Book review: Drinking at Disney

When you crack open a book with the subtitle “A tipsy travel guide to Walt Disney World’s bars, lounges, and glow cubes,” you have a certain expectation. At the low end of the spectrum would be simple recounting of what’s in each bar and maybe a few factoids specific to each. However, that would be a bit too…dry. This book takes the concept of podcast-level banter and translates it, rather effectively I’d have to say, to the written word.

The two authors (one male and one female) apparently co-host a podcast called 3 O’Clock Parade, and I’d have to say it shows. The book is constructed less like a travel guide of places to get your alky on, and more like a transcript-level capture of unresolved sexual tension between two people somehow jammed into a Survivor-type show held at Disney bars. At least, that’s the part that catches my eye.

There is a full accounting of drinks at each location, but boy howdy is that going to go out of date soon. Disney rotates drink selections the way the male author rotates thinly-veiled come-ons to the female author in the book itself (in other words, every time you turn around).

The impression you get is that the male author (Daniel “Drunky” Miller) and the female author Rhiannon, here called an editor for some reason, have a firmly-established relationship. Namely, he gets way more drunk than she, he tries incoherently and unsuccessfully to flirt, and she rebuffs his efforts with pique, verve, and put-downs that nonetheless betray affection, as if they are stuck with each other and she figures her resignation might as well be tinged by irony. I don’t know the podcast, but the book is so effortless in communicating a fully-formed relationship I would guess the book’s tone is a carryover from the podcast.

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It’s the banter that drove me through the book. If the book was just a listing of which drinks to find at the Tamu Tamu Lounge, it would get tiresome pretty quickly. Sure, there are some photos to look at – it’s a colorful book – but info alone does not a book make. After only a few pages I found myself eagerly seeking the banter instead, which comes courtesy of easy-to-find speech bubbles, also color coded by speaker. Even after the prices and alcohol selections become obsolete (say, three minutes after you read this sentence), the book will have value for the experiential flirting.

Rhiannon’s icon in the book is a frowning, grumpy, disapproving face, and you can see those same judgmental eyebrows on the book cover.

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It’s little wonder, given all the above, that this book is published by the same gang that brought you the irreverent, politically-incorrect book Dark Side of Disney. This volume is much less “dark”; it’s not risque so much as aware that its target audience just wants to have ethanol-fueled fun, dang it, and it does a fine job of enacting the very vibe it’s trying to capture and celebrate.

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