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17
4.2 out of 5 stars
The Unofficial Guide Walt Disney World 2012 (Unofficial Guides)
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 28 September 2011
Make no mistake about it, visiting almost any theme park can be a stressful and daughting experience as much as it is fun. Hours spent standing in queues, huge amounts spent on basic meals and the inability to find your way around often only contribute to making this situation worse. This is where the 854 page, completely comprehensive and totally unofficial guide weighs in with almost all the information you would need to know for a visit to Walt Disney World. Detailing every resort, hotel, restaurant, ride, attraction, show, tour, area and much much more it doesn't get more comprehensive and beyond the suggestions in the front I struggled to find anything missing in this complete guide to the destination - buy this even before you book for the guide to purchasing tickets.

However, the great strength of this book, that it does contain everything is also it's greatest weakness and I can't help but feel the balance has tipped towards too much information. Weighing in at over 2.5kg you barely want to take it on holiday let alone lug it around the acres of Walt Disney World. While there are removable sections at the back with maps and touring plans I can't help but think that following a set plan for greatest efficiency takes some of the fun out of trying to work out or choose where to go next and may discourage you from trying something new or dismissing it based on the fact its too wet, scary or one of the many other categories each ride is rated on. I couldn't help but feel that asking an employee may make more sense than searching for the single page on lost children, the guide on how to deal with your children was a little basic and that the entire book was just encouraging you to visit the Touring Plans website.

It is obvious that an incredible amount of research has gone into researching this book and that the yearly editions must take a significant amount of time to update this tomb which includes maps but no pictures. Definitely get this before you go if you want to plan every detail but I couldn't help but think the information could have been displayed better, perhaps thinking about getting the touring plans app for your phone. As a travel book to conclude, this is probably the most complete guide I've ever seen.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
TOP 500 REVIEWERon 17 September 2011
This is THE book on Walt Disney World. If you're thinking of having a holiday there in the next 12 to 18 months, I want the most for your time and your money, this is an essential book for you.

For me, the best thing about this book are the Touring Plans, a step-by-step guide on how to efficiently see everything the Park with minimal wait. The book's authors claim that this can save you four hours waiting in line a day, and after using them, I have no doubt about it. Of course, everything else about Walt Disney World is also in here, from reviews of all restaurants and attractions to how long you should expect to take to get to each Park from your resort.

The style of the book is serious when necessary, but usually a lighter tone makes reading it enjoyable. New inclusions in this 2012 edition include: how far in advance to call Disney for reservations at every sit-down restaurant in and out of the parks; Universal Studios touring plans, including The Wizarding World of Harry Potter; and updated touring plans. Updates to this book can be found on the TouringPlans website, and more helpful planning advice can be heard on the WDW Today podcast. Basically, for the price it is, a must buy.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 19 October 2011
Going to Orlando and Disneyworld for the first time without a plan is a recipe for disaster. There is so much to do that you can easily come back totally exhausted so a book like the Unofficial Guide is pretty much essential. This most recent version, like the others before it, is full of excellent tips and tricks to make life a lot easier when visiting the Disney parks ranging from things as simple as which rides to go on first to how to stand the best chance of booking a charcter meal with a Disney princess. As other reviewers have said the book is huge and you certainly wouldn't want to be walking around Magic Kingdom constantly refering to it. It is most useful used for reference before you go so that you can formulate some sort of plan of attack!
As well as the Disney parks the book covers in detail the different Disney accomodation available as well as going into overkill about every single eating establishment, from the most expensive sit down restaurants to ice cream kiosks! Unsurprisingly the overall opinion is the food is much better and cheaper outside the parks than in them!
The frequently mentioned touring plans are useful and will save you time rather than randomly wandering about even if you do not follow them to the letter.
The main reason I have not rated the book 5 stars is it's over emphasis on food and the fact that it only really concentrates on the Disney bit of Florida. The Harry Potter attraction at Islands of Adventure is described in detail but other places, notably Seaworld, hardly get a mention. The same applies to none Disney accomodation and restaurants of which their are many that are both better and cheaper than the Disney equivalents.
If you are planning to go to Florida to "do Disney" and nothing else then this book would take some beating. However if you are planning to venture further afield and do Universal Studios, Kennedy Space Centre, International Drive etc etc then a better bet is probably "The Brit Guide to Orlando and Disneyworld" Brit Guide to Orlando 2012 (Brit Guides) which gives more overall coverage.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 11 October 2011
As the title suggests we are first timers to Disney taking the grandchildren. This book has answered all the pre-visit questions so far, like height access for rides, map of areas, eating etc. Well worth the money and it certainly will be coming with us on the plane. It also gives great descriptions of the Harry Potter experience, which was a bonus. Even the children (9 yrs/7yrs) are delving into it for information. Everything the reviews say it is and more.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 6 December 2011
I bought one of these a couple of years ago for our first trip to DisneyWorld (WDW) last year. I've just bought another for next year's trip.

We live in Australia, so a family trip to WDW is a major expense - around US$15K - so any way to maximise the enjoyment of the trip is worth its weight in golden Mickeys. This book was the best resource (and I looked at many) for planning and streamlining a WDW trip. Before we left we had a list of what we wanted to do - for our kids' age - and what we didn't. Because we heeded the advice of the book and traveled at low season we didn't need to go the whole hog with a touring plan, but knowing that ahead of time was THE big benefit.

Making the most of the trip was my reason for the initial purchase, but as I discovered, the excitement generated from the anticipation of planning the trip was almost worth more. The deep-dive into each and every ride and show takes you there.

Now that I'm back in the real world, selective viewing of the book also acts as a great prompter to our fantastic trip, and makes me want to go back sooner.

Team this up with the author's website: touringplans.com - which this book gives you a discount to subscribe to - and you have all the WDW info you'll need.

The one and only weeny negative thing I can say about the book was its US bias. There is some terminology I needed to look up (eg: Midway rides) and it also references US school and public holidays, which being an Aussie I also had to look up. I've had some emails with Len (one of the authors) on this, so I'll have to check if he made any of the changes I recommended.

If you are planning, or even thinking, of going to WDW, buy this book.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 8 December 2011
This is my 2nd copy of this book, the last being back in 2007 so I knew what the layout/content was. It's the best all round book on WDW I've found and I've read a few! Some of the ratings for rides etc are obviously just opinion so you have to maybe do your own research to see if your children are suited to various attractions but this book is an excellent tool for planning your Florida trip. I've got other titles in this series too. Highly recommended!
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on 16 January 2012
Let me start by saying this is the best guide to Disney and the surrounding area available. As a family we have been to Disney and stayed on site for the last 5 years and have used this book every time. Others mention the Brits Guide to Disney/Orlando but this is much more detailed.

So why the one star? Unfortunately I bought the kindle version for the iPad and it has no index and no page numbers. This is a book about 2 inches thick, so finding anything without an index is impossible. Buy this book but buy it in paper OR via the iTunes book store ( I tried their version and it DOES have a navigable index and page numbers). I really wish there was some way to get my money back.

UPDATE: Having reviewed details on the kindle store it turns out it is EXTREMELY easy to return an unwanted kindle purchase. I stand by my comments about the kindle version of this book but hats-off to Amazon for making returning a kindle purchase so easy.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 14 March 2012
This book is a must buy if you are travelling to Orlando to visit the theme parks. The book gives very detailed information on hotels, dining options and reviews and in depth descriptions and tips for all the major theme parks not just the Disney ones. The best part of the book is the touring advice and plans which is a must if you want to avoid long queues.
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on 22 June 2012
This guide is full of information, I have picked up some really good tips. Will be on our 5th trip at the end of this year and you can never have enough info on Disney. We will be there at Christmas so I thought extra advice would be good. I signed up for the online site which cost about $11 for a year and found this easier than using the book which is very large and the pages are very thin. You can view the wait times online or on your phone. If you use this in Orlando when in the parks which would be useful you will need a package for using your phone overseas so your arent left with a nasty surprise for roaming. There is alot of info on the individual restaurants, counter service and snack stalls which is really useful including menus, opening times and tips. I emailed them with a couple of questions and had a quick response. We have the Brit Guide from previous years which is also very good and covers Universal and other Orlando tourist attractions plus Busch Gdns Gatorland and Kennedy Space Centre.
You need to plan Disney trips so info to us is for a less stressful break. If this is your first trip I would read Brit Guide first for lots of general info and this guide for real indepth info and precision planning! We loved all the places we ate in and found service good. I was surprised how much criticism there was - the book also contains extracts of readers reviews. We found the food way better than any theme park in the UK.
There is alot of info on resorts too which is useful and it is great to be onsite we spend a week onsite then a couple of weeks offsite - 2 weeks just isnt long enough and we opt for 21 day pass. The book explains all ticket types which can be complex and loads of other info too!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 23 March 2012
Have been to WDW several times in the past but have always found you can read and read and still not know everything, this book is brilliant, so much information that is useful that other books don't even touch upon. The dining information was really useful and helped so much in planning my reservations. Obviously things in the book become outdated and its brilliant as they keep a list and readers up to date here [...].

If your going to Disney World or even just thinking about it, buy this book its so much better than others I have read.
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