Book Review: “100 Disney Adventures of a Lifetime” by Marcy Carriker Smothers

Hi everyone!

I was sent the book “100 Disney Adventures of a Lifetime: Magical Experiences From Around the World” by Marcy Carriker Smothers to review. Marcy is a terrific person and a huge Disney fan, so I always look forward to her books that include “Eat Like Walt” and “Walt’s Disneyland: A Walk in the Park with Walt Disney“. “100 Disney Adventures of a Lifetime” releases on October 25th, 2022.

The cover is beautiful, with the front cover photo illustration of Disneyland’s Sleeping Beauty Castle by Matt Stroshane.

Former Imagineer Joe Rohde writes the Foreword. He talks about his own Imagineering career experience very briefly before saying how the world is “full of adventurous lives that got their start from a Disney experience”.

The Introduction talks about the beginning of the Walt Disney Company 100 years ago and then about the partnership with National Geographic. While National Geographic “joined the Disney family in 2019”, it has been a part of Disney research for a long time – a large library of magazines was installed in the 1930s and there is a photo of Walt with that collection, which continued to expand and is now at the Imagineering Resource Center.

6 pages of photos titled “The Happiest Adventurer on Earth” showcases Walt Disney as a traveler and shares some of the ideas he found during these adventures.

There are five chapters to the book, “Let’s Go Fly a Kite” (Fun for All Ages); Adventure is a Wonderful Thing (Activities for the Tame and Daring); “A Whole New World” (Vacations and Excursions Around the World); “Be Our Guest” (From Counter to White Tablecloth Dining) and “When You Wish Upon a Star” (Once-in-a-Lifetime Splurges).

“100 Disney Adventures of a Lifetime” starts out with a walk down Main Street U.S.A., sharing how it started with Walt and in what way this experience differs in each Disney park. Then the book fans out in many directions from there, touching on various aspects of Disney parks and resorts; Walt’s Barn in Los Angeles; Aulani; the D23 Expo; Adventures by Disney and much more. For myself, reading through the book means hitting topics I’m extremely familiar with, some less so.

There are hundreds of beautiful photos to look at throughout the entire 400-page book, which is something I appreciate. Some of my favorite places are featured, including Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground (I will make a few small notations to what is printed in the book- that the kayaks and canoes are located at the Bike Barn at the Meadow recreation area and I don’t think FootGolf is located anywhere but Disney’s Oak Trail Golf Course). The Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue is prominent in these few pages, which recently returned and is a must-do.

“Adventures” are big and small. The stunning dragon animatronic under Sleeping Beauty Castle (Le Château de la Belle au Bois Dormant) at Disneyland Paris receives a couple of pages. The Cinderella Castle Suite at the Magic Kingdom (which I had the opportunity to sleep in back in 2007) is featured. For restaurants, the highly coveted Space 220 restaurant is included, as is the equally unique (in a completely different way) Bistrot Chez Rémy at Walt Disney Studios Park in Disneyland Paris and the exquisite Walt’s – An American Restaurant on Main Street U.S.A. in Disneyland Paris. The popular Nomad Lounge at Disney’s Animal Kingdom park gets a nice amount of page space.

Marcy pays homage to Walt throughout the book, including in photos and some of the featured adventures. Those would include The Merry-Go-Round at Griffith Park in Los Angeles; Walt Disney’s Birthplace in Chicago; Marceline and the Walt Disney Hometown Museum AND the Walt Disney Family Museum.

Other topics include fireworks, parades, the holidays and more at the parks around the world. And as is the case with books and publishing dates, some aspects featured are no longer around (Disney Kite Tails at Disney’s Animal Kingdom park, which I quite enjoyed) and then the new EPCOT’s ‘Harmonious” nighttime show will be switched out next year. A photo of Cinderella Castle on page 94 shows it with the gorgeous holiday Dream Lights, which have not adorned the castle since 2019. On those same holiday pages, a tiny photo of Nana is mentioned as being in the BoardWalk Bakery, but it is from the 2019 Disney’s Beach Club Gingerbread Carousel with a “Peter Pan” theme that year.

I love being able to revisit some of my favorite places in “100 Disney Adventures of a Lifetime”, but it also has inspired thoughts about adventures I may be interested in the future (maybe one or two of the Adventures by Disney River Cruises, which sparked my attention). There are also National Geographic Expeditions featured in addition to Adventures by Disney.

“100 Disney Adventures of a Lifetime: Magical Experiences From Around the World” is a great book to reminisce with and/or dream with, probably some of each for Disney fans. Because there are so many aspects of Disney covered throughout the book – even the 100 adventures sometimes are multiple adventures, like “fireworks” and “parades” have multiple shows around all the parks, I could write several reviews that sound very different by choosing different bookmarks I made while reading.

“100 Disney Adventures of a Lifetime: Magical Experiences From Around the World” will make a nice book for a coffee table to peruse for years to come.

Here is the official description of the book, which includes so many other Disney adventures than what I touched on:

In this beautifully illustrated treasury, discover 100 beloved and little-known Disney adventures–from seeing fireworks on a dessert-themed boat ride to dining with your favorite characters to a tour of the Galapagos Islands–that will make for a lifetime of magical, memorable experiences.
Wake up to the sight of giraffes grazing outside your window. Watch the Disneyland fireworks from the Tomorrowland Skyline Lounge, far away from the crowds. Taste your way through six continents at EPCOT’s International Food & Wine Festival. Go on a family journey to Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks with National Geographic.
You can find all of these incredible experiences and more in this awe-inspiring collection of 100 not-to-be-missed adventures that bring the magic of Disney to life.
There’s something for everyone in these pages: milestone moments (your child’s first haircut at Harmony Barber Shop on Main Street, U.S.A.), inside-the-park must-dos (watching the neon lights turn on at dusk at Cars Land), fun excursions (a snorkel in a private saltwater lagoon at Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa), and VIP extras (a private dinner in Walt Disney’s New Orleans Square apartment). Other adventures include:
· See the dragon under Sleeping Beauty Castle in Disneyland Paris
· Take an exclusive after-hours tour of Egypt’s Luxor Temple
· Celebrate Lunar New Year Disney style
· Meet Jedis and droids aboard Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser
· Visit Shanghai Disneyland’s Zootopia-themed land
· Trek through the Animal Kingdom on a wild safari
· Pan for gold with Donald Duck on a cruise to Alaska
· Fly around the world in 24 days with National Geographic
· And so much more!
Along with beautiful imagery that will shape your Disney wish list, this illuminating guide includes pilgrimages to historic Disney sites, insider stories, and inspiration for planning your next Disney vacation.
All that’s left to do is wish upon a star―and go!


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