L’Appart by David Lebovitz: A Book Review

L'Appart by David LebovitzHave you ever dreamed of living in Paris? Of having your own little pied a terre in the City of Light? Perhaps even moving there and settling down?

If that’s you, I have some good news and bad news about L’Appart: The Delights and Disasters of Making Paris My Home, the latest book from expat pastry chef and food blogger David Lebovitz. The subtitle says it all.

Let’s deal with the bad news first. Unless you have limitless patience to go along with your limitless bank account, you probably don’t want to follow in Lebovitz’s plaster-begrimed footsteps. As he tells it, renovating an apartment in Paris is a never-ending nightmare. Just buying the place to begin with is no picnic either.

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Lots To Do In Line: Walt Disney World

LTDWLast year, I had the opportunity to review a neat little book called Lots To Do In Line – Disneyland. From my review, I think you can tell that I was pretty impressed.  My only complaint about the book wasn’t really a complaint at all – rather, it was a request for a follow-up book based on Walt Disney World. I was so pleased to hear that Meredith Lyn Pierce heard my request (and I’m sure the request of many, many others) and followed up with a Walt Disney World version of this great resource.

I don’t think that I’ve ever complained about a book published by The Intrepid Traveler, and I’ve been blessed to review many of their books! [Read more…]

The Thinking Fan’s Guide to Walt Disney World: Magic Kingdom

TFG72dpiAaron Wallace has put together a very interesting book that is a little hard to classify. It is part guide book, part Disney History, and part academic discussion to name a few of the many layers/pieces that make up the book. This is the first in what hopefully will be a series looking at the theme parks that make up Walt Disney World. This book is devoted solely to the Magic Kingdom. You are taken through the lands of the park starting with Adventureland and working around clockwise to Main Street. Within each land key attractions are highlighted and discussed in depth, in the Main Street section they also discuss a couple of the parades/shows. [Read more…]

Review of Ears of Steel: The Real Man’s Guide to Walt Disney World

9781937011345New to the Disney book market is the newest book by Intrepid Travel Traveler is Ears of Steel:  The Real Man’s Guide to Walt Disney World by Bart Scott.  The official description is as follows:

Walt Disney World is for little kids, princesses, and dweebs, right? WRONG!There’s more than enough at WDW to keep the two-fisted, thrill-seeking, hard-drinking, meat-eating he-man of the house happy as a caveman with a mammoth rib.Bart Scott comes to the aid of moms and girlfriends everywhere with the only guidebook specifically designed to convince the football-watching, beer-swilling, couch potato they love that a trip to WDW will not only reduce the whining in the household and give them continued access to those special favors, but will actually be FUN for them.Scott’s the real deal—a real guy, with big appetites, firm convictions, and a healthy disdain for pretentiousness in all its forms. He’s also big enough to admit that the toughest hombre’s heart melts a little when his own little princess falls under the spell of Disney magic.

Ears of Steel is an honest, straight-from-the-shoulder, and frequently hilarious look at everything in Walt Disney World that keeps real men coming back, with all the sissy stuff either glossed over or ignored entirely.

First of all, this book was written for men.  I am certainly no man.  According to the book, I was “supposed” to read a small chapter in the beginning and hand the book to my man.  Seeing that I just went ahead and read the book, I was apparently breaking the law:)
What I found in the book was whit and macho hilarium.  In fact, I would love to meet the author, Bart, simply so I could see him using his humor first hand!  The book was great at presenting excitement for attractions from a man’s perspective.  The humor poked at the more feminine aspects of the Disney parks and greatly highlighted the more manly aspects of a visit to Disney World (such as describing how to Drink Around the World in EPCOT).
The book is directed towards those males who may not want a vacation to Disney because the parks overadverise the softer, more child-like aspects of the park.  However, the humor and the descriptions make the book easily directed at anyone who wants to learn a bit about the parks while laughing along with the author.
The book can be bought on Amazon.com here for $10.83.

About the Author:
When Natalie is not helping others plan a Disney vacation, she is a wife, mom and Certified Public Accountant. She collected her favorite planning and money savings tips in her book Strategies for Paying for Disney. In addition to these great savings strategies, she uses Magical Journeys to book her vacation so she can receive the best available cost on her next Disney adventure!

Book Review: After Disney—The Other Orlando

Kelly Monaghan has a long history of publishing about Orlando. He wrote “The Other Orlando” many years ago, and this update not only changes the title to “After Disney,” it also vastly expands the scope and scale of the book (disclosure: I was provided a review copy). The coauthor on the new volume is Seth Kubersky, an old hat at covering theme parks and

"After Disney: The Other Orlando" by Kelly Monaghan and Seth Kubersky

no slouch himself. The cover image of Hogwarts castle is sure to excite Harry Potter fans, but the true value lies inside.

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Universal Orlando 2011: A Book Review

Well this is a case of perfect timing. I have been getting very excited about my next trip to Universal Orlando and Walt Disney World. It has been a few years since I visited Universal and I thought it was about time. In the past, I have enjoyed Kelly’s Universal books and thought they were very helpful.

Of course, the big news this year is the addition of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Islands of Adventure. Like many of you, I have been trying to gobble up as much information as I can.

So this book review will be a little different. Not only will I be talking about this very good book, but I am creating a list of things I don’t want to forget in anticipation of this trip. Don’t be scared.
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Hassle-Free Walt Disney World Vacation: A Book Review

The 2011 edition of The Hassle Free Walt Disney World Vacation guide marks two milestones this year. The first is this is the 10th year, I believe. Secondly, it includes several pages of color pictures.

Steven Barrett checks in with the regular updates and mentions of new/changed attractions that you would expect to find, including recent changes like the addition of Captain EO as well as mentions of the upcoming changes to Fantasyland. The Hassle Free guide follows the same easy to read format of the previous editions. There is a brief description of each park, then one of each attraction with some notes/comments, followed by touring plans for various age groups and lengths of stay.

The color photos I mentioned above come into play for the new photo quiz for this year, color really does make the difference and adds to the fun!
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Paris Movie Walks: A Book Review

…Overall, France, or rather Paris to be precise, has always served as one of the strongest filmmaking muses in terms of location shoots with hundreds of movies set – if not fully then at least partially – in the famous City of Lights that has seduced artists from every medium for centuries.

In the newly published book from The Intrepid Traveler, the journalist, film enthusiast and Parisian aficionado who’s resided in the country since 1993 – Michael Schürmann blends his passion for his adopted homeland by sharing 10 wonderfully unique, fact-filled, film fan tested self-paced tours throughout the city that’s now become best known for lights, camera, action, and A-list movie stars.

To its credit and in order not to weigh you down with too many guides, Schürmann’s “Paris Movie Walks” is filled with maps and is additionally guided with his concise, accurate and straightforward style – possibly indicative of his background as both a sportscaster and translator. Additionally it’s one that’s sprinkled with sidebars (yet most often placed at the bottom of pages) and “asides” comprised of cultural information, tips, and worthwhile historical facts.

And as the incredibly long title promises, a “guided tour” is exactly what the book delivers as throughout the 280-page work, it feels for readers as though Schürmann is walking with you a la textual GPS. To this end he tells you to turn left or right in each individual walk that you can pick and choose from which coincide with endless and awesome pop-culture cinematic citations of “if you look to your left” you’ll see where Anne Hathaway tosses her cell phone in the famous Concorde Fountain in “The Devil Wears Prada” or how to position yourself to stand in the exact place that Robert De Niro did in anticipation for the crane shot that captured the beginning of the film “Ronin,” etc.

While it’s safe to say that not all of the films made in Paris have been classics including Steve Martin’s newest interpretations of “The Pink Panther” or the third installment of “Rush Hour,” Schürmann delves way into the past for his references managing to satisfy ardent lovers of classic French film in addition to citing American efforts like “Sabrina,” “French Kiss,” and others.

At the same time, he succeeds in pleasing the students of the New Wave and beyond by leading visitors to the same places seared into celluloid in such works as “An American in Paris,” “Gigi,” “Funny Face,” “The DaVinci Code,” “The 400 Blows,” “The Bourne Identity,” “Amélie,” “Three Colors: White,” “A Man and a Woman,” “Last Tango in Paris,” “Le Divorce,” “Jules and Jim,” “Charade,” and “Frantic,” and on and on.

As often the locations included in the movies were chosen in order to present the most picturesque views of the city – to show off its landmarks or perhaps to offer visitors new glimpses at undiscovered treasure – the walks included have a logical advantage as well since they often place you in and around the iconic stops you’d intended to make all along in your itinerary.

However, Schürmann’s selections are far from predictable and he makes every attempt not to lead visitors to the city down the same routes they may have previously exhausted. In fact, he comprised the tours when he realized that friends seemed far more interested in tidbits about “French Kiss” style movie locales than traditionally historical artistic and overly publicized landmarks. And as the press release explains, the walks consist of “four through the heart of the city, four around the periphery of central Paris, and two through the working-class neighborhoods that served as settings for French film classics of the 1930s and 1940s.”

Although unfortunately the book doesn’t come with frequent flier miles, French lessons, or a first-class plane ticket – for film buffs – it’s a wonderfully unique travel guide that will easily fit into your carry-on bag. And more importantly, for those of us who don’t exactly foresee a trip to the City of Lights in our budget at this moment – writing as someone who just reviewed it, having never set foot in the country but has seen most of the films mentioned – it was a great armchair travel puzzle you could play in your head putting Gene Kelly next to Jackie Chan and Matt Damon to piece together the geography in your mind.

About The Author
Jen Johans’ P.O.V. can be found on http://www.filmintuition.com. She is a three-time national award-winning writer and self-described “walking movie encyclopedia.” She has braved the adventures of cinematic and arts criticism online for four years via Film Intuition.

The Eclectic Gourmet Guide to Greater New York City

A book review

Nothing excites a certain type of New Yorker more than discovering a new, offbeat, off-the-beaten-path, usually ethnic restaurant where the food is authentic, the quality high, and the prices so low it’s hard to believe you’re still in New York. They delight in dragging visiting friends and relatives to little known corners of the Bronx for spicy calamari and linguine or to Harlem for succulent smothered pork chops. These places are secret treasures these New Yorkers keep to themselves, sharing the intelligence only with a handful of trusted friends, hoping against hope that the newspaper food critics (for whom “chowhounding” has become very chi-chi) won’t “discover” them and ruin it for everyone.

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Waterpark Pioneer Tells All, A Book Review

Wave Maker

If the guy on the cover of “The Wave Maker,” Tim O’Brien’s as-told-to biography of the creator of Wet ‘n Wild and SeaWorld, looks like he’s been through the wringer, it’s because he has.

The Wave Maker” is the story of a man who believed in himself, who never thought of giving up, even when faced with health set backs that would have sidelined most of us. He had in his arsenal a tremendous sense of creativity, a strong work ethic, and an unshakeable belief that his ambitious projects would reach a successful conclusion.

George Millay, for that is the name of the battered survivor on the book’s cover, is a visionary, an innovative, restive, and determined risk-taker who created two major theme park genres.

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