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Mouse Tales: A Behind-The-Ears Look at Disneyland
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Mouse Tales: A Behind-The-Ears Look at Disneyland

3.9 of 5 stars 3.90  ·  rating details  ·  721 ratings  ·  99 reviews
Mouse Tales A revealing glimpse backstage at Disneyland, its development, and its operations Full description
Paperback, 239 pages
Published July 1st 1995 by Bonaventure Press (first published 1994)
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As a "behind the scenes," unauthorized look at Disneyland, I expected this book to be somehow more dark and hard-hitting than it was. The gossip side of my personality read this book hoping for some really good dirt, and that side of me was left somewhat disappointed.

Mouse Tales is certainly interesting and filled with a lot of information. I learned quite a few things about Disneyland that I never knew before, such as: there is an exclusive, members-only club at the park called Club 33; there i
Being a Disneyland devotee, I picked this one up on a lark at a used bookstore. It’s a good read for fans of the park, but nonfiction readers who are looking for a solid expose of Disneyland’s foibles and secrets will be disappointed by the uneven quality of the writing.

According to interviews, Koenig never worked for Disneyland, but apparently hung out with a lot of people who did. The book therefore melds company information, news stories, and public record with anecdotes from mostly nameless
The first half of this book was by far better than the second. I'm speculating here, but my guess is that Koenig wanted to write a book chronicling all the anecdotes, war stories, and other behind the scenes tid-bits that he knew and heard over the years from Disney "Cast Members" (employees). These stories which cover the first half of the book are indeed poignant and fun to read. But then Koenig still needed material for a full-length book and resorted to chronicling various lawsuits, mishaps, ...more
Not as interesting as I hoped it would be. Also (and this is no fault of the author, obviously), it was written in the early 90s, so a lot of the rides/attractions are gone, so I didn't completely understand everything Koenig talked about. The little bit about international parks was interesting, especially that EuroDisney did horribly, so I'd like to read more about Walt's thought process when World was being built.

Learning things like how much prices have increased was really interesting (I c
Excerpt from my full review at

I’m not sure how to preface this book, so let’s just dive in.

Journalist David Koenig sets out to unearth the truth behind Disneyland’s pristine image in a backstage reveal of their policies and scandals from the beginning of the park through the early 1990s. If you’ve ever heard rumors of children falling out of rollercoasters, rats overrunning the park grounds at night, or the hundreds of lawsuits filed against the Disney company, you’ll fi
This is the expanded anniversary edition of a book I already love - the added stuff (one chapter on 1955, the accompanying CD walk-through of 1955 Disneyland, and the added tidbits in a number of chapters) is nice but not essential. Still, I'm glad I own it!
Dave Mccormick
Very enjoyable look at the background workings of Disneyland - taken mostly from an employee (or cast member) point of view. Unlike many of these kinds of books about Disney, Koenig has no axe to grind with Walt Disney, the Disney company or Disneyland itself. Accidents happen, employees (and visitors) do some very silly things, rides don't work as expected, it's just that information about these incidents are very carefully managed by the Disney legal team, so I appreciate the effort that Koeni ...more
Brad Wheeler
Call this three and a half stars. I bought this when I was at Disneyland and read it before and after my midday naps, in between going on all the rides the book describes. It definitely enhanced my experience, since it lives up to its promise to delve into the secret world of the park. For instance, the chapter on costumed characters was pretty fascinating; who wouldn't want to learn about what being in the Mickey suit is like? Spoiler alert: often, it's not much fun.

On the negative side, Mouse
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.[return][return]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 ...more
Amanda Wheet
Koenig is one of those storytellers who takes nonfiction, immerses you in, and then abruptly spits you out. When he's good, he's great. But when he can't seem to figure out what chapter to include, he's a bit dry. Overall, Mouse Tales is interesting, and really allows readers to learn all about Disneyland, in a way that isn't always possible. As I'm more of a WDW girl, living smack in the middle of the country, I've never been to Disneyland. However, I was able to easily picture attractions and ...more
I have mixed feelings about this book and was debating back and forth from giving the book 2 or 3 stars.

There are some really interesting stories and facts about Disneyland in this book.

The book gives the reader an idea of what it's like to work at Disneyland. It describes behind the scenes at Disneyland. i.e. a private members-only club, break rooms, underground complexes, etc. You can also read about breakdowns, fires, riots, fatal accidents and lawsuits.

I skimmed over a few sections because
Sep 06, 2007 Tracey rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: nyone interested in the less-publicized aspects of the history of Disneyland
Shelves: disney
We bought Mouse Tales in preparation for our trip to Disneyland in October - however, I didn't get around to reading it until now.

The book covers the history of Disneyland as seen by those who worked there - the majority of the information came from interviews of former cast members/employees, as well as newspaper articles. As this was not an authorized book, Koenig wasn't able to reference the Disney Archives or access other official non-public material.

The Happiest Place on Earth had a very ro
This is a quick read about the reality behind the fantasy of Disneyland. Koenig examines the cast members love/hate relationship with their employer, the trouble certain rides have had over the years, and Disneyland's litigation strategy, whether or not lawsuit has merit.

Mouse Tales is not for those who are insistent on believing the manufactured "magic" of Disney. If you're in that category, move along. This one is about the people involved in creating the illusion, warts and all.
A catchy title. After the "Disney-is-litigation-happy-and-I'm-so-brave-for-taking-them-on" introduction, we get to a collection of "This one time at Disneyland..." stories that are third or fourth hand at best, but still entertaining despite their questionable authenticity. There are some interesting stories about lawsuits, since you know there are plenty of guests hoping to score big on their "pain and inconvenience" at Disneyland. Unfortunately, most of those stories are about how the people l ...more
Great book for any fan of the parks who has wondered, "What really goes on there?", as I have. And as told by a writer/researcher who is clearly a fan of the parks, it felt fair and objective to me. Even as it was, I'm sure, revealing tales that Disney suits would not want told.

I sometimes became lost under the avalanche of various anecdotes. The smaller, shorter stories often felt like filler. I'm amazed, then, that a 2nd book was written. If it doesn't expand to tell tales from other parks, I'
Written in the 90s, the information in this book was just too out-dated. Historical background and Disneyland-during the 60s, 70s, and 80s was interesting but not much more than a collection of anecdotes and lawsuits, blandly written.
The first half of this book is great. It's filled with interesting insights, anecdotes and history. As a big fan of Disney (though I am more familiar with Disneyland Paris) it was a great read. If behind-the-scenes and 'how it works' fascinates you, and isn't going to spoil the magic, then I'd give this a go.

Unfortunately, some of the later chapters didn't interest me. They came across as if they were just there to fill pages and read like a long list of dates, figures and lawsuits that weren't
This is a matter of fact my favorite non fiction book of all time! I have read it at least 4 times and always before i go to Disneyland. I am totally and 100% obsessed with Disneyland making this the perfect book for me. I thought it was insightful, interesting, and often made me laugh out loud! Allthough it did expose alot about the secrats of disney it never took away any of the magic, in fact i think it made it all the more magical. Someday i want to be an imagineer and work there in college ...more
A very readable book about behind Disneyland. Will kind of burst your "Happiest Place on Earth" bubble, but is probably realistic about the company behind the magic.
Wow! I am astounded that this book is not 5 stars, or at least 4 and a half stars. It is the best book I have ever read. From the story of the fat lady that got stuck in the turnstiles on Pirates of the Caribbean, to the very, very, very, very, VERY sad story of Deborah Stone, to the only boring chapter in the book (the one about lawsuits), this book is the best Disneyland book I have ever read. I highly recommend it!
L Walker
An interesting behind the scenes look at Disneyland, although the copy I read was very dated (early/mid '90s). I found the first half of the book a little more interesting than the second half that focused mostly on people that had filed lawsuits. If you're a die-hard Disney fan, it's a must-read.
Really loved this book. I like knowing about the things that go wrong but it still doesn't spoil the magic for me. For all the people that died messing around on ride, that is their own fault and their familes should have been ashamed for sueing Disneyland.
And most people just take this piss with lawsuits. I hate the way people have treated the cast members, some people are so rude and horrible. I would like to vist Disneyland but it would be hard to pull me away from the Florida one. I'm lookin
I hated disneyland in my younger years. Along came my disney wife and going to the magic kingdom became a prerequisite. I read this book and everything turned around. Every time I go now I have a deep appreciation for the parks. There were amazing stories involving death, sex, and logistics. All the little secrets about disneyland were a treat.

This is a great book for those wanting those little drama side stories. Read it for a great time. Even if you hate disneland I suggest you read it. It cou
I'd heard about this book before, and my expectations were high. I was expecting (craving) more dirt. Well, maybe more details on the dirt. There were so many tidbits packed into this book that few were detailed to the level I'd hoped for. Many of the tidbits were boring and could have been left out. I did appreciate the first chapter about the grand opening and first years of the park; the historic view was a good one.

If you're a Disney nut, you probably already know everything this book has to
lyndsay ortiz
Oct 27, 2008 lyndsay ortiz rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Disneyland Fans
A dream of mine? To some day work at Disneyland. Literally, I've dreamt of it. (I was dressed up as Pinnochio and thrilled that I got to go backstage and underground and get PAID to be at Disneyland. I woke up elated.)
Either that, or I lie a lot and have a big nose.
This book was so fun to read, and that is no lie. If you are interested in the reality behind the magic, read David Koenig's Mouse Tales. The fights, the accidents, the urban legends put to rest or put to the test - it's all here!
As a huge Disneyland fan, it's a fun read! It tells the story of the building and opening of the park, and what a disaster it originally was. It talks about what it was like to work there under Walt, and how it was never the same once he died. It talks about the history of the lands and rides, and the employees - the pranks they play, the cliques, etc. It talks about some of the legal troubles, all sorts of stuff. VERY, very fun if you are a Disneyland fan. There's a second one I definitely plan ...more
Very average book
Apr 07, 2011 Matt added it
Well I enjoyed Koenig's Realityland his spectacular tome about the early years of Orlando's Magic Kingdom, but I wasn't ready for the revelation this book was. Wow that was a rough sentence, moving on. It's great! I've read tons of books about Disneyland and so parts of this book were boring, but 90% was worthwhile. If you know the basics and the history of Disneyland, this is the next book for you to get. The title gives a good idea of what this book is, but it's better than it sounds.
I liked this much better then Mouse Trap by Kevin Yee. The layout is poor. Koenig could have laid out the chapters on tragedy and law suits in a more interesting format instead of just listing one after another in paragraph form. Like Yee's book, this book could use a better editor. But the content was interesting. Over the years I've heard a lot of urban legend on deaths at Disneyland and this book cleared up what is legend and what actually happened.
I wanted to love this but was somewhat disappointed. There are a few good chapters... The ones about the history of Disneyland and some key historical moments (riots of 1970)... But otherwise this book is series of paragraphs describing employee pranks and guest accidents. It just didn't make for a compelling story. Also, the author's tone flip-flops between love and disgust for Disney... As if he couldn't make up his mind.
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David Koenig is the senior editor of the 80-year-old business journal, The Merchant Magazine.

After receiving his degree in journalism from California State University, Fullerton (aka Cal State Disneyland), he began years of research for his first book, Mouse Tales: A Behind-the-Ears Look at Disneyland (1994), which he followed with Mouse Under Glass: Secrets of Disney Animation & Theme Parks (
More about David Koenig...
Realityland: True-Life Adventures at Walt Disney World More Mouse Tales: A Closer Peek Backstage at Disneyland Mouse Under Glass : Secrets of Disney Animation and Theme Parks Danny Kaye: King of Jesters Mouse Under Glass: Secrets of Disney Animation and Theme Parks

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