Friday, September 23, 2011

Between Books - Cast Member Confidential: A Disneyfied Memoir by Chris Mitchell

Chris Mitchell in Cast Member Confidential details his Disney experience during his tenure as a Disney cast member.  An action sports photographer, Mitchell found that his personal life was becoming too much to handle.  In the face of the pressures he could not face in the real world he escaped to Walt Disney World.  As an experienced photographer he easily was hired as a PhotoPass photographer.  Assigned largely to character meet and greets, Mitchell provides his readers a behind the scenes view of being a Disney cast member.  He paints scenes of partially dressed characters sitting off stage relaxing and sharing their personal lives, while missing key costume pieces.  Along with photographing characters, Mitchell shares his own journey to be casted as a character so he could better fit within his circle of friends who largely worked as friends of Disney characters.  Along with his behind the scenes stories within the park, he also shares the uncensored “secret” lives of Disney cast members living in the Disney “Ghetto.”
Tip number one; don’t give this book to the kids.  It is frank and depicts a lifestyle where alcohol, drugs and sex are all readily available to young adults.  Tip number two; if you place Disney cast members on a pedestal, don’t read this book.  This book will shatter any myths that you have that every Disney cast member is a member of the Cleaver family.  Instead, you will find them to be young adults that live lives similar to people you have probably known who made questionable decisions.   And to be honest, Mitchell himself is personally drawn to young adults in the process of finding themselves or having excessive good times and not boy scouts.  So you will be provided a picture of young adults living away from mom and dad for the first time with the funds to purchase beer and other entertainment.  So warning, if you read this book your picture of the Magic Kingdom could be significantly rearranged as you sit Between Disney.  Mitchell’s Disney has a lot less heroic princes and chaste princesses than we might want to believe from our safe distance away from Orlando.  It’s really a coming of age memoir with all the traps one might except to find on “Behind the Music.” 
In conclusion this is a memoir that has Disney content.  For some Mitchell’s Disney could be a major turn off.   But then this was his Disney’s and I’m sure that there are plenty of other cast members that did share Mitchell’s experiences, and many that did not.  I was entertained and interested but I would suggest doing what I did, if you can borrow it from a library instead of adding it to your Between Books collection.    

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