It’s a very real dilemma….. a family split over where to spend their yearly vacation. Mom and her pig-tailed daughters envision theme parks and princesses, with some tea parties and plenty of character meals. Dad and his outdoorsy boys cringe…. they also imagine days surrounded by furry characters, being kissed by princesses ad nauseum, and too much time spent in gift shops buying souvenirs….. They cringe. They fuss. And then they balk. “No way are we going to Walt Disney World,” they protest.
Clearly, these guys just don’t get it. Sadly, their story is all too common. But there is hope for this family–and it comes in form of a recently-published book, Ears of Steel: The Real Man’s Guide to Walt Disney World. Written by Bart Scott, a Disney fan himself, the book aims to shatter (in an appropriately testosterone-filled, manly way) the stereotype that “real men” cannot enjoy Walt Disney World.
With his mission clear, Mr. Scott starts his persuasive and fun explanation of Walt Disney World. He begins with a brief note to the woman who likely purchased the book. He reassures her that he understands these guys and can talk some sense into them. He offers these words of magic– “You’ll be on your way to the Orlando area before you can wish upon a star.”
From there, the book is then directed at the reluctant male who is balking at the thought of a Walt Disney World vacation. In a conversational, “just between us guys” tone, Mr. Scott playfully admonishes the reader for not wanting to go to the Happiest Place on Earth. He then, in his best “guy speak,” explains how the book will help. Highlighting “masculine” activities like fishing and golf, thrill rides like Tower of Terror and Rock’ Roller Coaster, and gastronomic delights, Mr. Scott effectively dismisses the notion that WDW is all “kiddie” or too “feminine” for the proud man.
The book is organized in a very logical and clear fashion, as the author recognizes that because of the reader’s misconceptions, he faces a double task: dismiss the errors in his mind and also replace them with truth. Methodically and logically, Mr. Scott examines what aspects of a WDW vacation would appeal to the most masculine member of the family, though is mindful that there also is a family coming along who may want to do things other than fish, eat, and hang out at the Richard Petty Driving Experience.
Ears of Steel starts with a look at the Disney resorts, recommending some to the man who needs a masculine feel to his hotel experience. (Any guesses which he said?) He then proceeds to examine the parks, starting with Epcot (he devotes five chapters to it!), then Hollywood Studios, Animal Kingdom, and finally (“the most daunting chapter”) the Magic Kingdom. He then examines some other topics and sites a man will want to know about…..including bathrooms. Yes, indeed… a entire chapter on Walt Disney World restrooms. And you will have to buy the book to discover which bathroom he deems the best in all property… for a guy. It’s honestly never something I considered before!
Throughout the book, the author includes cute anecdotes in his “Man Journals” where he shares stories of Disney that a guy will appreciate. He also offers “Ears of Steel” recommendations–brief evaluations of whether a guy needs to see a specific attraction…. and he does, much to my Disney-obsessed chagrin, tell guys that certain parts of the park should be “skipped.” He is very real….. and he builds credibility with the reader because he doesn’t recommend everything, nor does he rave about all parts of Walt Disney World.
Now, chances are, if you are reading this, you already know that Walt Disney World has something to offer for everybody, regardless of their gender, age, or interests…. but there is a good chance you have been on the soccer field, at a PTO meeting, at the gym, or in a restaurant and heard the debate. As a Disney fan, help these families out! Encourage them to check out Ears of Steel so they, too, can learn what we all know–the power and magic of a Walt Disney World vacation. And even if you don’t know of any reluctant Disney travelers, you will enjoy reading this and understanding a different perspective on the parks. I absolutely learned more than I expected… especially about bathrooms!
You can read a free excerpt and order a copy of Bart Scott’s Ears of Steel here.