Walt Disney World Travel Guides

The Unofficial Guides

The Unofficial Guides to Walt Disney World come in a few different forms, each with a different focus. They’re generally accepted as the best Walt Disney World guide books and contain a lot of detailed information, including comments from readers and visitors to the parks. They’re updated yearly and also provide the ‘key’ to give you access to the crowd level information on Touring Plans. This will give suggested ‘touring plans’ for how you might consider approaching your days at the parks. These can be useful if you are only planning to spend a few days at Disney World. They’re less necessary if you plan to spend a greater number of days there as you can take your time a bit more. They also give an overview of some of the other parks in the area, e.g. Universal, Sea World etc.

The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World


The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World with Kids

This is the ‘original’ version and a very hefty volume! It is a really good book and includes a lot of detail about pretty much everything you’d want to consider when planning your holiday. It is 100% unofficial and unbiased. As someone who has read it cover to cover, I would suggest that this book is more for the ultimate planner who wants all the detail than a light hearted read to learn a bit about the place.   With the same detail as the main guide, it focuses on the information that is relevant to families with children  e.g. what rides they might find scary and a age rating for each and every attraction, based on a survey of 10,000 families. A very good book, but even though its smaller than the original volume, it it still more for a planner than a light read.

Beyond Disney: The Unofficial Guide to Universal Orlando, SeaWorld and the Best of Central Florida

This is the Unofficial Guide to the rest of Orlando – i.e. the other tourist attractions other than Disney, covering 11 of the other theme parks. It is equally as detailed, but not as long as the the other books in the series.

Other Guides

Frommer’s Walt Disney World and Orlando 2011


Birnbaum’s Walt Disney World 2011

I think of the Frommer’s guide as a light weight version of the Unofficial Guide. It covers all the main Orlando parks, plus reviews hotels etc, but not in quite the same detail, producing a smaller guide. Useful for those who want some additional information and help planning your holiday, but do not want such a large guide.   The Birnbaum Guides (and there are others, including for kids, dining etc) are excellent to give you information on Walt Disney World, including on the rides, restaurants, dining plans etc. This is a good choice for an overview. However these are published by Disney, and while accurate in their information, they naturally give a slightly biased point of view – nothing is criticised and they don’t mention the other parks in the area.

Brit’s Guide to Orlando 2011


DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Walt Disney World Resort & Orlando

The Brit’s Guide does what it says on the tin – it is specifically aimed at a British audience, taking into account the differences in our holidays. It is fairly detailed and contains some useful information. I personally prefer some of the other guides out there, despite this being aimed at a British audience.   The DK Guide is the one to buy if you want some general information and great photos about the parks in and around Orlando. It really skips over the detail, so this isn’t one for big planners but is a good guide for the basics and planning roughly where you want to visit.

Other books

The Hidden Magic of Walt Disney World


Hidden Mickeys: A Field Guide to Walt Disney World’s Best Kept Secrets

This book provides lots of information that you wouldn’t find in a traditional guide book. It is an ‘in-park companion’ in that it provides information to enhance your visit to the parks, such as hidden mickeys and the back stories to rides etc.   The Hidden Mickeys guide is the must-have guide if you’re interested in seeking out the Hidden Mickey’s that are scatter red around all Walt Disney World Resort. A great wait to keep you and the kids entertained while waiting in the queues or for parades to start etc.