It’s going to be another great year for books about Walt Disney World and Disneyland, with highly anticipated titles releasing this fall in time for Christmas 2022. This article lists the coffee table books we’re most excited about, with information and our “hype level” for each.
We’re preparing this list of most anticipated Disney books well before the holiday season for a few reasons. First of all, last year’s number 1 book, by far, A Portrait of Walt Disney World: 50 Years of the World’s Most Magical Place, was nowhere to be found at Christmas. Unless you placed an order during the summer or ordered from Canada, you probably didn’t receive it until this year.
Second, we have already done the “research” for our own Christmas lists given the aforementioned issues. We’re both notoriously hard to buy (most of what I like is obscure or electronic), so the books are a reliable reference for our families. Since this is all fresh in our minds, we thought we might as well share it and save you all the potentially dreaded out-of-stock/delay messages as the holiday shopping season approaches…
100 Disney Adventures of a Lifetime: Magical Experiences from Around the World – We’ve had a few of these “100” books from National Geographic, and they’re great at generating two things: hype and conversation. Flick through any of them and you’ll immediately feel an insatiable sense of wanderlust. Put one on your coffee table before a meeting, and travel will become the talk of the town.
Expect the same here, as this title circles the globe to cover Disney-branded theme parks and other destinations as well as real-world stops on Disney Cruise Line and Adventures by Disney itineraries. That last part is what makes this most interesting to me. He positions this book as an intriguing bridge between real and imagined lands, and a gateway for “non-Disney” friends to potentially see the parks in a different light.
Disney Parks Art Poster, Second Edition – This is an expanded and updated edition of the beloved book that holds pride of place in our library. This promises over 85 new concept posters and artwork and a behind-the-scenes story about their development.
In particular, it will present the new posters made for the reinvention of EPCOT (published during the last D23 exhibition and also displayed in the Odyssey/EPCOT experience). In the decade since the original’s release, Shanghai Disneyland has opened its doors, and various expansions all over the place have resulted in a treasure trove of new posters. We can’t wait!
The Imagineering Story: The Official Biography of Walt Disney Imagineering – This is the companion book to the highly acclaimed Disney+ documentary series, The Imagineering Story. This title greatly expands award-winning filmmaker Leslie Iwerks’ narrative on the fascinating history of Walt Disney Imagineering.
If you’ve watched Imagineering Story on Disney+, that’s probably all you need to know to make this book a must-read. If you haven’t watched Imagineering Story… well, remedy this immediately!
Walt’s Apprentice: Keeping the Disney Dream Alive – Disney Legend Dick Nunis has a reputation that precedes him, and his name is often referred to by famous Imagineers in D23 panels, as an “admirable adversary” or a beloved foil. Joe Rohde’s recent Instagram post called Nunis “a dragon in a cave” while offering a fun anecdote that is representative of tales other Imagineers have told.
If this is what Nunis’ memoir sounds like, it has the potential to be an insightful, illuminating, and even humorous read on how the “old guard” did business. My concern is that, this being a book published by Disney Editions, it will be a bit too romantic or toned down. I’ll get it anyway, hoping for the best.
Not Just a Walk in the Park: My Global Career at Disney Resort Hotels – Not an upcoming release, but still new to me and on my Christmas list is Disney Legend Jim Cora’s Memoirs. Prior to her passing last year, Cora was a fixture on the D23 scene and had some great stories.
Cora joined the company as host of Disneyland attractions in 1957 and worked her way up the National Parks ranks over the next two decades. In 1979, Jim became general manager of operations for the Tokyo Disneyland project and later took on similar roles leading the development of Euro Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea heading Disneyland International. My interest stems from all of this, as Cora is frequently cited by his colleagues as having shaped Japan’s parks into what they are today: the gold standard of Disney operations and customer service.
Santa Claus stops at Disneyland (Little Guest Book) – Finally a book adapted to my reading level! The little Disney Parks guestbooks released so far have been fantastic, with gorgeous artwork and cute stories. It mixes Christmas and Disneyland, making it a must for us.
According to Little Golden Book, the premise here is that on Christmas Eve, Santa stops at Disneyland to spread some holiday cheer before flying around the world delivering presents. It will feature artwork from beloved locations across Disneyland and makes the perfect Christmas gift. (On a related note, there is a new box of the previous Little Golden Books of the Disney Parks.)
Dawn at Mineral King Valley – This very specialized book is at the intersection of subjects that arouse a lot of personal interest: law, conservation, American national parks, Country Bears and Disney. It tells the startling story of how the U.S. Forest Service, Disney, and the Sierra Club each struggled to adapt to the rapidly changing new political landscape of environmental consciousness in postwar America.
Proposed in 1965 and approved by the federal government in 1969, Disney’s Mineral King development plan would have irreversibly altered the beautiful alpine region of the Sierra Nevada Mountains that became part of Sequoia National Park. This book chronicles how the Sierra Club successfully fended off a lawsuit that propelled the environmental era by allowing interest groups to sue environmentally destructive projects. (Remember this is a list of my intended titles, not yours. 😉 )
Disney Afternoon: Behind the Scenes of a Television Renaissance – As a kid in the 1990s, Disney afternoon was what quenched my thirst for all things everyday Disney and kept me excited about the characters between pilgrimages to the parks. It’s impossible to understand how important these shows were unless you’re also my age and also tune in every day after school.
dark duck, Gargoyles, StorySpinand DuckTales changed the game by redefining television animation. This book features behind-the-scenes stories from Disney Afternoon shows, interviews with the creative teams, and rare artwork, as well as the full history of modern times. duck tales series and its inherited links with the past.
The art of Disneyland Paris – Two of my favorite Disney books are the “Art of” titles about Walt Disney World and Disneyland, which are now long out of print and fetch absurd amounts of money on the second-hand market (both absolutely deserve a second edition). Disneyland Paris Art seems similar in nature, with a different stylistic approach. If it is even half as good as its national counterparts, it is a must.
This book promises to dive into the heart of the creation and evolution of Europe’s leading tourist destination through more than 300 photos, concepts and preparatory drawings produced by the Imagineers and artists of the Shows Department, during its 30 years of history. From first sketches to future projects, discover an art book like no other, both a souvenir album and a portfolio of passionate artists.
This is our 2022 Disney book hype list…for the moment. Disney Publishing has already announced that it will be present at Expo D23; in the past, these events were where they announced new high-profile titles. (Anything revealed at Expo D23 in September is unlikely to be released this year, though.)
As a reminder, we receive a small commission on 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 this. There are plenty of other Disney books coming out this year, but you don’t see them on this list because a lot of them look downright distasteful to me!
If you’re looking for other book recommendations for Walt Disney World, Disneyland, or beyond, check out Our Disney Theme Park Library Publish. Most new releases from the past few years will almost certainly be on sale on Amazon’s Prime Day in mid-July 2020. Many of these 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 all collectibles, prices are really all over the place for old Disney books!
If you’re planning a vacation to Walt Disney World or Disneyland, check out our planning resources! The best place to start is our vast Walt Disney World Travel Planning Guide Where Disneyland Trip Planning Guide to make the most of your experience!
From my list of the most anticipated Walt Disney World and Disneyland books coming out this year, what is a must-have for you? Any upcoming or recent Disney books you would add to the list? Questions we can help you answer? Hearing your feedback – even when you disagree with us – is both interesting for us and helpful for other readers, so share your thoughts below in the comments!