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The Unofficial Guide Walt Disney World 2010 (Unofficial Guides) Paperback – August 31, 2009

4.6 out of 5 stars 386 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

Amazon.com Review

Test Your Disney Smarts!
Amazon-exclusive quiz from author Bob Sehlinger

1. Which restaurant has the best view at Walt Disney World? A. LakeView Restaurant, B. The California Grill, C. Cindarella’s Royal Table

2. Afternoon milkshakes for two kids will cost you: A. $5.72, B. $8.38, C. $12.59

3. Disney Kids’ Meals are available for children of what ages? A. 3-9, B. 3-11, C. Under 18

4. When is the best time to take the kids on Dumbo the Flying Elephant? A. Before 10 a.m. or after 9 p.m., B. Immediately following lunch, C. At exactly 3:15 p.m.

5. Which Disney theme park is five times the size as the Magic Kingdom? A. Disney’s Hollywood Studios, B. Epcot Center, C. Animal Kingdom

6. The best time to visit Walt Disney World is: A. On your child’s birthday, B. The day of your child’s final exam in math class, C. During the period between Christmas Day and New Year’s Day

Answers: 1)B, 2)B, 3)A, 4)A, 5)C, 6)A

Five Unofficial Ways to Prepare For Your Trip to Walt Disney World
Amazon-exclusive content from author Bob Sehlinger

1. Select the time of year for your visit: Walt Disney World is busiest Christmas Day through New Year’s Day. Thanksgiving weekend, the week of Washington’s birthday, the first full week of November, spring break for colleges, and the two weeks around Easter are also times when visitation can peak at 92,000 visitors in a single day. The park is far less crowded during the off season, but be advised that the parks often open late and close early during that time. You can find detailed charts and info on the best times to visit in The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World.

2. Shape up: Visiting Disney World requires levels of industry and stamina more often associated with running marathons. As you plan your time at Disney World, consider your physical limitations. It’s exhausting to rise at dawn and run around a theme park for 8 to 12 hours day after day. Every Disney World vacation itinerary should include days when you don’t go to a theme park and days when you sleep in and take the morning off. Plan these to follow unusually long and arduous days.

3. Formulate your park plan: First-time visitors should see Epcot first; you’ll be able to enjoy it without having been preconditioned to think of Disney entertainment as solely fantasy or adventure. See Animal Kingdom second. Like Epcot, it’s educational, but its live animals provide a change of pace. Next, see Disney’s Hollywood Studios, which helps transition from the educational Epcot and Animal Kingdom to the fanciful Magic Kingdom. Also, because DHS is smaller, you won’t walk as much or stay as long. Save the Magic Kingdom for last; it’s the park that epitomizes Disney World for most visitors.

4. Create your touring plan: Which rides and attractions appeal most to you? What are you willing to forgo? Planning your day in advance can save you up to four hours of waiting time in line. We have developed a hierarchy of categories that will help you evaluate each ride and plan the best way to enjoy them all. For example, SUPER-HEADLINERS are the best attractions the theme park has to offer – and they usually have the longest lines. MINOR ATTRACTIONS are midway-type rides, small “dark” rides (cars on a track, zigzagging through the dark) and walk-through attractions—which can be a lot of fun, without the long wait. Remember that bigger and more elaborate doesn’t always mean better. See examples of touring plans (and create your own) in The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World.

5. Getting hungry?: There are three lessons to learn before you dine in the parks. One: Theme-park restaurants rush their customers in order to make room for the next group of diners. If you want to linger over your expensive meal, don’t order your entire dinner at once. Order drinks. Study the menu while you sip, then order appetizers. Tell the waiter you need more time to decide among entrees. Order your main course only after appetizers have been served. Dawdle over dessert. Two: If you’re dining in a theme park and cost is an issue, make lunch your main meal. Entrees are similar to those on the dinner menu, but prices are significantly lower. Three: Disney adds a surcharge of $4 per adult and $2 per child to certain popular restaurants during weeks of peak attendance, including Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas, and in 2009 every day from Memorial Day through July 4.

From the Back Cover

"Best Travel Series of the Year"

"A Tourist's Best Friend!"
Chicago Sun-Times

The New York Times

Five Great Features and Benefits offered ONLY by The Unofficial Guide:

1 Exclusively patented, field-tested touring plans that save as much as four hours of standing in line in a single day

2 New color section with practical information for your trip

3 More than 200 hotels rated and ranked for quality and value, including the top non-Disney hotels for families

4 A complete Dining Guide with ratings and reviews of all Walt Disney World restaurants, plus extensive alternatives for dining deals outside the World

5 Attractions rated and ranked for each age group; extensive, objective, head-to-head comparisons of the Disney and Universal theme parks


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Product Details

  • Series: Unofficial Guides (Book 227)
  • Paperback: 880 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 5 edition (August 31, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0470460261
  • ISBN-13: 978-0470460269
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 1.7 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (386 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #966,361 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
For some families a trip to Walt Disney World is an annual ritual, for others it is a one-time rite of passage. For all who go, it is a big-ticket vacation destination with seemingly limitless choices of lodging, attractions, dining, and entertainment. This encyclopedic guide provides you with all the information you need to make the most of your time and money. Their recommendations are based on their own staff's experience as well as surveys of Disney vacationers and Unofficial Guide readers.
I wish I could give more than five stars to the vacation planning chapters of the book. Monthly attendance data plus subjective pros and cons of visiting during each season helped us decide when to go; detailed reviews of hotels within and outside the "World" helped us decide where to stay; an outline of all the available ticketing options helped us determine what sort of park admission to buy. All in all we saved hundreds of dollars - and planned a more suitable vacation for our family - as compared to following the advice of friends and co-workers.
The chapters pertaining to each park rate four to five stars. Each ride, show, or attraction is described in detail and given a star rating for each of several age groups. Careful attention is paid to factors affecting how long you will wait in line. The author provides touring plans designed to get you to as many of the "best" attractions as possible with the least amount of waiting in line; 1-day and 2-day touring plans for families with and without young children are provided for the Magic Kingdom. Occasionally the reviews are a bit idiosyncratic but on the whole they let you know what not to miss - and what to pass up with no regrets. The guide also includes chapters on Universal Orlando and Sea World.
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If you are going to Walt Disney Word and looking for the book to cut through the publicity machine that Disney is, you will want this book. Its tone, can be skeptical (some say cynical), and not always the Disney "cheerleading" guide that some purists insist only be written about Disney properties. Please know that there are no pretty pictures of the Disney parks in this book. It is a "battle" guide that does not pull punches. The author(s) are traffic gurus and are looking to get you through the park, not standing in lines.
If you are an "easy going", "take things as they come" type of person, then this book is not going to be your cup of tea. If you are looking to get the most from your dollar by avoiding lines, bad food, and brutally honest opinions, then this book will do you well.
If you have kids, this will show you the way to limit stress, and keep everyone happy with planning tips and schedules appropriate to age groups and interests. It is okay to get the Birnbaum book for the kids. Let them see the pictures and read the descriptions of the park, but if you want to be serious about minimizing the stresses of a family vacation, use this book.
I have used editions of this book for the last 10 years, and I will always by a copy of this book when planning my future vacations. I have saved time and money, and always find this book to improve the quality of my trip. My three tips for YOU to make your WDW vacation the best; 1. Stay onsite and use the Disney transportation system; 2. Take an afternoon break from the parks and get off your feet; 3. Use Fast Pass - Make Fast Pass your friend...
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Format: Paperback
This is a great book, we used it for our two recent trips to Disney and most of what was written turned out to be true. Now we are planning another trip in 2000 with our 1 year old and friends and their kids, and we're sending them a copy of this book (they've never been). We've been reading the section about traveling with kids and know now already which attractions to avoid and which ones to head to; based on honest advice that you won't find in any "official" guide.
However, you do have to keep in mind that this is someone's opinion and not necessarily fact (but it is the opinion of someone who has traveled to Disney World far more times than the average American). They print actual reader comments, usually pitting contrasting comments side by side, as a reminder that their advice is just that, advice and not fact. We went to a few attractions despite the written reviews, i.e. Alien Encounter, and found the reviews to be accurate insofar as the experience, however, our opinion of how good or not-so-good the attraction was differed from what was written.
A good reference, highly recommended.
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Format: Paperback
We took our boys to Disney World in 1996 (they were 6 & 4 yrs). I used this guide to pick the quietest time to go. My husband wanted to stay inside the park, and because of $$ we stayed 3 nights outside at a hotel ($45/2rms/kitchenette/ Nintendo/kids eat free!),and 2 days inside ($114/1rm/no cable or vcr,only Disney Channel/$$greasy food!).The first day at the park, my husband refused to follow the book, and the kids were tired and stressed (as were we!). That night he agreed to finally read the book, and the vacation improved DRAMATICALLY! We skipped many rides, snuck in snacks, shared ice cream, and just RELAXED! We are now planning our 2nd trip for next year. We will NOT waste our money staying inside the park again, and will DEFINATELY stay in a 2rm suite again(a MUST with young kids). We are also planning to end the trip with a couple of nights at the beach to unwind before we head home (as recommended by our cousins,yearly Disney vacationers)! For those with young kids,REMEMBER...Don't try to do it all ...plan for the minimum you want to do/see, all the rest will be a bonus. You don't need to use the book faithfully, or even agree with all that is inside, but do heed the warnings/info and use your best judgement. I'll be buying a new copy, perhaps the kids version. I've lost count of the # of skeptics I've refered this book to who were amazed at the usefull info that is NOT included in other books. Just try it.
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