The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World 2014

The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World 2014

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Compiled and written by a team of experienced researchers whose work has been cited by such diverse sources as USA Today and Operations Research Forum, The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World digs deeper and offers more than any other guide. The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World explains how Disney World works and how to use that knowledge to make every minute and every dollar of your vacation count. With advice that is direct, prescriptive, and detailed, it takes the guesswork out of travel by unambiguously rating and ranking everything from hotels, restaurants, and attractions to rental car companies. With an Unofficial Guide, you know what's available in every category, from the best to the worst and step-by-step detailed plans allow the reader to make the most of their time at Disney World.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 864 pages
  • 130 x 216 x 46mm | 799.99g
  • Unofficial Guides
  • Birmingham, AL, United States
  • English
  • 2014 ed.
  • Two-color art throughout, 37 B&W illustrations, 58 maps, charts, 24 tables
  • 1628090006
  • 9781628090000
  • 161,467

Review quote

"If you're looking for a reliable guidebook, the leader is the Unofficial series." --The Mail (London) "A Tourist's Best Friend!" --Chicago Sun-Times "Indispensable" --The New York Times
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Flap copy

What's New and Updated in the 2014 Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World
With the Magic Kingdom's new Fantasyland almost complete, imminent changes to Disney's FASTPASS ride reservation system, and Universal's construction of Harry Potter's Diagon Alley well underway, the 2014 edition is one of the largest updates made in many years.
Part 1 - Planning Before You Leave Home
Coverage of Disney's new My Disney Experience website, including navigation tips, how to make Fastpass+ reservations and dining reservations
Updates on selecting the time of year for your visit
Latest analysis of Disney's Extra Magic Hours schedule and advice on how to best utilize these perks if you're staying at a Disney resort.
New strategies for "park-hopping"
Expanded Walt Disney World 2014 Calendar
Part 2 - Time and Money
The latest Disney ticket price and what's included in Disney's various admission options; tips for where to find savings on theme park admission; how to plan for future price increases
A new, detailed section on Disney's new RFID-enabled MagicBand wristbands, used for admission media and payments, including how RFID technology works and the privacy implications of in-park location tracking
A new, detailed section on Fastpass+, how Fastpass+ will affect your waits in line, and tips on which attractions will most benefit from Fastpass+
Tips for partial days at the theme parks, including how to take advantage of Fastpass+
How to use your mobile phone to update your touring plan while you're in the park, if something unexpected happens and you need to regroup
Latest on Disney's park-opening procedures in "What to Expect when You Arrive at the Parks," including variations for holidays
Part 3 - Accommodations
Updates to the section describing Disney's free Magical Express airport-to-hotel bus service
Tips on how to find discounts at Disney World hotels
Our new list of the best Disney-specialist travel agents
Sneak peek at Disney's new Grand Floridian Villas
Tips on how to improve the performance of Disney's free WiFi service at your hotel
Updated Reader Report Card for the Disney resorts
Updates to the review of Disney's Grand Floridian resort, including pool and water play area construction
Latest on room refurbishments and potential upcoming construction at Disney's Polynesian Resort
Updates to the Wilderness Lodge, Bay Lake Tower, and Contemporary resort reviews after their 2012 refurbishments
Latest on how Disney classifies room views at the Yacht Club and BoardWalk resorts
Insider tips on the differences between Disney's All-Star Resorts, such as which one has the best food court and bus service
Updates to the chart of additional fees charged at the Downtown Disney resorts
Complete rewrites of the reviews for Universal's Hard Rock Hotel, Portofino Bay and Royal Pacific hotels, plus a look at the Cabana Bay resort scheduled to open in 2014
A look at the Four Seasons Resort Orlando, scheduled to open in 2014
Updates to more than 60 off-site hotel ratings and rankings
Part 4 - Spas
A review of the new Senses Spa at Disney's Grand Floridian resort
Updates to the review of Mandara Spa at Portofino Bay
We went back to the Ritz-Carlton Spa for a re-review, and we compare it to Disney's Grand Floridian
Preview of the changes coming to the new Senses Spa at Disney's Saratoga Springs Resort
New review of the Waldorf Astoria Spa
Part 5 - The Disney Cruise Line
Updates to the list of ports and destinations served by DCL, including the new 2014 itineraries
Comparison of DCL to Royal Caribbean, including prices, staterooms, service and amenities
New section on cruising with kids, including how Disney is adapting to recent trends in the cruise industry regarding more space per ship for kids' clubs
How to choose the right Disney ship, itinerary and shore excursions
Updated overviews of each ship, including our rankings of the best and worst Disney ships
New overview of Disney's staterooms and amenities, by category, including a description of bathroom configurations, verandah options and more
Our recommendation for which stateroom to choose for your family size, and the pros and cons of the various decks
New section on dining, including a detailed description of Disney's rotational dining system. Specific advice on which restaurants to try and which restaurants to skip, by ship
Summary of the changes coming to the Magic after its 2013 dry dock
Recommendations and reviews for entertainment on the ships
Reviews of on-board children's activities, including the programs for young children, 'tweens, and teens
Sports and fitness options on each ship, including a review of the best treatments at each ship's spa
Where to find the best deals on Disney cruises
Part 6 - Walt Disney World with Kids
Updated hotel recommendations for families traveling with children 12 and younger
New stroller company recommendations and price comparisons with Disney's strollers
Updated "Fright Potential Chart" with new Fantasyland attractions
Updated "Hail Mary Pass" and "Switching Off/Baby Swap/Rider Swap/Rider Switch" coverage for new and refurbished attractions
Simplified, comprehensive chart of where to meet characters for free in each of the parks
Updated advice on character meals, including when to go and which meals are best for meeting characters
Updates to Disney's policy regarding unaccompanied children in the parks; child-care center changes
Part 7 - Special Tips for Special People
Expanded section on weddings, commitment ceremonies and vow renewals
Where to find the new "standing ECV" for rent in the parks, and off-site rental places that can save you money
Updates to the sections on special dietary needs
Part 8 - Arriving and Getting Around
Updated driving directions, including best exits, based on latest construction for I-10, I-75, and I-4
Updates to taxi, shuttle and towncar rates
Updated section on Disney's free Magical Express bus service from the Orlando airport to your Disney resort, including how bags are handled when going to and coming from your Disney resort. Answers to frequently asked questions about storing medication, strollers, wheelcharis, clothing, etc., for immediate use when you arrive at the resort
New section on how to find the best rental car discounts
New coverage of Fox Rent A Car and their Fiat 500s
GPS coordinates and addresses for theme park, water park, and Downtown Disney parking lots
Updated Disney Transportation System commuting times chart, showing you the average and worst-case travel times between your resort and Disney's destinations. More than 600 bus trips were times for this update
Updates to the operating hours of Disney's transportation systems, including bus, boat and monorail
Part 9 - Bare Necessities
Updates to the "Medical Matters" section for everything from headache relief to where to find urgent care in and outside the parks
Updated coverage of Disney's Photopass and Photopass Plus packages
Advice on where to find places to charge your cell phone while in the parks
Updated comparison of prices at local grocery stores near Disney World, and which grocers to avoid
Part 10 - Dining
Updates to the dining section for Universal's CityWalk
Updated section on how Advance Dining Reservations work
Updates to Disney's policies on reservation cancelation and seasonal dining surcharges
Updated list of sample prices for counter-service food
Recommendations on the best restaurants for kids; for romantic couples; for coffee
New reviews of the Magic Kingdom's counter-service lunch and sit-down dinner at Be Our Guest
New "Author's Favorite Counter-Service Restaurants" for the Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney Hollywood Studios, and Animal Kingdom
New review of Les Halles Boulangerie & Patisserie at Epcot's France pavilion
New review of L'Artisan des Glaces Artisan Ice Cream & Sorbet at Epcot's France pavilion
Updated review of Tutto Gusto Wine Cellar at Epcot's Italy pavilion
New review of Gaston's Tavern at the Magic Kingdom
Preview of Morocco's Spice Road Table restaurant set to open in late 2013
Updated reader ratings for more than 150 counter-service and sit-down restaurants in Walt Disney World
New review of the food at the Splitsville bowling alley in Downtown Disney
New review of Monsieur Paul at Epcot's France pavilion
Part 11 - The Magic Kingdom
Information on the new Heroes/Villains parking lot system at the Magic Kingdom
Update on the Fantasyland expansion construction, including the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
Description of Fastpass loopholes found at the Magic Kingdom
New review of A Pirates Adventure interactive game in Adventureland
Description of the new queue effects at Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
Minor updates to most Tomorrowland attraction descriptions and touring tips
Coverage of Disney's new nighttime Celebrate the Magic show
Where to find information for Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party and Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party
Preview of the new Festival of Fantasy afternoon parade in the Magic Kingdom, scheduled to debut in 2014
Updated "Traffic Patterns in the Magic Kingdom" section showing the effect of the new Fantasyland attractions on guests' touring habits
Summary of how Fastpass+ may change the best viewing locations for parades and fireworks
Many new Jim Hill anecdotes
Part 12 - Epcot
Tips on where to find Epcot's alternate security checkpoint, in case the primary one is too crowded
New review of Chevrolet's Test Track ride and pavilion
Updates to many attractions' "When to Go" times and touring tips including when to use Fastpass
Part 13 - Animal Kingdom
Updates to the description of the park's opening procedures
News on Festival of the Lion King's move from Camp Minnie-Mickey to Africa
New review of Adventurer's Outpost character greeting
New review of Wilderness Explorers interactive scavenger hunt
Updates on Animal Kingdom's Extra Magic Hours schedule
Updates on Avatar construction and how it may affect what's left of Camp Minnie-Mickey
Updates to many attractions' "When to Go" times and touring tips including when to use Fastpass
Updates to the Animal Kingdom's traffic patterns, considering the likely effects of the closing of Camp Minnie-Mickey and the newest information on the afternoon parade route
Part 14 - Disney's Hollywood Studios
Updates to Fantasmic! schedule, seating capacity and preferred viewing spots for the Fantasmic dinner package
Tips on how to get your children signed up for the popular Jedi Training Academy shows
New review for The Legend of Captain Jack Sparrow
Updates on the cancelation of the Studios' afternoon parade
New section on the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights
Where to meet characters for free
Part 15 - Universal Orlando
Updates to Universal's ticket options and prices; comparison of value with Disney's theme parks
New section on lodging at UOR
Updates on how Universal Express operates for resort guests and day guests
A brief overview of Universal's new Q-Bot ride reservation system
Part 16 - Islands of Adventure
Expanded coverage of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
Best times to visit The Wizarding World for Universal Orlando resort guests and day guests
Updates to IOA's dining recommendations
New "Two Parks in One Day" touring plan featuring the best of IOA and Universal Studios Florida
Part 17 - Universal Studios Florida
Coverage of the new Springfield USA area, home of The Simpsons Ride and Kang and Kodos' Twirl and Hurl spinner ride
Lots of detail around the new Diagon Alley section of the park opening in 2014
Updated review of Beetlejuice's Graveyard Revue
Updated review of The Blues Brothers show
Review of Transformers: The Ride 3-D
Updated section in dining at Universal Studios Florida
Updated touring plans for 2014
Part 18 - SeaWorld
Coverage of the new Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin ride, the largest expansion in SeaWorld history, and new TurtleTrek 3-D theater show
Part 19 - Behind the Scenes at Walt Disney World
Updates to the list of behind-the-scenes tours, prices and hours
Part 20 - The Water Parks
Updates to park hours, prices, and Extra Magic Hours policy
Part 21 to 23 - Beyond the Parks, Shopping and Nightlife
Coverage of the new Disney Springs construction, which will merge together Downtown Disney, the West Side, and Pleasure Island
Updates to the shops found in Downtown Disney, as well as where to find the best souvenirs
Updated golf course reviews, prices and hours
Touring Plans
Touring plans now contain advice for how to use Fastpass+ in conjunction with the plans. For each step in which we suggest Fastpass, we'll tell you the approximate time at which the Fastpass return window should start to fit in the plan. This allows you to request the correct return time from Disney's Fastpass+ system.
If Disney limits the number of Fastpasses you can obtain, each touring plan also contains a prioritized list, from most important to less important, showing you which Fastpass+ attractions to get first.
New Magic Kingdom One-Day Touring Plan for Adults
New Magic Kingdom Selective One-Day Touring Plan for Adults
New Magic Kingdom One-Day Plan for Parents with Small Children
New Magic Kingdom Two-Day Touring Plan
New Dumbo-or-Die in a Day touring plan
New Animal Kingdom one-day touring plan
Updates to the Studios' one-day touring plan to include updated information on Tower of Terror's Fastpass distribution
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About Bob Sehlinger

Bob Sehlinger, a Lowell Thomas Award-winning journalist, is best known as the creator and producer of The Unofficial Guide series. 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. Bob Sehlinger is founder and co-owner of Keen Communications, a book publishing company that includes Menasha Ridge Press, Clerisy Press, and Wilderness Press. The author of 27 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. ------- A lifelong Disney theme park fan, Len Testa co-authors The Unofficial Guides to Walt Disney World, Disneyland, and Britain's Best Days Out. In grad school, Len's master's thesis described new computer techniques for generating efficient theme park touring plans, for which Len was awarded a U.S. patent. These days, Len leads the team at, the website and research arm of The Unofficial Guides. Len has stayed at every Disney hotel, experienced every Disney ride, and eaten at every Disney restaurant and food cart in the U.S. When he's not at a Disney theme park, Len lives in Greensboro, North Carolina, in a mid-century modern house whose kitchen was custom-built after one of Space Mountain's post-show scenes.
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Back cover copy

Six Great Features and Benefits offered ONLY by The Unofficial Guide(R) to Walt Disney World 2014:
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(TM), 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.
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Rating details

378 ratings
4.4 out of 5 stars
5 53% (202)
4 35% (131)
3 11% (40)
2 1% (5)
1 0% (0)
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