The Kingdom Keepers: Disney After Dark



Series-starting adventure shows a darker Magic Kingdom.

What parents need to know

Educational value

Although primarily an adventure in Disney World, the five teens use problem-solving skills to work together to try and save the Magic Kingdom by using clues to solve a puzzle left by Walt Disney.

Positive messages

Embedded in this adventure fantasy is a sense of teamwork among the five teens. Although they come from different schools and backgrounds, they learn to work together to vanquish evil.

Positive role models

The five teens work together to save Disney World and potentially the rest of the world. These typical teens, "the Orlando assortment pack"  (as Maybeck calls his team), develop respect for each other as they work together and show courage and responsibility. As they battle the evil Overtakers, each teen develops new strengh and courage. Main character Finn wrestles with the moral dilemma of lying to his parents to sneak off at night. The other characters are not well developed. The teens all meet in a virtual game, and issues of gaming etiquette are addressed when Finn hurts his best friend's feelings.


The teens fight the Overtakers, who are Disney park characters gone bad -- from audio-animatronic pirates from the Pirates of the Caribbean, who shoot with Astro Blasters from Buzz Lightyear cars, to  creepy dolls from the It's a Small World ride, eerily singing that famous song while chasing and biting. Maleficent, from Disney's Sleeping Beauty, throws fireballs at the young heroes. There's a lot of chasing, but there are only a few bites and bruises.

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This might be the ultimate product placement: a book published by Disney about Disney, which glorifies the rides and characters in the Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney on Ice, and Disney cruises. From New Orleans Square to Epcot, the book takes readers on a tour through the wonders of Disneyworld.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Aside from the Disney Tom Sawyer smoking a pipe in Frontierland, this is a drug-free adventure story.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that The Kingdom Keepers is a great adventure for Disney fans, but may frighten younger children with its portrayal of Disney characters gone bad. Pirates leave the Pirates of the Caribbean ride to chase the good guys, and the dolls from It's a Small World turn into evil biting menaces eerily singing their famous song. For some, this adventure novel -- and the many series installments that follow (a total of seven are planned) -- may be an enticement to visit Disney World.

What's the story?

Finn and four other teens are selected to be Holographic Hosts at Florida's Disney World. Holograms of these teens lead visitors through the Magic Kingdom, giving visitors information. Their lives as minor celebrities are going fine until they discover that at night while they sleep they become both hologram and human. Their holograms are lured back into the Magic Kingdom at night by a retired park Imagineer who convinces them to fight against the evil Overtakers, who are trying to take control of the Magic Kingdom and eventually the world. The evil Overtakers are led by the evil Maleficient from Disney's Sleeping Beauty, who's aided by characters from the popular rides: pirates from Pirates of the Carribbean and the cute dolls from It's a Small World, who chase and bite the teens while eerily singing their famous song.

Is it any good?


It's mind-bending to think that you could be human and a hologram at the same time; this nice sci-fi twist adds to this otherwise standard adventure fantasy. The convoluted mystery is hard to follow and doesn't always make sense, but Disney fans will love the adventure-filled story that takes place in the "happiest place on Earth." Finn is the only character the reader really gets to know; we never get to learn much about the the other four who back him up. The end is somewhat anti-climactic, but sets the stage for the next title in the KINGDOM KEEPERS series.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about if it's OK to lie to your parents when you're helping a friend. When Finn tries to tell the truth, his mother doesn't believe him. What would you have done?

  • Disney published this book, which is about Disney World. Do you think this could be a conflict for author Ridley Pearson to write a book about Disney for Disney? Is this a form of advertising for Disney packaged as a book?

  • Finn ignores his best friend, whom he meets in a virtual game, so he can be with his Hologram Host buddies to solve the mystery. Have you ever been excluded by friends? How can you be a good digital citizen as well as a good friend?


Book details

Author:Ridley Pearson
Illustrator:Tristan Elwell
Topics:Magic and fantasy, Adventures, Fairy tales, Friendship, Misfits and underdogs, Pirates
Book type:Fiction
Publication date:September 1, 2004
Number of pages:336
Publisher's recommended age(s):10 - 14
Available on:Paperback, Nook, Audiobook (unabridged), iBooks, Kindle

This review of The Kingdom Keepers: Disney After Dark was written by

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Teen, 17 years old Written byabatonfan March 13, 2013

A Great Book for Independent Readers with a Love for Disney

This is, by far, one of my favorite books for younger students wishing to get out of basic chapter books and do not want to jump right into the horrors of teen fiction (sparkling vampires, anyone?). The main characters are positive, easy-to-relate-to and fairly down-to-earth. The violence is not incredibly horrible, and sexual content is almost non-existent. Sadly, this book could be considered as advertising Disney, and a vast majority of the book takes place in a Disney theme park.
What other families should know
Great role models
Too much consumerism
Teen, 13 years old Written byMgrace1 May 9, 2015

Really Amazing Book

I love this book and I love Disney. This book may have violence, but its fictional. So as long as your child knows that. They should be fine. Read it if you are into Disney. This book helped me get over my Disney Withdrawls just saying.
Kid, 11 years old February 21, 2013

Thrilling Adventure

This is a great book! This actually does have educational value on Disney World and there are a lot of positive messages. They are all great role models. Willa is very clever,Philiby is a whiz at computers, Finn is insightful in his observations, Charlene is cautious and athletic and Maybeck provides sarcasm and is good at thinking quickly. There is violence but that just adds to the thrill of reading it!
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence


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