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Mouse Tales: A Behind-The-Ears Look at Disneyland (1994)

by David Koenig

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273375,728 (3.72)4
Limited edition of the best-selling behind-the-scenes look at Disneyland, to celebrate the theme park's 50th anniversary. Packaged to include additional chapter, fold-out photo, and 60-minute audio CD: "A Walk in the Park: A Guided Tour of Disneyland in 1955."
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Interesting look at Disneyland and definitely not authorized by the Disney company. The book starts off with the building of the park. It talks about the original black and white swans that were used around the castle and that they in fact were mean and would try and bite people. There's a chapter devoted t violence and crime in the parks. who would think of gang fights in the happiest place on earth. Another chapter talks about bad accidents that happened at the park. Were people have been injured and a few examples of people actually being killed. A chapter that's totally dedicated to lawsuits that have been brought against the park. People who have tried to sue for unlawful detainment when in fact they were caught shop lifting. Another is a case I had heard of where a large woman filed suit saying that one of the three little pigs in costume grabbed her chest and shouted Mommy. This was later proven to be completely false as the costumes do not have moveable arms. A riot in the 70s that almost forced the park to close for the day. Grad nights where the newly graduated students are drunk, disorderly and even try to be promiscuous on the dark rides. Was a fun look at Disney that's not all sugar and spice and everything nice. ( )
  ChrisWeir | Aug 25, 2017 |
Mouse Tales: A Behind-the-Ears Look at Disneyland is as fun as cotton candy -- an enticing rush that melts down to a very pleasurable, but evanescent, mouthful.

Not authorized or endorsed by the Walt Disney Company, it tells of behind-the-scenes high jinks, practical jokes, stupid visitor tricks, and working conditions -- as well as some sobering issues Disney would undoubtedly prefer you not know. Most surprising to me was just how much of a family business Disneyland was when it first opened. It had all the eccentricity in its work force and management that is entailed in a small operation. Only later did Disney become the monolithic, dynamo of corporate America.

Selections from the table of contents give a good sense of what you’ll find in Mouse Tales: “Underground Disneyland: Secrets of the Kingdom;” “A Cast of Characters: Working at the Happiest Place on Earth;” “Be Our Guest: Thank Goodness These People Are Just Visiting;” “The Tragic Kingdom: Violence and Crime at the Magic Kingdom;” and “Fatal Attractions: Accidents Do Happen, Even at Disneyland.”

On the lighter side are shenanigans such as Jungle Cruise captains who intentionally short-circuited animatronics so bathing robotic elephants drenched riders with water shot from their trunks. Or the visitors who asked how long the 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea ride lasted and when a Disneyland worker jokingly said “two days,” went back to their hotel to get their suitcases for the trip. Apparently visitors have a tendency to believe just about anything they are told by employees, like the guest who saw a garage can and asked what kind of ride it was. When told it was the “Can Ride,” he climbed in and stood in the gabage waiting for the ride to begin.

On the more serious side are stories of strikes, discrimination, and the counter-culture radicals who staged the “First International Yippie Pow Wow” at Disneyland – with admission “by any means necessary,” a rally for the liberation of Minnie Mouse, and finally an attempt to burn the place down. And of course fatal accidents, most of which are gruesome and I won’t get into here.

The incidents, whether comic or tragic, get repetitive – this is neither scholarship nor historical reporting. But in the end, it’s entertaining enough. But remember, I like cotton candy too.
  ElizabethChapman | Apr 17, 2010 |
Lots of little reflections and stories about Disneyland. I have to admit my one experience going to Disneyland I wasn't impressed. (Of course, I was older and already been to Disneyworld twice). So I'm a little biased and when it talked about the painstaking maintenance and park efforts it didn't really jibe with my own experience.

Some of the stories that come down third or fourth hand seem suspicious at best. That's ok because some of the more interesting cases seem to actually e documented. Some chapters are really good, others seem a bit hurried. The author seems to try to take a neutral tone but it tends to swing one way or the other to either trying to say the park really does try to the park makes questionable decision.

(The edition I read was one of the first ones, don't know how much revision went on in later edition).

Pretty quick read and interesting. I wish he had gone into a little more details about the management changes in Disney instead of just hinting at them, but I imagine he addresses that in later books.
  JonathanGorman | Oct 31, 2009 |
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For Laura,
Let me share a whole new world with you...
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Growing up in the late Sixties in Orange County, California, I was enchanted by Disneyland.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Limited edition of the best-selling behind-the-scenes look at Disneyland, to celebrate the theme park's 50th anniversary. Packaged to include additional chapter, fold-out photo, and 60-minute audio CD: "A Walk in the Park: A Guided Tour of Disneyland in 1955."

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