Book Review + Giveaway: The Independent WDW Encyclopedia – Magic Kingdom
The Independent Walt Disney World Encyclopedia, Volume 1: Magic Kingdom by Kevin Yee and George Taylor is an extensive, all-encompassing listing of attractions, restaurants, shops and other points of interest in the Magic Kingdom theme park at Walt Disney World. The book is packed with over 400 entries of information that span the theme park’s 50-year history. I was sent a copy from the authors, and I couldn’t put it down.
Keep reading to see how you could win a copy of the book!
The Independent Walt Disney World Encyclopedia Vol 1: Magic Kingdom was written by George Taylor (left) and Kevin Yee (right).
While the book is, as the title suggests, an independent endeavor not officially endorsed by The Walt Disney Company, you would think it was written by a team of archivists employed by Disney. After finishing the first page of entries, I could tell Kevin and George’s research was meticulous. The sources they referenced while writing the book include park guide maps, official books, the Walt Disney World website, D23 (the official Disney fan club) and a number of others.
With 50+ years of history to sift through, this book was no easy feat. But their work paid off. This book is overflowing with information, some of which even the most expert Walt Disney World fanatic might not know.
The book is full of trivia and fun facts. For instance, I had no idea that Barnstormer at Goofy’s Wiseacre Farm — the kid-friendly coaster that opened in 1996 — replaced a petting zoo, Grandma Duck’s Petting Farm. As a fan of adaptive reuse, I loved that the barn from the Petting Farm was incorporated into the Barnstormer ride experience.
The book made me long for the Magic Kingdom of years past. To celebrate Walt Disney World’s 25th anniversary, Cinderella Castle was painted and decorated to look like a giant birthday cake.
Cinderella Castle during Walt Disney World’s 25th anniversary (left) and just before the 50th anniversary (right).
The whimsical retheme might look a little goofy compared to the 50th-anniversary castle, but it was nonetheless a stunning sight to behold — and one that we’ll likely never see again.
While most of the entries in the book are relatively short, others — for some of the theme park’s more iconic attractions — are lengthier and more detailed. This was certainly the case for the former Snow White’s Scary Adventures attraction, which opened with the park in 1971 and closed in 2012 to make way for the new-and-improved Fantasyland.
The book also covers entire lands, offering readers an insightful yet concise overview of areas like Mickey’s Toontown Fair, which also closed to make way for New Fantasyland. I learned that it was the only land to be built after Magic Kingdom’s opening — and the only to be removed from the park entirely.
The book is perfect to read before or after your next trip to Walt Disney World — or if you’re just curious to learn what all Magic Kingdom has to offer (spoiler: it’s a lot).
If you’re a Walt Disney World veteran, this read will be a trip down memory lane, although you’re almost guaranteed to learn something you didn’t know before. If you’ve only visited the park once or twice, you’ll want to go back to see all the things you missed.
If the book seems overwhelming, don’t worry. It concludes with an extensive index, so finding entries about a specific ride or attraction is easy.
The Independent Walt Disney World Encyclopedia Book Giveaway
For a chance to win your own copy of The Independent Walt Disney World Encyclopedia Vol 1: Magic Kingdom, leave a comment below with your favorite attraction at Magic Kingdom, past or present (even if you haven’t ridden it or seen it in person). We will randomly select one winner to receive a copy of the book.
Enter by Saturday, Nov. 27, 2021, at 11:59 p.m. ET.
- One entry per person.
- You must include a valid email address so that we can contact you if your name is drawn.
- The winner must respond within 24 hours to remain eligible.
- We are only able to ship prizes within the United States.
We’d like to thank Kevin and George for sharing their book with us. We can’t wait to read future volumes of The Independent Walt Disney World Encyclopedia!