Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Book Review: Queens In the Kingdom

From the Archives:
Recently, Jennifer, from Broke Hoedown, posted a podcast episode (Those Darn Cats) about Gay Days at Walt Disney World. Two years ago, she posted this review on Imaginerding and I chose to dust it off and present it again. Unfortunately, it has not been updated since 2007, but there is a Kindleversion.

Enjoy!

Jennifer, from the entertaining, insightful and often irreverent site Broke Hoedown, agreed to do our latest Be Our Guest Post. Instead of a regular article or post, I asked Jennifer to review Queens in the Kingdom,a gay and lesbian travel guide to Disney. Jennifer describes her blog:

She’s also noticed that most Disney fan sites require participants to keep everything PG at all times. Jennifer herself is rated NC-17, and while she can keep it in check when she needs to, why bother in her own personal blog? She hopes that a few people here and there might enjoy her blog, but doesn’t promise that it’ll always be appropriate reading for children. She’s also not the type to keep her political opinions to herself, so they’ll show up here too.
I have been a fan of Broke Hoedown since we started Imaginerding. Jennifer has been blogging for a long time! She is also one half of Those Darn Cats, a semi-weekly podcast that, in their own words, rambles. But it is always a lot of fun!


I saw this book when it first came out, but didn’t pick up a copy until after I’d heard the authors on one of my favorite podcasts, WDW Today. I figured, hey, I don’t need a queer guide to the Disney Parks. I know how to tour the parks, Disney’s a fairly gay-welcoming destination, what do these guys have to tell me?

Well, as it turns out, they’ve got plenty to tell me, and you might just be interested in a bit of this yourself, regardless of your personal sexual orientation. Queens in the Kingdom should really be required reading for any irreverent Disney fan, for those of us with a slightly offbeat aesthetic. Obsessive Disney trip planners won’t find it a likely replacement for books such as The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World (my personal fave basic text for WDW trip planning), but should instead consider it a companion piece, for when you just need a bit more fabulous, a slightly less mainstream look at our beloved parks.

Queens in the Kingdom is an overview of Disney Parks worldwide, plus the Disney Cruise Line. Predictably, the Orlando and Anaheim locations comprise the vast majority of the content, with brief teasers about Paris, Tokyo, and Hong Kong. There are also brief reviews of other nearby attractions in Southern California and Orlando. Most Walt Disney World and Disneyland attractions are reviewed, as are many resorts and restaurants, with “Fairy Facts” dispersed liberally throughout the guide. Were it not for this guide, I might never have known that the Indiana Jones figure in the Indiana Jones Adventure attraction has nipples, and perhaps the world is a richer place because they have shared this information with us all.

On a sadder note, this guide is also where I learned that a group of (presumably gay) men were harassed by other Guests at my default Disney resort, Pop Century. I of course am hoping that this was an isolated incident. It does though provide a reminder that there are special travel considerations for same-sex couples (and individuals who are perceived as queer, regardless of their actual orientation), and this guide does provide those tips. Scattered throughout the book are tips about quiet places where one might have the privacy to hold hands or even share a quick smooch with one’s sweetie. While these tips may be appreciated even by the heterosexually-inclined, they’re more important for those for whom any publicly-displayed affection might trigger harassing or even violent reactions from other Guests.

The back pages of the book include a “Compare and Contrast” of the attractions located at both Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World. It’s a brief section, and Lord knows plenty of us have mentally constructed such lists ourselves, but the authors’ aesthetic provides welcome humor. The difference between Disneyland’s Astro Orbitor and Walt Disney World’s Astro Orbiter? One vowel, they tell us, and leave the rest open to debate.

Bottom Line: Important resources for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Disney travelers. An amusing and irreverent read for everybody. Hipster Disneyphiles, this should be in your bookcase!









Thanks, Jennifer! Be sure to stop by Broke Hoedown and leave her some Disney Geek love!
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