Those stockings hung by the chimney with care aren't stuffed with toys this year, but with a Yuletide collection of seasonal Disney lore. Put some extra Christmas (and Disney!) magic under your tree with Jim Korkis' jolly compendium of merry mouse tales.
The best-selling Vault of Walt series has brought serious, but fun, Disney history to tens of thousands of readers. Now in its seventh volume, the series features Disney historian and master storyteller Jim Korkis' meticulously researched, entertaining tales about Disney's films, theme parks, and Walt himself— and this time they're brimming with holiday cheer:
And best of all: you don't have to wait until Christmas morning!
Part One: Walt Disney Stories
Chapter 1: Santa Walt at Home
Chapter 2: Santa Walt at Work
Chapter 3: Walt’s Christmas Boots
Chapter 4: The Snow White Christmas Cottage
Chapter 5: Walt’s Christmas Puppy
Chapter 6: Christmas Letters to Sister Ruth
Part Two: Animation and Television Stories
Chapter 7: Mickey and the Gang Christmas Cartoons
Chapter 8: Secrets of the Santa Silly Symphonies
Chapter 9: The Making of “Mickey’s Christmas Carol”
Chapter 10: The Making of Tim Burton’s “The Nightmare Before Christmas”
Chapter 11: The First Disney TV Christmas Show: “One Hour in Wonderland”
Chapter 12: The Second Disney TV Christmas Show: “Walt Disney Christmas Show”
Chapter 13: “From All of Us to All of You”
Chapter 14: The History of “Prep & Landing”
Part Three: Disney Park Stories
Chapter 15: Christmas Parades
Chapter 16: The History of the Candlelight Processional
Chapter 17: Holiday Overlays
Chapter 18: A Carousel of Progress Christmas
Chapter 19: Obsorne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights
Chapter 20: Other Extinct WDW Christmas Traditions
Chapter 21: Magic Kingdom’s Ye Olde Christmas Shoppe
Chapter 22: Walt Disney World’s Winter Summerland Golf
Chapter 23: First Disneyland Christmas 1955
Chapter 24: First Walt Disney World Christmas 1971
Part Four: Mouse-ce-llaneous Stories
Chapter 25: The 1930s King of Christmas Toyland: Mickey Mouse
Chapter 26: Disney and Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade
Chapter 27: Disney Christmas Comic Strip
Chapter 28: An Uncle Remus Christmas Story
Chapter 29: Toys for Tots
Chapter 30: Firestone Christmas Giveaway Comic Books
Chapter 31: Walt Disney’s Christmas Parade Comic Books
Chapter 32: Stocking Stuffers
Every Christmas for years, I have been asked to share Disney-related stories about Christmas. Disney and Christmas seem to share many of the same core values: magic, family, joy, caring, celebrating.
Disney and Christmas is an opportunity for people to reconnect with the wonders of childhood. Christmas might seem incomplete without some element of Disney whether it is a cartoon, a toy, a book, or a visit to a theme park.
I decided it was time to collect some of those stories into one book as my own Disney Christmas gift. The stories fall into the same categories of my previous Vault of Walt books, so I realized I could write a special edition devoted just to the holiday.
This is not a definitive collection of Disney Christmas information. There are certainly more than enough other Disney Christmas stories to fill another edition, like the story behind the Santa Clause films, the tradition of the gingerbread houses at the WDW resorts, the Disney Christmas cards (including not just the ones sent out annually by the Disney studio but the ones produced by Hallmark since 1932 and the personal ones created by Disney artists), and Christmas-themed merchandise. For this collection, I simply chose some of my favorites, usually the ones that I get asked to tell every holiday season.
While working for Disney Adult Discoveries at Walt Disney World, I was lucky enough to be an instructor for the inaugural season of the Yuletide Fantasy backstage tour for guests and was able to contribute some research to the original script. It gave me a much greater appreciation for the attention to detail and effort involved in transforming the parks for the holiday season.
Working at WDW during the Christmas season is a different experience than during the rest of the year, and I marveled first hand at how Holiday Services decorated the parks and resorts so quickly and completely and how guests were entranced anew by the theme parks as they saw them through a new perspective.
Some of the most treasured gifts I have received for Christmas over the decades from friends and family were Disney oriented, from the Art of Animation Kit available at the Art Corner in Disneyland, to an inscribed copy of The Illusion of Life by Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston, to the Disney Treasures DVD with episodes of Zorro that I had not seen since I was a kid who dressed up in a black cape and mask while brandishing a plastic sword in the air to right wrongs.
I could fill several pages just listing all these wonderful Christmas surprises that still make me happy, so it was not hard to get into the proper mood to document a Disney Christmas even while the heat and humidity of Florida engulfed me.
When I worked at Epcot, every night during the holiday version of IllumiNations I heard the voice-over by newscaster and Disney fan Walter Cronkite that echoed around the lagoon:
During this glorious time of year, there is one message that rings out around the world in every language. Peace on earth, good will to men.
It is a wish to hold in our hearts throughout each passing year. A gift of immeasurable value. A treasure being handed down with care, from generation to generation. And so our holiday wish is that everyone, everywhere share in the spirit of the season. Peace on earth, good will to men.
It was Walt Disney himself who insisted that even though the Candlelight Processional was to celebrate Christmas that there would be no Santa Claus and no Disney characters so that the focus could be on the real reason for the season.
I think it does us all good to take a moment to look back on earlier, simpler times and treasure those things that warmed our hearts. Those memories are the true gifts of Christmas.
May the real spirit of Christmas fill our hearts for the entire year as we enjoy Walt’s gift of these magical memories that give us a little hope and happiness as we face another new year.
God bless us everyone!
Jim Korkis is an internationally respected Disney historian who has written hundreds of articles and twenty books about all things Disney over the last forty years. The Vault of Walt series began in 2012 and continues with a new edition every year.
Jim grew up in Glendale, California, where he was able to meet and interview Walt’s original team of animators and Imagineers. In 1995, he relocated to Orlando, Florida, where he worked for Walt Disney World in a variety of capacities, including Entertainment, Animation, Disney Institute, Disney University, College and International Programs, Disney Cruise Line, Disney Design Group, Marketing.
His original research on Disney history has been used often by the Disney company as well as other organizations such as the Walt Disney Family Museum.
Jim is not currently an employee of the Disney company.
Several websites currently regularly feature Jim’s articles about Disney history, and he is a frequent guest on multiple podcasts.