Mousejunkies: One Man’s Life at Disney World

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Today I’m looking at the second of the three books my mother bought me about Disney World vacations. This time around it’s the multi-titled “Mousejunkies! Tips, Tales, and Tricks for Disney World Fix: all you need to know for a perfect vacation” by Bill Burke.

I’d call Burke’s book a proto-blog, but it was published in 2009 and thus right at the height of the blogosphere’s popularity. I want to name it that because like “Mini Mickey,” “Mousejunkies” is essentially a review of a Disney World vacation, containing looks at all the relevant restaurants, attractions, and hotels.

“Mini Mickey,” however, was organized like any other travel guide. It was written from a more impersonal, objective stance. “Mousejunkies” does anything but. It’s a memoir, of sorts, of one man’s Disney World obsession. Burke has made a dedicated study of Disney World since his first childhood visit in the 1970s, and now 30 years later he’s presenting what he’s learned, but it’s all very much from his point of view.

For example, most impartial travel guides look at all of the hotel options in the area of which they’re covering. Burke opens his chapter on hotel stays by bringing up victims of head injuries, and saying that in his opinion people who choose to stay outside of Disney World must be suffering from one.

This seems like it ought to be insulting but it’s not entirely. Burke clarifies by saying that when he goes to Disney World he wants to be completely absorbed in its magic, and staying within its gates is the only way for him to do that.

The whole book reads like that, with Burke’s voice at the fore as he shifts from personal narrative of his and his friends’ time at Disney World to reviews of attractions. That’s why it reminds me of a personal blog, because the entire book’s look at Disney World is entirely through the lens of one man’s experiences.

That’s not necessarily a bad thing. It certainly makes for a more entertaining read than a dry, if perfectly put together, impartial travel guide. I breezed through “Mousejunkies” with greater ease than I did “Mini Mickey.” But that may just be me — I’d rather hear someone’s story than a straightforward recitation of the facts.

The question remains: is “Mousejunkies” useful for someone planning a Disney World vacation? It depends on whether or not the reader has been to Disney World before. I know enough about the theme park now to know that it’s so huge that one or two visits certainly doesn’t make one an expert.

If you’re already a bit familiar with Disney World, then “Mousejunkies” is the book for you. Burke’s made 30-years-worth of trips to Disney World, and that means his knowledge, however informally presented, is formidable. He presents things the way he sees them but his advice is usually sound, and he describes what he’s “reviewing” accurately enough to give a picture of what to expect.

However, “Mousejunkies” might not be the best for someone planning their first Disney World trip, especially if one wants to look at and consider all available options. The memoir-style organization of “Mousejunkies” makes it necessary to read cover to cover, rather than allowing readers to flip open to the hotels section, for example, and access the relevant information. It also means that we’re seeing Burke’s Disney World, not getting a complete quantitative analysis.

If you’re Disney World-obsessed, or just find the idea appealing, and would like to read a story about it that’s also chock full of facts on the park, then “Mousejunkies” is the book for you. You can also check out Burke’s Mousejunkies website.

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*(This image by inkiboo is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 License.)

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