Monday, December 21, 2020

Disney Book Reviews

We've recommended (and not recommended) a lot of Disney books and have take the time to formally review some of them. Here, we'll provide a guide to those books we've written about in depth and provide links to those reviews.

Here are the Disney books about which we've written full reviews:

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

EPCOT Center Guide Book - Late 1983

It wasn't too long after EPCOT Center opened that their guide books changed format from a small, nearly square shaped booklet with a spinning wheel inside to the taller brochure style format we are used to today. I acquired my first of this new style guide during a family visit to Disney World in late March, 1984. This guide book is dated 1983, but the inclusion of Horizons (it was listed as "opening Fall 1983" on the guide we picked up during our 1983 Disney World trip), which opened on October 1, 1983, means this guide was from our my second trip that included a visit to EPCOT Center, in 1984.

The guide book was very similar in structure to the Magic Kingdom guides of that era, with a foldout map inside the front cover, and detailed descriptions of the attractions, shopping, and dining found in each Future World and World Showcase pavilion. Horizons is the only new pavilion added from the 1982/early 1983 map, though the "future site of The Living Seas" and "future site of Morocco" now appear on this park map. Norway wouldn't appear as a coming attraction on maps for a few more years.

The map also shows a long forgotten forerunner to the various food festival booths that would later line World Showcase Lagoon, a small seasonal spot known as the Renaissance Food Festival. I don't remember ever visiting this place, but at least there's some evidence that it actually existed thanks to Michael Crawford's Progress City, U.S.A. website.

The rest of the guide looks like most Disney guides from that time, with photo tips, recreation and other Disney World resort information, a property map, and ads for Disney films coming soon to theaters near you.




2017 - Pandora Field Guide from Disney's Animal Kingdom

During soft-opening previews for Disney's Animal Kingdom, in addition to a guide to the new land, Disney also provided guests with these "Field Guides," which included information on Na'vi language along with descriptions of some plants and animals you can see and hear while visited Pandora. If you want to know the names of the local flora and fauna or play along with the Cast Members who are still committed to the idea that guests have left a theme park and are visiting a foreign world, then this guide is still useful today.

I acquired my copy of this Field Guide during a May 19, 2017 visit.

2017 - Pandora Preview Guide from Disney's Animal Kingdom

 Disney published a guide to Pandora: The World of Avatar, which was available to guests who attended soft-opening previews during May, 2017. I attended one of these previews on May 19, 2017.

The guide lists the attractions, dining, and shopping experiences that were open at the time.

1986 Magic Kingdom Guide Book

This was nearly identical to the 1985 guide book, other than minor formatting changes to fit more words on the pages of some of the "land" detail pages and cutting the Photo Tips section from two pages to one page. This allowed for the inclusion of a section titled, "Disney Learning Adventure," which promised to "sharpen your photo skills right on the spot." In addition to instruction from a "Kodak-trained photo specialist," this three-hour session also included a 108 Kodak guide to 35mm photography.

This is the guide book my family used when we visited the Magic Kingdom in late March, 1986.


1985 Magic Kingdom Guide Book

For decades Disney has used brochure style/sized guides/maps to their parks. Earlier designs were wider and more booklike, but this new style guide was established beginning in the mid 1980s. The contents were very similar to previous guides, even using many of the same graphics, but the park map was moved to a foldout section in the front of the brochure and the map itself became a less stylized more utilitarian design that many readers will remember from their early Disney World visits.

These guide books including similar sections devoted to each "land" than were part of previous guides. Also included were nearly identical resort maps and discussion of recreation, shopping, and other things to do around the Disney World property. The photo tips section remained, though in a different format, as the park's photography sponsorship shifted from Polaroid to Kodak.

This is the guide book my family used when we visited the Magic Kingdom in late March and early April, 1985.



Your Guide to the Walt Disney World Magic Kingdom - Late 1980

I wrote about a Magic Kingdom guide that my family actually used during a March, 1981 visit to the parks, however that guide was actually published in early 1980 and the one pictured here published later on. How do I know? Because this guide shows Big Thunder Mountain Railroad on the park map and the Mickey Mouse Revue has been removed. Big Thunder opened in the Magic Kingdom on September 23, 1980, while the Mickey Mouse Revue closed in Florida on September 14, 1980.

The early and late 1980 guides are essentially the same other than those two attractions and advertising different Disney movies inside the back cover.