Even though Lou refuses to friend me on FB, I still promised him I’d review all of his Audio Guides. Maybe it’s empathy for how he always seems nervous when I’m around, but I feel it’s the least I can do for having never called security on me. While I’m sure fans of our show are likely expecting me to tear him apart in my classic comical fashion, I assured Lou I’d only speak well of his work. Of course, he repeatedly said if I didn’t have anything good to say, don’t say anything, but here it is nonetheless…
With a voice that’s made for talking endlessly, Lou Mongello has pushed the envelope to put out six Audio Guides(so far) that most any Disney fan should enjoy. Every guide is full of great facts and hidden gems, shared with the familiar background sounds that pertain to each land, making it easy to reminisce about your last trip to WDW. Even if you don’t listen to(or like) his weekly podcast on WDWRadio.com, his audio guides are stocked with little details and interesting tidbits, more than enough to enjoy while passing time between WDW vacations.
The best guide to start with is Main Street USA, as it touches upon early Disney, as well as all areas of the Magic Kingdom. Able to hear the familar train whistle and horse drawn trolley in the back, Lou points out the stories and legends one can discover walking down Main Street, with the occasion annoying guest being overheard in the background. Discussing in detail WDW Railroads, windows, vehicles & decor of Main Street, all the way up to the hub and Castle, the past and present are talked about with enough detail to easily hold one’s attention. The only questions listeners may have are “Do they use the smellitizer in the men’s room?” and “Did they make the height of the shop windows in anticipation of Lou?”.
Transitioning to Adventureland, we’re informed to expect adventure, romance, and mystery. Details from attractions & shops to the smallest sign & decoration are all pointed out, and we’re told how this land came to fruition, sometimes in an amusing attempt at speaking Spanish. Informed why Dole Whips are one of the greatest treats of all time, we also learn who The Orange Bird was and why he was there. Sadly, after the crop damaging freeze of 1986, the bird was sacrificed to the fruit gods and gone forever.
On to Fantasyland, we hear a more about Walt’s dream. Through design, architecture, attractions, and characters, we hear how this land focuses on children & families, no matter how annoying some can be. From Cinderella Castle to the extinct Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride & 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Lou shares details that many fans may not have been aware of, like the scandalous naming of King Stefan’s Royal Table.
The story of Liberty Square begins with Walt’s patriotism and facination with American history, explaining how Walt originally planned a Liberty Street in Disneyland. Numerous details are shared of the Haunted Mansion and it’s leading women, Columbia Harbour House with it’s signs for illiterates, and the remaining attractions, shops, and restaurants of Liberty Square. Shockingly, “Dueling Dumbos” does not refer to a debate in the Hall of Presidents.
In his best John Wayne, Lou introduces us to Frontierland and why it came to be. Comparing California and Florida, we’re told what these lands originally were supposed to be and in contrast what they are today. This land probably has the most extinct artifacts & attractions, along with those that never came to be. My only concern is the rumor of a guy in a bathtub in his underwear on Big Thunder Mt.
Gone but not forgotten, Mickey’s Toontown Fair had the most details I never knew before. Originally temporarily created as Mickey’s Birthdayland, then changed to Mickey’s Starland before settling on Mickey’s Toontown Fair, this land gave guests a specific location to always find Mickey Mouse. Due to it’s popularity(and County Bounty cash cow), it was given a more permanent home until Fantasyland pulled an Owl and reclaimed the deed. After listening to Toontown Fair, the only questions one may have are “What was Shirley Feeney doing at the opening and where was Boo-Boo kitty?”.
With plenty of facts & trivia peppered throughout, the Lou Mongello Audio Guides can be appreciated by most all Disney fans. Listened to by my son nightly before bed, Lou claims that his guides have been helping put kids to sleep for years, so who am I to argue? Just a reminder, we’re still waiting for the Tomorrowland and Fantasyland Expansion guides. ”The expansion isn’t even finished yet!” is no excuse.
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