Disney Photography Blog

Christmas at Walt Disney World – Photo Book Review

By Adam Hansen on December 12th, 2011   |    Posted in:  Articles   |    31 Comments

Contest for a free copy of the book has ended, congratulations to Jeffrey Holmes for winning.

People who have been to Walt Disney World Resort during Christmas will tell you that there is no better time to visit. Beginning in early November and running through New Years, the resort transforms into a Christmas paradise with decorations at all the parks and resorts. Today I want to review a book I received last week which I think many of our readers will enjoy. Denise Preskitt over at Mousesteps has published her first book, Christmas at Walt Disney World – An Unofficial Pictorial of the Christmas Season through the Years at the Parks and Resorts, which showcases over 300 photos from Walt Disney World during the Christmas season.

Before I proceed with the review, I want to make it clear up front that I was sent a free copy of the book by the author so that I could give a review.

About the book

Christmas at Walt Disney World includes over 300 color photos taken throughout the parks, resorts and Downtown Disney. You will find photos showing the small details that go into each of the parks decorations along with photos from parades, shows, attractions and everything else that makes this seasons so special at Walt Disney World.

At just under 100 pages, that is a lot of photos to include and unfortunately that means that the photos are not displayed as large as I would have hoped. At first I felt it would take away from the book but I was surprised once I got into the first chapter to find that it worked well for this book. The layout used for the photos along with the text that went into each chapter mixed well and made reading the book very easy. That said, there were still a few instances where I felt that some photos deserved to be seen at a larger size, possibly a full page display so that you could see the great details of the photos. Denise has told me that she did have limitations with the book layout and would be addressing that in future books. So while photo sizes may be limited with this book, I am confident it will be addressed with future projects.

Speaking of the content, this is not a book where you will be reading page after page of information. Instead the author has written the perfect amount of text to go with the photos in each chapter. Generally you will read about the history of the subject being discussed, some tips for when you visit or just general information to go along with the photos. You are purchasing this book to view the photos but you still get just the right amount of text to go along with it.

A look at Disney Christmas past

For me, one of the highlights of Christmas at Walt Disney World was seeing photos of past decorations and attractions. This includes photos from the Country Bear Christmas Special, Lights of Winter at Epcot, Mickey’s Christmas Cavalcade and other parts of Walt Disney World Christmas history I was not able to experience in person. After seeing the photo of the Christmas tree on display in the Magic Kingdom rose garden, I wish they would go back to that setup prior to the parade taping because it really made for some great photo opportunities.

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By the end of the book, you will have taken a photo tour of the four theme parks, Downtown Disney and many of the resorts. It definitely made me wish I was able to visit Walt Disney World this Christmas season to see all the decorations for myself again. I am sure if you are reading the book and have never visited WDW during this time of year, after reading the book you will be ready to book a trip yourself!

I definitely recommend this book to readers of Disney Photography Blog. I think it would make a great Christmas gift for any Disney fan or even a gift for yourself.

About the author

You are probably familiar with the author, Denise Preskitt, from her web site Mousesteps. Denise offers detailed, multi-page photo updates from around Walt Disney World. Since she lives close to the parks, Denise is able to post updates on all recent projects and includes so many photos that you are able to see every detail and feel like you are there.

All this is done with a point and shoot camera

One last area I want to touch on is the fact that Denise does not use a DSLR camera with a large set of lenses. All of the photos in this book were taken using a point and shoot camera. Denise currently shoots with the Canon SX30IS, which is a high end point and shoot camera and takes terrific photos. It just goes to show that good composition and a good eye are more important than having the latest DSLR on the market. I mention this because we get emails all the time from readers who want to know if they need to purchase a DSLR with a lens kit that could cost as much as their vacation in order to capture great photos. We always tell them that just because we prefer using a DSLR and having the ability to change lenses, it is not required and that there are many point and shoot cameras that produce terrific photos.

Conclusion

Christmas at Walt Disney World is available on Amazon.com for $22.95. While it may seem a bit expensive, I believe it is worth the cost and goes to supporting a member of the Disney online community who has been providing detailed photo updates for over a decade.

31 Comments

  1. Brenna Wolfe   |   Dec 12, 2011

    My absolute favorite thing at Disney at Christmas is the toy soldiers during the Christmas parades. I love them. They are so nostalgic and something magical about their character being brought to life!

  2. Jane Ann Griffin   |   Dec 12, 2011

    I am at WDW right now – celebrating my 65th Birthday and it is magical! I hope I win this book!

  3. Charles Koch   |   Dec 12, 2011

    I agree Disney World at Christmas is at it’s magical best. All the extra lights and decorations in all the parks. The Christmas traditions from around the world at Epcot. But, to me, the best is the ice covered (lights that change color) castle. The castle at Christmas is the wallpaper on my computer.

  4. Jessica   |   Dec 12, 2011

    My favorite part about Christmas as WDW is seeing all the decorations at all the parks and resorts Especially the christmas trees at all of the parks. Definitely gets you into the Christmas spirit!

  5. Nancy Plog   |   Dec 12, 2011

    Everything Disney does for the holidays is the best, but my favorite is Cinderella’s castle at night. It truly is magical!

  6. Suzanne   |   Dec 12, 2011

    We’ve only been to Disney once for the Christmas season, but we LOVED it! Besides the beautiful decorations we especially loved the gingerbread displays & the Epcot storytellers.

  7. Katie Bray   |   Dec 12, 2011

    We’re going to Disney for Christmas in five days (for our first holiday trip), and I’m most excited to see the Candlelight Processional!

  8. Cheryl Gregware   |   Dec 12, 2011

    We have not been to Disney at Christmas yet but have a trip planned for next Christmas. I am most looking forward to seeing all of the Christmas trees.

  9. Helen   |   Dec 12, 2011

    I haven’t been to WDW at Christmas but am considering going next year. I’d love to see the Candlelight Processional and the parade.

  10. Colin Carroll   |   Dec 12, 2011

    I typically go every year in December as I love WDW during the holidays. The highlight for me has to be the Osbourne Lights. I love just walking around and looking at them, listening to the music and taking photos. It really puts me in the Christmas spirit

  11. mark birchfield   |   Dec 12, 2011

    My favorite part of Christmas in the parks is everything!! There are so many details, its hard to narrow it down to one specific thing. The decorations are great! The area music is fantastic! The food is always wonderful!! How do you narrow it down?

  12. Lisa Grady   |   Dec 12, 2011

    We were just there and have been going every December for the past 20 years!! I would love to win this book as her photos look fantastic and I am a Disney-wanna-be-photographer and have been studying your site. (yes this is a run on sentence). I cant wait to go back next week and the next after that (yes we live close and have an annual pass). Love your site.

    Obsessed w WDW

  13. Jeffrey Holmes   |   Dec 12, 2011

    Christmas is my favorite holiday, and sadly we have become more and more accustomed to the commercialization of it. Black Friday, cyber Monday, wow, it is just so easy to forget and lose the meaning, the importance, the season. The one group (somewhat) still immune to this are the children, they have their own reality in many cases, and it this reality that I wish I sometimes lived in.

    Off the soapbox. Disney has the incredible ability to suspend reality afor everyone and there is no better time of year to experience it than right now. The lights, families, smiles, smells, food, and amazement in the eyes of ALL who attend are my favorites. Merry Christmas!

  14. Steve Burns   |   Dec 12, 2011

    My favorite part of Christmas at Walt Disney World is definitely the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Just amazing to stand there in the middle of all those lights. I could take it in for hours.

  15. Marc Lorenzo   |   Dec 12, 2011

    I love going to the Resorts in Walt Disney World to look, admire, and photograph all of the Holiday Decorations!

  16. Debbie Walters   |   Dec 12, 2011

    We just got back from Disney last Wednesday !! And it was AWESOME !!! The parks are Beautiful !! We stayed at Pop Centry!! But I loved visiting the Grand Foridian and seeing the huge Ginger bread house!! AWESOME !! I loved the carousel at the Boardwalk. I guess my favorite thing to see was all the store fronts along Main St. at Magic Kingdom !

  17. Dean   |   Dec 12, 2011

    My favorite part of WDW durring the Holidays are the Osborne Family Lights. Every year it gets better and better!!

  18. Hope   |   Dec 12, 2011

    I cannot wait to visit Walt Disney World during the Christmas season! I am most looking forward to seeing the Castle Lights and the Parade at Magic Kingdom!!! It’s very hard to narrow down the choices — I also cannot wait to see Holidays Around the World at Epcot as well as the Osborne Lights at Hollywood Studios!!!

    Disney really knows how to make the Christmas season more magical! :-)

  19. Tere Given   |   Dec 12, 2011

    My favorite thing is shorts for Christmas! We don’t often get that in PA. When it is too chilly my second favorite is the gingerbread decorations.

  20. Sean @DisneyDayByDay   |   Dec 12, 2011

    For us it’s just the overall feeling and smells of the park at night. Love to just walk around the countries at Epcot and take in all the beautiful trees. Good luck to everyone in the contest and have a Happy Holiday Season!

  21. Michele Fetzer   |   Dec 12, 2011

    Just got back from spending Thanksgiving at WDW. If the decorations there can’t get you in the Christmas spirit, nothing can! Can’t wait to go back home “WDW”!

  22. Beth Green   |   Dec 12, 2011

    My favorite part is MVMCP!! and the Osborne lights… and the Candlelight Processional… too many to choose from! :)

  23. Michelle Schaefer   |   Dec 12, 2011

    Any trip to my ‘Happy Place’ is magical, but Christmas at Walt Disney World put its over the top for me. I would love to make it an annual tradition to visit WDW before the holidays…there is nothing better to get yourself into the Christmas spirit! But until it can be an annual tradition, I love living vicariously through all of my Flickr friends’ holiday Disney photos…its the next best thing to being there:) If I have to pick my favorite part of the holidays at WDW it would have to be The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights. The first time we saw the lights was most definitely the most amazing…it was in 2006 and the light display had just been completed and was being tested out…the park was about to close and not many people were there so it felt like it was just us and the lights…amazing! But every visit after has been equally wonderful…there’s nothing better than standing in the street with some hot cocoa, Disney snow falling, and Christmas music:)

  24. Melissa   |   Dec 12, 2011

    I love Disney at Christmas. I have been several times during the Christmas Season, but only once for Christmas Day. What I loved most was the way the people acted toward each other. It was less of a hurry up and do it all day but rather a day of rejoycing and good will.

  25. Tim   |   Dec 12, 2011

    Never been to Disney at Christmas. I would love to see it “snow” in Florida. Would just love to soak up the atmosphere. Disney and Christmas are my two favorite things. 13 Days until Christmas!

  26. Chris Marquez   |   Dec 12, 2011

    Haven’t been to WDW at Christmas, but I am making plans to go with my family in a couple of years. I’ve been to Disneyland during the holidays for the first time (last year) and it was simply amazing. I can only imagine the feeling I’d get at WDW. I’m most excited to see is the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights. Can’t wait!

  27. Amber Williamson   |   Dec 12, 2011

    I was at Disney this past weekend and saw my first Candlelight processional. It was magical! I love seeing all the decorations, especially the flowers at this time of the year.

  28. Angela Greer   |   Dec 12, 2011

    I just drove home today from a week at Disney World. My must sees are the Osborne Lights and the Candle Light Processional. The Osborne Lighs are magical and the Candle Light Prcessional reminds us of the real manning of Christmas.

  29. Sheila Bessette   |   Dec 12, 2011

    We love exploring the hotels to see the decorations and just taking some time to enjoy the snow on Main Street!

  30. Barbara Taylor   |   Dec 12, 2011

    My husband and I spent the week after Thanksgiving at WDW. It was a fabulous trip. I enjoyed EVERYTHING but most of all I enjoyed the “feeling” that you have when you are at Disney. It’s hard to explain the “feeling”. I guess it is just magical. As far as Disney at Christmastime, I loved being immersed in decorations galore, music all around, wonderful smells and fantastic shows.

  31. Adam Hansen   |   Dec 13, 2011

    Congratulations to Jeffrey Holmes on winning a free copy of the book. Thank you to everybody else for entering and I hope you will visit Amazon.com and purchase a copy of the book yourself.

    Thanks again to Denise at Mousesteps for providing a copy to use as a giveaway.

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