100 Disney Adventures of a Lifetime – Magical Experiences from Around the World is a National Geographic book written by Marcy Carriker Smoothers featuring a forward by Joe Rhode. The book features a variety of Disney related experiences ranging from the parks around the world to National Geographic explorations to visiting Disney historical locations like Marceline. Each adventure or group of adventures consists of at least one photo and a narrative. They are organized into five chapters:
- Let’s Go Fly a Kite
- Adventure is a Wonderful Thing
- A Whole New World
- Be Our Guest
- When You Wish Upon a Star
I was very interested in this book when I first heard it announced. Then I flipped through it somewhere and put off purchasing it. I finally decided to pick up a copy in hopes that my first impression was wrong. Unfortunately my first impression was right. I did find some parts of the book enjoyable, others interesting, and some images were great. But overall I thought the book fell short of my expectations. I find it hard to describe the book.. it seems part tour guide, park promotional book, history book, and food guide. The adventures do span the Disney spectrum in terms of variety and type.
I was most disappointed in the photography. I was expecting National Geographic photography both archival and new. There may have been some but most seemed to be a mix of standard photos and a fair number felt like PR shots from the parks. (By that I mean staged both in location and content, not really natural). The choice of photos seemed odd to incorrect at times.
For example of an odd choice there is a blurb about Disneyland Corn Dogs and how the Little Red Wagon is unique, then a page later it has a corn dog picture and shows several in trays with Award Wieners in the background. This is not a regular offering there nor did it really match up with the text. Or in another section they talk about dining at Cinderella’s Royal Table and Be Our Guest at the Magic Kingdom.. but the images are swapped with the narrative for Be Our Guest opposite the Royal table picture (the captions are correct) but it just seemed odd. Another example is there is text about Frozen the film and going to the park but it talks only about Paris but the concept art is Hong Kong.. no mention of the Hong Kong or Tokyo projects there. There was are some factual errors too.. for example it say says the Castle of Magic Dreams in Hong Kong was the first to feature multiple heroines.. but Shanghai’s castle did years before. Also for the photo of the Castle of Magical Dreams they used a photo of the original Sleeping Beauty Castle there. These are few to highlight some of the things that jumped out to me on a first read through.
I did enjoy reading this book and seeing what adventures were chosen and how many of them I have been fortunate enough to have done over the years. But I was disappointed with a number of choices made and the book overall. This may be a book to borrow from a library or friend before investing in it for your library.
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