I’ve been publishing books about Disney theme parks since 2004.
My original expertise was Disneyland history, and a couple of my books were for their day the most advanced trivia and history books of their kind. Together with Jason Schultz, I published Magic Quizdom (a Disneyland trivia quiz book) in 2004 and 101 Things You Never Knew About Disneyland, a book about “hidden history” tributes and remnants, in 2005. The latter has now been emulated a few times, often with much better pictures and production values, but we were there first with the information and facts.
By the mid-2000s, my focus shifted to Walt Disney World. I published a similar book about tributes and homages, with ensuing editions resulting in a name change, culminating in today’s volume, Walt Disney World Hidden History (volume 2). It’s my current Gold Standard and what I try to update all the time.
My other big effort is an annual publication on what’s new, what’s changed, and what’s removed at Walt Disney World. Think of it as a yearbook, like in high school. But since it’s the home of Mickey Mouse, I call this one the ‘Earbook. I’ve published one each year since 2010. Each version has color photos of what’s been added, plus retrospectives on what was removed that year, and some timely capture of prices, operating hours, and similar details each year.
- 2010 Unofficial Walt Disney World ‘Earbook
- 2011 Unofficial Walt Disney World ‘Earbook
- 2012 Unofficial Walt Disney World ‘Earbook
- 2013 Unofficial Walt Disney World ‘Earbook
- 2014 Unofficial Walt Disney World ‘Earbook
- 2015 Unofficial Walt Disney World ‘Earbook
- 2016 Unofficial Walt Disney World ‘Earbook
As you might expect, I’ve had some time to do other things. Read on!
Top Tips Books
Top Tips for Visiting Tokyo Disney tries to provide visitors (admittedly with an English-speaking bias) with all they would need to know to visit Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea, two amazing parks that should be on anyone’s radar.
Top Tips for Visiting Disneyland Paris is a Kindle-only book that does something similar for going to Disneyland Paris. Much cheaper than most similar books!
In a class by itself are two books I did with the owners of Mousesteps.com (Jeff and Denise):
- Epcot: The First Thirty Years (2012). Trace the history of Epcot through the years with this collection of photographs from a fan’s perspective. We take you back to Horizons, World of Motion, Wonders of Life, and other pavilions that have changed over the years, like the original versions of Universe of Energy, Journey into Imagination, Spaceship Earth, and the Living Seas. We also track alternations and additions to World Showcase over time, as well as the various events and entertainment offerings. With over 500 color photographs, the vast majority of which were chosen because they illustrate items you can no longer see in today’s Epcot, this book provides a tour of the past unlike any other. There is also a black & white version of this book available as a separate title.
- Christmas at Walt Disney World (2012). Walt Disney World is known for its attention to detail. Never is it more evident than during the Christmas season. Each year brings changes around the parks and resorts. Take a photo journey with us that includes extinct guest favorites such as the Country Bear Christmas Special, an overnight visit to the Cinderella Castle Suite from Christmas week 2007, and a look around the Walt Disney World theme parks and resorts as you may see the decorations now. If you are heading to Walt Disney World for the holiday season, you’ll enjoy using this book as a guide to finding decorations and displays! Over 300 color photos are included.
If your taste includes more weighty topics, but not yet fully-academic type books with footnotes and rigidly academic prose, I’ve got two books that might fit the bill:
- Let It Go (2014): The movie Frozen was an amazing international phenomenon ripe for interpretation. This book provides some context. Why does this movie resonate so effectively with audiences? In an attempt to answer that question, this book examines the movie from multiple angles: its theme of isolation, the status of femininity, its targeting of young girls specifically, and even its appeal to the LGBT community. The book also includes the complete text of Hans Christian Andersen’s Snow Queen story, which was the original inspiration for Frozen (although much of the plot is different).
- The Original Grimms (2013): What you know as the collection of Grimms’ Fairy Tales is actually the SEVENTH edition of those stories. Even the first edition (1812) was heavily edited by the Brothers Grimm. This book does what no book before it tried to do: translate the manuscript versions of the stories from 1810. You’ll find massive differences: un-punished sisters of Cinderella, traces of incest in Snow White, and much more.
And then, there are those books that have simply died out. In 2005, I created a Walt Disney World Menu Book (this was JUST before smartphones were everywhere) that listed menu items and prices for everything at WDW–in those days, a completely manual effort. I also released Your Day at the Magic Kingdom, a kind of “select your own adventure” type of book that imagined a much younger audience.