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The Unofficial Guide Walt Disney World 2011 (Unofficial Guides) Paperback – September 7, 2010


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Product Details

  • Series: Unofficial Guides (Book 262)
  • Paperback: 864 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 6 edition (September 7, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 047061529X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0470615294
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.2 x 1.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (92 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #495,386 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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.

Top Ten Unofficial Tips for the Wizarding World of Harry Potter
Amazon-exclusive content from author Bob Sehlinger

1. To avoid the worst of the crowds, either be at the turnstiles 45 minutes before park opening or visit the Wizarding World after 8 p.m. If the park closes at 8 pm or earlier, visit the Wizarding World one hour before the park closes.

2. See Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey first. If you haven’t seen it before, use the regular queue that includes a tour of Hogwarts Castle.

3. If you want to repeat the ride portion of Forbidden Journey, use the singles line – you’ll be able to ride in 20 minutes or less.

4. One of the coolest things in Wizarding World is the Wand Selection demonstration at Ollivander’s Wand Shop in Hogsmeade Village. See it immediately after experiencing Forbidden Journey.

5. On busy days, there are lines for everything including shops, the restaurant, the pub, and even the Butterbeer vendor carts. Try to complete your shopping early in the morning or return to shop in the two hours before park closing.

6. To buy Butterbeer without a long wait go to the rear patio entrance to the Hogs Head Pub.

7. Butterbeeer comes in both a regular and frozen version. Most visitors prefer the frozen version.

8. Filch’s Emporium of Confiscated Goods, which also doubles as the exit for the Forbidden Journey attraction is one shop you can visit without waiting in line, though you’ll have to buck the tide of exiting riders.

9. Note that on busy days, if you exit the Wizarding World, you cannot return except by joining the end of the line of those waiting to enter.

10. If Florida schools are back in session, try to visit on a weekday. And be sure to check out Wizarding World in the evening when the lighting gives the park a totally different and magical look.

From the Back Cover

Five Great Features and Benefits offered ONLY by The Unofficial Guide:
  • Exclusively patented, field-tested touring plans that save as much as four hours of standing in line in a single day

  • Proven firsthand advice on how to plan and save money on your Walt Disney World vacation

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

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

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


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.

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Customer Reviews

I highly recommend this book for anyone planning a trip to Walt Disney World.
Snuser2002
First timers can benefit so much from just reading this book and learning HOW things work even if they decide to take a more relaxed approach to touring.
Nicole
The resources that the authors had to employ to compile the information contained in this book is very impressive.
Amber L. Harrell

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

58 of 58 people found the following review helpful By WryGuy2 TOP 500 REVIEWER on November 4, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
My family and I are planning to go to Walt Disney World in a couple of months, so I ordered the 2011 Version of the Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World (WDW). I first went to WDW in the late 90's, and as I wanted to make sure I enjoyed everything there was to enjoy, I bought three or four books on WDW and the surrounding area. I found that the Unofficial Guide had pretty much everything the other books had, and more, so for my next trip in 2004, I only bought the Unofficial Guide.

After receiving the 2011 version and heavily perusing it, I find that, if anything, it's even better than the previous versions. If nothing else, its a LOT larger than the first one I bought in the 90's. It gives ratings and reviews of hotels and dining establishments in the area (both on and off Disney World), covers all of the parks and attractions on Disney in tremendous detail, and the parks and attractions off of Disney in lesser detail (primarily Universal Studios and Seaworld). Additionally, the book provides information on how Disney prices their tickets, how to save money on meals, when to visit Disney, and of course, at the end of the book, their recommended touring plans for each park in order to see as much of the parks as possible in the least amount of time.

The touring plans themselves are almost worth the price of the books. If you've never been to WDW, the parks are HUGE ... and if you just start wandering around and getting on whichever attraction catches your eye, you're going to be spending a lot more time in lines (and less time enjoying the attractions) than you should. Not that there is necessarily anything wrong with just going where you want to, when you want to, but you could spend literally hours more waiting in lines than you need to.
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By jbsand on September 5, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is the best guide book to Walt Disney World, Orlando, FL that I have found.
This is the second edition I purchased.
Has the most information in one book I can find.
Tells the good and the bad.
Can be complex. They give you schedules and plans to see the most, which may seem like a military drill, but you can read these guides and use the pieces you like.
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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Karen Wilger on January 13, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have a 2005 Unofficial Guide and loved it. It contained a lot more information than this newer guide. You now have to go on-line and become a member (for a discounted price of $8) to get the really important information, such as what days to visit certain parks! The old guides had charts in them and I knew how many people typically visit each park, each day. This guide is now a hotel guide with a lot of "he said, she said" for every hotel/restaurant. For every opinion, there is another opinion telling you the opposite. I actually enjoy the touring plans, but there are only a few in this book. I could have gotten all the updated information online by becoming a member and not purchasing this book. If every page did not tell you to go to touringplans.com then it was every other page! I wish I had saved the $18+ and just subscribed. I thought this would contain new and exciting information. The only new and exciting information was about Universal Studios/IOA...and it made me wish for 4 more days to explore that obviously technologically superior park. (I'll wait until my youngest can ride all the rides; it appears a 7 year old may be waiting around a lot for their older siblings to ride really exciting rides...even Harry Potter has a height requirement we couldn't meet.)

If you have never been to WDW or need lodging information, then by all means, get this book. It is perfect for that and has every bit of information about every possible hotel/campsite, etc., on and on. If you are like me and know where you're staying and have read a previous issue of this book, then just join the unnofficial website, touringplans.com. to get updated information.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By L. Rollins on September 7, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have purchased the Unofficial Guide to WDW for five years. Each edition is updated with the newest information, and has so many tips for saving time and money that it is well worth reading more than once. The touring plans included in the back of the book save so much time that we usually see everything we want, and we get an afternoon break (nap and/or pool time) as well. This book is the essential trip-planning tool. I won't go back to WDW without it!
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Aisle Seat on September 21, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It has been a number of years since I purchased my last edition of this book and, wow, has it grown. The 2011 version is 854 pages of detail only a Disney fan like myself could love. I am sure some people will say it is far too detailed, as almost every question or issue you could have is answered by the authors who have truly examined their subject from every angle. For example, they took the time to use decible meters in the hotel rooms to report on which rooms are the quietest. Too much detail? Not for me. Rather, a true credit to the authors.
If there was a disappointment it was in the attempt to include information about Universal Studios and Sea World, which I thought might be as thorough as the Disney information, but, as you might expect in a book devoted to Disney, is really given short shrift. I'm not sure why the authors felt a need to go beyond Disney in the first place as they already offer a separate book for non-Disney Orlando attractions.
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