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The Unofficial Guide Walt Disney World 2012 (Unofficial Guides) Paperback – September 6, 2011

111 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

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

"Indispensable"
The New York Times

Six 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

  • Detailed tips and secrets on Universal's The Wizarding World of Harry Potter from butterbeer to broomsticks

  • 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

  • The Unofficial series is completely independent. If a restaurant serves lackluster food or an attraction isn't worth the wait, we'll tell you

Check out The Unofficial Guide: The Color Companion to Walt Disney World, filled with 560 full-color photos: It's the perfect companion to this guide.

  • The latest scoop on Universal's The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

  • How to cut your waits in line by 4 hours a day

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Product Details

  • Series: Unofficial Guides (Book 283)
  • Paperback: 864 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 7 edition (September 6, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 111801233X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1118012338
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 1.7 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (111 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #342,035 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

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

73 of 76 people found the following review helpful By Kendra on September 21, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I've bought several editions of this book over the years and it's really the best guidebook for Disney that there is. It's huge and covers everything you could imagine wanting to know. It's also witty and interesting and filled with tidbits of information that you didn't even think you needed to know.

I had a 2010 edition and just wanted to check out some changes, so I downloaded the less-expensive Kindle edition for 2012. When I went to search for the specific information, I found the book had not been indexed. That means it's not searchable. For a book this size and for this type of content, it makes it practically unusable.

If you want a read through and plan to make a lot of notes, I suppose the kindle edition could be a good choice. But, if at this point, you wanted to look for specific information, then I don't think it's a good choice at all on the Kindle. The hardcopy would be a better choice. I realize there's a table of contents that was partially searchable but even the TOC was not entirely functional. I did NOT check the index prior to returning the kindle edition but that wouldn't have necessarily filled my needs either since it's easier to search in the Kindle than it is to use the index (imo).

I still recommend this book, just not the Kindle edition.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Wulfstan TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 27, 2011
Format: Paperback
Ok, if you are going to go to Walt DisneyWorld, aka Epcot, aka The Magic Kingdom, etc, this book is simply a must-get. No questions asked, no debate. Get this book. Period.

It is beyond exhaustively comprehensive. We are talking 800+ pages and quite thick and heavy. Ok, maybe you might just take out the quick guides or print off a page or two when actually at the parks. Being rather bulky is my only complaint. But it has to be, so...

The authors say that following the plans in this guide will save you about 4 hours in line. We used the 2011 Unofficial guide during our 2011 visit, and even tho we went off on our own after the midday part (which the book actually OKs), it was a HUGE timesaver. Not to mention- one part of our party went off without the guide and got lost & confused and re-joined us admitting they had just wasted about 2 hours. So, even with our "let us stick with the tour plan until we get the must-see rides done, then go off on our own" it saved 2 hours just on one day.

The guides rates & guides you to the best deals on the attractions, the food, the hotels, transportation, ticketing and just about everything.

Now, we didn't hit any of the non-Disney parks, so I can't say with any authority whether the Unoffical guide works at those as well. But I can tell you that those parks are also covered in detail, with scads of hints & tips.

Now, if you are not going to go to WDW, then this book might just talk you into going. Or not.

In any case- get this book!

Len was kind enough to send me a review copy of the 2012 edition.
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29 of 32 people found the following review helpful By RachelNinja on September 6, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am a Disney World fanatic, and I've borrowed older versions of the Unofficial Guide from the library many times. I finally decided to buy the 2012 copy for myself since next May will be the first time I stay on Disney property. This is a heavy book; my wrist hurts after a while from holding it! But I love it anyway! The authors say that most people use this as a reference guide, but I'm the kind of weirdo that kind of reads it straight through (minus some of the info that doesn't apply to me). I like how they include the comments and opinions of readers in blue within the text. That way you get both sides of the picture. I have guide books and trivia books, but this is one that's filled with info about the parks with humor and lots of opinion included. If you just want a guide book telling you what rides are where, choose a different book. This has a lot more than that.
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Tina on January 31, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I purchased this book recently because I had purchased the Unofficial Guides to Disney twice in the past and found them very helpful in planning our trips. If you already own a guide the information will not really change much from year to year and I realize that. My main reason for purchasing the book was to have access to their online crowd calendar. After purchasing the book I was very disappointed to learn that owners of the current guide no longer get free access. Had I known this, I would have just paid the online fee instead of buying the updated version of the book.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Deckman on October 16, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is the most complete guidebook for the parks. Comprehensive coverage of hotels, rides, food and the best tips. But the most important part of these books is the touring guides. This book is good for the Disney initiate and the nerdy DVC junkie as well.

The hotel section covers analysis with actual research done more than one person. Although it seems a bit ridiculous to have as much detailed analysis and hands on visits, it is nice to benefit from the research.

The rides are rated several ways-- kid friendliness, general enjoyment, darkness of the ride, will my toddler/teenager like it, etc. It really helps to plan for a wide scope of their audience.

The food ratings are okay. The are mainly concerned with price and speed of service, not any feedback or recommendations on entees at each place.

There are tips all throughout from park visitors. The tips range from both sides of the issues. Audience feedback is included in blue ink and ranges from educated to complaints. But it gives a good feel from people about the rides, insider tips on time of year to travel, general ideas the Unofficial team puts forth, etc.

But by far the best thing about this book is touring plans that give actual list of attractions to visit in order. The plans save time in the parks, and really make the trip more enjoyable. I've tested the tips on several trips and they work like a charm.

Enjoy!
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