Children’s Books: Atlantis-The Lost Empire

Disney’s Atlantis: The Lost Empire
Disney’s Wonderful World of Reading

I am really enjoying reviewing these books because it helps remind me of Disney movies that I have not seen in quite a while.  This book is a prime example.  Atlantis is one of the Disney movies that I was never very intrigued to watch as a child, so I might have seen it once but do not really remember it.

The Wonderful World of Reading books are so detailed in the storyline that it really does help to remind you of what the plot is. The dialogue even gives hints to some of the classic and comical lines throughout the movie. Reading this book, I was reminded about Milo’s appointment being changed, each of the unique characters and how the Atlantis people didn’t know how to use the vehicles until Milo got there.

Do you remember this movie or have you read this book? What is your favorite part? If you are interested in purchasing this book, check out this Amazon link: Atlantis: The Lost Empire

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Children’s Books: Pinocchio

Walt Disney’s Pinocchio

This children’s book I purchases a while ago at a book warehouse. It had caught my eye because of its unique style and the “Vintage Collection”Sticker. This book is a reprint of an original book from 1939, when Pinocchio was originally released.  It is textured as if made from linen as the original had been. What drew me to this book was that my mother said she remembered seeing books like this in her grandmother’s house, showing me the uniqueness of this style of book.

The pictures on the inside are absolutely gorgeous! They are very classic, as if painted on a canvas with bright colors. What surprised me was some of the scenes they decided to illustrate.  The biggest example is the last picture, which is a picture of Monstro the whale.  There is no illustration of the happy ending or of Pinocchio in his final state, not even on the back cover where I thought they might have put it.

The story, while following the movie pretty closely, seems almost awkward because of the lack of dialogue, large paragraphs and the separation of sentences on different pages.  The usual children’s book has small paragraphs or short lines of story or dialogue that are completed on each page before you go to the next one and the pictures are usually corresponding with the sentences on that page.  This book is not like that at all and can seem a little awkward to new-age readers.  Not being an expert on 1930’s and 40’s literature, I can only assume that this was the way that children’s books were written at the time.

Regardless of these awkward features, I feel this is a really cool book that you or your children would not normally see and it is definitely worth a glance.

If you are interested in purchasing this unique reproduction of Disney and literature history, Amazon does have a few available at a cheap price here: Pinocchio – Vintage Collection Republished for the Original 1939 (Linen-Like).

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A Disney Book and Art Event!

I heard about this event and just had to share! The upcoming release of the new Disney Press children’s book “It’s a Small World” is being celebrated in style at Gallery Nucleus in Alhambra, California.

Starting Saturday the 17th, artwork will be displayed throughout the gallery all with the theme of global peace to celebrate the release of Disney Press’ “It’s a Small World”, a children’s book made using the Sherman Brothers’ famous lyrics and illustrated by artist Joey Chou. The exhibit features artwork from 45 artists, including Chou, all taking their inspiration from the Disney Parks attraction.

The Opening Reception is Saturday the 17th from 7pm to 10pm and will not only have some of the artists present, but will feature a book signing with Joey Chou as well as a raffle with one of the prizes being a signed copy of “It’s a Small World”. Admission is free and refreshment will be served. Click Here to see the event page and to pre-order your copy of the book.

What a great theme for an art exhibit with some Disney flair! If it wasn’t on the other side of the country, I would so be there. I told someone at the gallery this and they let me know that a preview of some of the artwork that would be at the show was available on their website! I looked at the pieces and was amazed at how much they reminded me of sitting on that boat in that classic attraction! The colors and the faces of the children featured in some of the pieces brought a smile to my face. Check out the preview by clicking this link. Let me know what you think about the pieces as well! Do you get the same familiar feeling as I do?

If you are in the Alhambra, California area, I would definitely urge you to stop by this exhibit. After the opening on Saturday night, the exhibit is available to view every day until October 3rd. Visit www.gallerynucleus.com for directions and other information regarding the gallery.

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The Imagineering Field Guide Series – Epcot

The Imagineering Field Guide to Epcot at Walt Disney World: An Imagineer’s-Eye Tour
By The Imagineers

I know, you guys thought I forgot about this book in the series, but don’t worry, I hadn’t.  I was just taking my time looking through it because this is my favorite book in the series! As much as I love the Magic Kingdom park, Epcot is a very very close second and this book went into detail about my favorite parts of Epcot, the details!

Just as the other three books (Animal Kingdom, Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios) this book begins with a intro into the history of Imagineering as well and the Disciplines and Lingo that helps readers understand the book. After this comes the information on Epcot; how it came to be, what ideas led to its creations, what the heck the name means! Having researched this background information in the past, I was delighted to find the level of detail this part of the book goes into as far as explaining what the original city of Epcot was supposed to look like.

The next parts of the book cover the actual areas of the park, including Future World Central, Future World East, Future World West and World Showcase. The individual pavilions and attractions in each section have their own pages within these headings and talk about their creation and what makes them so unique. The back of the book has a bibliography page and a full color map. There are pictures and diagrams throughout the book to help explain the details that the book explains.

I have recently been on a behind-the-scenes tour of Epcot and, to my surprise, some of what I had learned on that tour was in this book! When we walked past Test Track, I remember my tour guide talking about the amount of processing power the cars have and how complex the systems are.  That just shows you how detailed the Imagineers are in these books. In my opinion, it definitely makes it worth the read.

What I learned from this book:

  • The inside of Spaceship Earth is just as complicated as the outside, even for the maintenance workers!
  • Test Track is the fastest attraction in any Disney park at 65 mph!
  • The technical name for the leapfrog fountain technology is laminar flow
  • Ever feel crowded coming out of Reflections of China? That street was made like that on purpose!
  • The American Adventure Pavilion uses 4 different shades of white on the outside…did you even know there was 4 different shades of white?

If it was possible, I think this book made me love and appreciate Epcot even more than I already do.  This has been true about every book in this series! All four of these books have such detail and information and, for me, have been page turners.

If you are interested in purchasing The Imagineering Field Guide to Epcot at Walt Disney World just click on the link. Make sure to check out the other three articles as well on the other books in this series.

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Children’s Books: The Lion King 1 1/2

Disney’s The Lion King 1 1/2
Disney’s Wonderful World of Reading

I saw this book in the store and was very excited to pick it up.  I love the movie because, while it is not as good as the original, I found the new perspective of the original story very entertaining.  The book gives a varying perspective of the same timeline, but it is not as clear as it is in the movie.

For those who are unfamiliar with the movie, Lion King 1 1/2 is Timon’s life story and what happened to him before he met Simba.  You learn about Timon’s family, how he met Pumbaa, how he came to live in the beautiful jungle where he takes Simba and even a little about Simba growing up with him and Pumbaa.

Like the movie, the book is told from Timon’s perspective, which gives a comical spin to the story.  He may describe a scene one way, but the illustrations tell a different story, which is something fun to point out to children when they are reading this book. For instance, Timon says that he is merely “surprised” when he first meets Pumbaa, but you can tell from the picture that surprised is putting it mildly.

If nothing else, this book is just a fun read and I would recommend it to all ages. To get The Lion King 1 1/2 from Amazon.com, just click on the title.

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Touring Guides: Birnbaum Guides Disneyland 2011

Birnbaum Guides Disneyland 2011
Edited By Jill Safro

This book is one that I have used to help me to prepare for my very first visit to Disneyland for the D23 Expo. It is the Official Guide of Disneyland and, just as its sister book, the Birnbaum Guide for Walt Disney World, it is filled with great information for your travels.

As always, let’s begin with the basics, a table of contents and index.  Both are included in this book, a good start for sure. Each chapter has a mini Table of Contents as well to help navigate the chapter.

Just as the Walt Disney World book, this book is full of color.  There are colored pictures and illustrations on just about every page. The detailed pictures of the attractions have helped me to get a visual for what the park looks like. The maps throughout the book are quite colorful and detailed as well, featuring maps of Disneyland, California Adventure, Southern California and Orange County.

The first section of this book is Getting Ready To Go. This section has lots of planning information for the first-time visitor, including Crowd Calendars, Weather Patterns, Special Events list, package information, budget information, ticket information, traveling with and without children, disabilities information, travel information, trip planning timeline and schedule touring plans.

The Accommodations section goes over the wide variety of hotel options in the area.  The first part talks about the three Disney resorts; The Grand Californian, Disneyland Hotel and Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel. After this are the Good Neighbor hotels, the dozens of hotels around the Disney property that have great deals with Disney.  There are a pretty good amount of information on many of the Good Neighbor resorts, but in case none of those work for you, there is another list at the back of the chapter with even more resorts for you to choose from.

Now comes the information on the two theme parks, Disneyland and California Adventure. After the map, there is a section with tips to familiarize yourself with the park and information that guests may need, and then the lands are named along with their attractions. The attractions have relatively detailed write-ups. Throughout these two sections are Hot Tip green boxes with suggestions for future park goers; some of these are really awesome!

Just as in its sister book, the food information is not mixed within the park sections, but in its own section called Good Meals, Great Times. All of the snack, quick service and table service restaurants are listed in this section with descriptions and pricing information for each as well as what meals are served there. This section also has an entertainment list for the resorts and Downtown Disney.

The last section of this book is the Sports. This talks about where around Anaheim you can participate in sports.  There are not any sports choices on Disney property, so you do have to travel the area to get to them. The last pages of this book have coupons and a page for notes.

Here is your touring book summary:

Table of Contents and Index: Yes
Photos: Yes, with lots of color on every page
Maps: Yes, of Disneyland, California Adventure, Southern California and Orange County
Resort Details: Several lists of hotels with pretty detailed information
Dining Details: A whole chapter devoted to it with a decent amount of detail
Attraction Details: A write up on each and a picture for many
Downtown Disney Details: A little Detailed
Other Information: Packing Suggestions, Tickets and pricing, weather, special event details, tips for traveling with children, solo and with disabilities, suggested schedules, tips sprinkled throughout the book, coupons

I found this book to be a great help with planning my first trip, hopefully you will as well! To buy the book at a pretty good price, check it out on Amazon here: Birnbaum’s Disneyland Resort 2011

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Children’s Books: Donald Duck in Disneyland

Walt Disney’s Donald Duck in Disneyland
Told by Annie North Bedford

I saw this book at a swap meet a few years ago and, despite its bad shape, just had to pick it up! I had never seen a children’s book about the parks like this before! The copyright inside says 1955 and 1960, so this book is from the early years of Disneyland. The pages are pretty fragile, with rips and places where children colored on the pages; the typical “Golden Book” bind is gone from the outside as well.  None of this bothers me really though, gives the book character, plus I am still able to read the story!

The story is about Donald taking his nephews, Huey, Dewey and Louie, to Disneyland.  Donald wants to ride the train to see everything and take it slow, but the mischievous boys have other plans. Donald spends the trip worrying and looking for the boys while they are having a ball riding all of the great rides in Disneyland.

Rides featured in the book include the Sky Ride and Monorail by name, but there are others that are not named but are easily recognized, such as the Jungle Cruise and Matterhorn.

I am determined to find out if there are more books like this out there, if so, I want to find them! Anything with pictures or text regarding the parks interests me, and this book combines that and loveable Disney characters. As a storyline itself, the book is lacking, but I think this may be because of the style of writing in the time period and I would not be surprised if this book was made mainly to show off Disneyland.  Regardless, I consider this book a great piece of Disney literature history and will forever covet this book!

If you would like a copy of this book for yourself, they seem to be sold on Amazon from used, of course, so there aren’t any pictures of the books and the prices seem to vary widely.  Here’s a link for Amazon: Donald Duck in Disneyland or use my pictures to check eBay for copies if you are interested.

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Details: Windows on Main Street

Windows on Main Street
by Chuck Snyder

This is the first of a few books that I bought while in Walt Disney World this past July. This book is all about the stories of the people who Disney thought important enough to put on a window in Disneyland or Walt Disney World.

The 23 page book starts with a forward by Marty Sklar, a legend in his own right, who goes over the history and rules behind the windows.  This is immediately followed by an introduction and then goes right into the book, giving the descriptions of each person, in alphabetical order, who appear on windows in Walt Disney World, Disneyland or both.

The information given is just a small blurb, but it is enough to let the readers know why these people are honored in such a memorable and unique way. There are also explanations of some of the descriptions on the windows, such as if the company the person had on their window was a joke related to a hobby of theirs.

After all of the descriptions, there is a map of both Disneyland and Walt Disney World’s Main Street and it is labeled where each person has a window.  I am really contemplating taking this book next time I go to one of the Main Streets and figuring out where everyone is!

For Disney history lovers, or for those who are just curious what the heck those windows on Main Street say, this is a great book for you! It can be found in many stores in Walt Disney World, including World of Disney, the Emporium, Mouse Gears, and many of the resort stores. If you aren’t going to Walt Disney World any time soon, you could get this book on Amazon.com at this link: Windows on Main Street: Discover the Real Stories of the Talented People Featured on the Windows of Main Street, U.S.A. but I am going to warn you, this price is more expensive than if you bought it down in the parks.

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Children’s ebook: Planet Explorers Walt Disney World 2011

Planet Explorers Walt Disney World 2011: A Guidebook for Kids
By Laura Schaefer

This is the first ebook that I have ever reviewed, due mainly to the fact that I have no e-reader of any sort.  This Planet Explorers book is for 8 to 12 year olds and is all about Walt Disney World.

I read the book in a PDF file format, as I found that the easiest way for myself to go through the pages.  As I scrolled through the book, just to get a feel for what it was like, I was really glad to see lots of awesome pictures, which as you know is something that I look for in a guide book. I also look for a table of contents and an index.  This book had a table of contents, but it did not have page number as it is an ebook and, by design, does not have pages.  There was no index for the same reason.  There were no maps of the parks throughout the book, but I was intrigued by this monorail and train track diagram.  I had never seen that before.

The beginning of the book was a brief introduction to the book’s style, including what a few abbreviations meant and included basic park information such as Fastpass, Height Requirements, and Live Shows. A history of Walt Disney World is also at the front of the book.

Now, let’s talk about the specifics, the park info.  There is no explanation about the park itself, the book just immediately goes into the information about each land in the park.  This is probably a good thing as this is a children’s book and they are not interested in the history as much as they are interested in “The Now” and what they can do and see when they get there. Each land has three sections; “What’s cool about it?”, “Fun Facts!” and “Food”.  The first section describes the attractions in the area, the Fun Facts are details and interesting bits of information within the land and then the food is, obviously, all about what food you can get and where in that land.  At the end of each park section, there is a heading that talks about the characters and where you can find them in the park and then a few more touring tips.

I do not know if this happens in the other styles of the book available, but on the PDF version, there are links throughout the book on words and names that may not be known and, when clicked on them, you are taken to a page to learn more information.  The book also has scattered “Did you hear?” facts, and “In their own words” quotes. There is a list of the special tours that are available, though no description of them and a short sentence on all of the live shows available in the parks.

There are small but informative sections on both water parks and on Downtown Disney, which I was excited to see. Children don’t always learn so much about these sections in other guide books, so this was refreshing.  The next section covered the resorts with a small paragraph and picture dedicated to each. This was followed by a list of a few suggested restaurants that might be appealing to children.  The end of the book had a list of “Disney-isms”, a clickable list of Imagineers that sends readers to an information site about each of these men and woman (Alice Davis), and a quiz on the Walt Disney World Resort.  The book was finished off with a few final tips and a note from the publisher.

I really enjoyed reading some of the fact and information about the lands.  All of the information was kid friendly and there were even some tips that I did not know.  I liked that the book was interactive in the way that if there was a name or a term that may not be understood, it was highlighted and they were sent to a link for more information.  All of the links were kid friendly as well!

Why is this book kid friendly? There are not a lot of large paragraphs to read, just small lines, which appeals to not just children, but really everyone. There are lots of pictures and fun facts and it gives the children the basics of what they need to know. Again, I just love the links as well throughout the book to kid-friendly websites, a great touch!

The book is purchased on the Smashwords website, which you have to sign up for a free account before you purchase the book.  The book is a mere $2.99 and filled with content. Once you purchase the book, it can be downloaded in several different formats, including Epub, PDF, PDB, RTF, Plain Text and online reading formats like HTML. This book is definitely a worth-while purchase for the little members of your family!

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Children’s Books: Mickey Mouse Flies the Christmas Mail

Mickey Mouse Flies the Christmas Mail
Told By Annie North Bedford

Since today is Christmas in July, here is an adorable little Christmas story from the 1950’s that I recently found a reprint of in a bookstore.

Mickey was enjoying a quiet Christmas Eve with Minnie and his nephews when he got an emergency call saying that he needed to help deliver some Christmas mail.  He goes to deliver the mail in his small plane, but gets blown off course.  Unsure where he is, he lands to try to get more gas for his plane and ends up getting some help from none other than Mrs. Claus and Santa’s elves!

This book is dated, but its classic illustrations and cute ending will make this a book your family will enjoy. It just shows that once again, Mickey is a hero, sometimes even on Christmas!

Visit the following link to order this book quite cheaply off of Amazon.com: Mickey Mouse Flies the Christmas Mail

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