Collecting Disney Memorabilia

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Many of us collect Disney memorabilia. From pins to patches, postcards to park maps, the list goes on. Bob Jacobs, a fan of The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World, has built a collection of The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World that includes a hard copy of the 1985 edition, the first year the guidebook was ever published. Here is his story.

Since the 1990s, our family has visited Walt Disney World regularly, always with a copy of The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World. Last October, while planning a trip with our grandkids, I pre-ordered the 2021 edition. And that’s when I decided to learn more about the first edition of the guide. 

It was hard to find. But after a few weeks of scouring online bookstores, I located a copy of that first 1985 edition. The cover was a bit wonky and two touring plans had been torn out, but for $20, I grabbed it. I am glad I did, as I haven’t seen another online anywhere since!

I was truly excited about this great find; in short order, I tracked down and bought copies of the 1987, 1989, and 1990 editions. By then, the bug had really taken hold and I started collecting in earnest. As of today, I am only missing three more years of The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World to complete my collection. The 2021 edition is coming out soon and will, of course, be added as soon as I can get my hands on it.

Disney memorabilia

A couple of the fun facts I learned: The first guide had 174 pages, while the 2011 edition had grown to 854 pages; 2020 had 790. The 1985 edition was about ½” thick; the 2020 was 1½” thick, showing how much more information there was to convey as “The World” grew.

Disney memorabilia

Used books can have fun things tucked inside. I’ve found car rental forms, hotel checkout bills, handwritten itineraries, packing lists, and, most treasured of all: a 1996 postcard from the Sci-Fi Dine-in Theater at the (then) Disney-MGM Studios.

Bob Jacobs lives in Wisconsin, where he recently retired after working for 22 years as an Editorial Director and writer for a well-known clothing catalog company. He and his wife, Cristie, have four children, seven grandchildren, and a cocker spaniel named Penny the Dog. When this set’s complete, Bob will move on to building a different Disney collection, and he is open for suggestions. Let us know about your favorite Disney collections.

If you enjoyed this blog about collecting Disney Memorabilia, check out The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World, or to plan your family’s trip to Orlando, check out The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World with Kids. If you enjoyed this post, please subscribe to our YouTube channeland sign up for our newsletter here. Be sure to follow us on TwitterFacebookInstagram, and YouTube.


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