Friday, August 3, 2012

Disney Books: The Dark Side of Disney

Ok, I finally read this book.  Hadn't heard anything good or bad about it, really, before buying it, but I was intrigued by the description and read a bit of the first review.  Heck, it was only $2.99 on my Kindle, so it wasn't like I was paying a lot.  Plus, with that cover, I thought that it might be a book better confined to my Kindle in our house.  In any case, here's my Amazon Review:

I love most things Disney, and this book kept popping up on my "recommendations" (since I have a "list" here on Amazon of the books on my Disney Bookshelf, I guess). The cover was intriguing - so un-Disney! So I finally bought it, and read it very quickly.

What I found were a lot of fun stories and 'tips' that really are of no use to me. But so what? It was well written enough, and interesting enough, that I don't really care that I'll never do the things that the author or some of his subjects do at Disney. The irreverence comes through loud and clear in the sometimes 'R' rated language and depictions of occurrences. I find that refreshing in a way. It's sort of a way of experiencing some things at Disney vicariously, things I'll never experience in person. There's no way I'm jumping off a ride vehicle to explore the sets in a particular ride. I'm not going to crash the Utilidors, or look for a place to have sex or score drugs. I'm not all that concerned about saving money while I'm there; I'm on vacation and it's all about convenience for me. The most useful information I got was about the DVC point rentals and about the scams for discounted tickets that are so prevalent just off-property. I'd wondered about both of those things. This book talks in a general way about these and other issues.

If you're easily offended, or if you hold your Disney experiences to an almost-religious standard, this book might not be for you. But if you just like reliving your own Disney experiences and maybe getting some of those questions you might have answered, this is a fun fast read!
I wrote the review without reading too many of the other reviews, just the first couple, which were positive.  But after my review went live, I read a sampling of the other 81 reviews, and was amazed to see how differently people see things. 

First, it is definitely NOT for kids, or for those who are easily offended.  I'm not offended by "bad" words in a book, and I thought that this author's use of them fit his irreverent tone perfectly.  He uses them almost conversationally.  I actually know a few people who talk like that.  The words have lost their shock factor for them; they're just a handful of extra words that help convey meaning.  I'm always amused by people who say that using "swear words" shows a lack of intelligence; why would that be true?  We could say that people who used "hot" and "cold" and "straight" and "curved" have a low intellect just as easily, since there are plenty of words that are more colorful and nuanced that convey the meaning.  Neither is accurate.  There is a time and place for those words; this book uses appropriate words for its tone.  If "swear words" offend you, don't buy this book.

Second, why does telling a story about something that happened, whether perpetrated by the author (Leonard Kinsey) or someone he interviewed, and whether legal, illegal, or borderline, make it a bad book?  I for one will never use 99% of the "tips" offered in this book, but it was still sort of fun to read about them.  I thought the stories were interesting and made for a good read.  If you don't want to read about drug use, or people having sex on Disney property, or tresspassing backstage at the parks, this is not the book for you.

Personally, I thought it was pretty fun to read, and that was a tribute to the author's style, because there was plenty in there that I wouldn't really care about otherwise.  He made reading about bedbugs and fireants sort of fun! 

I'll probably try his fictional work, Kingdom of Dust, because if he can make bedbugs entertaining, he might do even better with a made-up story!



Christine D said...

I just came across your blog, and I am enjoying it. I love all things Disney so I am devouring your posts :) I love to read Disney themed books but haven't read this one yet. I think I will give it a try. Btw, check out my new blog. Just started it, so it's definitely a work in progress.

Scott said...

Thank you for reading, and commenting! I'll check out your blog!

There are a ton of Disney-themed books out there, obviously. George Taylor at Imaginerding has a great bibliography. I have a few reviews under the tags of "Books" or "Book Reviews". Before you buy this one, however, read a sampling of the reviews. It's not a book that has much good info for a family with young-ish children...