Main Street Book Club
Disney Nerds and Book Nerds Assemble!
This is the place where we keep track of all the awesome Disney-related books that have made the biggest impact on us. It’s a work in progress, so keep checking back because our plan is to add news favorites every few weeks!
Coming in 2023
People Behind the Disney Parks: Stories of Those Honored with a Window on Main Street U.S.A.
On Sept. 9 at the D23 Expo, we learned about a new book coming out in September of 2023 that we are really excited about. It’s called, People Behind the Disney Parks: Stories of Those Honored with a Window on Main Street U.S.A. It’s by Chuck Snyder with original art by Josie Tsao (check out the cover at the right to see how astounding those illustrations are going to be).
For fans who wish to know more about the names on the Main Street windows, this book dives deep into all that. Not just anyone can get a window on Main Street. Those honored are people who had the belief and imagination to make the Disney parks a reality. The windows are named after planners, developers, virtuosos in everything from music to science, business people, advocates, artists, caretakers, and visionaries. If you’d like to preorder a copy of the book, you can do so at books.disney.com. When our copy arrives, we’ll add more to this page!
Original Stories That Led to Disney Films
The Adventures of Pinocchio
The Adventures of Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi started as out as a magazine series for children in 1881 and was published in book form in 1833. But don’t let the thought that it’s a “children’s book” stop you from enjoying this masterpiece of Italian literature. Pinocchio is a journey into the struggles of Italy’s poor, a commentary on government corruption, and a story of redemption. You’ll find that the character of Pinocchio resembles Bart Simpson more than the Disney version of Pinocchio most people know from the 1940 Disney animated film.
The Vault of Walt
You might say The Vault of Walt by Jim Korkis is the book that started it all for us at Main Street Pop In. When we learned that Cinderella’s Golden Carrousel was originally built over 100 years ago for an amusement park in Detroit, we had to know more. It led to our first Attraction Focus article and well, here we are four years later, still writing.
We love the Vault of Walt Series (currently it includes 9 books). Book One (red) contains 28 short stories. Read about Walt and Lily’s 30th Wedding Anniversary, the Premier of the Soviet Union not being allowed to visit Disneyland, and the simple foods Walt preferred to eat.
Published in 2010 and revised in 2012.
An American Original: Walt Disney
First off, we want to recommend the definitive biography about Walt Disney, An American Original: Walt Disney by Bob Thomas.
Mr. Thomas includes all the essential information a person might want to know about Walt Disney’s childhood, business ventures, family, failures, and untimely death. It’s not too long or overly saccharine.
First published in 1976, we recommend reading the updated 1994 version.
Mary Blair’s Unique Flair
2019’s Mary Blair’s Unique Flair written by Amy Novesky and Illustrated by Brittney Lee is as engaging of a book as the brilliant artist it is written about. So many visual pieces of the Disney empire came from the talent of Mary Blair — “it’s a small world”, a dog named Lady, an elephant named Dumbo, Cinderella, Alice in Wonderland, and Peter Pan.
Mrs. Blair was one of the artists who accompanied Walt to South America on a goodwill tour. There, her love of color blossomed into something the world had never seen before — fuchsia seas and turquoise moons.
Mary Blair’s Unique Flair is a gem. The illustrations, done in cut paper, are stunning and dapper.
Books About Imagineers
Claude Coats: Walt Disney’s Imagineer, The Making of Disneyland from Toad Hall to the Haunted Mansion and Beyond
An inspiring and beautiful new coffee table book, Claude Coats: Walt Disney’s Imagineer, The Making of Disneyland from Toad Hall to the Haunted Mansion and Beyond, is coming to bookstores in November and it truly is a MUST HAVE for Disney history fans.
Written by David A. Bossert, the book covers the career of Claude Coats’ and his time creating attractions for Disneyland in the 1950s and 60s. An original Imagineer, Coats was the genius behind many beloved attractions, such as Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride (1955), Alice in Wonderland (1958), The Grand Canyon Diorama (1958), Submarine Voyage (1959), The Primeval World Diorama (1966), Pirates of the Caribbean (1967), Adventure Thru Inner Space (1967), and The Haunted Mansion (1969).
Marc Davis in His Own Words: Imagineering the Disney Theme Parks
If you are someone who has read a lot of books about the Disney Company and is hungry for something new (especially never before seen photos and concept art) then check out Marc Davis in His Own Words: Imagineering the Disney Theme Parks by Pete Docter and Christopher Merritt.
While many Disney employees were “jacks-of-all-trades”, Mr. Davis was beyond compare. He was an animator, storyteller, character developer, and ride designer. Walt said, “Marc can do anything I ask.”
Marc Davis in His Own Words was published in 2019. It comes in a two-volume set and weighs a hefty 10 ½ pounds. The authors sat down with Mr. Davis and recorded him telling stories, so charmingly, a lot of the book’s text is transcribed from those interviews. Most intriguing are the art and photos. Even mundane office memos are included and they feel like historical gold.
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