Thirty Days in the Kingdom (A Book Review)

Thirty Days in the Kingdom by Matt Ferrell

Thirty Days in the Kingdom: Searching for a Laughing Place by Matt Ferrell
Publication Date: May 29, 2013 | Publisher: | Pages: 138
Format read: Paperback provided by Author. (Thanks!)
Find it: Amazon | B&N | Goodreads

I was out to dinner a few weekends ago with a friend who recently went to Disneyland and was giving us a recap of her trip. I had a really strange feeling during the conversation because, even though I haven’t been to the West Coast Disney theme parks since my initial trip out there in 2004, it felt like I had just been there.

Then I realized Thirty Days in the Kingdom was sitting in my purse with a makeshift bookmark nestled in its pages.

That familiar all encompassing Disneyland feeling is testament to Ferrell’s own affection for the Disney parks, his honest commentary, and his ability to bring so much of Walt’s original park to life even through very short passages. Thirty Days in the Kingdom is literally his experiences going to Disneyland every day for thirty days during September of 2008. It didn’t mean ENTIRE days; sometimes full days, sometimes evenings, and not even full fleshed out trip reports. Instead he gives us observations of the crowds, the attitudes of the cast members, and his delight in the details of all the corners of the theme park.

It’s really amazing what you notice when you visit one spot so frequently in a short time span. Not only did I admire the author’s dedication to this goal, but I also really responded to the ups and downs of his moods as he dealt with attraction closures, inconsiderate people, and the evils of strollers with minds of their own. Even the happiest person can’t always be maintain that level of enthusiasm in their happy place, and I’m glad that Ferrell had those moments to balance out the experience.

Most of all, this book highlights so many of those darling, hidden spots in the park where you can take in the crowds, have a little time to yourself, or, like the author, take a few notes for a future book. It seemed so timely to read about an earlier experience at Court of Angels, when Disney is in the process of removing this spot — a sacred nook to many park visitors. It’s true that resting places like this one are just as important as an attraction or show. They give the park character, and also give guests the opportunity to take in the total environment of a theme park that was so intricately planned. Ferrell pinpoints so many in Thirty Days in the Kingdom, and his acknowledgment of them conveyed to me how at home he felt in the park as each day passed.

If you are looking for a little escape to California (without cost of the airfare!) and want to live vicariously through the dream experience of a fellow Disney enthusiast, Thirty Days in the Kingdom is a quick read filled with colorful commentary, a true love of the parks and Walt’s legacy, and some once-in-a-lifetime experiences.

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