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

3.85  ·  Rating details ·  1,223 ratings  ·  143 reviews
Book by Koenig, David
Paperback, 254 pages
Published July 1st 1995 by Bonaventure Pr (first published 1994)
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 ·  1,223 ratings  ·  143 reviews

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Rebecca McNutt
Sep 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
I've never been to Disneyland, nor am I much of a Disney fan in general, but I think the company often gets scrutinized simply because it's so big and pervasive and people are looking for any dirty laundry on it they can find. This book largely abstains from sensationalizing the worst of Disney's history, which was a nice change from the sordid gossip and gory death stories often featured on the internet. It's not overly biased towards Disney either, and isn't afraid to talk about the company's ...more
Feb 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I LOVE this book! It is fantastic to have a book containing the more sordid stories of Disneyland from an author who obviously loves Disneyland as much as any reader. There are multiple astonishing facts and MANY laugh out loud stories, so if you love the Disney Parks, this is a can't miss! In fact, I often find myself re-reading this book whenever I am getting ready to visit a Disney park.
Jun 01, 2010 rated it liked it
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
May 16, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
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
Feb 19, 2013 rated it liked it
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
Jul 20, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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!
matt peacock
Apr 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: disneyland
Interesting behind the scenes look at the Magic Kingdom.
Jan 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was a wonderful read! I had already read More Mouse Tales: A Closer Peak Backstage At Disneyland, so I had an idea about what to expect. I liked Mouse Tales because it gives you the behind-the-scenes of the beginning of Disneyland (i.e. Disney's idea of the park, the problems with opening day, etc.) up through the late 20th century (I think the book was published in '94).

I found this book very useful in clearing up those urban legends that my family has been telling me ever since I
brian d rogers
An absolutely good book with a ton of behind the scenes stories about the people and events that shaped the history of the first 40:or so years of Disneyland. You’ll learn about the rides, the attractions, the employees and a TON of things about us, the people who go their looking for any number of things beyond simply visiting Walts Magic Kingdom. A place for protests, riots, violence, lawsuits and a ton of other things you’d never imagine. It’s a rougher and more honest look than I wanted at ...more
Chad Van deren
Nov 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
Although now out of date with the continued expansion of the Disney brand (the acquisition of Marvel, Lucasfilm, and Fox chief among them), still an entertaining and informative book. The history of the park, good and bad, still holds true. I also found it interesting to read about the trajectory of the theme parks looking at it through the lens of current day Disney. For anyone who has an affection or interest in Disney I highly recommend it.
Oct 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed the book, but the writing style was choppy and, as it is several years old, some of the language almost veered towards the offensive. I wish some of the stories had been set up a little better rather than simply being listed out, but overall this book provided the behind-the-scenes perspective that I was looking for.
Jan 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
Everything about Disney always fascinated me, so of course I wanted to read this book. I'm surprised Disney allowed this book to be in circulation since it contains all of Disney's faults, and it seems rare to me that anyone could ever find a fault in "the happiest place on earth". Very interesting.
Anthony Alvarez
Dec 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have read this book several times and still find a lot of good information in it. Some times the author tends to look at the "darker" part of Disneyland but there are still some gems within it. As a huge Disney fan, I really recommend this to anyone that wants to see the park beyond what is shown. There really is a lot more than meets the eye.
Jorge Saavedra
Nov 14, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: disney
I was expecting something different from this book, more focused on the Disneyland history itself, but, in the end, I got something surprisingly better. Full of anecdotes and unique stories, some of which are very funny, from The Happiest Place on Earth, this is a must-read for any Disney fan.
Peggy Rector
Jul 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I've always had a fascination with theme parks and Disney has been the king of them all. This book describes what is good and what is not so good about what we know as the magic of Disneyland.
Jun 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Actually inspired me to go work at Walt Disney World Resort in their college program. This book is a must read for any Disney Park fan.
Richard Burton
More just a list of incidents and accidents in Disneyland than the behind-the-scenes 'expose' I believed it to be. Somewhat disappointed.
Oct 08, 2015 rated it really liked it
Secades 1
Secades M. Noah
Ms. Kuehl
English 9
8 October 2015
Mouse Tales: A Behind-the-Ears Look at Disneyland by David Koenig
For my first book love book I decided to read Mouse Tales and the way I came across this book is that I was looking for some books to read in the library when I stumbled upon it and I had already heard from this guy at my filming camp over the summer that it was a good read. So I picked it up and enjoyed every second. The story is sort of hard to explain, it is the story of
Feb 02, 2008 rated it it was ok
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
Apr 21, 2014 rated it it was ok
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
Sep 05, 2007 rated it liked it
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
Jul 11, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history-culture
Years ago in an MBA class I read an interesting article called "The Smile Factory: Work at Disneyland." It presented a new perspective to the "Happiest Place on Earth." This book is more of the same, although written by an outsider as opposed to a former employee. It's basically a collection of stories from interviews with past and present employees of Disneyland. It starts with a basic history of the park explaining some of the problems that happened and some of the behind-the-scenes stuff you ...more
Brad Wheeler
Aug 22, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
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
Amanda Kay
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
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
Philip Cosand
Jan 05, 2015 rated it liked it
Not great, but certainly not bad.

The worst part of the book is the rather self-congratulating introduction. The second-worst is the uninteresting "new" chapter about what happened in the early days.

That being said, this book does offer interesting glimpses of what museum/ attraction life is like. My former coworkers will hear stories that are strikingly similar to our work place.

There are tales (tails?) about broken rides, drunken college kids, power outages, and customers threatening to sue.
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
Aug 23, 2013 rated it liked it
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
May 12, 2016 rated it really liked it
I picked this up on a whim after finding it for the criminally overpriced fee of two pence. It explored the mythos and development of Disneyland, something I never really thought to ask questions about. Not only did it provided valuable (if a tad dated by now) insights into the working conditions of the cast and staff, but a fairly in depth history surrounding the strikes over pay and unfair working conditions in the so-called "happiest place of Earth". I was drawn in by the quirks and the first ...more
Sep 16, 2015 rated it did not like it
Unclear how something as interesting as a behind the scenes look at the creation of Disneyland turned in to something this droll. While the book appears to be well researched, especially in the face of Disney's lawyers breathing down Koenig's neck about what could and couldn't be published, the overall tone of this book is about on par with a high school history report. It was difficult for me to engage with the content, perhaps because the author assumed a level of knowledge about the material ...more
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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