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The Disney Parks are magical destinations for fans on each visit, but it can be difficult to channel that magic once vacations are over. However, several Disneyland and Walt Disney World rides have been featured in officially published books that expand on their lore or add new twists to iconic aspects. We recommend a few fiction novels for Disney fans looking to have more adventures outside the park.
Haunted Mansion Titles Unofficially Add to the Ride’s Lore
“Tales from the Haunted Mansion” is a four-book series that is written by the fictional author Amicus Arcane and published by Disney Press. Each volume is a collection of independent stories inspired by the Disney Park attraction. The stories follow different characters and take inspiration from elements of The Haunted Mansion. Amicus Arcane is a librarian who presents stories with brief commentary in a similar way to the Crypt Keeper. However, in this role, he serves as the readers’ Ghost Host. The four volumes in the series include “The Fearsome Foursome,” “Midnight at Madame Leota’s,” “Grim Grinning Ghosts,” and “Memento Mori.” There are also several illustrations in each book in the series. These books were published between 2016 and 2019.
“Haunted Mansion: Storm and Shade” by Claudia Gray was published in August 2023, making it one of the newest Disney Park-inspired publications released by the Walt Disney Company. This original novel follows a high school student named Audrey Perez, who moves to a new town, the home of the iconic Haunted Mansion. The fate of the 999 ghostly residents is in the hands of Audrey and her friends as she deals with typical teenage drama with a Disney Park-inspired backdrop. Claudia Gray previously wrote the Evernight novel series but is likely best known by Disney fans for her Star Wars novels, including “Lost Stars” and “Bloodline.” While official Disney books, these aren’t necessarily canon to the ride.
“Kingdom Keepers” Explores the Disney Parks
The “Kingdom Keepers” series by Ridley Pearson may be one of the best-known middle-grade Disney Park-centered novels. It consists of six novels set at Walt Disney World and one set at Disneyland, the first of which is “Disney After Dark.” The story follows five teens who have been selected to be hologram-projected tour guides at WDW. However, this project also allows them to enter the park as their holographic selves after hours when they’ve gone to sleep. The team investigates strange happenings at the four major parks as iconic characters come to life after hours.
“The Insider” is the first “Kingdom Keepers” novel to take place at Disneyland and is the last in the main series. It still follows the primary five teens. This middle-grade series blends magic with adventure and mystery. It’s worth noting this first series was published between 2004 and 2014, which means there are quite a few outdated park layouts and attractions. This makes it a fun look into older elements of the park, allowing it to be charming for older fans and a bit of a park history for younger readers.
Also included is a spin-off novel and novella as part of “The Fairlies” series. The Fairlies are introduced in the first series, then their magic abilities are used to solved a mystery related to the Kingdom Keepers’ main characters. These two spin-offs expand the lore and bridge aspects of the main story. “The Unforeseen” happens between the sixth and seventh “Kingdom Keepers” books, while “The Syndrome” takes place after “The Insider.” “The Return” is a sequel series that expands the main characters’ adventures in the parks. It sees them experience opening day of Disneyland as well as other moments in the park’s early development. “The Return” includes “Disney Lands,” “Legacy of Secrets,” and “Disney At Last.”
The newest books in the “Kingdom Keepers” series are part of “The Inheritance.” This series continues the legacy of the original characters. The first book, “The Shimmer,” was published in February 2023, with a sequel set to release in 2024, titled “Villains Realm.” It presents the story and its park-related adventures to a new audience of readers who are ready to begin their own after-closing Disney Park adventures. Despite some layout and attraction discrepancies in the early parts of the series, the new adventures allow for some modern updates to be accounted for.
Having only opened in May 2019, Galaxy’s Edge is a newer addition to the Disney parks. In August 2019, “A Crash of Fate” by Zoraida Córdova was published by Disney-Lucasfilm Press. This book, as well as its sequel, “Black Spire” by Delilah S. Dawson, provide original stories that explore Batuu. The first book follows a smuggler and a farmer, while “Black Spire” centers on the Resistance’s struggle against the First Order, telling how the land adds to that portion of Star Wars lore. They detail the history of Batuu as the first official, canon Star Wars novels that add to a Disney Park experience. These books are a must for Star Wars fans wanting to know everything about Batuu.
Children’s Picture Books
Parents looking to add more Disney Park magic to their children’s lives also have quite a few options available to bring the parks home. These include several Little Golden Books, a couple of Pirates of the Caribbean-centric titles, and a trip down the world’s rivers with the Jungle Cruise. These are all picture books, shifting from a pure focus on novels.
There have been numerous Little Golden Books published that center on classic Disney Park rides and icons, including one titled “The Orange Bird.” Another title, “Mickey’s Walt Disney World Adventure,” celebrates the 50th anniversary of WDW, updating the book from the 25th anniversary edition from 1997. A holiday offering is “Santa Stops at Disneyland,” published in 2022. Another classic title is the 1955 book “Little Man of Disneyland” and its sequel, “Little Man of Disneyland: A Change of Luck.” They follow a leprechaun living in the park. The newest Little Golden Book features a focus on an EPCOT icon in “Figment.” It features lyrics from “One Little Spark” and introduces young readers to Journey Into Imagination With Figment.
Disney’s “Climb Aboard if You Dare: Stories from the Pirates of the Caribbean” is inspired by the ride, not the film. It features five original, spooky tales focused on pirates. Characters from the films are not featured in this book, setting it apart from other Pirates of the Caribbean books, such as “Jack Sparrow,” which follows the titular hero in his younger days of piracy, or “Legends of the Brethren Court,” which adds to the lore of the movies. Instead, this book focuses on original pirates, like Sharkheart Sam and the Buzzard’s Bounty ship. This is a longer book, so it’s best for slightly older young readers.
The “Disney Parks Presents” picture book series is now a bit harder to find, but it includes stories centered on iconic Disney Park attractions. The first is The Haunted Mansion, with others including Pirates of the Caribbean, Space Mountain, and Jungle Cruise. These stories retell the rides in a book format while coming with audio CDs. They can primarily be found secondhand now. In 2018, a similar line includes board books, with a “Jungle Cruise: Animals!” story as well as “it’s a small world: Shapes!” They are published by Penguin Random House.
While more books could be available for Disney Park fans, current offerings add original lore and adventures to iconic rides and locations. They span young reader to teen reader demographics, though adults can enjoy several just as much. Fans should also look out for other Disney-inspired titles not centered on the parks to bring even more Disney magic home between visits.
What are your favorite Disney Park reads? Share reading recommendations in the comments.