Book Review + Giveaway: The Hidden Magic of Walt Disney World

In the recently released 3rd edition of The Hidden Magic of Walt Disney World, penned by Susan Veness, you’ll find more than 600 secrets and fascinating tidbits about Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom. In this new edition, Susan takes a closer look at subtle “hidden but not so hidden” details that make up the stories and experiences woven throughout the parks.

It answers questions you had and questions you didn’t know you had.

The best-selling book is a fascinating read for anyone who’s visited, wants to visit or is planning to visit Disney World. It’s a must-read for both die-hard Disney fans and casual observers who appreciate Disney’s attention to detail.

I read the book on my flight to Walt Disney World last month and thoroughly enjoyed seeing in person many of the secrets discussed in the book.

The Hidden Magic of Walt Disney World is divided into four chapters — one for each park. While this makes it easy to flip to a certain chapter if you’re interested in one specific park, I recommend reading it from cover to cover.

Each chapter is introduced by a simple map with 12 points of interest. If you’re at the park with the book (which I recommend bringing along with you), you can use it as a scavenger hunt of sorts as you traverse the park. The chapters conclude with a timeline of the park from its announcement to present day. Between the introduction and timeline are fascinating stories and details about each park’s rides, shows, shops and restaurants.

Sprinkled throughout the book are “Imagine That!” callouts that delve into the world of Disney Imagineering and give additional context to the attractions’ designs and theming. Trivia gurus will love the “Fascinating Fact” callouts that were made for trivia nights. Some of those tidbits don’t relate directly to the attraction but detail backstories or historical significance of some of the attractions.

The book covers Disney attractions both new and old — from Main Street, U.S.A. at Magic Kingdom to Toy Story Land at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. No stone (or ride) is left unturned.

Star Wars fans, rejoice. There is a slew of secrets and often-overlooked details about the new Galaxy’s Edge land at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. The book doesn’t stop at the marquee attractions such as Rise of the Resistance — rather, it explores every facet and corner of the expansive land. Even avid Star Wars aficionados will likely walk away learning something new about the ground-breaking new area.

The book also uncovers secrets about other recent additions to the Disney World attraction lineup like Flight of Passage at Pandora inside Animal Kingdom, as well as Hollywood Studios newcomers Slinky Dog Dash and Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway.

Of course, with behind-the-scenes facts about Disney “hidden magic” inevitably comes with some spoilers. If you’ve never been to Walt Disney World or want to avoid ruining the magic, I recommend saving the book for when you get back from your trip.

Author Susan Veness

While the book has no photos, Susan Veness is a gifted writer and does a tremendous job describing in detail many of the sights discussed in the book.

Overall, I highly recommend giving The Hidden Magic of Walt Disney World, 3rd edition a read. It is a page-turner that is nearly impossible to put down and makes for a great accompaniment to your next Disney adventure.

About the Author

Susan Veness is an international travel writer, researcher and planner with a focus on Disney World and other Florida theme parks. She’s authored six books in the Hidden Magic of Walt Disney World series along with other Disney-related titles. She’s been visiting Disney World since it opened in 1971.


Where to buy The Hidden Magic of Walt Disney World

The Hidden Magic of Walt Disney World, 3rd Edition by Susan Veness is available for purchase from these online retailers and bookstores:

The book may also be available at other retailers.


Hidden Magic of Walt Disney World Book Giveaway

Update: Congratulations to Donna M. for winning the giveaway. Thanks to everyone who entered!

For a chance to win a copy of Hidden Magic of Walt Disney World, 3rd Edition, leave a comment below letting us know your favorite Walt Disney World attraction.

Giveaway rules:

  • One entry (comment) per person.
  • Enter by Monday, November 16, 2020 at 11:59 p.m. CT.
  • You must include a valid email address when leaving a comment so that we may contact you if you are selected as a winner.
  • The selected winner will have 24 hours to respond to our email requesting a mailing address.

If you’re interested in adding another Walt Disney World book to your collection, I also recommend Susan’s Walt Disney World Hacks book that we reviewed last year.

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8 Responses

  1. Rajee Pandi says:

    I love Magic Kingdom Harry Potter attraction

  2. Donna M says:

    I love the Haunted Mansion!

  3. Neil Wilson says:

    Splash Mountain was my favourite. It has so many animatronics (rather than projections) combined with 6 drops and a catchy tune. A real shame that it also ties in with a film that downplayed the horrors of slavery. My favourite now is either Dinosaur or It’s a Small World, for the feel good factor.

  4. Renee G says:

    I love Pirates of the Caribbean.

  5. Turner says:

    I don’t get to go to Disney often and it’ll be a few years since I have a toddler now, but I love behind the scenes stuff!

  6. Kenny Vee says:

    I’m going to have to go with Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. I grew up on Disneyland, so on my first visit to Walt Disney World, Big Thunder blew me away — from the interactive elements in the queue, to rumbling through the town of Tumbleweed, which Disneyland’s version of the attraction lacks, it seems that even the tracks at the two parks are nearly (but not exact) mirror images of each other, Walt Disney World’s version has Disneyland’s beat hands down.

    Unlike Walt Disney World’s Pirates of the Caribbean, which is a great attraction but is missing about a third of the ride compared to Disneyland’s version.

  7. Devin Schroath says:

    This sounds like a great book! Loved the article!

  8. Butch Bennett says:

    The Haunted Mansion is my all time favorite!! It never gets old!!

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