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The Unofficial Guide Walt Disney World 2013 (Unofficial Guides) Paperback – August 28, 2012
All Books, All the Time
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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!"
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.
Top customer reviews
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.
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!):
Part 1 - Planning Before You Leave Home: Updated details on changes to Extra Magic Hours schedules, including AK dropping evening EMH entirely; Disney's switch to 2-hour evening EMHs at the other parks; the addition of a second morning EMH at the AK most mornings; an expanded "Walt Disney World Calendar" covering more special events each month, and their impacts on crowds.
Part 2 - Making the Most of Your Time and Money: A new overview of Disney's current discounting strategy; updated ticket prices; updates on Disney's new FASTPASS enforcement; an updated section on FASTPASS guidelines; a completely new section on the upcoming "FASTPASS Plus" program; a new section on how to use our mobile app, Lines, to update your touring plan while you're in the parks, in the event something unexpected just happened; a new section on ride break-down rates, useful for contingency planning when in the parks.
Part 3 - Accomodations: Updated reader perspectives on the efficiency of Disney's transportation system (in the section on benefits of staying in WDW); Updated economics on renting DVC points; New recommendations on the best Disney-specialist travel agents; updates on which Disney resort to choose depending on the kind of hotel you stay at outside of WDW; a new review of Disney's just-opened Art of Animation Resort, including room diagrams and pool ratings; updates on Disney's converting from wired Internet to WiFi; tips on where to find the best bars and lounges at the Disney resorts; the 2012 Readers' Disney Resort Report Card, with ratings on every Disney hotel; new coverage of the Grand Floridian DVC resort; a substantial change in our coverage of the Downtown Disney Resort Area (we think many resorts here are not good choices), and a chart showing the additional charges you're likely to pay if you book at these resorts; updated reviews for several DDRA hotels; several pages of new or updated reader comments on the Disney Dining Plan; a new section describing the various resort fees and expenses you're likely to find at the Swan and Dolphin that are not shown at the time you book; the addition of more than 20 new resorts; updated ratings on dozens of others; a section on new websites to find deals on boutique hotels and on how to use "bidding" sites such as tingo.com, guestmob.com and others; and a new section on specific hotels to avoid in Orlando and Kissimmee.
Part 6 - Walt Disney World with Kids: A new section reviewing outside stroller-rental companies in Orlando, including how we tested each stroller and stroller company, and how much you may save by using these.
Part 8 - Arriving and Getting Around: An update to the section detailing where to find the best airport and off-site rental cars; a discussion of the new SixT.com rental company; updates to the Readers' rental car report card; new advice on how to avoid the traffic at Downtown Disney; an updated chart showing the travel times times between the Disney resorts and theme parks when driving and when using the Disney transportation network.
Part 9 - Bare Necessities: updates to the price comparison chart between two Publix stores, Goodings, Garden Grocer, and Winn-Dixie; updates to the Garden Grocer section.
Part 10 - Dining in and Around Walt Disney World: an updated section which restaurants are most likely to have last-minute Advance Dining Reservations, including new charts showing restaurants for breakfast, lunch and dinner; updated details on Disney's new $10 cancelation fee for certain restaurants and how this affects your ability to get a reservation; a new section on drinking at Epcot's bars; updated menus for all counter-service restaurants in the Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom; updated menus, reader ratings and Unofficial Guide reviews for around 100 sit-down restaurants.
Part 11 - The Magic Kingdom: A new review of Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom; updates on the Fantasyland construction, including the new "double Dumbo" and addition of FASTPASS at Dumbo; 12 new Jim Hill anecdotes; and 6 new Magic Kingdom touring plans for adults and parents of small children, including 1- and 2-day plans.
Part 12 - Epcot: An update on Agent P's World Showcase Adventure; new Jim Hill anecdotes; new Epcot 1-Day touring plans; a new Selective touring plan; a brand-new Epcot plan for Parents with Small Children;
Part 13 - Animal Kingdom: updates on the new EMH schedule; details on the new parade route; new Jim Hill anecdotes.
Part 14 - Disney's Hollywood Studios: We separated DHS out from the Universal and Sea World parks here; the 2013 edition is the first time that each park gets its own chapter. Most of the updates here involve tweaking the text describing how lines develop at the various attractions and how to avoid them, and the amount of actual movie-making that happens at the park (none); updates to the stragegy for getting your children into Jedi Training Academy; updates to the Live Entertainment section for the addition of Mulch, Sweat and Shears; a new one-day touring plan and an updated "Not-A-Touring-Plan" touring plan.
Part 15 - Universal Studios: Updates to Universal Express; updates to our coverage of Universal's child-swap process; updated touring tips and touring strategies for several attractions.
Part 16 - Islands of Adventure: Updates to the Spiderman description; updates to getting a wand at Ollivanders; updates on the procedure for seating guests of different body types at Harry Potter; a new tip on how to tour Hogwarts without riding the attraction.
Parts 19 through 23 cover behind-the-scenes tours, shopping, the Disney water parks, golf, nightlife, and more. Most of these updates include additions or deletions to stores, tours, bars, etc., and updates to their prices.
IT IS DETAILED BEYOND BELIEF! This guide is the one all travel guides should be measured against. We get a new copy each time we plan a trip to Disney. Each time it amazes me.
Itineraries for lots of situations included. Custom ones available.
Great for budget planning and weighing where you want to spend the money in Disney World.
BEST PART: IT'S UNOFFICIAL! There are no kickbacks from Disney if they say something is fantastic. It frees them to also tell you when something is horrendous.
Rating system may be a little confusing at first glance, but the slightly more complex system makes the ratings more valuable. I wish other companies would pick up on this type of system.
It's the only travel guide you will need for Disney World.
1. Make your dinner reservations as far in advance as possible. The book has great restaurant reviews that are helpful. Don't miss the Brown Derby restaurant at DHS! Get the Disney Dining plan!
2. Get in shape! Be prepared to walk 7-10 miles per day in the heat (Summer). Take blister band aids and powder spray for chaffing. Epcot is a BEAST!
3. Use the plans in the book and take the recommended breaks. We had a five day trip and you will be exhausted after day two.
4. If you purchase the water park plan, go the water park half way through the trip. It'll allow you to relax and recover.
5. Disneyworld is awesome and the pain, planning, and 5-6k is worth it.
6. Stay onsite at a Disney property. Trust me, it's the same price after the rental car and BS. Ride the busses!
7. If you have young children (under 6) I'll pray for you. My kids are 8 and 11, could tow their own weight and had a blast.
8. See Fastasmic at DHS
9. Do the orange coded MISSION TO MARS ride at Epcot and be prepared to not be the same afterwards for 1-2 hours.
10. Don't tell your kids about Expedition Everest or the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, just take them. It'll scare the bejeebus out of them but it's all about making memories.