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From Library Journal
Koenig, a freelance writer and editor, became friendly with many part-time employees of Disneyland in Anaheim. When they joined a major strike in 1984, Koenig was inspired to write this book. Drawing on interviews and extensive research, Koenig describes in detail Walt Disney's plan and the goals for his amusement park; the behind-the-scenes mechanisms of the attractions; the selection, training, and expectations of the employees; the persona of the Disney characters; profiles of guests (both welcome and unwelcome); the tragic accidents that have occurred and the lawsuits that ensued; and the spinoffs throughout the world. Though the lurid details of park mishaps and employee dissatisfaction are of interest to some, there's more here than most visitors would want to know. Even the author comes across as an admirer rather than as someone blowing the cover on the magic of Disney. Most libraries will want to stick with Birnbaum's Disneyland (Hyperion, 1992).
Elizabeth Loftus, Onondaga Cty. P.L., Syracuse, N.Y.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Koenig's tale may surprise some, since many of its specifics are so at odds with the Magic Kingdom's ultrahygienic image. If you've heard about Euro-Disney's problems (management control of staff lingerie, etc.), you expect to hear the travails of Disneyland employees, and Koenig does not disappoint, offering detailed explorations of visitor complaint procedures in which employees are presumed guilty and given no opportunity to defend themselves; the rigors of wearing hot, heavy, bulky character costumes; etc. But surprise comes when you learn of the invasion of at least parts of the Happiest Place on Earth by vermin: when the staff of one concession stayed late to complete a special project, they were horrified to see rats literally come out of the woodwork when the main park lights went off. What's more, Disneyland battles invading insects in many areas by many means. For all that, Disneyland's management comes off well, only occasionally looking insensitive. A valuable addition to popular culture literature and to Disneyana. Mike Tribby --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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The author underwent years of research to make this book happen. Nearly all of it comes from newspaper clippings and public documents. Much of it also comes from first-hand Cast Member stories. Some of those stories are decades old and only tell one point of view. For that reason, some of what you read should be taken with a grain of salt, since memories fade or are altered for preservation. That doesn't mean they're fake, or that the information is any less interesting. If you enjoy scandal and notoriety, then this book will have you salivating. If you love Disneyland the way it is and don't want to know what goes into making the magic, then this book is not for you. If you do decide to read it (and I hope you do), then know now: once you start, you won't be able to stop.
As someone who's been a semi-annual visitor to the park and has a lot of fond memories, it's always fascinating to read about others experiences and learn about things that happened there before you were even born, or too young to remember in detail. It makes future visits even more special when you are let in on a few secrets and stories about events or things that may have escpaed your notice. I wouldn't say it takes away from the fantasy facade that makes the park special, but rather makes it more intriguing to see just how much effort it takes to keep the magic feeling real.
There is so much interesting information. I thought I knew quite a bit about the Magic Kingdom. But, this book goes deeper behind the scenes. It exposes the good, the bad and the ugly. It is not a put down of the park. But, it does let you know from first hand interviews with former employees that it's had it's share of problems. This makes you appreciate all the hard work the Disney team does to make your day in the park seem "Magical".
Chapters like "Fatal Attractions" and "Tragic Kingdom" go into detail about those "down played" accidents and deaths. I remember hearing a little about some of them and wondering how things turned out. This book gives you the details, including the law suits which were filed.
Though I'm absolutely NOT a history enthusiast, I loved the history of Disneyland. Did you know that opening day was actually not so great? Do you remember the Flying Saucer ride and wonder why it disappeared? The answers are all here without the candy coating.
This book is the Special Golden Anniversary Edition. There are only 4,000 copies of this edition. This makes it a special collector's item for Disneyland's 50th Anniversary. I plan on buying the sequel book, too. It's hard to put this one down once you start. So, you better buy them both now so you don't have to wait for the next part like I am.
DISCLAIMER: I regularly review items on Amazon however this product I paid full price and this is my honest review
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