’s EPCOT. This adorable Little Golden Book is about creativity and imagination, and is perfect for children ages 2 to 5, plus Disney Parks fans and Little Golden Book collectors of all ages. (On a related note, there’s a newish Disney100 box set of previous Disney Little Golden Books.)

People Behind the Disney Parks: Stories of Those Honored with a Window on Main Street, U.S.A. – This book has been delayed many times, basically becoming the TRON Lightcycle Run of books. It is finally definitely coming out later this month, though! I got the chance to take a sneak peek at the title during Destination D23 weekend, and it looks fantastic.

From the publisher: Meet the people who created Disney theme parks around the world! Through rare Disney theme park concept art and photographs, this must-have collector’s book showcases more than 280 biographies and features more than 50 pages on the evolution and behind-the-scenes of the Main Street, U.S.A. areas across the globe, up to and including the fairytale castles at the end of each street.

Keen observers will notice intricate details throughout the Disney parks, including names emblazoned on building windows. In particular, the windows lining Main Street, U.S.A. in Disneyland and the Magic Kingdom are designed as calling cards for fictionalized shopkeepers. These names belong to the real life “all-stars” who helped make Disney’s theme parks a reality around the world. The people listed on these windows are skilled actors, artists, business leaders, Imagineers, songwriters, and more. With their imagination and sharp skills, each person has made an important contribution to The Walt Disney Company.

This hefty, 352 page tome is a gift that Disney collectors, theme park fans, and anyone curious in creative career paths through the arts, sciences, and research development will appreciate for decades to come. (As you can see from the cover, People Behind the Disney Parks has a forward by the late Marty Sklar–presumably the last title for which we’ll see a forward by that Disney Legend.)

Delicious Disney Disneyland: Recipes & Stories from The Happiest Place on Earth – The past ‘Delicious Disney’ titles have pleasantly surprised, offering a nice mix of history and recipes with unique content (food!) that is incredibly significant to our sentimentality for the parks, but doesn’t typically garner coverage in coffee table or even souvenir books. Suffice to say, I’m a fan. I’m also a completionist, so obviously I’ll be adding the Disneyland edition to my collection of Delicious Disney titles.

From the publisher: Some of the best vacation moments happen during a great meal, and this collection of official Disneyland recipes and stories from across the decades presents a holistic look at the culinary past, present, and future of Walt Disney’s first theme park! Bite-sized, behind-the-scenes anecdotes from the author and Walt Disney Archives weave around 60 recipes from the Disney Chefs, making it fit for both Disney park fans and home chefs of varying skill levels.

For more than twenty-five years, Pam Brandon has worked closely with the Disney Chefs to thoughtfully take the best dishes from Disney theme parks and resorts and serve up official recipes that are just right for prepping on a smaller scale in home kitchens. This cookbook-meets-culinary-history coffee table book enchants with mouth-watering food photos, gorgeous Walt Disney Imagineering concept artwork, nostalgic restaurant menus, and a little Disney magic.

The book includes an assortment of appetizers, main courses, sides, desserts, and joyful libations, coming from fine-dining and quick-service establishments across the resort. Each has been tested by home chefs to help you bring your cherished vacation memories to life…and inspire new ones for years to come.

The House of the Future: Walt Disney, MIT, and Monsanto’s Vision of Tomorrow – I’m a sucker for mid-century design, as well as Walt Disney’s early Tomorrowland plans, sponsorships, architecture and urban planning. In its own way, this seems like a precursor to Walt’s E.P.C.O.T. ambitions, so it’s also fascinating as the catalyst for that.

From the publisher: Step inside The House of the Future, the iconic Disneyland attraction that captured the imagination of countless visitors during its ten-year run from 1957 to 1967. In this meticulously researched and beautifully illustrated book, readers will take a journey through the conception, construction, and ultimate closure of this groundbreaking exhibit.

The House of the Future was a pioneering experiment in living that showcased cutting-edge construction techniques and futuristic household appliances, including the now-ubiquitous microwave oven. It was a glimpse into a world of endless possibility and unbridled optimism, brought to life through the vision of Walt Disney, his Imagineering team, MIT, and Monsanto.

With stunning, never-before-seen photographs and illustrations, this book offers a deep dive into the world of The House of the Future and the lasting impact it had on generations of visitors. The House of the Future is more than a historical artifact; it’s a testament to the power of imagination, innovation, and the relentless pursuit of progress.

The Art of Walt Disney: From Mickey Mouse to the Magic Kingdoms and Beyond – I want to be very clear: we have NOT preordered this, and I wouldn’t recommend that you do so, either. For one thing, it’s 100 bucks and doesn’t have a preorder discount. For another thing, it’ll almost certainly be on sale for Black Friday or Cyber Monday.

Finally, it’s a rerelease of an older book and past editions can be found for ~$10. It’s possible that the Disney100 edition will add a lot and justify purchasing it at a (discounted) price. It’s also possible that this will be like some of the other Disney100 books we’ve seen, adding a new cover and forward, but otherwise keeping the content unchanged. In which case, we won’t recommend buying it at any price. So stay tuned!

From the publisher: Since it was first published in 1973, The Art of Walt Disney: From Mickey Mouse to the Magic Kingdoms and Beyond has established itself as an indispensable classic of illustrated book publishing, selling hundreds of thousands of copies. Offering a comprehensive history and tribute to the career and legacy of Walt Disney, the book was the first to reveal the wealth of concept art, animation drawings, and archival material that is created in the course of animating films.

Now back in print to celebrate Disney 100 Years of Wonder, this groundbreaking work collects a century of timeless animation. Foreword by legendary Disney animator Floyd Norman. Presented for the first time in a deluxe foil slipcase and real-cloth binding with foil stamping.

Disney A to Z: The Official Encyclopedia — This is a somewhat similar story in that it’s another re-release for Disney100. But we’ll definitely be buying this, as we skipped the last edition of this, so the copy in our library is from 2006. It’s been almost 20 years since then, so a lot has changed–and thus been added to the definitive Disney encyclopedia.

Originally by the incomparable Disney Legend Dave Smith (now with the also-excellent Steven Vagnini), this covers everything you want to know about the Walt Disney Company. Note that it’s not just about Walt Disney World and Disneyland (although they do feature heavily), but all facets of the company. It’s a must-own resource for all Disney fans.

From the publisher: Filled with significant achievements, short biographies, historic dates, and tons of trivia-worthy tidbits and anecdotes, this newly updated collection covers all things Disney—from A to Z—through more than nine thousand entries and two hundred images across more than a thousand pages.

The sixth edition includes all the major Disney theme park attractions, restaurants, and shows; summaries of ABC and Disney television shows and Disney+ series; rundowns on all major films and characters; the latest and greatest from Pixar, Marvel, and Lucasfilm; key actors, songs, and animators from Disney films and shows; and so much more!

Disneyland on the Mountain: Walt, Environmentalists, and the Ski Resort That Never Was – If you’re feeling a bit of deja vu, that could be because last year also saw the release of a Mineral King book. Like that, this niche title is the intersection of topics that hold a lot of personal interest: law, conservation, U.S. National Parks, Country Bears, and Disney.

From the publisher: A fascinating look at Walt Disney’s last, unfinished passion project and the controversy that surrounded it. It was going to be Disneyland at the top of a mountain. A vacation destination where guests could ski, go ice skating, or be entertained by a Disney Imagineer-created band of Audio-Animatronic bears. But there was one major obstacle to Walt’s dream: the growing environmentalist movement of the 1960s.

An unprecedented look inside the Mineral King saga, from its origins at the 1960 Winter Olympics to the years-long environmental fight that eventually shut the development down. The fight, which went all the way to the Supreme Court, reshaped the environmental movement and helped to put in place long-reaching laws to protect nature. Although the court battle, coupled with Walt’s death in 1966, meant the end for the Mineral King resort, the ideas and planning behind it have permeated throughout the Walt Disney company and the ski tourism industry in ways that are still seen today.

With firsthand interviews and behind-the-scenes details, Disneyland on the Mountain offers incredible access to a part of Disney history that hasn’t been thoroughly explored before, including Walt’s love of nature, how the company changed after Walt’s death, and of course, the story of Mineral King. It’s a tale of man versus nature, ambition versus mortality, and how a gang of scrappy environmentalists took on one of America’s most beloved companies.

The Art of Wish – This isn’t a title related to Walt Disney World or Disneyland, unless you count the upcoming meet & greet! However, I love these ‘Art of’ titles, almost more than some of the movies themselves. Whenever there’s a new movie that looks like it’s going to be gorgeous, we buy its ‘Art of’ book early. The reason for this is simple–a surprising number of them go out of print quickly or are recalled, and become impossible to find without paying ridiculously high prices.

From the publisher: This stunning volume of the Disney Art of series is an exclusive look behind the scenes of Walt Disney Animation Studios’ original feature film Wish, a feature film set to release during the 100th anniversary year of Walt Disney Animation Studios. This epic animated musical is inspired by the legacy of films from the studio and asks the question “How did the wishing star, upon which so many characters wished, come to be?”

The Disney Afternoon: The Making of a Television Renaissance – As a child of the 1990s, the Disney Afternoon was what quenched my thirst for all things Disney on a daily basis and kept me excited about characters between pilgrimages to the parks. It’s impossible to understand just how big of a deal these shows were, unless you’re also around my age and likewise tuned in every day after school.

Darkwing Duck, Gargoyles, TaleSpin, and DuckTales changed the game, redefining television animation. This book offers the behind-the-scenes history of the Disney Afternoon shows, interviews from the creative teams, and rare artwork, plus the full making of story of the modern-day DuckTales series and its legacy connections to the past.

If you’re looking for other book recommendations for Walt Disney World, Disneyland, or beyond, check out Our Disney Theme Parks Library post. Many of the newer releases from the last few years will almost certainly be on sale during Amazon’s Prime Day in mid-July 202. Several of those books are now out-of-print, but are available used. Some older titles you can get for pennies, while others cost hundreds of dollars. Like any collectibles, prices are really all over the place for old Disney books!

If you are planning a Walt Disney World or Disneyland vacation, check out our planning resources! The best place to start is our comprehensive Walt Disney World Trip Planning Guide or Disneyland Trip Planning Guide to make the most of your experience!

YOUR THOUGHTS

What from my list of most-anticipated Walt Disney World and Disneyland books coming out in time for this Christmas or in early 2024 is a must-have for you? Any upcoming or recent books about Disney that you’d add to the list? Any questions we can help you answer? Hearing your feedback–even when you disagree with us–is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!

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