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Disney themed Plots ...

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Hi Everyone,

I have a MG boy-book with a main character whose mother drops him off at the front gates of Disneyland to spend the day alone while she attends a life insurance convention.

He eventually gets spotted by a plain-clothed security guard who becomes suspicious that the MC is alone. The MC believes that he is being stalked and uses his photographic  memory to hide out in certain areas of the park.

The question is: Will I have a difficult time selling this book because the whole thing takes place in Disneyland. Are Disney themed stories a NO-NO?

My husband is an attorney and he says that there is nothing legally wrong with it, as far as he knows.

What do you all think? :goldstar
#1 - February 12, 2013, 08:14 AM

Danyelle

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I don't know all the legalities, but Ridley Pearson has his Kingdom Keepers series out. (http://www.amazon.com/Kingdom-Keepers-Disney-After-Dark/dp/1423123115/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1360685789&sr=8-1&keywords=disney+world+ridley)

Possibly it was published by Disney Hyperion, though.
#2 - February 12, 2013, 08:31 AM

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Kingdom Keepers is published by Hyperion, but I have had the same question about using Disneyland as a setting. I think it's all right to use public places without permission, but Disney has been exceptionally  protective of all of its rights. I think I would call for permission, or at least to feel out the territory.

Laurel
#3 - February 12, 2013, 08:43 AM

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Could a fictional theme park work as well if using Disney poses a problem? Is there a special reason it has to be Disney?
#4 - February 12, 2013, 08:47 AM
THIS LITTLE PIGGY (AN OWNER'S MANUAL), Aladdin PIX June 2017 :pigsnort
KUNG POW CHICKEN 1-4, Scholastic 2014 :chicken

http://cyndimarko.com
@cynmarko

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Is there a special reason it has to be Disney?


For me, the advantage of using Disneyland is that you have an immediate connection with so many readers - at least the ones who have been there. You can mention a place and they immediately know what you're talking about. Disneyland also has quite a history, rumored and real, to play off of. I just think it would be fun.
#5 - February 12, 2013, 09:09 AM

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Agreed! I was just thinking if in fact Disney said no (if they do need to give permission), could it work with a fictional park.
#6 - February 12, 2013, 09:14 AM
THIS LITTLE PIGGY (AN OWNER'S MANUAL), Aladdin PIX June 2017 :pigsnort
KUNG POW CHICKEN 1-4, Scholastic 2014 :chicken

http://cyndimarko.com
@cynmarko

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I should start by saying I don't know what I'm talking about here, but other than Kingdom Keepers, I can't think of a single book where Disneyland is featured. Mentioned maybe, as in, "We went to Disneyland this summer" but that's all. I'd check into it.
#7 - February 12, 2013, 09:17 AM

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Oh I don't know. The entire setting is saturated inside Disneyland where I mention each ride that he gets on by name and describe what he is going through, play-by-play.

I even did some research and found out about what the cast members call, "backstage" where my MC tries to hide and gets busted.

He has visions of pixie dust and wishing stars. I guess I could change it to another park name, but I don't know.

If for some reason, Disney or some legal people said NO, I think my whole book would have to be shelved.

I'll look more into it. And if anyone else has any ideas or knows anything, please let me know.

Thanks all! :flowers2
#8 - February 12, 2013, 10:56 AM

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http://www.goodreads.com/list/show/23481.Fiction_books_set_in_Disney_theme_parks

I just googled and found this link as well as several other links.
#9 - February 12, 2013, 10:59 AM
VAMPIRINA BALLERINA series (Disney-Hyperion)
SUNNY'S TOW TRUCK SAVES THE DAY (Abrams)
GROUNDHUG DAY (Disney-Hyperion, 2017)
among others

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Great link! Thanks Anne Marie!
#10 - February 12, 2013, 11:11 AM

Going Bovine by Libba Bray takes a lot of inspiration from Disneyland and begins with a hysterical chapter with the main character falling into the river in Small World. That said, there's nothing critical said about Disney. It's more just weird.
#11 - February 12, 2013, 11:19 AM
critically-yours.blogspot.com

If you are using very specific details about Disneyland that are relevant to the story, then I think it makes sense to set it there. Stories with authentic details about an actual place can feel so rich and so real. Are the details in the story (i.e. the places he hides) true and based on real places inside Disneyland? Are they interesting details that go deeper than than what the average person knows about Disneyland, to include things that make it feel like the character is really there, rather than details that one could glean by looking at a public map of Disneyland? If so then it is meaningful to set it in Disneyland. But I'd say that if any details are fictionalized, or if they only scratch the surface, then maybe it would be wise to set it in a fictional amusement park. So many people know Disneyland inside and out, and they wouldn't believe a story set in a Disneyland with made-up details.

Another thought I had was that if you do decide to go with a fictional amusement park, you might consider fictionalizing the details about it, rather than basing it on Disneyland but calling it something else. I can't recall titles, but I know I've read stories featuring amusement parks that are clearly based on Disneyland but that call the amusement park by a different name. It can come across as sort of weak or phony. In my opinion of those instances, it would have been better if they had created a totally new amusement park altogether, with its own unique, rich details and quirks. A watered-down version of Disneyland called by another name probably can't measure up to something as iconic as real Disneyland, but a fascinatingly imagined amusement park that is totally different could be very exciting.

I was going to mention GOING BOVINE as well. I do think it's relevant that it's set at Disney World, because it makes you feel that the main character exists firmly in our real world (which makes the contrast of the fantasy elements of the book even more powerful).
#12 - February 12, 2013, 11:35 AM
« Last Edit: February 12, 2013, 11:38 AM by ChristineCA »

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Thank you annemleone and Christine ... yeah, it is accurate as far as the Disney setting, and not fictionalized at all in that sense. Plus, there are some unknown facts about certain rides and attractions that the general public are not aware of, I guess ... unless they do the research.

The places that the MC hides are real places in Disneyland.

All of you have been very helpful and I appreciate all of your wonderful feedback. I'm heading to the bookstore to check out the books that have been referenced, and if I find anything else out - I will post.

Thanks again! :flower
#13 - February 12, 2013, 12:34 PM

Plus, there are some unknown facts about certain rides and attractions that the general public are not aware of,

That alone makes this story very intriguing to me!

(PS: I forgot to mention that I really like your concept. Very unique.)
#14 - February 12, 2013, 12:40 PM

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Thanks Christine! And I am really heading to the bookstore now. Really ... :)
#15 - February 12, 2013, 12:44 PM

I live near Ridley Pearson, and I've heard him talk about his Kingdom Keeper books. I'm trying to remember exactly what he said about them. I think Disney might have asked him to write them (or he proposed them to Disney? I don't remember), but Disney's lawyers were adamant that none of his characters could actually get hurt while in the park. So Ridley Pearson has holograms of his characters running around the park after dark (holograms can't get hurt!) I know that Disney's lawyers go through the manuscripts with a fine-toothed comb before giving the okay to have them published.

But I'm afraid I have no idea about whether any of that would apply to a book not overseen by Disney, so I'm not sure whether any of this helps you!
#16 - February 12, 2013, 12:52 PM

I read a hilarious book for adults set in Disneyworld. It was definitely not approved by Disney. It's called Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom.
#17 - February 12, 2013, 01:08 PM
The Echo Room (Tor Teen, 2018)
Where Futures End (Penguin, 2016)
www.parkerpeevyhouse.com

Adam Rex's TRUE MEANING OF SMEKDAY is set partly in an Orlando, FL theme park called Happy Mouse Kingdom.
#18 - February 12, 2013, 01:11 PM
Youth Services librarian and YA writer. Wisconsin SW (Madison area) Rep.
@amandacoppedge on Twitter

I wanted to chime in, since I asked a very similar question years back (I guess it was about 6 years ago on this board).  I had a MG ms. planned in which a character hid out in (a specific part of) Disney World, after running away from home.

Back then, the reaction to the idea was a lot different--people told me that I wouldn't be able to do this, probably, as Disney lawyers were notoriously tough, tight on permissions, etc.  It was suggested I use a "Disney-like" theme park like Smekday uses.

Then Kingdom Keepers came out and it seems a few other novels with fictional Disney-set content.  To me, the types of books are two different animals.  If Disney-Hyperion plans a book or coordinates it or whatever ("Let's have a children's series that concerns the park--child characters would help solve a mystery there!") then of course they'd hire someone to really do it up, emphasize what they'd want to emphasize, paint the picture they want painted.  But it also looks like there are other books with some Disney content, and maybe not all positive, and people are getting away with it.  If that's so, maybe there's more leeway these days, or precedent set by some case which says that mentioning the park and its characters is something they can't control as tightly.
#19 - February 12, 2013, 02:30 PM

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I'm grateful for all your comments and suggestions  :goldstar ... I went and checked out the Kingdom Keepers books, and they are great! True, holograms cannot get hurt (I thought the author was pretty clever with that idea), but in my book no one gets hurt either.

So for now, I'll just move forward and see where the chips fall ... :poker
#20 - February 13, 2013, 09:34 AM

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This may be a bit of a reach but I just did a post on Pants on Fire Press. They are a small press that, according to their website is "deeply entrenched in Disney values, as it is our heritage." They publish "books but only if they met our Disneyesque standards."

Perhaps you could review their catalog and see if they offer similar stories.

You can see more at their website: http://www.pantsonfirepress.com/#!/aboutus
And on my blog: http://crookedbook.blogspot.com
#21 - February 15, 2013, 08:33 AM
MIND YOUR MONSTERS (Sterling, 2015)
HYPNOSIS HARRY (Sky Pony, 2016)
LUCY LOVES SHERMAN (Sky Pony, 2017)

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Unfortunately, I can't remember the name of it, but I read a YA novel about teen characters who worked at Disneyland (or maybe Disney World) and they talked about the tunnels under the park, etc. 
#22 - February 15, 2013, 08:37 AM

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Crookedbook - I love this quote from their website: We are not trying to entertain the critics. I'll take my chances with the public.

I am working on a book that I think would suit them well, but I'm only near the end of the first revising pass. I hope they are still an open house when I finish.

Thanks for the heads up.

Laurel

#23 - February 15, 2013, 09:04 AM

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Thanks for that info! :thankyou
#24 - February 15, 2013, 07:13 PM

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Crookedbook - I love this quote from their website: We are not trying to entertain the critics. I'll take my chances with the public.

I am working on a book that I think would suit them well, but I'm only near the end of the first revising pass. I hope they are still an open house when I finish.

Thanks for the heads up.

Laurel

Sorry everyone. I managed to post this in the wrong thread.  :oops
#25 - February 15, 2013, 10:05 PM

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