I've been recommending Unofficial Guides to Walt Disney World for years. I originally thought this was a great book for Disney newbies. Now, after learning more about the parks and the books, I really believe these guides are great for all visitors, no matter their experience level!
This book is LARGE. In fact, it's 848 pages of opinions, facts, surveys, details, and literally everything you need to may need for visiting the Orlando area theme parks. It's really a one-stop shop for all the details you may need for your trip!
The Unofficial Guides are broken into many chapters, after an enjoyable introduction. The contents inside the Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World 2015 are as follows:
1. Planning Before You Leave Home
2. Making The Most of Your Time and Money
4. Serenity Now
5. Disney Cruise Line
6. Walt Disney World with Kids
7. Special Tips for Special People
8. Arriving and Getting Around
9. Bare Necessities
10. Dining in and Around Walt Disney World
11. The Magic Kingdom
13. Disney's Animal Kingdom
14. Disney's Hollywood Studios
15. Universal Orlando
16. Universal's Islands of Adventure
17. Universal Studios Florida
18. SeaWorld Orlando
19. Behind the Scenes at Walt Disney World
20. The Water Parks
21. Beyond the Parks
22. Shopping In and Out of Walt Disney World
23. Nightlife In and Out of Walt Disney World
I really love and utilize the chapter on Accommodations.
Each year, the Unofficial Guide team requests for visitors to complete surveys on their stays. Inside this chapter is an overview with ratings - reviews from 40,000 or so families, actual guests with question their own personal experiences with questions such as "would you stay here again" or "would you recommend this to a friend."
Aside from the basic "this is close to this" you will find more in depth reviews for each resort With full resort maps with building names, amenities, etc... with the "Good (And Not-So-Good) Rooms which helps you make an educated choice on which rooms to stay in, if you're extra picky! While I can't say I've ever requested a specific view, this chapter has definitely helped me select buildings for personal and client stays!
Extras, details, and tidbits
With the authors having in depth knowledge and individual Disney and travel expertise, interspersed in the books are "unofficial tips", comics, traveler experiences, and my personal favorites "Disney Dish with Jim Hill." Named along with the TouringPlans network podcast with Len Testa and Jim Hill, Jim shares what will probably happen with his inside scoop - I love getting the inside scoop, so these are extra tidbits that I often haven't heard, even on the podcasts!
I've mentioned accommodations and shared the content overview that you will find in this book, but it's also important to explain that every single attraction has an overview, with rating based on age (preschooler, grade school, teens, young adults, over 30, seniors), again based on the surveys and reviews from US - not from people paid to say they love everything. And, there are profiles on all of the restaurants - sit down and counter service. I love this book because it does go into detail about everything else - an overview on the Cruise Line (though, I have that Unofficial Guide, too!) You may be surprised that they also cover parks that aren't Disney, but the authors explain this:
"Universal is a high-quality direct competitor of Walt Disney World, and we think you should have detailed information on both the Disney and Universal parks so you can make an informed decision about where to spend your time. We also get comments from readers who are under the impression that Universal's offerings are inferior to Disney's. By any objective measure, they are not."While I haven't experienced all of the incredible upgrades at Universal Orlando and Islands of Adventure, I absolutely believe these parks are incredible, though not quite as geared to preschoolers as WDW, so still on our to-do sometime in the future list.
So...You can't go wrong with the Unofficial Guides. They are updated annually and available on Amazon, Kindle, and wherever else you can get books (what? libraries? book stores? yep).
I received the Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own