Nothing Up My Sleeve but Pixie Dust by Bruce Edwards, Book Review
Ever wonder what it’s like to work at the Happiest Place on Earth? The new book, Nothing Up My Sleeve but Pixie Dust by Bruce Edwards, shares anecdotes and behind-the-scenes tales about working at the vaunted Magic Shop at Disneyland. I’ve always imagined working at Disneyland would be magical, but working at the Magic Shop has to be even better!
Bruce was fortunate to visit Disneyland during the first few years and fell in love. The combination of living in California and experiencing the Disneyland television fueled that love. And as he weaves the tale of his journey to back to Walt’s Magic Kingdom, we follow Bruce on an extremely successful music career that would satisfy most people. But not Bruce!
But what led Bruce to finally become a Disneyland cast member?
What Was it Like to Work at Disneyland?
Bruce interlaces a tale that is charming, informational, and, dare I say it, magical. We follow Bruce as he makes his way down Main Street for the first time as a cast member. Bruce shares what it was like working as a fresh-faced cast member that had no interest in magic, per se, and found himself working at the Candy Palace and Tobacco shops. But the shrieks of laughter from the nearby Magic Shop called out to him.
The morning sun crept slowly over the spires of Sleeping Beauty Castle. Turn-of-the-century songs, like “After the Ball is Over” and “In the Good Old Summertime,” played over the Main Street sound system. The park was virtually empty – something Walt Disney never wanted guests to see. But for workers on the opening shift it was a common sight.
As the tale unfolds, Bruce is transferred to the Magic Shop and he meets a cast of characters that will define a time in his life and open up opportunities. Through this period of working a the Main Street Magic Shop, Bruce apprentices himself to the magicians of the shop to learn the tricks of the trade.And what it takes to be a magician on Main Street.
The chapters are short but filled with passion, heart, and humor. Bruce shares what it was like providing real magic to the guests on a daily basis, including the shenanigans that most co-workers get caught up in. In one charming tale, Bruce pulls back the curtain for his audition at the famed Magic Castle. Does he get to become a member of the Magic Castle?
The camaraderie of the Magic Shop cast members shows the brotherhood of working at a Disney theme park. As with any job, spending 40 hours a week with co-workers creates a bond and shared memories. The memories are endearing, including the practical jokes and inside jokes, and the reader gets a true perspective of the Magic Shop.
I don’t want to disparage the reader, the book is not saccharine at all. Bruce has a history of writing books and working in animation; he tells a good story that draws the reader in. And that’s what I loved most of about the book. Bruce recounts his days at Disneyland with fondness and nostalgia. I actually didn’t want to put the book down and wanted to continue reading it. When the book ended, and Bruce walked out of Disneyland for the last time as a cast member, I felt his sadness mixed with excitement for the future.
The book shows a side of Disneyland post-Walt. The majority of the time spent at Disneyland takes place in the late 1970s and we see a subtle shift in Disneyland from Walt’s park to more of a corporate park.
Fans of Disneyland will love this book. Nothing Up My Sleeve but Pixie Dust is an endearing and nostalgic yarn about the good old days. Bruce leaves us wanting more and wanting join the misdirection of magicians in the Main Street Magic Shop.