Tuesday, May 13, 2008

A Spoken Word CD Counts As A Book!

The Audio Guide to Walt Disney World: Main Street USA, by Lou Mongello; 2007; Louis A. Mongello/Second Star Media LLC. Audio CD; approx. 73 minutes.

Sorry for the delay in getting a new post up, folks - between the Real Job the Disney Fan Job, and a recent illness, it's been a crazy couple of weeks.

The next book I’ll be reviewing here is… a CD?!? OK, at this point a few of you might be wondering if I just hit my head with a Disney Big Fig, but stick with me, folks – this isn’t your typical CD.

A couple of years ago, I read “The Walt Disney World Trivia Book, Volume 2”, a collection of trivia questions about one of our favorite Disney destinations. I was really impressed by the book and the knowledge of its author, Lou Mongello. Well, since then Lou’s come up with another way to share his knowledge of Walt Disney World with Disney fans and casual guests – the first of a series of audio CDs where Lou acts as our tour guide on a “guided walking tour of the history, trivia, hidden treasures, and overlooked details of Walt Disney World.”

Appropriately enough, the first CD in Lou’s audio guide to Walt Disney World takes us to the first place many of us see when we first visit – Main Street USA in the Magic Kingdom. Starting just outside the entrance to the Magic Kingdom, Lou takes us through the turnstiles, under the Walt Disney World Railroad and into Town Square; Lou then takes us on a tour of Town Square’s buildings and up Main Street USA until we reach the Plaza. Along the way, Lou shares some of the history of Walt Disney World and of the buildings were visiting and passing through, as well as pointing out details that enhance the park going experience but might be missed by the average guest (and even by some devoted Disney fans like me).

If you ever wanted an easy way to get away for a visit to Walt Disney World without really getting away, this CD may just be what you’re looking for. With his narration and through the use of music and sound effects, Lou is able to put you right in the middle of the Magic Kingdom; Lou describes the sights of Main Street USA in enough detail and provides you with enough background audio cues that it’s easy for you to close your eyes and imagine yourself walking through the theme park on a beautiful day. Lou shares just enough information that even the biggest Walt Disney World fan should learn something new, but not necessarily so much that someone will turn off the CD feeling totally overwhelmed. I had a great time listening to this audio guide.

We’ve talked about how Lou’s CD can make you feel like you’re spending the day in Florida while you’re sitting at home, but how does it work as a guide if you’re already there? I haven’t had a chance to try out Lou’s CD at the Magic Kingdom myself, but I turned it over to a willing test subject who was still in Florida (my lovely fiancée, who didn’t have to come back from vacation as soon as I did), and she reported that Lou’s CD was a great way to enhance her visit to the Magic Kingdom – and had the advantage of being a lot easier to carry around and enjoy than a paper guidebook.

Is the Audio Guide to Walt Disney World perfect? Well, besides not being nearly long enough to suit me, I can’t find too much wrong with it. At the time that I got that I got the CD, I was a little disappointed that I couldn’t just download Lou’s guide straight to my iPod (a situation Lou has corrected by offering the Audio Guide online at disneyworldtrivia.com). I’m also a little disappointed that the Guide CD is one long track, which means if you’re listening on CD, you’ll have to stop and start over from the beginning if you have to stop listening for some reason. But these are minor quibbles. My fiancée and I had a great time listening to the first volume of the Audio Guide to Walt Disney World, and we can’t wait for the next volume!

I'll be back to reviewing paper books in the next post. In the meantime, thanks for indulging me!

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