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Birnbaum's Walt Disney World 2008 (Birnbaum's Walt Disney World) Paperback – 1 Oct 2007

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Product details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Disney Publishing Worldwide; Revised edition edition (1 Oct 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1423103920
  • ISBN-13: 978-1423103929
  • Product Dimensions: 1.3 x 17.8 x 26 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,593,742 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By caty on 9 May 2008
Format: Paperback
This book is certainly useful when planning your WDW vacation.
It contains detailed information about the parks, water parks and Downtown Disney as well as recreational facilities on Disney property. It provides information on Disney accommodations and restaurants as well as lots of photos, which the unofficial guides lack.

The thing which makes this book fall short of essential however, is the lack of critique. The descriptions of the resorts, restaurants and parks themselves lack any element of comment or criticism and this makes the book feel like a costly extension to your holiday brochure.

If it's your first visit to Disney, the photos are worth it in themselves - just to get you in the mood for your vacation. Otherwise, there are plenty of better WDW holiday planning guides on the market!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 36 reviews
63 of 65 people found the following review helpful
Covers the basics, outstanding photos 18 Sep 2007
By Joseph Boone - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Birnbaum's markets itself as the official guide to Walt Disney World and the book is so polished and professional that you could almost believe that the Disney people had a hand in preparing it. They also have the distinction of being one of a very few guides with extensive color photographs of the Disney World parks and hotels. The photos are uniformly excellent and do a great job of offering a window into the look and feel of the parks. Thera are also maps and graphics that are top notch. This certainly brightens up the book and for those who have never been to Disney World, it will help you gain a better sense of what the area looks like. The writing is very light in tone, it's easy to read and comprehend. When it comes to production values, this book is a beauty from cover to cover.

The downside of all the photos is that they leave less room for information such as in-depth coverage of hotels, restaurants, and entertainment outside of the parks. This is doubly true because Birnbaum's starts off with the fewest pages of any major guide to the Orlando area. While the authors have wisely added almost 50 pages to this year's effort, the largest guidebook to the area still has more than three times as many pages, and even the average size guides are nearly double the size. And those books are not filled with photos, they are packed with hard information and useful advice. In effect, Birnbaum's has sacrificed the detailed coverage to give you the beautiful photos and graphics.

In certain respects, this book is less well suited as a tool for in depth planning as it is a means to get excited about your trip. It is useful to the extent that coverage is provided for all the attractions and hotels. But it is of limited use since each entry is carefully phrased to emphasize the positive while doing almost nothing to offer honest comparisons, tell you where the best values are and which places are a bit overpriced, or tell you where you would really be best off spending your time. The authors certainly don't need to resort to snarky negativity, but a basic acknowledgement that some restaurants, hotels, and attractions are lacking in some way would add greatly to their credibility when praising the rest.

The Birnbaum's guide certainly has many fans, but before you buy, you should carefully consider what it is you're looking for. If your primary objective is to get a sneak peak of what Walt Disney World looks like and get a basic description of the area then this is an easy purchase. It will be a quick read and you'll have a decent idea of what to expect when you visit. If you have children, this would also be an excellent book for them to explore.

If you're more of a planner and want a lot of information, if you're curious about anything outside of the Disney Resort area, or if you want more general advice on how to approach a trip to Orlando then this book will not help you nearly as well as almost any other guidebook on the market. The acknowledged king of the detailed guides is The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World 2008 (Unofficial Guides). You'll find that Fodor's Walt Disney World® 2007: with Universal Orlando and SeaWorld (Fodor's Gold Guides) and Frommer's Walt Disney World & Orlando 2008 (Frommer's Complete) are also solid efforts even if they are not as detailed as the Unoffical Guide. Depending on what you're looking for, it may well make sense to buy more than one guide.

A trip to the Orlando area is usually very expensive and, especially if you have children, problems and disappointments can be somewhat traumatic. Don't stint on the advance planning as it can greatly enhance the experience once you arrive. Good luck and have a great time visiting Walt Disney World!

UPDATE: When I first posted this review, I commented that the book is so well produced that you could easily believe that the Disney folks had a hand in producing it. I meant that as a compliment but it turns out that Disney does indeed produce the book. I've since noticed that this is published by Disney Editions, a Disney owned operation. So rather than a third party guide, this is literally written and published by the owners of Disney World. Having said this, it doesn't mean that the information is inaccurate or that the book has no merit. But it does explain the lack of any critical descriptions of any kind and I do think that readers should be aware of the source. Maybe I'm the last one to realize the connection and it will be no surprise to most... I just thought I should add the information to my review and let people judge for themselves.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
WDW trip essential 25 Feb 2008
By D. Eslinger - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I purchased this book in preparation for our first trip to WDW in Orlando. I should have purchased it much earlier. It might have saved me $ on the trip arrangements, but it DEFINITELY would have saved me time at the different WDW parks. The book is very informative on all the rides, where to find the characters, what each restaurant offers and the like. It is reasonably well organized and an easy read with extra tips about events in each park. Well worth the investment, especially if purchased at the beginning of the planning stages.
15 of 19 people found the following review helpful
Not updated for 2008 20 Sep 2007
By Rosemarie Hunter - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
We are going to Disney in January , so I purchased this book because I wanted to see the changes for 2008. I was surprised, and quite dismayed, to see that they had nothing about updated ticket pricing or the changes to the dining plan. This book was not worth the money to me. I expected that since they are the official guide to Disney, they would carry this information. I am going to return this book and just use my 2007 edtion!
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
I Use Birnbaum's For Every WDW Trip 18 Feb 2008
By born too late - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
As some reviewers have said, this is not a guide for things to do in Orlando. There is some information, but the book is primarily about Disney World, and it doesn't claim to be anything else. This is also not a book for those who want nitty gritty details, the good and the bad, spelled out for them. But if what you want is a guide to getting the most enjoyment out of your trip to Disney World, a book that adds to your anticipation and excitement of the trip, then this is the best book out there. It will give you tips for all the "must see" attractions (because you really can't see everything in one trip) and let you familiarize yourself with attractions, maps, hotels and dining. And it evokes the feel of Disney World better than any other guide currently on the market.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
A Must Have! 12 April 2008
By Margaret M. Dedman - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Disney is a complex labyrinth! Without the proper tools, including preparation, it can be a frustrating experience. Birnbaum's guide provides helpful details about each park - from rides to dining to accomodations, it is extremely informative. Another key point is that it includes information regarding rides that have height requirements and/or may be more frightening to children than others. The "Birnbaum's Best" ratings were on target as far as we were concerned. The maps were very useful as were the tips regarding when to arrive at the parks. Children tend to revel in Disney World regardless of crowds, etc. but as an adult, stress levels can be high. Birnbaum's Guide is truly valuable in terms of simplifying the navigation of Disney World and therefore, reducing the potential stress of what should be a wonderful experience for the whole family.
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