Ladies and gentlemen! The Disney Boxing Commission proudly presents a full card of theme park fisticuffs between your favorite Disney attractions, restaurants, and resorts. There will be winners, and there might be blood. A Disney theme park guidebook like no other!
Professional boxing judge Dan Sisneros leads a who's who of Disney experts, including Len Testa, co-author of The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World, in unique, round-by-round showdowns between evenly matched theme park opponents. Do you ever wonder what's better, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad or the Matterhorn Bobsleds? Now you're going to find out, as punches fly.
Over multiple rounds each "boxer" is rated on various factors such as theming, queues, backstory, Imagineering, and many others. The judges score each round, evaluating and explaining the good and the bad, and then declare a winner.
No matter how much you know about the Disney theme parks, you've never read about them like this before!
Among the fourteen bouts on our colossal card:
Let's have a clean fight, with no punching below the FastPass!
Chapter 1: Gran Fiesta Tour vs Journey into Imagination with Figment
Chapter 2: New Orleans Mint Julep vs LeFou’s Brew
Chapter 3: California Screamin’ vs Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster
Chapter 4: American Music Machine vs The British Revolution
Chapter 5: Haunted Mansion (Disneyland) vs Haunted Mansion (Disney World)
Chapter 6: The Pirate Room (Caribbean Beach) vs The Royal Room (Port Orleans Riverside)
Chapter 7: Monsters, Inc. vs Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride
Chapter 8: Impressions de France vs Reflections of China
Chapter 9: Jungle Cruise vs Kilimanjaro Safaris
Chapter 10: Carthay Circle vs Hollywood Brown Derby
Chapter 11: DINOSAUR vs The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
Chapter 12: Dole Whip vs Mickey’s Premium Ice Cream Bar
Chapter 13: Big Thunder Mountain Railroad vs Mattherhorn Bobsleds
Chapter 14: Prince Charming Regal Carrousel vs Stitch’s Great Escape
Afterword: The Two Sides of Dan Sisneros
Appendix A: Scoring Officials
Appendix B: How to Score a Professional Boxing Match
“Are you the Dan Sisneros?” is not what Dan was expecting to hear when we first met. But my dad was a big boxing fan, and, as I was growing up, professional fights were shown almost nightly on cable networks big and small. Over the years, I must’ve heard Dan’s name announced dozens of times for the bouts he judged on those TV broadcasts we watched. And if I’m being honest, every time I say Dan’s name in my head, it’s in the voice of Michael Buffer.
Boxing isn’t anywhere nearly as popular today as it was 20 or 30 years ago. Ask a hundred people to name the current heavyweight champion of the world, and you’d be lucky to find two who can (Tyson Fury, as I write this, and I had to look it up). Why? There are vastly more entertainment choices available instantly today, for one thing. And many people are put off by boxing’s potential long-term health effects.
However, let’s not ignore boxing’s positive contributions to American society, particularly in the area of civil rights. As much as Jackie Robinson in baseball, fighters such as Muhammed Ali showed millions of Americans—both black and white—that African-American athletes could be world champions in any sport they played. I’d bet money that kids who grew up rooting for Joe Louis in the 1940s were more likely to support legislation like the Civil Rights Act of 1964, because nobody can see themselves telling their childhood hero to use a segregated water fountain.
For Disney fans, another great thing about boxing is that its round-by-round scoring system is really close to the way that we argue about the best Disney attractions, food, and hotels. And that’s exactly the idea that Dan has used in this book. When we’re comparing rides, each round covers one specific aspect of the overall experience, such as location, theme, or detail. And, just like boxing, Dan has recruited different judges, with their own preferences, for scoring those rounds.
There are a few surprises in this book—outcomes that you wouldn’t have expected just by looking at the names involved. But boxing is about matchups, and as you read the judges’ reasoning, you’ll often find yourself going along with what they’re saying.
There’s undoubtedly a couple of decisions in this book where you’ll find yourself wondering what ride these judges were looking at, because you saw something completely different. And to that I say:
Marvin Hagler got robbed, too.
Enjoy the book!
You are probably wondering, “What is this book all about?”. Is it a story? A guidebook? A memoir or a trip report? It’s a little bit of everything. It’s part fantasy, part facts. It’s part imagination, part information. It pits contenders chosen from among various Disney parks, attractions, and experiences against one another in simulated boxing matches. Our panel of unofficial Disney parks experts (along with myself) judge the outcome of these bouts. The results you get for each match will largely depend on the three people judging that particular matchup, though as in real boxing matches, the judges must follow the rules. If you are as big of a Disney parks fan as I am, you will probably get it. If you are not, I hope that your curiosity will be piqued and that you’ll start planning a Disneyland or Walt Disney World vacation to see for yourself what it’s all about.
Of all the themes available for discussing the Disney parks in a book, why boxing? Simple, it’s what I know and what I love. For a time, it was even a livelihood. If I had been involved in auto racing, we’d have attractions going five laps instead of five rounds. If I had been into tennis, it would have been five sets, And if it had been mixed martial arts, you’d find Mickey and Donald where you know you’d love to see them: in the octagon. But for me, it’s boxing. I hope that you might learn a little something about the Disney theme park attractions and experiences that “duke it out” in the pages of this book, and that the insights and remarks of the judges for each bout might spark your interest into trying something new the next time you’re in a Disney theme park. I also hope that you might enjoy a peek into the sometimes brutal, but always artful, sweet science of professional boxing.
You may not agree with all of the decisions the other judges and I render, but that’s OK; in boxing, there’s always an opportunity for a rematch. So, get your popcorn, your peanuts, and your beverage of choice, settle in to your ringside seat, and let’s get ready to rumble! Oh, and I really don’t mind if you ask me, “What fight were YOU watching?”. I’ve developed a boxing judge’s thick skin, too.
You can jump right into the action, with our first bout, or take a few moments to familiarize yourself with the notables who will be judging the matches (Appendix A: Scoring Officials) and how they’ll be scoring the bouts (Appendix B: How to Score a Professional Boxing Match).
Dan Sisneros lives with his wife, Tammy, in Las Cruces, New Mexico. After 30 years working as a mail carrier for the United States Postal Service, he now enjoys some time for family and hobbies.
He was a featured writer for Pro Boxing Update and Flash magazines from 1992 to 1999. Dan has judged over 100 professional boxing matches, hosted his own boxing show, did broadcasting for a statewide boxing series, and provided scouting videos for some of the top managers, promoters, and boxers in the game, including former world champions Vitaly and Wladimir Klitschko, Johnny Tapia, Kevin Kelley, Austin Trout, and super agents Cameron Dunkin, Tom Loeffler, Bob Spagnola, and so many others. His collection of boxing on videotape is among the largest in the world. Visit his on-line boxing museum at: angelfire.com/nm/boxingmuseum and his boxing Hall of Respect blog at guruofboxing.blogspot.com. And check out Dan’s judging record at boxrec.com/person/477197?role=judge.
His love for the sport of professional boxing is matched only by his thirst for Disneyland and Walt Disney World and for drinking from the wells established by Walt Disney. Check out his Disney blog at disneyfountainofyouth.blogspot.com.
Above all, Dan gives thanks to his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Psalms 9:1.
In this round, the Jungle Cruise and Kilimanjaro Safaris go head to head on their respective Imagineering technology.
Cruise was cutting edge, a long time ago in Imagineering years. The movement and appearance of the audio-animatronic animals was amazing when you were a kid. Now, not so much. But it’s still fun.
Safaris is remarkable when you consider all of the techniques used in an attraction of this size and scope. Each animal species must be fed properly, have their other needs met, and must be kept safe from predators while preserving the sense that both predators and prey are roaming free, without restrictions. Some of the techniques used are ingenious, such as providing the lions with cooled rocks so they will lie on them during the hot daylight hours and remain visible to guests. It’s a balancing act in hopes of pleasing both animal resident and human guest. It’s quite a feat, and it has been achieved.
Cruise comes out strong, landing stiff jabs to Safaris’ head. Safaris fires back and sends Cruise to the mat with a haymaker right hand, and now it is Cruise’s turn to take a mandatory 8-count. He gets to his feet at the count of 7 and Referee Mora takes a good look into his eyes. It’s just a flash knockdown, but it still counts. He’s going to let it continue. Cruise doesn’t know how to hold (or isn’t willing to try) and attempts to fight back, landing some shots and then a big right hand that sends Safaris down for a second time in the fight! Cruise is well conditioned for an older boxer and not only survived the knockdown, but scored another knockdown of his opponent. A wild round that sees both guys hit the mat!
Judge Gary Merritt: Cruise. All of the “fake” animals are well done.
Judge Dan Sisneros: Safaris is a pioneer in zoo-type habitats. There is some great unseen technology employed to make everyone (especially the residents) happy. There was a time when Cruise was state of the art, but it really hasn’t changed since its creation, and that was a while ago.
Judge Len Testa: Safaris set the standard for lifelike zoo habitats. There hasn’t been much new in the Jungle Cruise in 30 or 40 years.
Continued in "Disney Tale of the Tape"!
Dole Whip and Mickey's Premium Ice Cream Bar circle each other warily over "appearance" in the first round.
Dole may not look like much, but when you take your spoon and dig in, you soon realize that this is a pretty substantial snack. If you are lucky enough to be served by a cast member with a steady hand, you’ll be given what looks like a cup with a yellow/orange-tinted mini Matterhorn Mountain in it.
Mickey is beautiful with its two “Mickey ears” making it look like a body builder flexing his biceps. That smooth chocolate coating is inviting.
This is a high-intensity grudge match. Both of these guys come out looking very serious and determined. Dole is showing some speed and movement. Mickey is trying to walk him down and land power punches. Mickey shoots a 1-2 combination (jab-right hand) and lands both perfectly. It’s a good thing that Dole is warmed up and able to take a good shot. He just did.
Judge Jimmy Horne: Mickey bar. I mean, it’s Mickey!
Judge Monica Segura: Can’t get better than Mickey shaped!
Judge Dan Sisneros: Both are beautiful looking treats, but the shape of a Hidden Mickey will win over the heart of any Disney fanatic. The Mickey Bar has a uniform look; each one looks like chocolate ice cream perfection. On the other hand, Dole can look many different ways. There’s the Matterhorn look, the “Leaning Tower” look, all the way down to the “Blob” look (if he didn’t have a very good training camp, I guess). You just never know. In this category, the Mickey’s appearance gets the edge over its opponent for me.
Continued in "Disney Tale of the Tape"!