Book Review: The Beast Within

beast within

I had previously read Valentino’s other novel, “Fairest of All,” and I have to say I think I enjoyed this one even more. I was a little nervous to see what she would do with this story, as Beauty and the Beast is my favorite Disney movie, but I think it’s an interesting and entertaining take on the fairy tale.

Some people complain that the story has been changed “too much,” but to me that’s all part of this genre – I don’t know if it has an official name, but there are lots of these stories now that are twisted fairy tales, or fairy tales told from a different point of view, that sort of thing. And honestly, it’s the nature of fairy tales. Most of the Disney versions are already drastically different than the original fairy tales. And you can go into a library and read tons of different versions of Beauty and the Beast, each which have changed the story in their own way.

In this version, we get the story from the Beast’s point of view. Although we’re not given an exact age, we can suppose he’s a teenager old enough to be considering marriage at that time. He is portrayed as arrogant, selfish, and uncaring – much like his best friend (surprise!) Gaston. We learn about a couple of failed relationships that he went through and the events that led to the curse, as well as his falling out from society after he’s been cursed.

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Frozen library book display

frozen display 4

In many ways I wish my life could be all about Disney, all the time.  But in “real life,” I don’t work for Disney.  I do, however, have a job that I love, and that’s working in the children’s department of a library.  And every once in awhile, there’s an opportunity to bring a little bit of Disney into my work place.

As we know, kids have been going crazy over Frozen.  We’ve ordered a ton of Frozen books that get checked out all the time.  And with the winter and the snow coming up, we decided the best display we could put up for the month of January would be Frozen themed!  And of course I volunteered to do it 😉

frozen display

For the display I first pulled all of the books that we had that were Frozen themed.  This included our Frozen books, but because those go so quickly I tried to pick other books related to Frozen as well.  I got some copies of the Snow Queen, books on Norway, and non-fiction books on ice and snow.

frozen display 5

To decorate I found some resources online.  I cut out paper snowflakes, some of which were Frozen inspired with hidden Olaf or Sven.  And I made a Frozen sign and Olaf banners to hang on the windows.  I also found a paper project to make a little Anna and Elsa.  Finally, I found a picture of Olaf and added the words “Reading is Cool” (because it is!).

I’m pretty happy with how it turned out!  It was a really fun display to put together and the kids would get very excited when they came into the library and saw it.

Book Review: Realityland, by David Koenig

realitylandRealityland is more or less a recount of the history of Walt Disney World, from when the idea was conceived back when Walt was still alive until the book was published in 2007.  I found the book to be chock-full of great information and very captivating, and I would highly recommend it to all Disney fans and anyone with interest in the history of the parks.  While the book progresses through a general timeline, each chapter is focused around a different topic, and the book is full of fun and interesting little stories along the way.

I will admit that the book starts out a little slow, but if you push through it you’ll be glad you did.  The beginning discusses a lot of the construction and the politics that went into making Walt Disney World actually happen, and for me that wasn’t quite as interesting as much of the other stuff later on.  A lot of the events in the book show how the company dealt with trying to figure out what Walt would have wanted, even long after he had passed on.

Epcot is spoken about a lot, and the initial plans to actually make it an “Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow.”  One of the coolest things to see was a diagram of the proposed layout of Epcot when they were working on the idea in 1966.  While we all know that Epcot ultimately became a theme park and not a place to live, it’s interesting to see how the transition happened.  The company was in denial for quite awhile about building Epcot, insisting for a long time that it would still be what Walt envisioned, even after they opened it as a theme park.

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Book Review: the Curse of Maleficent

maleficentbook31After I was underwhelmed with the Maleficent movie, I saw that there was a novelization made of the film.  It’s called The Curse of Maleficent: a tale of a Sleeping Beauty, and is written by Elizabeth Rudnick.  While this is a book that was written in conjunction with the film (i.e., it’s not a book that came first that they then made a movie out of), I was hopeful that the story told in a different way might make me like and understand it more.  Though the book is for children, I have no problem with that – I’m a children’s librarian, after all!

Ultimately, this is an okay book adaptation of an okay movie. It follows the plot of the movie pretty much exactly, so you won’t get much more out of the book if you saw the movie, which is what I was hoping for. The flaws I have with the movie are obviously the same as the book so I won’t get into that here – you can check out my review of the movie if you’re interested.

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Giveaway! Book Review – Magical Miles: Runner’s Guide to WDW

runner's guide

When I was preparing for my first Disney race, I felt pretty clueless.  There seemed to be so much to know.  And while there was a ton of information out on the internet, I couldn’t find something that really summed it all up, including the basics.  But the good news is that there is a great book out there called the Runner’s Guide to Walt Disney World!

This is a really unique book – it’s part guide to running at Disney World, and part general guidebook.  So if you’ve been to Disney a lot before but don’t know much about Run Disney events it’s great – and if you’ve never been to Disney World they help you out with information about restaurants, resorts, etc.!  I imagine even if you’ve done a few Run Disney events, you’ll find some useful information here – especially if you’re going to be doing a race you haven’t done before.

The authors, Krista Albrecht and Megan Biller, are just the type of people you would want to write a book like this – according to them they have “participated in nearly every runDisney event, stayed at every Walt Disney World resort, dined at virtually every restaurant.”  They are experts, but they are also Disney lovers and fans, and that shows through in the way the book is written.  The know what fans will actually use and appreciate in the book.

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December Monthly Round Up

Hello everyone, it’s December!  One of my absolute favorite times of the year.  I love the Christmas season, and this year will be my first ever time visiting Disney World during it!  In the last month I finished NaNoWriMo, which is National Novel Writing Month, if you’re not familiar.  I managed to get a 50,000 word novel done in addition to one or two blog posts a week.  Not too bad!  But I’m looking forward to doing more blog content this month, now that I’m done with that.

Disney in your Day news

etsy holiday gift guide
We have a few more shops to feature in our Etsy Holiday Gift Guide this month, including at least one contest!  For the Christmas season I want to share some posts about my experience in Disney World, but I also want to include some things about Disney in your home, and how you can bring some Disney magic to your Christmas celebrations wherever you are.  If you have some good decorations, trees, or anything related to Christmas, please email me!  You can reach it at

Book Review: The Revised Vault of Walt

9780984341542_p0_v1_s260x420A few months ago I wrote a review of the book The Vault of Walt, by Jim Korkis, over on the Come Home to Disney blog.  Since that time I was lucky enough to get a copy of the revised Vault of Walt, and I would love to share that review with you now.

For the most part the revised version of this book is similar to the original.  The major differences are that the new version has some stories that have been added, and others that were removed.  Of those that have remained in both editions, I noticed very few changes and I believe that for the most part they remain the same.  Because I’ve reviewed much of the old material previously, in this post I thought I’d give you my thoughts on some of the new sections.

Overall the new book is excellent, just like the old one.  The stories have been narrowed down to the best ones, and they are well written and chock full of information.  Jim Korkis is a great storyteller, and one that has some very unique information and insights into the Disney company.  If you’re looking for fun Disney stories or information that you almost certainly haven’t heard before, this is where you’ll find them.

There are five new stories in this book: Eating Like Walt, And the Oscar Goes to… Walt Disney, The Carousel of Progress, The Man Who Shot Walt Disney, and Song of the South Frequently Asked Questions.

The first, ‘Eating Like Walt,’ is a rather unique chapter.  It starts out by describing what his favorite foods were and what he liked to eat.  It turns out that he was a fan of homestyle foods, and a bit of a picky eater at that!  It’s an interesting chapter, but what makes it really original is the fact that it also includes some recipes based on Walt’s favorites.  These have been gathered from various sources and are presented here so you can try to make some of Walt’s favorites at home.

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