on 19 December 2014
As ever, absolutely superb. If you are even only considering going to Walt Disney World this is money well spent. We are on our 4th copy and consider it an essential purchase for every trip we make.
My only complaint would be that whilst the paper copy is bulky and relatively heavy, it is simply the better format to have the book in for referencing content and reading it. This isn't a novel - it is laid out very carefully with lots of extra bits and pieces. The kindle version is ugly and difficult to navigate and loses much of the charm of the printed copy. I have to confess, I always read our previous paper copies virtually from cover to cover, even though much is the same from year to year. With the Kindle version however, I just haven't done that, I am treating it as more of a reference to have with me when in the parks. That's a shame for me personally, but nothing against the content. Having said that, it is easier to carry and in some ways is easier to find what you want.
on 8 November 2009
This book covers absolutely every aspect of a DISNEY Holiday in Florida. It does
only cover the Disney Parks, i.e. not Universal, Seaworld etc etc but the depth of information and quality of tips certainly makes this book excellent value for money. Particularly of use are the pre-planned Park visit Itineries. Using these actualy does save hours. The only thing I would say is that I bought the book too late. Yu need to buy this book at least two months prior to travelling to get the most out of the tme you are actually there but is equally useful in helping you plan and book your trip. So buy it before you book is my advice.
on 9 March 1999
I originally received this book in 1997 as a "Good luck in Disney with a 3 year old" gift. A friend of mine, who thought I was insane by taking my 3yo alone, gave it to me. She figured if I was going to go, hopefully this will help me come back alive. It has since become my bible for any information I need regarding "the World".
My partner and I just returned from a four day trip. Two adults and none of our 4 children (combo of step and bio kids) were on this trip. We are taking the kids in July and wanted to enjoy and explore WDW through the eyes of adults. I broke out with the old version of the book (and have since bought the new one) and started going over the "Touring Plan for Adults travelling without small children" whereever I could find one in the book. These worked wonderfully. We took full advantage of early entry days and were done with all the attractions we wanted to see without the little ones by 12 or 2pm depending on which park. The rest of the day was ours to enjoy. The longest we waited on line was at 6pm in Epcot for Test Track only because the line broke down 3 times during our wait.
I imagined many of the restaurants remained the same, so we reveiwed these together and made selections based on location, price, and the book's recommendation of the food. This worked like a charm for us. We were able to time dinner with the closing of parks and firework shows, parades, etc.
I am a planner. I love to know what I am doing each moment. With WDW you have to plan ahead. To just go on a "whim" and dawdle from attraction to attraction will certainly leave some unhappy members in your party as the book suggests. My partner does not like to plan. She hates it actually. I wrote up the plans with the option to followor not. Taken directly from the book almost verbatim. She agreed to follow it the first day with me and if not happy, we will burn the book for the return trip and figure another way to do this. She was so impressed with my notes from the book's tips, that she swears by this book now as well.
Many people at the parks were confused, disoriented, and pretty much grumpy (not just the dwarf). As for us, we were singing "Zip a dee doo da" all over the place, dancing and singing like two kids, and making up never before recorded versions of It's a Small World in our own made up gibberish...:o)
If you are going, get the book! From hotels inside and outside of WDW, to restaurants, to Orlando atractions, to what time to go on what ride, this book has it all. And I love that it is not "Disney biased". These are real impartial people, not Disney employees, giving facts, not all fluff.
on 15 December 2014
If there is anything you wanted to know about Walt Disney World you will find it here. The only criticism might be that it is simply too comprehensive at over 850 pages but it is very well structured so you can skip the bits that don't interest you. Bob Sehlinger has been producing these independent guides for years and as they are not expensive I tend to buy one each time I go to WDW (about every 4-5 years) as quite a bit changes. The Touring Plans are great - explaining the best way to visit each park to maximise what you go on in the time available by prioritising the rides that get busy. They always save hours of queuing though they do require a degree of regimentation which will not be acceptable to everyone. My only gripe is that the "Crowd Calendar" which is a very detailed on-line guide to the crowd level you can expect in each park each day is still charged extra though guide owners do get a discount.
on 8 January 2004
It is now 3 years since we went to WDW, Florida and our copy of The Unofficial Guide to WDW 2001 has been back there with friends several times. We're now planning a new visit ourselves and will be using the new 2004 guide to help us.
This book saved us so much time, tears and tantrums. By reading up beforehand we arrived in Florida with an idea of what we wanted to see in each park (including Universal Sudios, Islands of Adventure and Seaworld), which days to visit, which rides to rush for, which ones to leave until later, where to eat, when to wake up, where to park ...
We adapted the plans according to our personal wish-lists and made fantastic use of FastPasses to fill our Park days to the full. If we did have to queue for a while it was a chance to check up on alternatives in the Guide and often got us chatting with other families who were also clutching their copies!
Using the tips we felt very pleased with ourselves when we'd packed in 6 consecutive trips on the kids' favourite (Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin at MK) with a total of 15 minutes queueing!!
Thanks to the book we also took full advantage of the Switching Off/Baby Swap Scheme on rides like Men In Black Alien Attack at Universal Studios. Without this book we'd never have known about this scheme and a parent would have had to wait outside with our toddler and miss the ride - instead the whole family stayed together and our boys got to ride twice!
I wish this guide existed for all theme parks, it would save so much time. The first time we went to Alton Towers and Legoland in the UK we hadn't got a clue how to tackle the parks and went on the nearest rides first. By the time we found the popular rides, the queues were huge and we either queued for ages or went elsewhere ... by which time the kids got fed up with walking to and fro and not actually riding! The next time we went to these parks we were knew what to expect and could do things in a better order (and skip the less interesting bits).
On a (once in a lifetime? or certainly not very often) holiday at WDW you don't want to waste a day learning the ropes ... and with this book you don't have to.
The only (tiny) down-side is the size of the Guide. It is an inch thick and nearly 800 pages long - but we still wouldn't go without it if it was twice as big!
If I could I would rate this 6 stars out of 5!!
on 29 January 2001
Do you really want to queue for hours for a so-so ride that only lasts 60 seconds? Do you want to eat junk food when you could sit comfortably and have a great meal? Answer "NO" in both cases then buy this guide.
If you have ever been to WDW before, then things have changed. The withdrawl of FastPass and the introduction of FastPass+ in the last year has meant major changes to how one tours the parks. With only three FastPass+ slots available (at least, to start), even more planning is necessary to optimize your expensive holiday. Which FastPass+ attractions to get, and when to get them for, could make touring these crowded parks much easier.
This book gives a lot of information on FastPass+, with recommendations of what to get, how to get it, and when to get it for.
There have been lots of minor changes as well. For example, there are 11 new pages on Universal Studio's Diagon Alley with updated touring plans, and there are updated accommodation and restaurant reviews, together with The Disney Cruise Line's 2015 itineraries including Northern Europe.
If you get the Kindle version, not only do you avoid the weight necessarily associated with the paperback book, but you also get monthly updates, so your book will always be up to date (until the 2016 guide comes out). The layout in the Kindle version is at times a bit haphazard, but perfectly readable.
850 pages of information presented in a informative and interesting way, this is one part of an essential "must buy" for a WDW vacation (the others being a subscription to touringplans, and listening to the WDW Today podcast).
on 26 July 1999
We used this book to tour around Disney World with 4 adults and 2 children. It saved on waiting time at things that we wouldn't have enjoyed. Helped us make decisions as to what was suitable for the children and was a brilliant guide at getting us to places at the right times to avoid the rush. I have never used a guide like it before and I recommend it as a necessity for anyone going to Florida. Very easy to read and understand and with plenty of humour. If you only take one thing with you on holiday make sure that this book is it. It will save you a lot of trouble in the end.
on 28 August 2000
Just do it - buy it -read it and have a daily schedule, or just burn your cash now and don't bother going.
Don't go in high summer - long lines - 2 hours for 2 minute ride....... Don't go in summer - heat that will knock you over and kill the kids/oldies
Do go low season - better hotel room on Disney for same or LOWER cash...... Do go low season - no lines at all - ride 'till you puke......... Do go low season - warm weather - just perfect....Do go low season book direct with Disney hotel, try the best and work back, fax 3 days before travel and do a deal, al least 30% off their first offer. i.e Polynesian Lagoon View [best room] rack @ $280, expect in low season to get for $160 - don't ask = don't get. You must leave to last few days before travel though, same day if you dare... don't worry WDW has thousands of rooms, and the FRONT DESK supervisor, HAS to fill the hotel, so WILL offer you a excellent rate last minute - only deal with FRONT DESK of your chosen hotel, not the USA 800 central reservations or other - only Front Desk.
Low season some water parks may be closed and shorter park hours - but IT IS the ONLY time to go, if you want to enjoy WDW.
The book is ESSENTIAL, I said ESSENTIAL.
Do go independently, not in a package, this IS CHEAPER in low season ,allows you to change hotels, fly schedule, and with a 10 hour flight this is worth it.
on 5 March 1999
In my family, we're compulsive researchers. When we planned our first trip to WDW, I assumed full research responsibilities. I skimmed more than 40 guides, checked out websites and usenet, telephoned Disney information many times, and drove our travel agent crazy.
Very late in the game, after our reservations were already made, I discovered this guide by chance on the shelves of our local bookstore (it had been out of stock on my previous visits, and I hadn't heard anything about it, so I didn't worry). I picked up the book and realized, over the next half hour or so, that I could've skipped the 40 other books, most of the websites, and the travel agent. Information it took me forever to discover was clearly delineated. Information I never thought I'd need was there, too, with explanations of why I needed it. And, as an added bonus, it was fun to read and very funny; it avoided most of the usual pitfalls of travel writing and guidebook style.
This was the first source that authoritatively explained what early entry was and how it could effect our touring. This was the first source that provided actual statistics based on populations - most of the guidebooks' ratings were based solely on author preference, or, at best, the author and his family. This was the first source that was honest about things like food (it really is horrible to try to eat there, folks). And so on. This book made our vacation much easier and much, much, much more fun than it could have been otherwise.
Disney World is the ultimate high-stress, high-demand, high-reward vacation. The park is a wonderful, thrilling, truly magical place. But you spend lots of money to get there, you work very hard once you're in the park, and every member of the party has detailed fantasies and expectations - all different. It's a recipe for disaster for the unprepared. Many times in the park, as we saw parents and kids in screaming arguments, chidren throwing tantrums or sobbing miserably, couples elaborately not speaking to each other, and grim faces on 50% of the visitors, we wished everyone had read this book.