“Kingdom Keepers” author Ridley Pearson returns to Walt Disney World this week, and fans and readers will be able to meet him — without battling the Overtakers.
As has become tradition, Pearson will be at the Orlando resort to launch his national book tour for the latest installment in his “Kingdom Keepers” series and sequels. He will be signing copies of “The Return: Disney at Last” at two events at the resort, and readers can purchase the new young adult novel before its official U.S. publication date.
The “Kingdom Keepers” books take place inside Walt Disney World and Disneyland and aboard Disney Cruise Line ships. The final novel in the original, seven-book series was published in 2014, but in 2015, Pearson released the first book in a new young adult trilogy that would keep the beloved characters alive. In “The Return: Disney Lands” the five Kingdom Keepers had to solve a puzzle of the past or face a new force of evil. Then, last year, in “The Return: Legacy of Secrets,” Finn, Charlene, Maybeck, Willa, and Philby traveled back in time to experience the opening of Disneyland in 1955 and the start of the magic we know today.
Now, in “The Return: Disney at Last” Pearson sums up the plot this way: “The stakes are high–both for the past and the future. The finale of “The Return” series leaves the Kingdom Keepers with unimaginable choices to make.”
The book signings at Walt Disney World take place from 10 a.m. to noon March 24 at Mouse Gear inside Epcot and 10 a.m. to noon March 25 at Art of Disney at Disney Springs Marketplace. Park admission is required for the Mouse Gear event on Friday.
“The Return: Disney at Last” will be available to purchase at the Walt Disney World events for its list price of $17.99. Disney Vacation Club and Walt Disney World annual passholder discounts will be honored.
A wristband, which is required to meet Pearson, will be distributed to guests with each book purchase. Wristbands are available as soon as each store opens. For Mouse Gear, that’s 9 a.m. March 24, which also is opening time for Epcot. Art of Disney opens at 10 a.m. March 25. Each wristband allows the guest to get two books signed. Once the wristbands have been distributed, the line to meet Ridley Pearson will close.
My son is a longtime “Kingdom Keepers” fan, and we have attended many book signings over the years. Our tips: Don’t underestimate Pearson’s popularity. Get a wristband early if this is a must-do event for your group. Also, your time with Pearson is brief, so be prepared. If you’d like him to write something special in your book, jot it down ahead of time.
Even with the limited time he has to spend with each reader, Pearson strives to make each interaction memorable. At several events we attended, the author surprised fans by walking through the queue and greeting every person in line and even stopping to pose for photos before he started signing books. Afterward, he usually posts photos from each event on his website, which is a thrill for young readers.
Pearson also will be signing books at World of Disney at Disneyland on April 22. Details have not yet been announced.
The official U.S. release date for “The Return: Disney at Last!” is March 28, 2017.