“People don’t take trips, trips take people.” – John Steinbeck
If it all started with a mouse for Walt Disney, then it all started with a book about the Mouse for us. The Brit Guide to Orlando & Walt Disney World was the product of late-night inspiration for Simon, who figured - almost 30 years ago - that the British market was woefully under-served for a good guidebook on the UK's top long-haul destination.
The book quickly established itself as the go-to guide for all things Orlando for Brits and it has consistently been a best-seller in the guidebook world, with more than 450,000 copies sold to date. It is updated annually, and the 2022 edition is the 27th to take on the Brit Guide to Orlando mantle, as it remains a five-star product with readers on Amazon and Waterstones.
If the Brit Guide set things rolling, Susan's Hidden Magic of Walt Disney World kicked
things into high gear in 2009 when she put a lifetime's expertise of getting under the skin of the Disney theme parks to good use.
The Hidden Magic isn’t a guidebook. Instead, it walks readers through each of the four Walt Disney World theme parks, pointing out the attraction backstories and wonderful “hidden” details (over 600 of them!) that add the essential ‘layers,’ making Disney's Imagineers’ work so realistic and compelling.
Discover the secret of the concentric circles inside the Temple of Heaven in Epcot’s Japan pavilion; find references to The Twilight Zone television show throughout the Tower of Terror in Hollywood Studios; seek out dozens of “symbolic signatures” hidden in every attraction by the Imagineers; and find out just why they had to be covert about personalizing their work.
The initial runaway success of the Hidden Magic - with more than 100,000 copies sold in its first edition - spawned two further titles in the series in the next four years, with
the Hidden Magic Planner following in 2012 (a full-on Walt Disney World guidebook, journal and keepsake provider) and Hidden Magic Trivia a year later. Meanwhile the original issue of the Hidden Magic was fast being overtaken by changes and updates at Walt Disney World, hence it led to a Second Edition (left) in 2015, amounting to a complete re-write and another 300-plus 'secrets' of the parks, much to the delight of Disney fans and publishers Adams Media.
The first two editions are a must-have for all devotees of the Disney Parks, and the third edition, in 2020, added evenl more to the endless Disney appeal and fascination.
In the meantime, Disney fans will definitely want to know about Susan's other work for Adams Media, Walt Disney World Hacks - 350+ Park Secrets For Making the Most Of Your Disney Vacation. This 2019 volume provides more ways for people to maximize their time (and expenditure) at the House of Mouse, as well as give them some more inside track on how to enjoy the whole experience.
With Simon's background in sports journalism (see our Sportswriting Page), it was almost inevitable he would base
his first biography on the founder of the Orlando City Soccer Club. He had complete, official access to owner Phil Rawlins, the team's stars, coaches and front office, and the definitive guide to the team's creation was published by the University of Nebraska Press in November 2017 as Defying Expectations (right). The biography received great critical acclaim, and remains the most definitive and comprehensive work on the history of the soccer team to date.
Other books we've written in the past 20-some years that underline our passion for travel include the Brit's Guide to Cruising, which was published in 1997 and subsequently saw another six annual editions, and 2007's Silver Surfer's Colour Guide to Travel & Holidays, both for Foulsham. We also collaborated on seven editions of the Brit Guide to Disneyland Paris from 2004-2015. What's next? Quite a lot, including works on our various travels in the USA, Europe and southern Africa, including another biography. Stay tuned, now...