The best books on Disney

The Books I Picked & Why

Three Years in Wonderland: The Disney Brothers, C. V. Wood, and the Making of the Great American Theme Park

By Todd James Pierce

Three Years in Wonderland: The Disney Brothers, C. V. Wood, and the Making of the Great American Theme Park

Why this book?

This is an excellent book on understanding how Disneyland developed and some of the crazy things that Walt Disney was advised to do for his theme park. What I love about this book is the full behind-the-scenes look at how Disneyland came into being and the philosophy behind the decisions that were made in those early years.   


When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

The Art and Flair of Mary Blair: An Appreciation

By John Canemaker, Mary Blair

The Art and Flair of Mary Blair: An Appreciation

Why this book?

This book celebrates the artistry and legacy of Walt Disney’s key talents not only in animation but in the theme park attraction design. Mary Blair’s influence can be seen in animated classics like Disney’s Cinderella (1950), Alice in Wonderland (1951), and Peter Pan (1953) to Disneyland’s It’s a Small World and the mural at the Contemporary Resort at Walt Disney World, just to name a few. In a studio dominated by men, Blair rose to the top based on her talent for design and color styling. A wonderfully written book that showcases an artistic genius who brought magic to every project she worked on at Disney.   


When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

The Illusion of Life

By Frank Thomas, Ollie Johnson

The Illusion of Life

Why this book?

This was one of my first animation books and by far the bible of classic Disney animation. The book explains the Disney animation process step-by-step including the 12-principles of animation, which applies to all animation techniques and is the foundation of great animation. This is a book that you will reference for a lifetime if you are pursuing a career in animation. 


When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

Disney War

By James B. Stewart

Disney War

Why this book?

This insightful book gives a glimpse into CEO Michael Eisner’s reign at The Walt Disney Company. As one reviewer put it, “Stewart assembles a withering portrait of Eisner as a grasping, self-centered, manipulative, and ultimately self-destructive executive.” Having worked at Disney during this time period, Disney War is the closest account next to actually being there during those turbulent years. A must-read for students of Disney.


When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

Wild Minds: The Artists and Rivalries That Inspired the Golden Age of Animation

By Reid Mitenbuler

Wild Minds: The Artists and Rivalries That Inspired the Golden Age of Animation

Why this book?

Wild Minds is a wonderful and engrossing history of the early days of the animation industry. From Winsor McCay to Otto Messmer, Max Fleischer, and Walt Disney, this book twists and turns weaving a fantastic tapestry of the talented and highly competitive artists that invented animation techniques that are still being used today. Read about the choices Fleischer and Disney made that ended the former and vaulted the latter into stardom. A wild read for any animation history buff. 


When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

Closely Related Book Lists

Distantly Related Book Lists

Random Book Lists