George: One driving force for Jeff and I has always been a steadfast honesty. Whether we’re reviewing a blu-ray or discussing a change at a theme park, we want to make sure that we present our opinions without sprinkling pixie dust everywhere or by donning rose-colored mouse ears. If you can’t trust our reviews, then what’s the point of us writing them? Granted, we have no problem if you disagree, but we’re not going to sugarcoat something just because Disney might not like what we say or that we could hurt someone’s feelings. There are times that Jeff and I will both receive review copies of books to review for this site and for Communicore Weekly. Most of the time it’s fairly easy to review a title although we do run into issues on occasion. This is one of those titles in which we spent time discussing how to review it.
Jeff: We’ve both had a review copy of Amber Sewell’s Amber Earns Her Ears: My Secret Walt Disney World Cast Diary for several months. Between other review deadlines that we had to meet, and discussing how to approach this review, we put it off until we were sure how to handle it. That’s not being said to give you the impression that this book isn’t right for you right off the bat. That’s being said to tell you that this book just wasn’t for us.
George: Amber’s book details the two terms that she spent as part of the Walt Disney World college program. (One of the terms was the now defunct Career Start program.) She writes in the style of a diary and it reads heavily like a series of blog posts. With today’s twitter-fed audience, this is probably a good thing. To me, though, it’s a recycling of a lot of previously published material and should have been hashed out more.
Jeff: Much of the first part of the book are basically reprints of old columns Amber wrote for a Disney website (where I also wrote for a bit) detailing her experience. For those who have read the column before (which, in the grand scheme of things, may not be much) will be very familiar with it. Personally, I was a little bored, having remembered most of them already, but that’s not to say others won’t get something from it. The other half of the book was all new to me, and in some ways, showed a slight change in writing style, perhaps because Amber had grown a bit more and was in a different place.
George: I didn’t find out about the college program until I was well out of college. I was fairly excited to read Amber’s book about the college program, not only to see what I might have missed but to see how the experience unfolds. I was enjoying Amber’s narrative until I got a little less than halfway through the first part. As it slowly dawned on Amber that she wasn’t effectively cut out for the college program, the diary started to take a depressing turn, To me, it seemed as if Amber, a self-professed introvert, was a little too shy for the program. She really seemed not to enjoy it and that negativity crept into the book, as a whole.
Jeff: When people think of the Disney College Program, most think of the partying, care-free atmosphere. A lot of negative connotations surround it, with a lot of bad reputation. On one hand, it was refreshing to see the other end of the spectrum, to see how someone did NOT do any of those things. However, like George said, because of how much she did not enjoy her experience, it turned slightly depressing for me. In a lot of ways, I have to wonder why Amber choose to go back for the second go round.
George: She recounts that her first experience was much more enjoyable, mainly due to her co-workers. It seems like the second round was filled with roommates that might have been a little wilder. The book is fairly comprehensive as far as Amber’s experience. It’s a good overview of how the day-to-day grind works, but, as with any memoir, it needs to be taken with a grain of salt. Potentially, the book could turn people away from the life-changing experience. I found it difficult to enjoy Amber’s book and not because of her writing. I felt her style was a little more academic than it should have been, but it just didn’t meet my expectations. She’s a talented writer and I really think she’s going to grow over the next few years.
Jeff: If you are looking forward to doing the college program, this book is a good way to see all the steps you have to go through before you get there. It does an excellent job of detailing the experience, from the application process, to the interviews, even to room mate selection on the very first day. For that alone, I think people looking for more information on the program would benefit from reading it.
Have you read Amber’s book? What did you think about it?
By Jeff Heimbuch and George Taylor
The Disney Review is written and edited by Jeff Heimbuch and George Taylor
Other places you can find George and Jeff:
- The 626 (Jeff)
- ImagiNERDing (George)
- From the Mouth of the Mouse (Jeff)
- Communicore Weekly The Greatest Online Show ™ (Jeff and George)
You can also see us EVERY week on Communicore Weekly on the MiceChat Youtube Channel.