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?