Saturday, April 10, 2010

Review - The Complete Walt Disney World 2010 by Mike Neal (4/5 stars)

I got a digital advanced reading copy of this book through  I am a frequent Disney World vacationer and have been there numerous times.  Now that my son is three we are getting ready to take another trip to Disney World and I was hoping this book would help us plan our trip.  Overall it is a great resource for Disney travelers.

The book starts with a short chapter on the things that are new for 2010.  This is great is you have frequented Disney World before and are mainly interested in what's new there.  The second chapter is the most useful of the book and goes into great detail on trip planning.  There is a wonderful chart on the different types of park passes and their costs.  The planning section also goes into great detail on more obscure things that I have never used at Disney World before; like meal plans, fast passes, and child swap.  There are great tips on how to save both time and money to make the most of your trip.  They also talk about transportation, restaurants, etc.  The section on special diets is really small, only a paragraph or two.  I have two family members that have celiac's disease, so I was a bit disappointed this wasn't gone into in more detail.  Especially since in my previous personal experience Disney World is one of the best places in the world to vacation if you do have food allergies.

After these first couple chapters the following chapters focus on each of the four parks: Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios, and Animal Kingdom.  Each park section features your normal information with a map, a list of restaurants, and shopping available.  There is also much more unique and useful information such as average wait times for each attraction by time of day, a chart of fastpass return times, a section stating which rides have height restrictions, and a section discussing which rides have portions that may be too scary for younger children.  A day (or two day) suggested itinerary for exploring each park is given which tells you the most efficient way to see all the major attractions in the park if you have limited time. Following all this awesome information are page long (on average) sections describing each individual attraction.  On these pages you get a little history about the attraction, a description of it, fun facts about it, and average wait times by day.

My only problem with the park chapters in this book is that there is basically only one suggested itinerary for each park; also these itineraries assume that everyone is over 58".  All the itineraries have you hitting the big rollercoaters...which for a family like mine with a small child is not an option.  It would have been more helpful to have itineraries for family's with small children and then itineraries for older groups; I have to imagine the two groups are going to be interested in different things overall.  I know when I went to Disney World as a young child I was interested in completely different things than I was when I went back as a pre-teen, teenager, and adult.

Following the park chapters are chapters on Water Parks, Downtown Disney, Recreational Sports, Accommodations, and Special Events.  All of these sections are very detailed with excellent information.  There is, of course, an index following this.  The back page lists a variety of useful Disney numbers.

All in all I was very impressed with the amount of interesting and useful information this book gave on traveling to Disney World.  The only weak points were a lack of information for special diets (it's there but very very brief) and a lack of itineraries.  One itinerary is given for each park but they assume family members are 58 inches or taller.  Other than those two issues, I thought this was a superb guide.
The Complete Walt Disney World 2010 

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