The Thinking Fan’s Guide to Walt Disney World: Magic Kingdom
by Aaron Wallace ( web | tweet )
Publication Date: April 16, 2013 | Publisher: Intrepid Traveler | Pages: 256
Target audience: From the Disney guru to the newer Disney enthusiast
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What’s it about: Aaron Wallace, podcaster and Orlando resident, takes you through each of the attractions in the Magic Kingdom. Armed with fun facts and humor, he supplements each attraction with a movie recommendation.
How I heard about it? After a glowing review from the Disney Hipsters, I bought my own copy!
I like my Disney guide books to be more like I’m hanging out with a friend than listening to a professor bore me to tears.
Thankfully, Aaron’s approach to The Thinking Fan’s Guide was more my style. His tone is professional but also conversational; you can tell his subject is well-researched but not so over-saturated with explanation that a reader will feel overwhelmed or their eyelids getting heavy.
From his theories on how the Country Bears Jamboree could very well be a Jim Henson project or his comparison of Stitch’s Great Escape to (the dreaded) “Jersey Shore” reality show, Aaron injects his personality in all the right places and never shies away from being a little bit corny. (I think I may had shed a tear or two at the end. Not kidding.)
The Thinking Fan’s Guide is divided by land (and even includes Main St. U.S.A. — a nice touch at the end) and runs through an overview of each of the attractions, as well as including helpful info about wait times, fast pass availability, scare factor, and more. Even if you know the backstories of most of the attractions, I can guarantee checking out this book will sharpen some of the stories and the author’s added perspective will make you look at some elements in a new way. (I particularly enjoyed The Carousel of Progress segment.)
The bonus movie recommendations at the end of each attraction’s blurb are such a unique decision when compared to other Disney “guide books.” (For example: Splash Mountain garners a Mary Poppins recommendation, while The Jungle Cruise suggests The African Queen from 1951.) I’m not much of a movie buff and I haven’t seen a lot of these, but reading how Aaron connected the dots and found connections from attraction to film made me really think about theme, feeling, and how pop culture can definitely go hand-in-hand with the park. It’s also nice to know that even if you don’t have a trip to Disney lined up soon, Aaron’s cinematic suggestions are just another way to tide you over until your next vacation.
When you think it’s all been done before in the literary world of Disney history and fun facts, Aaron supplies fans (new and old) with a refreshing take on Magic Kingdom in The Thinking Fan’s Guide. So many of the blurbs were thought provoking and made me chuckle. Most importantly, the author’s passion for the parks is well-balanced yet clear, and he has an amicable way of making his information feel accessible and fun.