The Magic Of Disneyland and Walt Disney World by Valerie Childs 1979

I can’t remember when I was given The Magic of Disneyland and Walt Disney World by Valerie Childs, but it must’ve been a year or so after it was published in 1979. I know we’d already taken our trip to Walt Disney World when I was around 6, but it was before we’d stayed at the Lake Buena Vista Vacation Villas. A friend of the family gave me this book, and it was pretty much my bible for the next few years. {I’d later graduate to reading the Birnbaum guides and my WDW Pictorial Souvenir books which I’d get every trip – I’ll scan some of those in soon.}

When I held the book in my hands, my first thought was how lucky Valerie Childs must be, and how much I wanted to be her when I grew up. This hardcover book was over-sized like a coffee table book and the full-color pictures were just beautiful. Our friend had also somehow gotten a few Mickey Mouse balloons {not inflated} and stuck them in the middle of the book, where there was a double-paged picture of the very same balloons. It was like a magical surprise every time I turned to that page.

The Magic of Disneland and Walt Disney World cover

I would stare at this cover wanting to BE that lady.

The Magic of Disneyland and Walt Disney World back cover

And I would stare at this back cover for ages looking at all the individual people.

I loved this book because it focused on Disneyland as well as Walt Disney World. I would take note of the differences between the two places; from the font of Land vs. World {not that I knew what a font was back then} to the rides locations of the rides. I’d never been to Disneyland {still haven’t, must remedy this!} so seeing pictures of the pirate ship or Storybook Land or the Matterhorn were like seeing snapshots of a foreign country I wanted to explore. Seeing the attractions and places I’d been to in Walt Disney World was like seeing pictures of “home”.

Now, looking at the book for the first time in quite a while and 31 years after it was published, it’s like a magical time capsule full of history. I would love to get all of the pages scanned in, but I’d have to find some industrial sized-scanner to get them all in. In the meantime, I thought I’d share a few of my favorite pages with you and we could stroll down memory lane together. For those that did not visit the parks during this time, it’ll be fun to see how things started out.

The Magic of Disneyland and Walt Disney World

The original Main Street Electrical Parade

The Magic of Disneyland and Walt Disney World

The mystical (to me) pirate ship and Matterhorn

The Magic of Disneyland and Walt Disney World

The balloon page, with 30 year-old balloons still intact

The Magic of Disneyland and Walt Disney World

Gorgeous sunset at the Empress Lily. This view is no longer possible (without Photoshop)

The Magic of Disneyland and Walt Disney World

More impossible views - The Contemporary without Bay Lake Towers (OR The Grand Floridian in the background!) and one of River Country's water slides.

I hope you enjoyed the pictures. I looked for the book online and it does appear to be on ebay. It really is one of my treasured collectibles both for the pictures it contains and the memories it brought me as a child. Do you have a favorite book in your Disney collection?

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  • Nancy

    What a beautiful book and what special memories! I think we often don't realize how important those “little” things that happen to us as children, become to us as adults…. So glad you still have the book to treasure! Thanks so much for sharing it with us. :)

  • bethchoisez

    I love this story! I too was brought into the World of Disney by a book know as The Art of Animation. It told the story of how Disney made movies focusing in on Sleeping Beauty. My mom has pictures of me at two just looking through the book like I could read it. The beauty was I could read it because of the pictures the stories told not only in the book but on the screen.

    I hope you subscribe to the theory that copying is the greatest form of flattery because I think I see a blog post coming!


  • Zanna

    Beth, thank you for the kind words! I definitely agree on the 'copying' but
    I think of it as 'inspiration' 😉 I was just saying the other day that that
    is what's so great about Disney – almost everything's already been 'done'
    but there is always more room for discussion!

    That's such a wonderful story from your childhood too!

  • Zanna

    So very true. It was definitely easy to be dazzled by Disney, I'm just so
    grateful my parents felt the same way and kept returning to the World! 😉

    Thank YOU for reading and commenting!

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  • wdwprince

    Hi Zanna,
    I bought this book a few months back on Ebay and cheap! The only pic I'm fascinated with in this book is the one taken inside of the long gone antiques store in WDW. It's the only pic I've ever seen of it. I'll post it over on my site for those who want to see.

  • Zanna

    Ooh, I'm going to have to look for that in the book right now! I must've
    avoided it because as a child, my parents dragged me to approximately 3,725
    antique shops, so I grew an aversion to them. 😉 Feel free to post the link
    when you add it to your site!

    Thanks for the comment!

  • Holly

    I *remember* that book!! Those pictures were worthy of staring, too. I love the balloons saved inside!! Your memories of looking at the pictures really brought back some memories of my own. By any chance, do you know of an Epcot book that was published around the same time (maybe a little after this one) about the conceptualization of Epcot? I'm pretty sure it came out before the park opened. It was my “other” favorite Disney book. Both are long gone now — and I'm thankful that you've made me remember them.

  • Zanna

    I'm glad this brought back memories! I don't remember specifically a book
    about Epcot, but I'm sure it exists. 😀 I have a few of the paper back books
    WDW would sell with pictures of all the parks, I'll be posting pictures from
    them soon.

    Thanks for your comment!

  • George Taylor

    The book that Beth is asking about is Walt Disney's Epcot Center by Richard Baird. There are three copies of it in print. One is before opening and has pictures of Pavilion models instead of actual shots. The one after opening has more area photographs of the Pavilions. There is also one that is half the size of the other two and was published a few years later. Make sure to get a copy of the 1982 or 1983 edition.

  • Zanna

    Oh, George, I should've known you'd come to the rescue! I will have to look
    that up since I love pre and original EPCOT. Thank you for the information!

  • Chrissy

    …what wonderful memories of a special book!!! The book seems so familiar to me…I am not sure if we might have had a copy or not. I do recall that, at the tender age of eight, I knew I wanted to be a Walt Disney World Ambassador…my mother kept my third grade essay about it for the longest time!!! You and I are two peas in a pod!!! One of my favorite Disney books, to this day, is “Walt Disney's Story Land”…it would captivate me for hours!!! Thanks for sharing such special memories!!!

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