Thursday, December 15, 2016

The Book IS HERE! Disney Tale of the Tape is now available!

   I was sitting at my PC, when an e-mail came in from the publisher of Theme Park Press.  He asked me what I thought about writing a book based on my old column for the Disney Dispatch website.  I was a little surprised, and scared.  "Hmmm", I thought,  "the column was fun but book worthy?"  The uncertainty turned to curiosity, so we talked it over a bit.  That was July 8th 2016.

The book cover - DISNEY TALE OF THE TAPE - Theme Park Boxing

   Well, a little over 5 months later.... HERE IT IS!  Disney Tale of the Tape is my first attempt at writing a book, and I hope it won't be my last.  It has been an amazing journey in getting this project to press.  Here are a few of the twists and turns along the way:

  The Evolution of a Format  
   The Disney Dispatch Column's format featured only 1 judge.  I would write up the categories (rounds), and then score the bouts along with two fictitious judges scoring the bouts.  The bouts were decided by me, because it was fast, and it was the only way I could even have a shot at  meeting the bi-weekly deadline (that I sometimes missed) for the column.  Mr. McLain was very gracious, and really did not push the deadline.  I would do a little research, then make up the "Tale of the Tape" which would give some facts about the contestants.  I would think up some categories to use for rounds, and then score the bouts.  This was a few years before retirement, so time was not on my side, as I would come home from work exhausted, but it was so much fun, I would dig in, write up a battle, and send it in.

This was the logo for the original column at Disney Dispatch

   The book started out with the same idea in mind, just write up the battles, and score each "round" to come up with a winner.  Then I thought "Hey, who cares what I think?  Why not have some REAL Disney experts as judges!"  So I started reaching out to some of my favorites from the Disney Fan community to see if they would like to be part of this project.  Each bout features myself plus two "Disney Celebrity" Judges doing the scoring.

  Putting Together a Team    
   The first person I turned to was my friend Len Testa.  Len is the co-author of The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World, and he was one of the co-hosts of the WDW Today podcast, he is still an occasional guest/co-host of the show in it's current format, and I love that show!  I had corresponded with Len in the past, and found that he's quite the boxing fan, so I pitched him about writing the foreword for the book.  He responded very enthusiastically, I just felt so honored, and a bit more confident having the Len Testa on my side!  At the time, I had not changed the format, so all I was asking for was a foreword for the book.  That changed later, and Len was totally on board with being one of my "Disney Tale of the Tape Boxing Judges"!

Next, the book needed some color, so I reached out to some friends from the world of pro boxing.

Ring Announcers:  Bob Alexander, Lupe Contreras, Henry Tafoya, and Dom Zarrella all said "Yes!" to using their names in the book.

Dan co-hosting "Rising Stars Boxing" with Henry Tafoya in 1999

You need Referees for any boxing match, so it was time to contact some of boxing's very best:  Rocky Burke, Laurence Cole, Russell Mora, Woody Kislowski, and Zac Young (Zac is also a judge for one of the matches, turns out he's a huge Disneyland fan!) all answered the call, and if you are not a boxing crazed nut, just check out the records of each of these guys in they are all World Class Referees!

And there is one "special" Referee - Retired Pro Wrestler Frank Goodman (The Masked Maniac) who works some of the bouts.  His Disney World Junkies facebook page has over 140,000 subscribers, and he has arms bigger than Gaston!  I wasn't about to say "no" to him refereeing some of the bouts!
Dan with his friend - Pro Boxing Referee Rocky Burke in 2012

You can't score a pro boxing match without the judges (I should know, I used to be one!), so again, I reached out to some of my personal favorites.  Some gave me a polite "No Thank You", but most gave me an enthusiastic "You Bet!" and the list includes some names that you will no doubt recognize if you are a true Disney Parks fan and what a line-up it is!

The Judges:

*JERRY CORNELL - Theme Parkology (, and co-host of Living the Dream Podcast

*RANDY CRANE - Author of Faith and the Magic Kingdom, host of Stories of the Magic Podcast

 *JIMMY  HORNE - Owner of Once Upon a Time Travel, and co-host of The Disney Nerds Podcast

  *KRISTA JOY -, and co-host of Living the Dream Podcast

*DAVE KENNEDY - Host of the Dave's Disney View Podcast, and a former Disney World cast member

*GARY MERRITT - Get this, he is a retired world class Pro Boxing judge who worked over 1, 600 bouts over 37 years, all over the world!  And... he has been to Walt Disney World over 50 times!

*NATHAN PALMER - he's an Indiana Pro Boxing judge, who has been in the sport since 2003.  He's worked over 750 bouts, and going strong!  He is my fellow editor at and when I found out that he's a huge fan of Walt Disney World, he was an instant fit!

*JOHN SACCHERI - The host of, and one of the subjects featured in the Documentary The Disney Dream Finders

*MONICA SEGURA - This lady is a total Disney parks fan.  She has a degree in Physical Education and has attended quite a few boxing events.  She is totally qualified to judge these bouts.  Oh, and did I mention, She's my Daughter!

 *LEN TESTA - Host of the Unofficial Guide Disney Dish with Jim Hill Podcast, and co-author of The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World

We had no idea that this little Boxing Fan would grow up to become a judge for the Disney Tale of the Tape Boxing Commission!

There are also two dear friends of mine from the world of boxing that make an appearance:

*JOHN KLEMIATO - "Big John" is a boxing judge with the Nebraska Boxing Commission, and his role will be as Deputy Inspector of the Disney Tale of the Tape Boxing Commission

*DAN CUSHNER - Dan is a former Pro and Amateur Boxing Trainer, as well as one of Pro Boxing's top "Cut-men".  He will appear as the "Cut-man" for The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh

What an all-star lineup of officials to score the bouts.  It is Their remarks in the book that make it a fun read.
Dan with his Wife Tammy at Disneyland in 2011 (at the time, Dan had no idea that  one day in the future, that big mountain behind him would be taking on Big Thunder Mountain in a clash of titans!)

  The Match-ups!  
There are 14 Matches in the book.  It's a night of boxing (Disney Parks style) that you will never forget!  Take a look at the card, and if you have experienced them, go ahead and set the odds on who YOU think will win each of them:

Bout 1)  THE GRAND FIESTA TOUR Starring the Three Caballeros (Epcot - World Showcase)
JOURNEY INTO IMAGINATION with Figment (Epcot - Future World)
(Our opening bout)
Bout 2) LEFOU'S BREW (Magic Kingdom) vs DISNEYLAND MINT JULEP (Disneyland)
(Can this much sweetness be contained in one ring?!)
Bout 3) CALIFORNIA SCREAMIN' (Disney California Adventure)
ROCK 'n' ROLLER COASTER (Disney Hollywood Studios)
(For the Coaster Division Championship!)
Bout 4) AMERICAN MUSIC MACHINE (Epcot - America Gardens)
(May the best group win!)
Bout 5) HAUNTED MANSION (Disneyland) vs HAUNTED MANSION (Magic Kingdom)
(It's Brother vs Brother in this match that Disney fans thought would NEVER Materialize!)
Bout 6) The PIRATE ROOM (Caribbean Beach Resort)
The ROYAL ROOM (Port Orleans Riverside)
(For the Moderate Themed Resort room title belt)
Bout 7) MONSTERS INC. - Mike & Sulley to the Rescue (Disney California Adventure)
MR. TOAD'S WILD RIDE (Disneyland)
(Dark Ride division title belt is at stake!)
Bout 8) IMPRESSIONS DE FRANCE (Epcot - France Pavilion)
REFLECTIONS OF CHINA (Epcot - China Pavilion)
(a bout with national pride on the line!)
Bout 9) THE JUNGLE CRUISE (Magic Kingdom)
KILIMANJARO SAFARIS (Disney's Animal Kingdom)
(Who will become "King of the Jungle"?)
Bout 10) CARTHAY CIRCLE (Disney California Adventure)
HOLLYWOOD BROWN DERBY (Disney Hollywood Studios)
(A battle of classy theme park eateries... in Black & White of course!)
Bout 11) DINOSAUR (Disney's Animal Kingdom)
(Pooh puts his undefeated record on the line against a very HUNGRY contender!)
(Snack Division Championship!)
(King of the Mountains Title Bout)
Bout 14) PRINCE CHARMING REGAL CARROUSEL (Magic Kingdom - Fantasyland)
STITCH'S GREAT ESCAPE (Magic Kingdom - Tomorrowland)
(A special GRUDGE match like no other!)
The Author with his "Research Staff" (His "Disney Sweeties") - (L to R) Monica, Sadie, Tammy, and (front) Ava at Disney Springs in May, 2016

Dan with boxing promoter - Don King.  Mr. King NEVER put together an event like this!

  Other Content   
There is also a foreword by Len Testa, and appendix's which feature My Disney Side, and My Boxing Side, a listing of all the officials who contributed to the book, and even a crash course on How to score a professional boxing match. 
Dan with legendary "Hands of Stone" (like Matterhorn Mountain) - Roberto Duran

   The Hardest Part  
The hardest part of the whole project was the final days.  The waiting to see the final proof copy, then the cover art, then waiting for the book to actually become available.  It was tortuous.  I felt a bit like an expectant father waiting for his new child to be born!  I'm too old for this!  But its finally here, and I really do hope you will have some fun with it.  But watch out - you just might get hooked on Disney parks, or the sport of Boxing!  One can only hope.

The back cover pretty much tells "The Tale of the Tape" for the book!

It took nearly half a year to put together, but here it is.  I hope you will pick up a copy, and most of all, I hope that you will get some enjoyment out of it!  Reviews are always welcome, no matter how you score the book!

Dan with one of the judges from the book (Monica) blasting off on Rock 'n' Roller Coaster

To purchase the book directly from Amazon:
Click HERE to order direct from Amazon


For signed Copies ($14.95 + 3.00/shipping) contact me at:



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