Behind The Thrills.com, 11/6/12 - Racheal Yates
“Universal Orlando 2013” is the ultimate tool for planning your next vacation to Universal Orlando
Vacations are supposed to be stress free, fun, and relaxing. If you’re getting ready to plan your next vacation to Orlando, it will do you a ton of good to start planning your vacation before you get on the plane. It could not only save you money and time, but it will also save you heartache and make for a much smoother vacation.
This book is the perfect tool to planning your vacation. Written by Kelly Monaghan and Seth Kubersky, this 287-page guide is exactly what it says it is: the ultimate guide to the ultimate theme park adventure. From cover to cover, you will find heaps of important information you might not think to look up while planning your vacation.
The book is broken down into six sections, or chapters if you may, which goes in depth and in detail about everything there is to know. Each section tackles a different topic: Planning, Universal Studios, Islands of Adventure, Citywalk, On-Site hotels, and hotels near the park.
Now, you’re probably asking, “What about changes?” Businesses change over the course of time, and to keep up with the changes, the publishers of the book maintain an online blog to make updates to the book. Monaghan and Kubersky even address this in the first section of the book, so everyone who reads it is aware they can keep updated on recent changes after the book’s publication. Changes to the book can be read at http://theotherorlando.com/tooblog/.
Examiner.com, 12/13/12 - Barbara Nefer
Once Christmas is over, it’s time to plan your vacation for 2013. If you're planning to visit Universal Orlando Resort, “Universal Orlando 2013” by Kelly Monaghan and Seth Kubersky is a great tool for navigating Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure, as well as the CityWalk entertainment district. I recently received a review copy, and it was a very useful read.
Sure, there’s lots of planning information online, but it’s nice to have a reference tool you can carry with you and flip through to easily find what you’re looking for. The guidebook is nicely broken down into sections on the two parks, CityWalk, and the resort hotels. It also has a list of nearby offset hotel options.
Besides being packed with information, I think it’s a nice tool for taking notes before and during your vacation. If you’ve got a family, the kids can go through the book with you, making notations on their must-do attractions. Then it becomes a keepsake if they write their impressions on the pages during their vacation. I did that with Walt Disney World guidebooks on my early Orlando trips, and it’s fun to read my impressions of rides and attractions back then and to have a book that includes now-defunct rides that I once enjoyed.
The book is a great way to narrow down what you want to research in more depth, too. It puts the whole resort at your fingertips so, for example, you can narrow down the rides of most interest to your family. Then you can look them up online for photos, YouTube videos, etc.
I like the fact that this book covers CityWalk in such depth. I’m an expert on the theme parks, but I don’t spend nearly as much time in the entertainment district so I don’t know much about the nightclubs and even some of the restaurants. The book gave me an excellent overview and taught me some things I didn't know.
If you’re not familiar with Universal Orlando Resort yourself, scour the book for entertainment options on days you might skip the parks or leave early, like miniature golf, the movie theater, and the wide variety of stores.
You’ll get plenty of coverage of the parks, too. The book covers not just rides and shows, but also dining options, ATM locations, and even games. The only area in which I would have liked to see more coverage is Halloween Horror Nights, since I’m a rabid Halloween fan, but that almost be a book on its own, and it changes completely every year.
The book’s only limitation is the same issue shared by all other print media: the parks are continually changing. Late this year, Universal Studios Florida announced a Transformers ride for 2013, and it also has ‘mysterious’ construction in the old Amity/Jaws area. The book addresses the Harry Potter rumors for the latter section and what the new area is likely to include, but there will probably be an official announcement sometime in 2013.
If you want a trusty guide for your 2013 Universal Orlando Resort trip, grab a copy of “Universal Orlando 2013.” It will help you with pre-planning and also make a helpful go-to guide while you’re in the parks and at your hotel.
Ultimate Orlando.com, 11/3/12 - Kevin Yee
Book review: Universal Orlando 2013
The folks behind the unofficial Universal books (as well as the Other Orlando books) have put out a new edition of the Universal Orlando volume, and it’s a doozy. I have to say, I really like this guidebook. It knows how to balance the tone. Neither breathless nor relentlessly negative, it’s above all lucid. The reader comes away knowing the facts, which are presented in a manner that generates buzz and excitement, but in an authentic way. The expensive (but fun) mini golf that opened recently, for instance, is here said to be a satisfying, if expensive, way to spend an hour or two. Clear, informative, helpful and “balanced” way to say good things about a resort that has come so far in the past five years.
It does what all guidebooks do: offer advice on when to come, how to get there from the airport, and then comprehensive essays on every attraction in the parks, most with five or more paragraphs, saying pretty much everything that needs saying.
This being the 2013 edition, it’s updated with all the stuff that’s new. And the book helps you realize just how much really is new! Despicable Me, mini golf, Blue Man Group’s new show, Universal’s Superstar Parade, revised Spider-Man, Cinematic Spectacular. You won’t read about Transformers, which was announced just yesterday (and after the book went to print), but that’s part and parcel of the theme park world. There’s so much new, especially at Universal, that any book is out of date to some extent even before it’s printed. You also won’t find much on the Harry Potter expansion, since that’s still unannounced even as of this review.
One thing I rather liked: the sections in the book where color photos were bunched together. This is an old trick invented years ago by other publishers, but it works to give you some color images in a book that otherwise would be plain black and white. It straddles the line of keeping costs down, while also providing a sense of color to the book.
Universal Orlando 2013
The Ultimate Guide to the Ultimate Theme Park Adventure Kelly Monaghan and Seth Kubersky -The Intrepid Traveler
Universal Studios in Florida used to be the thing that you did if you had extra time while in Florida. Now it is becoming the first stop for many families. You can see evidence of this at the number of Thing 1 and Thing 2 shirts I see at WDW. I suspect the opening of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter may have had something to do with the new found popularity. Kelly and Seth have been covering the Universal beat just as long as anybody and they have it down pat.
The guidebook is complete, concise, and offers some very handy tips. I got the book just prior to visiting Florida and tested many of the suggestions. The book will come especially handy for those staying on site. Unlike WDW where everything is a drive or a bus, Universal is very compact. Walking is encouraged with beautiful pathways and there are ferry boats from each of the three hotels. CityWalk is so dense with shops and restaurants, the guidebook will help you save a lot of time.