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Robert Niles

Christmas gifts for theme park fans: 2011

Published: November 27, 2011 at 10:30 PM

Looking for a Christmas gift for a fellow theme park fan? Or need some links to drop to your friends and family as a hint? Here are some suggestions:


Walt and the Promise of Progress CityIf you're a Disney fan who loves reading about the history of Walt Disney World, as I am, be sure to ask for "Walt and the Promise of Progress City" by Sam Gennawey. [$19.99 from Amazon, or $9.99 for Kindle] We talked with Sam earlier this month about the book, which walks us through what Disney World would have been like, had Walt lived to build it his way.

Later today, we'll be posting our interview with Steve Barrett, "The Hidden Mickey Guy," talking about his latest Disney guidebook: "Disneyland's Hidden Mickeys: A Field Guide to the Disneyland Resort's Best-Kept Secrets." [$9.95 from Amazon]. Steve discovered Hidden Mickeys soon after falling in love with Walt Disney World as a tourist two decades ago. In addition to the new Disneyland guide, Steve also offers a Walt Disney World Hidden Mickey guide, as well. [$8.99 from Amazon, and $7.19 for Kindle] Update: And here's the interview!

Stories from a Theme Park InsiderIf you're looking for some laughs, or some fun, warm moments to keep you in the mood between Disney World visits, be sure you include "Stories from a Theme Park Insider" [$2.99 for Kindle] on your holiday shopping list. That's our first official TPI eBook, and it's a must-read for any Disney or theme park fan.

I've included several links to Kindle editions, since many readers are choosing to read eBook versions these days. Now, you can read eBooks on an iPad or smartphone using various apps, but if you want to put a Kindle on your holiday wish list, or click now to buy one for a reader on your gift list, here are several Kindle readers to consider, from a basic reader at $79, up to the new Kindle Fire tablet at $199.


You don't have to go to the park to buy souvenirs any longer. Disney, Universal and SeaWorld Parks each have set up online stores to sell their previously in-park-only merchandise. Here are the links:

And if you can't decide among all these other selections, you also can buy gift cards from Universal Orlando and Disney. The Disney cards also are valid at all Disney Stores, in addition to participating in-park merchandise stores.

Happy holidays... and happy shopping!

Update: By the way, if you didn't know, you can send an eBook as a gift via Amazon. Just click the "Give as Gift" link. (You'll just need to know the recipient's email address.)

Also, the folks at Holiday World nicely asked me to throw in a link to their HoliShop, which includes a fun selection of items from the park.

If you would like to request additional links, please let me know in the comments, and I'll track 'em down for ya.

Replies (2)

Brian Emery

Published: November 28, 2011 at 9:50 AM

Hello Robert..

I was thinking about Celebration Florida and wondering if anything from this book – Walt and the promise – are applicable. Celebration is a master planned community therefore I am wondering if any futuristic ideas or planes were Implemented?

Plus the other day I was looking at WWOHP at universal site and I saw a blurb from TPI – “Best new ride in 2010” - It was nice to see…

Robert Niles

Published: November 28, 2011 at 10:05 AM

Hi Brian,

Sam and I talked a little about that in our interview, and Sam goes into greater detail in the book. Basically, Celebration is nothing like what Walt envisioned for EPCOT.

There are some elements of New Urbanism, which is the post-modern successor to the type of pedestrian-friendly, transit-based modernist development Walt envisioned, in Celebration. (Specifically, having the garages in back of the homes and keeping the houses close together.) But the lack of public transit coupled with the sharp division of residential and commercial development within Celebration undermine New Urbanism concepts.

Personally, I think parts of my hometown of Pasadena, California are a lot closer to EPCOT-like concepts than Disney's Celebration, where my parents live.

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