The Kingdom Keepers
||This article describes a work or element of fiction in a primarily in-universe style. (April 2014)|
||This article may contain an excessive amount of intricate detail that may only interest a specific audience. (April 2014)|
|Genre||Fantasy, Young-adult fiction,
|Publisher||Disney Editions and Disney Hyperion|
|Published||2005 - 2014|
|Media type||Print (hardcover and paperback)
The Kingdom Keepers is a New York Times Bestselling series of children's novels written by Ridley Pearson. The series is published through Disney Editions and Disney Hyperion, and the first book was released on August 29, 2005. The series follows the adventures of five teens who, by day, are holographic hosts in the Disney Theme Parks. By night, they battle Disney Villains for control of the parks and, in turn, the Disney entertainment empire.
The series franchise also includes several other elements such as an online game and an interactive educational tour provided for school groups through Disney's Youth Education Series. Pearson came up with the idea for the series after visiting Walt Disney World, where Disney Books vice-president Wendy Lefkon asked him if he would be interested in writing for a younger audience.
Disney After Dark
Five young teens have been selected to serve as holographic theme park guides, but find themselves forced to fight against various Disney villains in order to keep the peace of both Walt Disney World and the world at large. Each night the teens find themselves transported into the Magic Kingdom by way of DHI technology (Disney Host Interactive and Daylight Hologram Imaging).
Disney at Dawn
Things seem to be improving and the hosts are looking forward to returning to the Magic Kingdom. However things soon go wrong when Amanda's sister goes missing during a freak lightening storm. The group searches for clues while also trying to manage troubles at the Animal Kingdom, where the Overtakers have accessed the computer servers with the intent to wreak havoc. Things are made worse when they realize that they can also control the DHI, which means that if the hosts fall asleep then they could go into a permanent coma.
Disney in Shadow
Finn, Philby, Willa, Charlene, and Maybeck are searching for Wayne, their friend, mentor, and head Imagineer, as they're concerned that he may have been kidnapped by the Overtakers. They gain a clue from one of Jess's prophetic dreams, which takes them into Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Epcot. They must fight through puzzles, giant snakes, and deal with Maleficent while discovering new truths about themselves that could tear everything apart.
Things seem to be getting calmer, but this soon proves to be deceptive after Philby receives a strange video that shows that the Overtakers are once again trying to cause trouble by trying to rescue some of their captive leaders. Meanwhile Charlene has begun to act strangely, which makes the others concerned that she might be growing tired of her role as protector or that something more sinister is going on. Finn and Philby cross-over when Charlene is crossed over by the Overtakers, and Philby kisses her, breaking a spell placed on her by the Evil Queen; she had been unknowingly spying on the Keepers. The Evil Queen next places Finn under a spell to make him kiss Jess to put her in the Syndrome; however, this backfires due to Finn's love for Amanda making him kiss her. The Keepers steal spindles from Epcot, having run-ins with Jafar and Shan Yu; they believe pricking Amanda's finger on these will work, which it doesn't. They cross Amanda over into the Magic Kingdom as her DHI, where Finn leads her to Tom Sawyer island to prick her finger on the waterwheel; it works. At the same time, the Evil Queen has recruited other children to the Overtakers' cause, making them Overtaker Kids; they can be distinguished by their green eyes. The OTKs work to keep the Keepers busy, while the Queen and Cruella are busy with their plan to free Maleficent and Chernabog.
The book starts with Finn and Willa breaking into the library where Maleficent, the Evil Queen, and Cruella DeVil are stealing a journal containing Walt Disney's most brilliant and feared creations. The book dates back to 1940 and supposedly will bring Chernabog back to full power. The two are pursued by Hyenas, but escape when Philby manually returns them. Wayne then meets Finn in the Magic Kingdom, where they discuss the stolen book on a train. The train starts and the duo go for a ride, but are interrupted by a cat and fox. They fail to retrieve it (the journal) but are saved by the DHI 2.0 upgrade. This is a new version for DHI's or K.K's so they are nothing, but air and light all the time, but sometimes it doesn't work because this is 2.0 beta, and the K.K's are testing it, so the Imagineers can figure out the glitches and fix them. From Finn's point of view Hyenas chase him and Willa into a factory and they jump off the balcony and return with the fob. Maybeck's Aunt is tasered by Luowski and another boy and the OT's are attacking their families. Wayne tells the kids at Disney World to stay in pairs and that the ship will confine them and they might be killed by OT's. They want to kill the kids not SBS them. Finn then learns that he dreams the future after Willa tells Finn another story about what happened when they escaped Maleficent, Cruella De Vil, and Evil Queen two nights before. She says they just returned and never jumped off a balcony. Wayne tells the kids that there are Kingdom Keepers volunteers now that will help them.
Finn then is driven to Typhoon Lagoon, a water park in the WDW Resort. Wayne then sends Finn to Typhoon Lagoon, but Finn is attacked by rescue dummies, only to be saved by Stitch. Finn goes in the wave pool where Triton [Ruler of the ocean] tells Finn that since he is going on a ship he should know that when he is in trouble all he has to say is, "Starfish wise, Starfish cries!" into the ocean and he will be protected. Finn meets Amanda there, where they escape a powerful wave summoned by Ursula. King Triton saves them, and Finn and Amanda drive off with Finn's mom. They find out she has been put under a spell by Maleficent, and escape. The spell is only recognized because she had green eyes and her eyes are normally blue. After the two have a fight, the Disney Dream is about to set sail. The five DHIs board, where Jack Sparrow attacks Finn during the "Sail-Away", who is saved by his best friend outside the Keepers, Dill, who disappears. The ship then stops at Disney's private island "Castaway Cay" for a day.
Things go from bad to worse when the hosts learn that the Overtakers are planning to cause an event so catastrophic that it could have an effect on not only the Disney worlds, but also the outside world. The group must search through the Disney Cruise Line for clues via a stolen journal, which leads them to various different exotic destinations.
Three years have passed, with the Keepers believing the worse is over. However, Tia Dalma releases Chernabog from his subterranian prison and facilitates his return to Disneyland. Despite the return of the most evil creature ever imagined by Walt himself, the Overtakers appear disorganized and attack each other, or the Keeeprs independantly. Adding to the confusion is a warning to the Keepers about "an enemy within". Facing the loss of someone dear to them, the Keepers are at loss of what to do next. Tia Dalma uses her voodoo magic to cause an earthquake at Disneyland. The only one who may be able to save the kingdom, would be none other than Disney's most beloved icon; however, he's been missing for years and time is running out.
Adding to the tension is an ominous vision Jess had: "It all starts and ends with lightning."
Pearson announced at the 2013 D23 Expo that he's working on a follow-up series, describing it as a cross between "Back to the Future" and "The DaVinci Code."  At an author event in Wellesley, MA he revealed that it will be a three book series and is titled "The Return." It is scheduled to release in Spring 2015.
- Disney after Dark (August 29, 2005)
- Disney at Dawn (August 26, 2008)
- Disney in Shadow (April 6, 2010)
- Power Play (April 5, 2011)
- Shell Game (April 3, 2012)
- Dark Passage (April 2, 2013)
- The Insider (April 1, 2014)
- Unforeseen (March 14, 2014)
Kingdom Keepers Online
On April 6, 2010 Disney released an online game entitled Kingdom Keepers Online. The game is collaborative, as all players control one of five selectable characters through 2,500 levels. Each level is procedurally generated and game play is action based.
Kingdom Keepers Insider
On March 24, 2013 Disney launched Kingdom Keepers Insider, a website and mobile app that enables readers to interact with Pearson and impact how the final book in the series will be written. Users can vote on elements such as potential plot points and may also submit ideas for character dialogue. The site features other elements such as chapter outlines posted by Pearson.
- Lawrence Finnegan "Finn" Whitman
- Charlene Turner
- Terrence Maybeck
- Isabella Angelo
- Dell Philby
- Amanda Lockhart
- Jessica Lockhart (Jez, Jezebel or Jess)
- "The Kingdom Keepers; by Ridley Pearson ages 10 and older". Washington Post (subscription required). December 11, 2005. Retrieved 9 April 2014.
- Maria, Moncaliano. "Ridley Pearson: Writing is an adventure". Sun Sentinel. Retrieved 9 April 2014.
- "Best Sellers April 24, 2011". NYT. Retrieved 9 April 2014.
- "The kid lit rock star behind 'Kingdom Keepers'". 9 News. Retrieved 9 April 2014.
- Bevil, Dewayne (April 1, 2011). "Disney details are key to 'Kingdom Keepers'". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved 9 April 2014.
- Ayers, Jeff (Nov, 2010). "A writer of many parts". The Writer 123 (11): 18. Retrieved 9 April 2014.
- "'Kingdom Keepers' by Ridley Pearson (review)". WTOP. Retrieved 9 April 2014.
- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g7rIP43LEmA. Missing or empty
- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yeigGlhB3wk. Missing or empty
- "The Kingdom Keepers (reviews)". School Library Journal, Horn Book Guide. Retrieved 9 April 2014.
- "The Kingdom Keepers (review)". Kirkus Reviews. Retrieved 9 April 2014.
- "Kingdom Keepers II: Disney at Dawn (review)". Booklist. Retrieved 9 April 2014.
- "Kingdom Keepers II (review)". Horn Book Guide. Retrieved 9 April 2014.
- "Kingdom Keepers III (review)". School Library Journal. Retrieved 9 April 2014.
- Brown-Worthington, Elizabeth. "Author Ridley Pearson: Prolific writer involving his readers for his last 'Kingdom Keepers' book". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved 9 April 2014.
- Werris, Wendy. "Coliloquy Adds Ridley Pearson, Rock Bottom Remainders E-Books". Publishers Weekly. Retrieved 9 April 2014.
- Henderson, Jane. "Ridley Pearson welcomes readers aboard". St Louis Post Dispatch. Retrieved 9 April 2014.
- Official website
- Official author website
- Video interview with Ridley Pearson about Kingdom Keepers 3
- Radio interview with Ridley Pearson