Of Mouse and Men by Nicklaus Hopkins

This book was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

Disney Parks have always had massive popular appeal. They draw people from all walks of life, and have amassed something of a cult following (if you ever want to head down the rabbit hole, go to the Disneyland subreddit). With such fantastic production and a seemingly perfect facade, people clamor at the chance to glimpse of the machine behind the magic. This fascination has created an entire subculture of blogs, YouTube deep-dive videos, and tell-all books written to give an insider take. As a Disney fan myself, I was thrilled to be given the opportunity to read this book and to learn a bit more about the daily life of one of the thousands of cast members at Disney World.

Of Mouse and Men follows the author as he trains, and subsequently performs, as a masked character in Walt Disney World. His journey begins when he is offered a sweet new gig – character performer in Walt Disney World. It’s any Disney fanatic’s dream job – he gets to be paid to spend time in Disney World as one of his favorite characters. Right off the bat, training is a grueling ordeal – hours in a heavy, cumbersome costume in Florida heat. It’s this part of the book that I found I enjoyed the most. I really enjoyed how honest Nicklaus was about his early missteps. He made mistakes, he learned, grew as a performer, and never seems to lose his optimism and passion for his job.

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Walt Disney: An American Original by Bob Thomas

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I am a massive Disney fan. I’m lucky enough to have gone to Disneyland and Disney World (and I am counting down until I can go back to Disney World). I’ve read all sorts of insider posts about the parks and watched all the documentaries that I could get my hands on. Of course, I’ve also done a ton of reading about the man himself. I love the fact that he was a self made man who worked hard to become one of the biggest names in entertainment. I had been wanting to read a biography about him for ages, but there were so many of them that I wanted to be sure I chose the right one for me. This book paints a beautiful picture of Walt Disney: it’s honest and doesn’t sugar coat his failures, and it doesn’t over exaggerate his successes. It’s the definitive biography for any fan who wants to know more about who Walt Disney was not only as a filmmaker, but also as a person.

“After I die, I would hate to look down at this studio and find everything in a mess,” Hazel retorted “What makes you think you won’t be using a periscope?”

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