You’re girl’s back with another original tag – this one inspired by my obsession with all things Disney.
I can’t pin point exactly what it is that makes the Disney Parks feel so magical – I think it’s a combination. It’s the attention to detail, right down to the hidden Mickeys or the different scents wafting throughout each land. It’s the fact that every facet of each Park is fully-fleshed. The rides fully immersive, compete with an intricate, rich history. I mean, have you ever read the full backstory behind the Jungle Cruise or Phantom Manor? Seriously, said backstories read like sweeping epics. It only adds the that feeling of stepping into a fantasy.
So, let’s celebrate said magic – and the books that remind me of my favorite rides – as we take a virtual journey with the Disney Parks Book Tag.
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The Jungle Cruise will always been my favorite ride at any given Disney Park. Not only is it a seriously immersive adventure though the rivers of the world [also I’m low key screaming because we’re getting a movie] but I love the puny tongue-in-cheek humor of the skippers. If any book could match the vivid grandeur of the Jungle Cruise, it would be Journey to the River Sea. Much like the ride itself, Journey to the River Sea takes us on a voyage down the murky river of the Amazon complete with an eccentric cast of characters. The plot is shrouded in mystery and the prose is witty and lush, a sweeping homage to the Amazon Basin.
Yo Ho, Yo Ho, a pirates life for me! Pirates of the Caribbean is a staple at any Disney Park. Did you know it was the ride that actually inspired the films? That’s right, Walt Disney himself oversaw the development of the ride which opened in 1967. To Kill a Kingdom is somewhat of a Little Mermaid retelling with a swashbuckling twist. Just like Pirates of the Caribbean, To Kill a Kingdom features a crew of buccaneers on an epic, high seas adventure. There’s plundering, deadly sirens who will literally rip out your heart and a hidden treasure – serious On Stranger Tides vibes.
I am quite literally obsessed with The Haunted Mansion, namely it’s Parisian counterpart Phantom Manor with it’s more intricate, eerie theme. Located in the Western-esuqe Frontierland, Phantom Manor’s narrative centers around the bride herself and tells the story of Melanie Ravenswood who is haunted for all eternity by the menacing Phantom. House of Salt and Sorrows boasts a similarly vivid aesthetic and general spooky feel. A dark retelling, House of Salt and Sorrow blends the Twelve Dancing Princesses seamlessly with Edgar Allen Poe’s Annabel Lee to create a moody world of brine and terror. There’s a creepy seaside manor, a plummeting fall of a craggy cliff and ghostly apparitions that stalk the night.
Knott’s Berry Farm eat your heart out because Disney’s Big Thunder Mountain Railroad is the best mine cart ride. Ever. Set in a seemingly haunted canyon, Thunder Mountain is a thrilling coaster-like ride through a rickety gold mine. Just like Thunder Mountain, All the Stars and Teeth is everything you’d want in a riveting adventure. The stakes are high, the atmosphere tense and the pacing full throttle as we’re swept up in shifting politics of this watery kingdom. And while All the Stars and Teeth is a wild ride there’s still that perfect balance between those high impact scenes and the quiet moments with the Keel Haul’s crew.
Ah, Splash Mountain – the best thrill ride in any Disney Park. Hands down. Nothing like a five story drop to ground below to get that heart pumping, am I right? Splash Mountain is a classic log ride though the bayou that features a cast of animatronic critters from The Song of the South. And, isn’t there just something so atmospheric about the Deep South? Briar Rose is a sexy, dark retelling of Sleeping Beauty with an antebellum twist. Jana Oliver explores the South’s conservative culture through the Civil War and old root magic. And while we only spend a little time in the fictional town of Bliss, Jana evokes the sense of a sleepy little town dripping with Southern charm.
Of all the flagship castles, there’s something to be said about the sprawling simplicity of Cinderella Castle in Walt Disney World Resort. I mean, the lofty spires, the climbing turrets, the ornate trims – the moat? It just screams happily ever after. Also, dinning in Cinderella’s Royal Table is a high priority of mine. When I think castles, I generally think Erilea’s beautifully detailed glass castle from Throne of Glass. The plot is rather confined to the walls of said castle, what with it’s cutthroat competition to become the king’s champion, but there’s still so much to explore. You’ve got dungeons, secret tunnels, a labyrinth of sewers and even a library with secluded passageways.
No trip to Disneyland’s complete without taking a spin through the whimsy of Alice’s Mad Tea Party. I don’t know about you, but I’m always the one shrieking with laughter, spinning the teacup as fast as it can go and holding on for dear life. [Would not recommend riding after a Dole Whip]. Similarly, Caraval is a sprawling fantasy and a feast for the senses. The world had a wonderland-like quality that only intensifies as you continue down the rabbit hole. It’s whimsical and lush with plenty of twists and turns. Basically, Caraval will leave you dizzy as you question everything you think you know.
Okay, so the Matterhorn isn’t as cool as Thunder Mountain but it’s snow-capped aesthetic and alpine vibe is seriously atmospheric. As you hurtle though snowy chutes and jagged edges, you might even glimpse the Abominable Snowman himself. And, if frostbitten settings and mountain treks are your thing, Even the Darkest Stars is your perfect read. Inspired by early expeditions to Mt. Everest, Even the Darkest Stars takes place among the stars, high up in a Himalayan-esque empire. There’s a serious unsettling mood as Kamzin joins an expedition, trekking through the wilderness to the tallest summit of Raksha.
Ignoring that fact that It’s a Small World is the most annoying song ever written [try getting that one out of your head], I can’t fault it’s child-like celebration of world peace and unity. It’s whimsical and iconic as you board a boat and traipse across the globe. This might make me seem like a Basic White Girl™, but I’ve always been fascinated by French folklore and culture. Bone Crier’s Moon is a morbid world of macabre bone magic inspired by the legends of les Dames Blanch. The land of South Galle itself is deeply rooted in the rural countryside of France, even featuring a complex labyrinth of tunnels – a nod to the very real catacombs beneath Paris. It’s a seriously vivid setting with a rich, fully-fleshed mythology.
As far as roller-coasters go, you can’t beat the thrilling breathlessness of racing through the cosmos in Space Mountain. The attention the detail – the futuristic space station vibe, the swirling strobes and the nebulae as you hurtle through the void of space makes Space Mountain a truly immersive, out-of-this-world experience. The only space opera that could rival that of Space Mountain is Skyward. Basically Top Gun in space, Skyward is an action packed, edge-of-your-seat adventure which literally blasts us off to flight school to study aerial combat. The final frontier of humanity at the edge of the universe, Skyward will literally take you to infinity and beyond.