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The Unofficial Guide Walt Disney World 2013 (Unofficial Guides) Paperback – August 28, 2012

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From the Back Cover

  • The latest scoop on Universal's The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™
  • How to cut your waits in line by 4 hours a day
  • "A Tourist's Best Friend!"

    —Chicago Sun-Times


    —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

    • Completely independent critical appraisals. 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.


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Product Details

  • Series: Unofficial Guides (Book 287)
  • Paperback: 864 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 8 edition (August 28, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1118277562
  • ISBN-13: 978-1118277560
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 1.7 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (310 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #289,315 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

85 of 88 people found the following review helpful By Gitsy on August 19, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
For those of us who have never been to Walt Disney World or have only been only once or twice, I cannot recommend a better book on the market. This book, and the accompanying website,, are the best sources of in-depth reviews, ratings and details of every aspect of WDW. From hotels/resorts to dining to rides and venues, this book HAS IT ALL IN ONE PLACE. The most important feature of this book, in my opinion, are the Touring Plans - which give you an idea of how to tour the parks in an efficient manner so that you spend less time in long lines and more time enjoying your vacation. Hit those headliner rides first and utilize the Fast Pass system. You'll be much happier and less stressed for it.

I have purchased earlier editions of this book, but things change quickly at Walt Disney World and the 2013 edition has up-to-date information on the major changes to Fantasyland and everything else that has changed since our previous visit.

Below is a break-down of the most recent updates, written by co-author Len Testa. He posted this on another review of his book, but I felt it important to share it here.

Hi folks!

Bob and I are really happy with this latest edition. I submitted more than 100 pages of updates and new content for this release. Bob and our other contributors added scores more. Besides updating things such as prices, hours, phone numbers and the like, and besides correcting typos, here's a quick rundown of what's new and updated in this edition. (I'm sure I've missed some things!
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41 of 43 people found the following review helpful By Mom to 2 boys VINE VOICE on October 2, 2012
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
As a Disneyfied Florida mother of 2 Disneyfied boys (and wife to a more reluctant but willing Disney husband), I was very impressed with the Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World 2013. We go to the Disney World parks at least once a year and sometimes two to three times a year. We have stayed at value resorts, moderate resorts, and a couple Deluxe resorts as well. We have been during summer, the days leading up to Christmas, spring break, Easter, and slower times like May or November. I subscribe to, read, and check up on a couple Disney blogs regularly. Why do I tell you all this? To emphasize that someone that is as Disney-fanatic as me still learned some new things from this book.

Really, this is the only book you need for Disney. It has it *all*. It is not biased towards Disney, so the authors give you a fair representation of Disney, both the positives and the negatives. With nearly 900 pages, here are the highlights:

*A breakdown of all Disney resorts, as well as the best off-site hotels
*Tips on renting Disney's time-share, DVC or renting a vacation condo or home as an alternative to a hotel
*All Disney restaurants- rated, reviewed, with individual tips for each
*A breakdown of the best off-site restaurants
*Detailed information of each park, including each ride and show, as well as where to find characters
*Detailed touring plans for each park, with variations for those touring with small children, adults only, or those traveling more than one day to a park
*Explanations for why they recommend touring a specific way, why you should arrive early, what times of the year are best to go, etc.
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35 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Jerusha VINE VOICE on October 8, 2012
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I consider myself a Disney World expert. I've been to Disney several times (in fact, I'm on track to have been to Disney 4 times in 14 months), stayed at most levels of hotels (value, moderate, and deluxe), read Disney World forums, blogs, Facebook groups, work as a Disney travel specialist, and I even have a large and well-traveled Disney World food blog and a Disney World family/crafting blog. I honestly expected that this book would give me no new information, would be lacking any worthwhile info with regards to the new Fantasyland expansion and associated rides, and would only have real value for those who never go to Disney, have never been, like to micro-manage their Disney time, or those who're just generally clueless about the whole Disney experience. However, I was very surprised to find information that was completely up-to-date, offered surprisingly complete evaluations of the new Fantasyland and how to tour it, and even had a wealth of useful information I put to immediate use... I brought it with me to read on the plane and in the hotel for my October 2012 trip (I just got back 2 days ago!)

This guide is complete, in some areas shockingly so, rating everything from the comfort of pillows at the hotels to bus service, even the efficiency of ride loading techniques and times... It seriously made my mind rattle. One would think such complete and well-documented information about every nuance of Disney magic would make this book a difficult-to-manage resource, but on the contrary, the layout is largely intuitive and the complete, in-depth, and highly specific index makes navigating this book supremely easy and user-friendly.
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