Habst and the Disney Saboteurs by Leonard Kinsey

Habst and the Disney Saboteurs by Leonard Kinsey, a book review

George: When I got my review copy of Habst and the Disney Saboteurs, the new novel by Leonard Kinsey, I wasn’t sure what to expect. All I knew was that I was glad to have his second novel in my hands, especially since I knew it would be a great read even if it was only half as good as Our Kingdom of Dust. Leonard is known for positing on the Dark Side of Disney and not everything he writes is safe for work. That’s what makes his novels so good; he takes the magic of Walt Disney World and infuses it with comedy, great characters and a ton of action. There are also a few surprises tucked in there.

Jeff: Like George mentioned, Leonard has never stayed on the family friendly side of things when it comes to his writing, and the same holds true for Habst and the Disney Saboteurs. This is definitely not a book you want to read to the kids at night. Instead, this is meant for when you’re relaxing in your easy chair, drinking your scotch in your smoking jacket. Having thoroughly enjoyed Our Kingdom of Dust, Kinsey’s first foray into fiction, I was very much looking forward to this one. And I wasn’t disappointed.

George: Smoking jacket? Like those robes we had at the Grand Californian?

Jeff: Just like them, but more classy! Speaking of classy, Habst is not! Tell us a bit about him, George!

George: Okay, Habst is our hero, of sorts, who doesn’t really think he’s the hero, He’s a burnout, tech prodigy and Disney fanatic. He’s also living with his slightly underage girlfriend and her very wealthy mom. He sounds pretty bad and it might be hard to see how Habst is the hero until you find yourself deep down the rabbit hole. And what a rabbit hole it is! But before we get going, there are some Dark Side of Disney returning characters we need to talk about.

Jeff: Of course! For those of you who have already read Hollow World by Nick Probusky, you’ll recognize Charlie Walker. Charlie is now head of Walt Disney World security, and helps kind of tie the “Bamboo Forest” fiction world together. There are a lot of great little nods to previous Bamboo titles, and it’s really interesting to see Leonard (and Nick) create this world that they can play (and write) in!

Leonard called. Needs more boats.

George: Besides being very excited to see high-quality fiction about Disney come out of Bamboo Forest Publishing, it’s great to just see really intelligent, exciting and funny fiction about Disney. Moving along, we are introduced to a large number of characters, including two brothers that might surprise everyone. Leonard himself will tell you that there’s a fair amount of fantasy involved in the book and, and, unlike Midlife Mouse (which was good but oddly put together) in which we find a secret society controlling the future of the Disney Company, Habst and the Disney Saboteurs has a deep setting in advanced technology that is believable and fantastic at the same time. It feels like you’re reading what could of and should have happened with EPCOT Center.

Jeff: Overall, Habst and the Disney Saboteurs takes you to places that others have not been before, especially in a Disney setting. It definitely combines reality with a good bit of fantasy, but fantasy that theoretically is possible. Sure, Habst may be a burn out and a loser, but by the end of the tale, you do wind up rooting for him and hoping it all works out. It’s definitely a good, adult oriented yarn of fiction that I think fans of Disney, especially EPCOT Center like George said, will appreciate.

George: It wouldn’t be a review of a Bamboo Forest Publishing title without a caveat or two. Habst and the Disney Saboteurs isn’t for the faint of heart or readers who aren’t fond of illegal and illicit material. There are references to drug use, sex and the Darknet, which could offend readers but I would urge you to look past those and enjoy the book for the well-crafted story and fantastic characters.

Jeff: Exactly. It is a heavily researched book, and Kinsey definitely put a lot of time into the material, so he definitely knows his stuff. That said, like George mentioned, if you’re easily offended, stay away. But, if you’re looking for a good read, this is definitely one to pick up!

George: It does need more boats.

Are you going to pick up a copy of Habst and the Disney Saboteurs? What do you think about darker fiction based at Walt Disney World?

Our Kingdom of Dust by Leonard Kinsey

Our Kingdom of Dust by Leonard Kinsey, a review

Jeff: Aside from our massive Disney book collections (OK, fine, George’s is bigger than mine), we’re also voracious readers. So, when a novel comes along, that also takes place in a Disney theme park, of course we’re going to snatch it up and read it. I’m sure most of you have heard of The Kingdom Keeper series before, but if you’re thinking this book will be like that…think again.

Our Kingdom of Dust, by Leonard Kinsey, is a fantastic debut novel set at Walt Disney World.

George: The track record of novels set in Walt Disney World is fairly poor. Usually the author compromises on geography or just doesn’t get the theme park magic. Leonard Kinsey is most familiar as the author of the Dark Side of Disney, which is a decidedly more irreverent and humorous look at visiting Walt Disney World. Leonard’s novel, Our Kingdom of Dust, builds on his knowledge and love of Disney with a compelling and thought-provoking story.

Jeff: Dust follows the story of Blaine McKinnon, whose life has left a lot to be desired. After a series of tragic events forces him to rethink his life, Blaine returns to the only place that ever truly made him happy: Walt Disney World. Once there, the book follows a similar vein of The Dark Side of Disney, showing that there is always a dark side to everything. Like George mentioned, Leonard uses his knowledge and love of the Park to create a wonderful story set in some very familiar places.

George: A hallmark of a great novel is when you can place yourself in the situation and examine what you would do. Kinsey’s novel is a gripping page-turner that made me wonder how I would have reacted in certain situations. I’m not saying that Kinsey has written the great American novel, but he has written a great read that is full of compelling characters. You will find yourself drawn into the story and wondering how Kinsey will resolve the issues, if at all.

Jeff: What struck me about Our Kingdom of Dust was how real everything felt. Leonard did an amazing job of not just describing a place that we all know and love, but he also populated it with characters that seem like they could be people we know. A few are based on real Disney personalities, but he altered them just enough to make them his own. It’s a quick read at 180 pages, but Leonard manages to weave a compelling story that keeps you on the edge of your seat for all of it.

George: As can be expected from the author of the Dark Side of Disney, this book does travel down some interesting streets, but I would still urge most Disney fans to check it out. Frankly, I would recommend this book to non-Disney fans because it helps explain our unique, umm, obsessions we have with Disney theme parks. You might be turned off by some of the language and situations, but I urge you to take the time and invest several hours in Blaine’s world (Party Time! Excellent!) and seeing Disney through his eyes.

Jeff: Exactly. This won’t be the typical Disney cup of tea, all bright and cheery. It does, however, keep true to the human condition. This is a book that contains real people, and really messed up situations. But these messed up situations are ones that you can find yourself in very easily. Leonard doesn’t skimp on the harshness of life in Our Kingdom of Dust, and honestly, the story is all the more better for it.

George: This is a book that I enjoyed reading and I am glad that I took the chance. Well-developed characters, a place that I love and some seriously laugh-out-loud moments combine to make a really good read. I applaud you, Leonard and I am seriously looking forward to your next project.

Jeff: All in all, I’d definitely give this book two thumbs up (if we’re rating by thumbs, that is). I’d even give it five out of five Mickey heads. If you can get past the surreal situations and the darker side of all things Disney, I would highly recommend it. I really don’t think you’d be disappointed.

George: I think we should give Our Kingdom of Dust five out of five Citrus Swirls!

You can visit Bamboo Forest Publishing to learn more about the book or purchase a copy.

You can also purchase the book from Amazon in print or for your Kindle.

Have you read Our Kingdom of Dust?

Have you read any good fiction that takes place at Walt Disney World? What do you think about fiction that takes place in a Disney park?

My Disney Library: Dark Side of Disney by Leonard Kinsey

The Dark Side of Disney by Leonard Kinsey completely revolutionized the Disney travel guide. The book also launched one of the most successful Disney-related publishing houses known for high quality and smart publishing.

Check out my review of the first edition of the book, here.

Don’t forget to stop by our site and leave some Disney Geek love!


The Dark Side of Disney Book Review

The Dark Side of Disney by Leonard Kinsey, a book review

I review one of the more risque travel guides to Walt Disney World. Is this book for you? Read on to find out more.

The Dark Side of Disney by Leonard Kinsey. 2011. 158 pp.

Subtitled the Anarchist Cookbook of Disney Travel Guides, the Dark Side of Disney truly takes you where no other guide dares to go and dares you to go places you’ve never been. While reading The Dark Side, I was reminded of a quote that I am paraphrasing from Morris Day and the Time’s seminal work, Jungle Love:

This book ain’t for everyone, just the sexy folk!

Surprisingly, Kinsey offers fairly sage advice considering the types of activities that the book discusses. He wants you to have fun visiting Walt Disney World, but he also wants you to be smart. Kinsey elucidates on some semi-nefarious things to do at Walt Disney World while reminding you that certain things can get you permanently banned from property.

Caveat lector!

The book is divided into four sections:

  1. Disney World, Done Dirt Cheap
  2. Sex, Drugs, and Rock N’ Roll at WDW
  3. Assorted Tricks, Tips, Scams…and Bugs
  4. Off-Limits Exploration
As can be surmised, this book does discuss many illicit and illegal activities. Beyond that, Kinsey never takes himself too seriously, except when he is talking about his love for Walt Disney World. A love that was cultivated at a very young age by his mother. A lot of what Kinsey discusses is going to resonate in different ways with different people. You don’t have to partake in anything illegal yet you can still enjoy the book. You can live vicariously through Kinsey and his cohorts.

I took the book with me on my recent trip to Walt Disney World during the 40th Anniversary weekend. My friends all expressed a noticeable interest in the book and were more than happy to peruse the text. Since it was a guys only trip (no wives, no kids), we were able to put some of Kinsey’s tips to the test. We did nothing illegal, but we did find that a few of the tips and tricks made the Disney experience more palatable for my non-Disney Geek friends.

Kinsey has a great style and he forces you to look at the parks in a different way. My favorite section was Off-Limits Exploration simply because Kinsey interviews and recounts the Horizons-based exploits of Chief and Hoot Gibson from Mesa Verde Times. (The Mesa Verde guys talk about meeting me and another blogger at D40.) At the time, the guys were just exploring one of their favorite attractions. Unbeknownst to them, they were documenting a Disney classic.

This book may or may not be for you (cryptic, eh?). This is a title I would recommend for someone who has seen it all and is looking for something different. It is also a great read for anyone that wants more than just the regular theme park experience. Or someone who thinks Disney is only for kids.

Are you going to pick up The Dark Side of Disney?

The author provided a promotional copy of the book for review.