Monday, September 3, 2012

Between Books - Mouse Trap

Cover of Mouse Trap by Kevin Yee
What is it like to be a Disneyland Resort cast member?  Kevin Yee describes his own experience as a cast member working primarily in New Orleans Square restaurants, especially Café Orleans, in Mouse Trap: Memoir of a Disneyland Cast Member.  Yee spent parts of a 15 year period as a cast member rising to the position of Lead at Café Orleans and later serving in the Entertainment Art department, which provided signs and decorations for special events within the park.
Yee’s text is very straight forward.  He describes how he was hired, onboarded, evaluated, worked and eventually left the Disneyland Resort.  He provides detail to the backstage areas of the Disneyland Park that guests never see, including wardrobe, break areas, business areas and other hidden support departments.  Yee also describes life as a cast member from special events, shopping, and the details of the scheduling and wardrobe processes during his days as a cast member.  He also gives a detailed examination of how some of these logistics have changed, to the best of his knowledge, after his 2002 departure from Disney employment.  He does additionally give some details about the social life of cast members such as dating and social activities.
Mouse Trap is heavy on logistics.  Yee is highly detailed about cast member functions such as wardrobe.  Actually, it is kind of fascinating to read his account of how wardrobe changes occurred in his tenure and why guests now see so many dressed cast members standing at the bus stops or walking off stage as they go home.  Yee provides a ton of information about how one worked as a cast member, and for me I found it very interesting.  He does address briefly and not in great detail the social aspects of being a cast member, including pranks.  However, he may not go into the depth that some readers may want.  If one is looking for a tell all memoir that names names and only reports the less ethical activities of cast members, this is not that book.  Instead Yee respects the privacy and names of those he worked with.  For a memoir in that vein readers may wish to pick up a book like Cast Member Confidential.  No Mouse Trap does not rip the cover off the seedy life of working for Disneyland, instead it provides a clear picture of how being an employee of the park functioned during Yee’s years.
Before I recently went on vacation, I really wanted to read a Disneyland Resort cast memoir.  When searching for a title I kept coming back again and again to Mouse Trap: Memoir of a Disneyland Cast Member.  Kevin Yee paints a picture of the reality of being a Disneyland cast member.  The book is highly detailed and clear.  Those who wish to understand the daily reality of working at the Disney parks will likely be pleased with Mouse Trap.       

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