Fodor's Walt Disney World with Kids 2012: with Universal Orlando, SeaWorld & Aquatica Paperback – Aug 2 2011
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About the Author
Kim Wright Wiley---mother of two, Lowell Thomas Gold Award recipient, and novelist---wrote the first edition of Walt Disney World with Kids in 1989. More than 20 editions later she's exceeded 50 visits to the parks, a statistic that stuns even her. Her Disney favorites? The Rock 'n' Roller Coaster, the character Eeyore, and the California Grill. When she's not at the theme parks, she's at home in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Inside This Book(Learn More)
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Chapters 1-4 cover the first stages of planning; answer questions about where to stay, to get a dining plan or not?, transportation, and things you need to do before you leave like make reservations for certain special events and meals with characters. Then, put the book down. Walk away and let yourself absorb that section. Go read some websites, call Disney and pick their brain. Then, back to the book.
The next chapters are more about each park. This is so very helpful when you are ready to go. I would sit in bed the night before our visit and read the chapter on whatever park we were heading to the next day. Having a 5 and 8 year old, I found rating the rides by scariness and height requirements helped immensely. After reviewing the chapter, I was the most informed in my group as to how best approach the park, the rides we had to go to first and planning places to eat. I also was lucky to have the insider knowledge on each ride to gauge whether or not it was appropriate for each member of my party.
The maps are limited and not very in depth, but that's ok when you are just getting an overview.
The only con to this book is that it isn't something to carry around with you while you are actually INSIDE the parks. Its just too big for that. However, I am sure there are better guides put out by Disney themselves with more minute by minute information.
All in all, I found this book very helpful and not too overwhelming.
What I got was a book that takes the vacation planner's hand and guides them along on every step of the planning process. The book opens with a comprehensive list of helpful phone numbers, websites, and other references that can help any person get a good idea as to what they are getting themselves into. From there, the book's first four chapters gives the reader tips and suggestions on how to do everything from planning and booking the trip to discussing how much time can be spent in each park or at each attraction. These chapters also give hints on how to save time and money during this first stage of the vacation process.
From there, Wiley focuses on each Kingdom, giving each one a chapter. In each chapter, she gives helpful hints on how to plan out your time at the park, a quick guide to the attractions, explanations of attractions (including attraction tips on things such as "Scare Factors" and "Hidden Mickeys"), "Don't Miss" lists, and a "Last Hour" guide.
She follows this up with a dining guide for all of the full-service restaurants in each Kingdom and includes tips on making reservations, whether your children will enjoy the atmosphere of the different establishments, and a price guide. She also addresses the dining packages available in the park in the early chapters and briefly in the dining chapter.
Wiley also tackles spending time in the park in the evening, with and without the kids. There is also a chapter on the Disney Cruise Line. The book finishes with a brief look into Orlando's other theme parks, and gives a nice nod to the "low stress experience" of SeaWorld when compared to all of the other parks. Although I've never been to SeaWorld in Orlando, I have visited the park in San Antonio and can say that it is a much calmer park to visit.
Overall, this book is packed with great tips for everything from funds to food, and also places the focus on family fun. If you've never been to Disney World, I highly recommend it. I also recommend this book to you, even if you don't have children.
I figure the easiest way to convince you is to list a few of the things you will find in this book.
-List of Disney phone numbers (who knew you could call specific areas)
-It explains that even though travel guides give out the "secret tips", it reminds you that only a small number of visitors actually make advanced plans. So just by buying a travel guide, you are a step ahead of the majority of other visitors
-Tips on best times to visit for each season
-Advice on looking up ride closure schedules
-Incorporates educational tips for those parents wanting to add that to their vacations
-Some cool information on one of my least favorite parks that now has us excited to go back
-Info on other educational activities outside of WDE complete with prices and times
-Gives the real deal (or not so great deal) info on things like package plans and meal plans
-Ticket price chart
-Transportation options with prices
-Neat countdown schedule outlining helpful things to make the trip planning flow smoother
-Height requirements for major rides
-Baby swap - awesome option so the adults don't miss out on rides themselves
-Ins and outs of choosing a hotel
-First aid, strollers, rain, lost kids
-Tips on saving money
-Disney line apps for your phone
-Multiple tips for each park and each ride
This is a must have book for any Disney World trip. As expensive as a Disney vacation can be, you want to make each dollar and each minute count. This book will make that happen.
During the planning stage, we casually read through this book as we anticipated the trip. There are no photographs or colorful artwork that would excite a child (or adult), no images of Mickey Mouse, and the color palette is limited. Text, text, maps, and text. This guide proved to be rather boring as a casual pre-trip read through.
But as the date approached, information began to become more important than colorful brochures. Fast-pass algorithms, park navigation strategies, child sensitivities, inclement weather strategies, and health considerations. This was good information and I felt like I was reading a Lonely Planet guide before I navigated a difficult third-world country. Walt Disney World with a couple of three years olds... daunting, but this guide gave us confidence.
The day arrived; the SUV was packed. Bleary eyed I guzzled down coffee and loaded the suitcases. Beads of sweat dotted my forehead as I recalled the restless nightmares of taunting mouses and ducks the night before. I forced my hands to release the white-knuckled grip I had on the guidebook and turned to key of the ignition.
12 hours later we pulled into the Grand Floridian: and the guidebook proved useful in navigating the roads and streets when our GPS lead us astray.
We had anticipated we would need to use this book continuously throughout the week, but we discovered that the information had sunk in. We knew the rules of the fast-pass, where to go and when, and what was appropriate and fun for the children. The book was valuable when finding restaurants in the parks, however. The pre-trip planning and read-through of this guide made our visit to the parks a smooth, pleasant, and enjoyable vacation.
If you have small children and are foolhardy enough to enter Walt Disney World in 2012, then you need this guide. You are not going to see vivid imagery and clever marketing here though. No color, no photographs, no nonsense. Just solid analysis and precise advice on navigating the Orlando parks with small children.