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The Key to the Kingdom by Jeff Dixon

Title:  The Key to the Kingdom:  Unlocking Walt Disney’s Magic Kingdom
Author:  Jeff Dixon
Pages:  263
Year:  2010
Publisher:  Deep River Book
Note:  Complimentary copy via
                Among the several listed definitions of imagination in Webster’s Dictionary, two meanings stood out to me that could be used to describe Walt Disney:  1) creative ability; 2) thinking or active mind.  Walt Disney had more ideas than he could enact in his lifetime.  His mantra was to use his imagination to make life better for people.  So what better place for the setting of this novel than Walt Disney’s Magic Kingdom in Florida?
                Dr. Grayson Hawkes or Hawk as he prefers to be called is a preacher at Celebration Community Church in Celebration, Florida.  He has a staff that is like family to him and enjoys telling the greatest story ever told that of God’s infinite love for His children shown in the Bible.  His best friend is Farren Rales, the head Imagineer at Disney World.  Farren had actually begun working at Disney when Walt was still living.  They enjoy talking about all things Disney:  Disney trivia, little known facts about Walt Disney’s life and dreams, as well as the more commonly known facts.  The book is a little slow in the beginning as the groundwork is put in place, but it does pick up and then reads at a good pace.
                One night Farren asks Hawk to a mysterious meeting.  At the end of their strange and enigmatic discussion, Farren reverently gives Hawk a key.  Farren tells Hawk he now has the key to the kingdom.  As they say goodnight and part ways, Hawk is chased by an armed assailant and Farren disappears.  Thus begins Hawk’s journey begun by Farren to discover what the key unlocks.  The action takes off from there with Hawk being chased by more than one person as he travels from the Disney’s Hollywood Studios to the Magic Kingdom to find each successive clue, trying to solve the puzzle and find Farren.  Hawk is convinced once he solves the riddles Farren will be at the end of them.  Who can Hawk trust as he finds himself needing help?  Kiran is attractive and arrives one the scene just when he needs help the most.  She works in guest relations at Disney and knows a lot about Walt and his creation.
                Hawk’s race to find answers to the riddles and solve the mystery takes him behind the scenes at Disney, running around the park after hours, and the occasional fist-fight.  There is so much interesting trivia about Disney the man as well as the company.  I have visited Disney World several times, but the things I learned in this story were things I had never noticed before.  The attention to detail by the Imagineers is astounding.  There is a reason behind every prop placed and every location chosen.  I could picture in my mind Hawk’s different destinations as I have been to many of those very places myself.  That added an extra element of enjoyment to the story.  This book is a great story, a great chance to use your imagination and a chance to use your mind to solve riddles.  I’ll be reviewing Jeff’s second book as the mystery isn’t completely wrapped up at the end of this first book.  Stay tuned!
                My rating is 4.5 stars.
Note: .  The opinions shared in this review are solely my responsibility.  Other reviews can be read at .  Also follow me on Twitter @lcjohnson1988, FaceBook at
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