Shannon Laskey's sons in front of Sleeping Beauty Castle Disneyland

Once Upon a Time…

…a family was headed to the Happiest Place on Earth!

In 2007, freelance Graphic Artist and Illustrator Shannon W. Laskey was excited about her family’s upcoming trip to Disneyland and went to the library with her son to get a guidebook for kids. She was surprised to find out there weren’t any! There were books about going to Disneyland WITH kids but nothing FOR kids. A lifelong Disney fan, Shannon realized making a book like this would be a DREAM project. While doing research, she discovered the incredible photographer Dave DeCaro of DavelandWeb who agreed to let her include his photos. Shannon was designing and illustrating the book but wanted a mix of art styles so she reached out to other artists. Some contributors—like award-winning illustrator Kirsten Ulve—wanted to create a piece especially for the book and others had already created an image that fit in with the content perfectly. After contacting former Imagineer Rolly Crump to look over the sidebar about him, Rolly and his wife Marie ended up putting Shannon in touch with Orchard Hill Press, an independent publisher that specializes in family-friendly Disney-themed books. In 2015 the first Going To Guide for Disneyland was published with guides for Disney California Adventure and Magic Kingdom parks releasing shortly afterwards!

The book Going To Disney California Adventure with illustration by Lindsay Gibson of Monster Inc. Mike and Sulley to the Rescue

What’s the Big Idea?

Going To Guides aren’t like the rest!

Traditional guidebooks have their place but they’re not very FUN. You won’t find info about parking garages inside a Going To Guide. Instead, you’ll discover the fascinating history and meaning behind what you’ll encounter in Disney Parks—along with tons of gorgeous photos and illustrations. A built-in Trip Planner gets the party started followed by the park’s origin story and an overview of special things like Character Meet n’ Greets, PhotoPass, Seasonal Events and more. From there, each land has its own chapter filled with juicy details. Attraction pages include a spot to fill in your rating, a Time Machine with a chronological overview and the “Story of…” for rides that are based on movies. The Food and Drink pages describe what the eateries are like with spots to write down your review. Sprinkled among all of this are At-a-Glance Charts, Coloring Pages, Decoders, Eye Spy’s, Fun Facts, Games, Hot Tips, Mini Quizzes, Sample Souvenirs, Scavenger Hunts and Sidebars galore about interesting people, places and things. Last but not least, the back of each book has a Trip Journal where you can create a scrapbook and record your magical memories!

Frequently Asked Questions

Answered by Shannon!

All ages! I had a mom of a two year old tell me my book was his favorite even though he couldn’t read yet. The books are chock full of colorful photos and illustrations. There are many short, easy sections for beginning readers and longer, more detailed passages for older readers. It’s a great book to snuggle up with a parent or grandparent and look at together – planning for their trip to the park together or reliving fond memories. There are also definitions included for words that may be unfamiliar to younger readers. Kids also love the many fill-in-the-blank spots and areas to color in where they can personalize their book and make it their own.

I think so! I thought about adult readers at every step of the creation of these guides and strove to make them interesting and fun for ALL ages. I urge you to check out the flip-through videos on the GTG YouTube channel and the Look Inside feature on Amazon to see more about what they’re like. I’ve had many adult readers give me feedback that even though they visit the parks frequently, they learned a TON of things they never knew in my books. Many have also told me that they love to look at the books when they can’t get to the park – almost as if it’s a visit to the parks in and of itself. I myself am a “kid at heart” who loves going to Disney parks so I made this book for ME – and my sons. Disney Parks are for everyone and so are my books!

Going To Guides is the name of the book series. The first book is “Going To Disneyland,” the second one is “Going to Disney California Adventure” and the third is “Going To Magic Kingdom.” The umbrella term for all of the different guides is Going To Guides.

I live near San Francisco so none of the parks are TOO handy. We used to go to Disneyland about once a year but since I started Going To Guides I go about four times a year now. When I was researching my Magic Kingdom book I went to Florida on many Research Expeditions but I don’t get to Walt Disney World as often since I’m in California.

I’m not sure! Of course Walt Disney World has three other parks: Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Disney’s Animal Kingdom. My guide to Magic Kingdom has a brief overview chapter that touches on these three parks, the water parks and Disney Springs. At this point, I’m not sure which park I’ll cover next and if it will be in America or abroad!

Magic Kingdom IS a nickname for Disneyland but the California’s park official name is Disneyland. The Disneyland-style park in Florida’s Walt Disney World is called Magic Kingdom. Got it? Good! ;)

ONLY the books are sold on this website. To find the other goodies I make, please visit the ETSY shop!

Shannon Laskey photographs the Mark Twain Riverboat from the shores of Frontierland in Disneyland

Get to Know Shannon

A bit of backstory!

Shannon has quipped that she’s “from nowhere” because she grew up with a father in the Navy! When his job took the family to Monterey, they visited Disneyland for the first time. Though she was only 2 years old she vividly remembers being absolutely astonished (and afraid) at the Caribbean pirates firing cannons over her head! It wasn’t until they moved to San Diego while she was in high school that she would return to Disneyland and begin to fall in love with that special place. Throughout high school and college Shannon worked at the Coronado Public Library in San Diego and daydreamed about writing and illustrating her own children’s books. After earning a Graphic Design degree at SDSU, she began her design career in L.A. Then, to escape a dragon-boss-from-hell, Shannon moved to San Francisco. A super cute guy she knew from San Diego had moved there too and—what do you know—they ended up getting married! Shannon was working as the Advertising Art Director for San Francisco magazine and doing freelance projects but when it got too hard to do both, she made the scary decision to quit the full-time job and devote herself to her own company Small Dog Workshop. Next came the kids—two bouncing baby boys—and a move to Oakland with special trips now and then to the Disneyland Resort.

Today, Shannon and her family live in a small cottage with a big yard in the sleepy town of Lafayette. She runs Going To Guides and Small Dog Workshop from her home office which she’s dubbed The Pink Palace. Now that Shannon creates and regularly updates Going To Guides books, she visits Disney Parks much more often than she used to, many times accompanied by like-minded friends instead of family. But the most special times are—and always will be—when she’s there with her boys. ❤️

Visit the S.D. Workshop site to learn more about Shannon’s freelance Graphic Design and Illustration work:

Let’s Go!

Magical Memories

Fun times in Disney Parks—and beyond!

“There is more treasure in books than in all the pirates loot on Treasure Island…and best of all, you can enjoy these riches every day of your life.”

—Walt Disney