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The Unofficial Guide: The Color Companion to Walt Disney World (Unofficial Guides) Paperback – May 1, 2012

4.2 out of 5 stars 94 customer reviews

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"PassPorter's Walt Disney World" by Jennifer Marx and Dave Marx
Disney World can be daunting — simplify the process with this indispensable travel planner "PassPorter's Walt Disney World".

Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

The New York Times

More than 600 full-color images prove that a picture is worth 1,000 words

  • A unique visual guide that lets you see how wet you'll get on Splash Mountain, what the crowd conditions are at different times of day in Fantasyland, and how the parks are decked out for various holidays.
  • Pictures of all the attractions, making the book a perfect keepsake.
  • Reviews of all the Walt Disney World resorts, including pictures of the guest rooms, swimming pools, and resort themes.
  • Attractions and resorts rated based on surveys of thousands of Walt Disney World guests.
  • Proven, firsthand advice on how to plan and save money on your Walt Disney World vacation.
  • The Unofficial series is completely independent. If a restaurant serves lackluster food or an attraction is not worth the wait, we'll tell you.

Check out The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World, the bestselling independent guide to Walt Disney World and the perfect companion to this full-color guide.

Find news, deals, apps, expert advice,and travel forums at Frommers.com

About the Author

Bob Sehlinger is the Executive Publisher of Menasha Ridge Press and author of numerous Unofficial Guides, including the best-selling Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World.

Len Testa is the co-author of numerous Unofficial Guides. He is also Webmaster of touringplans.com and is the software developer for the touring-plans used in the Disney guides.


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Product Details

  • Series: Unofficial Guides (Book 285)
  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 2 edition (May 1, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1118143167
  • ISBN-13: 978-1118143162
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.7 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (94 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,032,214 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Bob Sehlinger, a Lowell Thomas Award winning journalist, is best known as the creator and producer of the Unofficial Guide Series published by Wiley Publishing Inc. and sold worldwide.

He is credited with being the first to apply research techniques from the fields of operations research and statistics to travel guides. Among other projects, he was able to develop mathematical models that could save theme park patrons more than three hours of standing in queue in a single day.

Sehlinger and his research team (pictured) have had numerous adventures and developed some unusual methodologies. Here's a sampling from research for The Unofficial Guide To Walt Disney World:

"We've slept in every Disney resort multiple times and more than 80 Orlando-area properties. Only once did we wake up covered in bugs. (It was a non-Disney hotel.)"

"We test hotel room soundproofing using a sophisticated digital sound meter and a copy of The Who's Greatest Hits."

"The first time we did Orlando spa reviews, one of our researchers had an eyebrow burned off during a waxing that went horribly awry."

"We once logged more than 700 miles in one week on buses to test Disney's transportation system, and never left Disney property. The bus drivers got so used to us being on board that one forgot we were there and took us back to the bus garage when his shift ended."

"We test pillow fluffiness using a measurement process we invented. We intended to use a fake human head as part of the test, but worried about getting it through airport security. We settled on a gallon jug of water, which is about the same size and weight as an average adult's noggin."

"When we test counter-service restaurants, we order at least one of everything on the menu, and break up in to small teams to sample each thing. We've tried every counter-service food item in every American Disney theme park."

"Our crowd prediction models take in to account everything from the day of week and time of year, to the vacation schedules of the fifty largest school districts east of the Mississippi, to weather phenomena including temperature, rainfall and humidity."

Bob Sehlinger is founder and co-owner of Keen Communications, a book publishing company that includes Menasha Ridge Press in Birmingham, Alabama; Clerisy Press in Cincinatti, Ohio; and Wilderness Press in Berkeley, California. The author of twenty-seven books, Sehlinger is a past president of the Publishers Association of the South, and has served at the invitation of the U.S. State Department and the U.S. Information Service on educational missions for publishers in Hungary, Romania, and Russia.

Before becoming involved in writing and publishing, Sehlinger was CEO of SAGE, inc., a wilderness arts teaching and expeditional company that produced courses in kayaking, rock climbing, survival, and backpacking (among others) for high schools and universities in a 7-state area. During this period Sehlinger served as president of the Eastern Professional River Outfitters Association. Sehlinger makes his home in Birmingham, Alabama where he continues to be an avid river runner and mountain biker.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I'm going to be perfectly clear here: I love this guidebook. It's certainly informative and gives you a great overview of the Resort and the color photos are beautiful, humorous, and really add to the book. It's easy to read and provides the same quality of the regular Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World, but without being 800 pages long. Most of all, I love the humor that you find in many of the sections. From the humorous captions to pictures, to the satirical take on the Fantasyland expansion, to the fake hotel listings (which, yes, I understand could be somewhat confusing for some, but personally I thought they were great), the humor gives the guide a satirical edge that doesn't overpower the content, but makes the guide enjoyable to read, not just to gather information from. It's satirical but not cynical, and informative but not dry.

However, it is not a fully comprehensive guidebook. It wasn't meant to be; it's a companion to the regular Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World. I knew that when I bought the book (I already owned the regular Unofficial Guide), and I brought both Guides with me on my recent trip to Walt Disney World. While the Color Companion was great to carry around in the parks and use for reference, the regular Guide was often referred to throughout the trip. For example, when we wanted to book a behind-the-scenes tour, or when I wanted to know more about Downtown Disney shopping. The regular Guide is also much more detailed when it comes to planning factors before you leave (for instance, what kind of tickets to purchase). If you know going in that the Color Companion is going to be helpful and informative but not comprehensive, then I don't think you'll be disappointed.
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Format: Paperback
I always had high praise for the Unofficial Guide books written by Bob Sehlinger regarding Disneyland and Walt Disney World. Look at the title of this book. "The Unofficial Guide: The Color 'Companion' to Walt Disney World." Companion, meaning a compliment to the Unofficial Guide - color photos to accompany the guide book. If you want to beat the long lines, critical analysis, comprehensive planning for lodging and dining, and tour plans that work, you must get a hold of the most recent copy of "The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World" by Bob Sehlinger and Len Testa. This is the only book you will need. Do not even consider other Walt Disney World guide books! But, this Color Companion is great if you enjoy a nice picture book with hundreds of color photos helping you relive the Walt Disney World experience. A nice souvenir. It gives some helpful tips and advice, but it won't help you much on the planning. Get the big book for the trip planing and use this book as it was meant to be -- a companion.

The Unofficial Guide Walt Disney World 2010 (Unofficial Guides)
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Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
If you are planning a trip to Walt Disney World (WDW to its devotees, of whom I am one), the premier guide to WDW's wonders and delights is THE UNOFFICIAL GUIDE TO WALT DISNEY WORLD, an 800+ page behemoth that will give you the straight dope on everything--good, bad, and indifferent. As much as I love and revere that 800+ page fount of information, one thing I have always wished for is color photos. Half the fun of reading the tour guides looking over the color pictures and planning, or remembering, the good times to come. The UNOFFICIAL GUIDE: THE COLOR COMPANION TO WALT DISNEY WORLD aims to rectify that deficiency, in a volume that is more manageable in size. And for the most part, they succeed.

In order to keep the book to a smaller size and include a mess o' pictures, much information had to be left out. This book lacks the detailed information that the UNOFFICIAL GUIDE provides. But that's to be expected, after all the reader has to expect to trade out some things for color photos and portability. There's still plenty of good information in this book.

What I didn't care for was the quality of the photos. They just weren't as "alive" as the photos in Birnbaum's (which does the Official Guide for WDW). Also I didn't so much care for the joke pages, which could confuse some people with no prior WDW experience. If you are going to WDW and want to buy a few guide books, here are my top favorites (in order):

1) THE UNOFFICIAL GUIDE TO WALT DISNEY WORLD (for a no-holds barred view)
2) BIRNBAUM'S WALT DISNEY WORLD (for the photos)
3) PASSPORTER'S WALT DISNEY WORLD (for your memories)

Have a magical visit!
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Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I have mixed feelings about this book. I was really excited to get it as I am currently planning a trip to Walt Disney World (WDW) in the fall, but it wasn't quite what I was looking for to plan my vacation. I love that it is in color and I felt like some of the pictures were helpful, but most of the pictures try to capture the feel of the location rather than what the actual location looks like.

What I LIKED about this book:
* Lots and lots of pictures - these are especially helpful for those who don't know what any of the park looks like. I go to Disneyland quite often so the pictures of the Magic Kingdom were not really helpful for me, but I loved the pictures at the Animal Kingdom & Epcot as I haven't seen these two areas of the park before.
* Very motivating and exciting to read this book. If you are having a difficult time deciding if you want to go to WDW, this book will help push you over the edge into - YES! I want to go now! If you have already decided to go, I don't think that this book is that helpful.
* Pretty well-organized as far as layout is concerned. I found the headers by each ride useful. These headers include what the ride is, how big of a ride it is, when the best times to go are to get the shortest line, author's rating, special comments (scary for younger kids, better at night, etc.), length of ride, average wait time loading speed and a 1 - 5 star rating per age group. I think this area would be super helpful if you are traveling with a group of varied ages or if you have children with you.
* I felt that the sections on the Animal Kingdom & the Disney Hollywood Studios were excellent. They were upbeat, funny, and made me excited to visit those areas of the park.
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