I’m going to DisneyWorld – tomorrow! I pretty much love all things Disney, but in true Paperback Pigeon form, my absolute favorite Disney films, rides, and attractions come by way of classic literature. Which also means that many of my favorites harken back to the 60’s and 70’s. These adaptations were some of my mother’s childhood favorites, which she lovingly introduced to me. I’m super excited to continue the tradition and share my “classic” favorites with my girls – visiting the attractions and meeting the characters that first entered the world via storybooks.
Check our some of my favorite novels that became Disney films and attractions. Planning a visit to DisneyWorld? Read your favorite before you visit. Not traveling anytime soon? Grab one of the stories below for a virtual trip to the classic Disney universe.
Mary Poppins by P.L. Travers – The Banks house will never be the same after Mary Poppins arrives to take care of Jane, Michael & the twins. She’s a most unusual nanny who, with a little magic and make believe, changes the Banks family forever.
Brought to life in the 1964 musical starring Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke, Mary Poppins: 50th Anniversary Edition is a true Disney classic. Looking for the story behind the making of the film? Check out Saving Mr. Banks, with Tom Hanks and Emma Thompson, which tells the story of Disney’s quest to adapt the novel for movie audiences.
Looking to meet Mary Poppins? Enjoy the Supercalifragilistic breakfast at 1900 Park Fare at Disney’s Grand Floridian Hotel & Spa where she regularly makes an appearance. Or if you are heading to EPCOT make sure to stop at the United Kingdom Pavilion where Mary Poppins makes multiple visits each day.
The Swiss Family Robinson by Johann D. Wyss – When the Robinson family is shipwrecked on a tropical island they must create a new life for themselves in this uninhabited paradise by creatively using the items they salvaged from the wreck of their vessel.
Disney’s 1960 live action Swiss Family Robinson brings this remarkable adventure to the screen. With an amazing treehouse, an ostrich and elephant race, and pirates, this relic from the Disney vault is worth a watch.
Who wouldn’t love to live in a treehouse, if just for a day? Visit the Swiss Family Treehouse in Adventureland at the Magic Kingdom Park to walk through the treetops and see how the Robinson Family used some ingenuity and innovation to make their shipwrecked life spectacular.
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain – The classic tale of boyhood uses humor and wit to evoke a simpler time, highlighting memorable adventures of a 19th century childhood.
Disney translated the novel to film in 1995’s Tom and Huck.
Enjoy your own adventure on Tom Sawyer Island in Frontierland at Magic Kingdom Park. The original attraction was designed in 1956 for Disneyland by Walt Disney himself! Want to get up close and personal with author Mark Twain? He is the animatronic host of the American Adventure, along with Benjamin Franklin, at the America Pavilion in EPCOT. This 30 minute show highlights events in American History.
Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie – The story of a boy who never grows up, but spends his days having adventures in Neverland, leading his band of Lost Boys, and cavorting with fairies and mermaids. However, when Wendy and her brothers join Peter he questions his path, and Wendy must face difficult decisions that will determine her future.
Disney’s animated Peter Pan is a warmer version of the classic tale, charming and lighthearted without the dark undertones in the original story. Once they’ve seen this movie every child can’t help but wish for a little pixie dust and membership in the Lost Boys.
Take a trip to Neverland when you visit Fantasyland at the Magic Kingdom Park – a ride on Peter Pan’s Flight is a must! Just around the corner you can meet Peter and Wendy. Pixie dust more your style? Head to the Town Square theater where you can shrink down to fairy size and meet Tinkerbell.
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll – A trip down the rabbit hole takes Alice to a nonsensical universe where nothing is quite as it seems and with each turn of the page things get “curiouser and curiouser”. From the Mad Hatter to the Cheshire Cat, everyone Alice meets introduces her to a wacky, wonderful world
Alice in Wonderland, Disney’s 1951 animated version plays on the whimsy of Carroll’s original and brings the iconic characters to life. Everyone is here – from Tweedledee & Tweedledum to the Queen of Hearts! The 2010 live action Alice in Wonderland starring Johnny Depp is a more sophisticated take on the surreal world of Wonderland. Nothing is as it seems for a more grown-up Alice, except the creative influence of director Tim Burton is evident in every aspect of this magical adaptation.
Ready to take a whirl into your own Wonderland? Join the Mad Tea Party and spin yourself silly in Fantasyland in the Magic Kingdom Park. When you are done, if you’re not too dizzy, you can meet characters from Wonderland just outside the ride. Or if you happen to find yourself in United Kingdom Pavilion at EPCOT you can find Alice in the gardens, perhaps recalling her time in Wonderland.
The Complete Tales of Winnie-the-Pooh by A.A. Milne – Everyone loves the endearing, charming, sweet chubby bear that is Winnie-the-Pooh. He’s charmed children for generations and his dear companions in the Hundred Acre Wood, Tigger, Piglet, Eeyore and Christopher Robin, provide enduring friendship and endless adventures.
Even the young, or young at heart, can embrace classic literature through Disney adapted films and attractions. The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, Disney’s 1977 animated film is a wonderful introduction to Pooh and friends. Many additional films followed, but start with the original to keep close to the storybook’s classic tales.
Enjoy the Many Adventures of Winnie-the-Pooh in ride form, as you travel via honey-pot through the Hundred Acre Wood, in Fantasyland at Magic Kingdom Park. After the ride stop in for a delicious buffet meal at the Crystal Palace, where Pooh and friends can be found making the rounds at every meal. No time to stop and eat? No worries, you can also meet Pooh & Friends just outside the attraction entrance. Pooh also makes an appearance in the United Kingdom Pavilion at EPCOT. He can be found, often with one of his friends, in Christopher Robin’s room.