Read Between the Spines

This post was actually supposed to go up two weeks ago. But … well, keep reading. Because it took way longer to put it together than I thought it would. (And this is only Part One of a two part series!)

The topic: The bookshelves at Skipper Canteen. The reason it took so long: The book spines are dense with in-jokes, puns and silly gags. In fact, the shelves are so rich with references that I can’t even begin to decipher them all, let alone share them all here. But here’s what Dan and I were able to piece together with our combined Disney knowledge:

Skipper Canteen

At the end of the row, you’ll find Genus Papio by Babette Boon. Why that’s funny: Genus Papio is the scientific term for a baboon.


The Eyes of Mara, written by Jones, is a fabulous reference to Disneyland’s Indy-inspired attraction, Indiana Jones Adventure: Temple of the Forbidden Eye.


The Everest book on this shelf was written by Harrison Hightower III. Who’s he? Well, at first blush, he’s listed as the founder of Hightower Hotel (the hotel in the Tokyo version of Tower of Terror), but a deeper dive shows us that Hightower is actually Joe Rohde–the Imagineering mastermind behind Disney’s Animal Kingdom. (Check out Dis Unplugged for the full story.)


There’s a couple of good ones here … True Life Adventures was the name of Walt’s documentary series (the precursor to Disneynature).

A Small World of Traditional Wardrobe, written by Alice Davis … the Disney Legend who did costuming for Sleeping Beauty, it’s a small world, Pirates of the Caribbean and many other classic Disney films and attractions.

Castles of Magical Kingdoms written by Professor Ryman is a loving nod to Herb Ryman, one of Disney’s Nine Old Men.

IMG_6042Pink Elephants and Other Rarities by Lopez … which we think refers to Adalberto López  was a Mexican footballer (soccer player) who is known as “El Dumbo.” (Good one!)

J.P. Lopez is the author of A Resourceful Human, an incredible reference to Disney’s manager of employee relations in Shanghai, JP Lopez.


Banjos and Baboons, by Goff, is a fabulous, loving nod to one of the original Imagineers, Harper Goff, who worked on the Jungle Cruise (baboons) and also played the banjo (and was the visual inspiration for Wendell in Country Bear Jamboree).

Also on this shelf is another reference to Harrison Hightower. Plus, Baboons of the Zambizi, by Zelda, is a reference to Zambizi Zelda, a Jungle Cruise boat.

Parrots as Pets by Mary Oceaneer is a call back to Captain Mary Oceaneer, the creator of the Oceaneer Lab on the Disney Magic. (And pirates have parrots, dontchaknow!)


Remembering Kwango Kate refers to a Jungle Cruise ship who was retired in 2000, while The Monkey Book was written by K. Lively, which clearly refers to Kevin Lively, an Imagineer who has served as creative lead for both the Jungle Cruise and Jingle Cruise at Disneyland and the Magic Kingdom.


Chef J. Wyss wrote The Dessert Island. Why that’s hilarious: Johann Wyss is the Swiss author best known for writing Swiss Family Robinson


Optimism in Exploration by Lemoine is inspired by Josef Lemoine, a Disney show writer who’s known for his work on the viral marketing game for TomorrowlandThe Optimist. 

Morris is responsible for the multiple (odd-numbered) volumes called An Odd Set of Stories. Who’s Morris? Why, that would be Tim K. Morris, an Imagineer (affectionately) known for telling long, rambling stories.


Games of Far Away Lands by Ahern is a great reference to Larry Ahern, a show writer for Disney who focuses on theme park and video game design.

Reifsnyder is credited for writing The Spin, which is sort of hilarious since Frank Reifsnyder is the communications manager for Walt Disney Imagineering.


Creatures from Space, written by Clench, fitting since Clench is the name of the chairman of the company from the old ExtraTERRORestrial attraction.

Keeping Time by Williams is a heart-breaking reference to Robin Williams, who starred in the now-defunct Magic Kingdom attraction, The Timekeeper.

Mission to the Red Planet  by Tom Morrow, A Flight Through Dreams and If You Had Wings You Could Fly are also all references to now-defunct Tomorrowland attractions.

Illustrated Guide to Radio Broadcasting by Albert Awol is a loving nod to the fictional Jungle Cruise boat captain and disc jockey for the Disney Broadcasting Company who’s also known as the “Voice of the Jungle.”

One of my favorites on the whole shelf: Scheduling Your Expedition in One Step by Franklyn, a shade-filled reference to Nick Franklin, the former executive vice president of Next Generation Experience at Disney Parks and Resorts … which is a fancy way of saying that this is the dude who spearheaded MyMagic. Hilarious!

Primates of the Caribbean by Coats is a reference to Claude Coats, who did set design for the original Pirates attraction.

Profiles of Legendary Pirates of the Caribbean by Gibson is a nod to Blaine Gibson, who was the head of the sculpture department for WED Enterprises, working on everything from animatronic presidents and pirates to haunted busts and tiki birds.


Two Skippers of Verona by Shake Spear — a hilarious pun befitting of its Jungle Cruise roots.

A View from Above by S. W. Buckets … otherwise known as Sky Way Buckets. (May they rest in peace.)

The Polar Voyage by Nemo. Well, that’s Captain Nemo, to you–his Magic Kingdom attraction used to dip under the polar ice caps.

The Wildest Ride by JT Toad, the nomdeplume of J. Thaddeus Toad, whose wildest ride inspired the Disneyland attraction.


So many, many, many puns on this shelf. Rock or Stone by Pebble. Is This Deadly by Mort, Al. Good stuff.


J Lasseter’s Great Characters in World Literature … as in, John Lasseter. Chief Creative Officer of Pixar and a modern storytelling genius.

Meeting Royalty, the masterwork of Marty Sklar. Who’s Marty? Well, if Imagineers are the Supremes, he’s Diana fucking Ross.

Albert the Monkey is the author of some letters … he’s also the monkey at the center of Hong Kong Disneyland’s Mystic Manor.

… And that’s all the energy I’ve got right now!
I’ll share the rest of them next week … 

Did any of these make you laugh? Or rekindle some old Disney Parks memories? Tell us what you’re thinking in the comments!