Escaping with Disney Between the Parks

Posted:  Great Ideas!

Hello everyone! Going to Disney parks and staying in Disney resorts is such a great experience, one that should be repeated whenever possible! But I often ask myself… what do you do in between trips (aside from plan for the next trip, of course)?

For readers like myself, diving into the pages of a book can feel the same type of magic that watching Disney movies or exploring the parks can bring, and there are also plenty of books to make you feel that Disney magic! I have compiled a list of my favorites to share with you!


A Twisted Tale

Three “A Twisted Tale” Books with Flowers in the background

 In 2015, Disney’s publishing company Disney Press started releasing an anthology series of twisted fairy tales based on the classic Disney and Pixar films, entitled “A Twisted Tale,” where they explored the traditional stories we all know and love with small twists in them!

 The series started out with a story based on Aladdin called “A Whole New World.” The book asks the question, what if Aladdin had never found the lamp but instead Jafar?

Jafar makes similar wishes as in the film, where he wishes to be the most powerful sorcerer in the world, and he begins to wreak havoc upon Agrabah as Aladdin and Jasmine must team up without the help of Genie or the lamp!

 The next book published was based on Aurora and Sleeping Beauty’s tale, called “Once Upon a Dream.” 

This one is told entirely from the perspective of a sleeping Aurora who was never awoken from her slumber because Prince Phillip was also drawn into a slumber before he could give Aurora True Loves Kiss! Aurora must fight her way out of her dreams while battling Maleficent’s witchy spell!

 This one is really a coming-of-age story for Aurora as she fights her way out while simultaneously figuring out who she truly is. I personally really love Malificent as a villain, so I was so excited to read more of a story with her in it! However, I also was intrigued to read more about Aurora’s character since we see so little of her in the movie (at least awake, that is!)

 The last one I will tell you a bit about was the third published in the series, entitled “As Old as Time,” based on Beauty and the Beast. It explores the question, What if Belle’s mother cursed the Beast?

All three mentioned “A Twisted Tale” Novels

 This one had me really intrigued because we know very little of Belle’s mother, as well as the Enchantress that cursed the Beast. In the live-action adaption, we do get to see the Enchantress and learn more about Belle’s mother and their time in Paris, but it still does leave a lot to interpretation, so I found this story very interesting! I loved the idea that Belle and the Beast had an additional connection, more so than just finding each other, and it added an extra level of conflict to their already complicated dynamic!

 I have only read these three so far, but I am dying to get to the next ones! They really are a fun twist on these classic Disney tales that we’ve all seen countless times! They also are a great way to keep you on your toes while also getting to revisit beloved characters!

These first three are all written by Liz Braswell, and since then, Disney Press has included other authors to share many more retellings, such as stories based on Anna and Elsa from Frozen, Princess Tiana, Hercules, Peter Pan, and Wendy, Mulan, Alice and Wonderland, and many!


Tales from the Haunted Mansion

Haunted Mansion Building

 If you are interested in something a bit darker and are a fan of the Haunted Mansion ride, I would suggest the “Tales from the Haunted Mansion” series! I found these books on my last Disney trip when I popped into the Memento Mori gift shop, which can be found just beside the Haunted Mansion ride at Walt Disney World! You can also find these books online to tide you over until your next trip!

 There are four different Volumes (but there’s room for a thousand!), titled “The Fearsome Foursome,” “Midnights at Madame Leota’s,” “Grim Grinning Ghosts,” and “Memento Mori.”

Tales from the Haunted Mansion Novel with Roses and Skull decor

 The books are told from the point of view of the mansion librarian, Amicus Arcane, who shares his haunted tales in the form of short stories spread out over the four books. They are super fun, and anyone that was a fan of the Goosebump series will be a fan of these books!  

 The stories are also all very individual, so you can go in any order throughout the series. They all begin with a Lemony Snicket-style introduction where the mansion librarian heeds a warning to you before he continues to the start of the short stories. There are also a lot of great nods to the ride, such as being told that the “ghosts will follow you home.” So, if you love that ride as much as I do, you will get a kick out of these tales!


Art Of… 

 For anyone interested in the behind-the-scenes side of Disney movies and want to see the breakdown of how the characters are designed, their costume and settings are made, storyboards of the film, and many, many other cool behind-the-scenes facts, then I would recommend checking out the “Art Of” Series of books.

The Art of... Novels for Up, Tangled, and Onward

 There are so many of these books for Disney, Pixar, and even Marvel movies. They take a lot of the concept art from these movies and compile them into these books to give you a closer look at how these movies are made, and it’s really cool!

Concept Art for The Snuggly Duckling from “The Art Of Tangled” Novel

As you can see above, they include a lot of pencil sketches, storyboards, concept pieces, as well as digital pieces, and even color scripts from the films! You really get to see the beginning stages of the films, right up until the final designs that end up in the films!

Concept Art for Flynn Ryder from “The Art Of Tangled” Novel

 There are also a lot of quotes and passages from the Directors, Animators, and production team to highlight all the hard work and emotion they put into these projects that end up on our screens to bring us endless joy!

Concept Art for Karl and Ellie from “The Art Of Up” Novel


Classic Disney tales 

 Lastly, I will leave you with a suggestion to read any of the classic tales that inspired Disney in the first place! There are hundreds of fantastic classic books for all ages that have inspired Walt Disney World and the Disney team to create the magic tales we know and love now. You might be surprised how many were books first!

 Some of those are great tales such as:

  • Peter Pan,
  • Alice in Wonderland,
  • Mary Poppins,
  • 101 Dalmatians,
  • The Sword in the Stone,
  • The Rescuers,
  • Meet the Robinsons
  • The Jungle Book
  • Tarzan,
  • and many more…  

Peter Pan, Alice in Wonderland, and Winnie the Pooh Novels

My personal favorite, and the one I will recommend the most: Winnie the Pooh by A. A. Milne.

For anyone who hasn’t had a chance to see the Winnie the Pooh films, they follow the tales of a silly bear named “Winnie-the-Pooh,” or “Pooh” for short. In the movies, we watch as he and his friends wander around the Hundred Acre Wood as they stumble upon mischief—often in the sticky hands of Pooh bear as he searches for Hunny in one of his friend’s houses and gets stuck, or rather up a tree where he runs into a hive of bees. But together, he and his pals find their way out and often end their tales with a party as they gather together.

Winnie the Pooh Novels with Winnie the Pooh ornaments

Growing up, I always loved Winnie the Pooh. I was very obsessed with that honey-loving, rumbly-tumble, silly old bear. I adore the tales of Pooh Bear and his friends, Tigger, Piglet, Eeyore, Kanga, Roo, Rabbit, Owl, and of course, Christopher Robin. The books bring the same warmth to your heart as the movies do, as you turn the pages to read along to see what trouble Pooh Bear and his friends get up to next!

Winnie the Pooh and Piglet 50th Anniversary Statue

For now, these are all the suggestions I have! I hope you enjoy your reading to lull you over until your next Disney trip! If anyone else has some good Disney tales to share, I would love to add them to my reading list!



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