I am a big fan of Disney California Adventure. My third favorite domestic park is not Epcot, sorry fan boys! But it is the second California Gate that takes that honor for me. So when Shannon Willis Laskey's newest book surprisingly appeared in my mail box, and knowing how much I enjoyed her first offering, her latest guide went to the top of my reading pile.
Going to Disney California Adventure: A Guide for Kids & Kids at Heart by Shannon Willis Laskey brings the fun to Disney trip planning. Laskey hits the basics that every guide book on the park needs. She provides history and a tour of the park to prepare readers, especially the youngest ones, for their trip to Disney California Adventure. But along with the expected descriptions of attractions and in park dining, Laskey gives her readers room to plan their trip and to reflect afterwards. For example with each attraction, readers can rate their experience and leave a one word review. Additionally, Laskey provides games. These games include ideas for killing time in lines with word and memory games, coloring pages, in book activities and more. The book like her last volume, ends with a journal for capturing memories and autographs making the book not just a guide but a souvenir for what could be a once in a lifetime vacation.
I love this book. It really is much more than a guidebook, but an experience. The bountiful and fun images on every page help set a tone that makes vacation planning with a child approachable. And as an adult, the fun design provides a guide book experience that is beyond bland text and descriptions. I do not want to say it...but I'm going to do it. The super fun imagery and bright colors are enchanting. As I sit here and consider what park I go to next, which in Betweenland is a big decision, I really find myself leaning towards California. After reading through this book, how could one not be charmed into wanting to visit again or for the first time.
By buying the book directly from the author the experience is extended. Laskey provides customers a fan club membership card, a bookmark (which really is twirly), and a sticker. This is while supplies last. And while they are just little extras, it helps feel like the fun is brought out of the pages.
I will say that one of the things I monitor when looking at guide books is how the author handles change. At the time I received my copy the California version of The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror had closed forever. Laskey does include over a page about the extinct attraction. This inclusion is sure to make many happy as Hollywood Land goes through transition. The Between Tween loved this Tower, and so it is sure to please at least one fan. But to go along with the extinct Tower, the text of the second page includes a description of what is to come with Guardians of the Galaxy - Mission BREAKOUT. It provides a nice mix of what was and what will be. It is a nice way to transition an attraction out and another one into existence.
Going to Disney California Adventure is simply fun! Okay, it is far from simple. Laskey has provided her readers a well-thought out reading experience and interactive production. I sincerely hope that she can extend her library to the other U.S. Disney parks. Because her first two book have been delightful.
Review Copy Provided by Orchard Hill Press" Daniel Butcher said.