This book is obviously about Niles’ experiences working for the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. As a Disney employee who operated rides in the 1980s and 90s, Niles ran into a number of amusing situations involving park guests. His chapters relate stories about everything from rescuing castaways from Tom Sawyer’s Island to the awkwardness of having to ask women in line if they were pregnant. All the while, Niles keeps his tone upbeat and his language clean and wholesome. The closest he hints to anything remotely off-color is when he writes about a couple who engaged in some questionable activity on the Pirates of the Caribbean ride.
I mostly enjoyed reading this book, but it occurred to me that the chapters were kind of disjointed as well as familiar. And then I learned that this book is basically a collection of blog posts. Indeed, Niles is the creator of ThemeParkInsider.com, a Web site that offers reviews of theme parks and theme park hotels, as well as travel tips. Apparently, a lot of the anecdotes in this book originally appeared on Niles’ Web site.
Niles is obviously a Disney booster, so Stories from a Theme Park Insider will probably really appeal to people who love all things Disney. I have never been to any of the Disney parks myself, but I did work at Busch Gardens Williamsburg for four summers. A lot of Niles’ stories were somewhat familiar to me and they gave me the chance to reminisce about some of the more positive memories of my own theme park employment experiences. At $3, this book is also not going to break the bank.
If you like true stories about theme parks, especially Disney’s Magic Kingdom, I can recommend Stories from a Theme Park Insider. It’s a quick, light, mostly positive read that will probably leave you smiling. On the other hand, if you frequent Niles’ Web site, this book might not feel particularly new. Also, keep in mind that Niles’ stories come from the late 80s and early 90s. If you’re looking for more recent anecdotes, this book might disappoint you.
Robert Niles’ site: http://www.themeparkinsider.com/