The Unofficial Guide: The Color Companion to Walt Disney World

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Overview


Following in the best-selling tradition of The Unofficial Guides series, The Unofficial Guide: The Color Companion to Walt Disney World gives readers the inside track on visiting Disney World and making the most of their time in the park. Complete with hundreds of full-color photographs, this essential visual guide is a must-have for any Disney World vacation. With hundreds of pages of highly detailed information on planning, staying, and surviving a visit to Walt Disney World, The Color Companion by Bob ...
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Overview


Following in the best-selling tradition of The Unofficial Guides series, The Unofficial Guide: The Color Companion to Walt Disney World gives readers the inside track on visiting Disney World and making the most of their time in the park. Complete with hundreds of full-color photographs, this essential visual guide is a must-have for any Disney World vacation. With hundreds of pages of highly detailed information on planning, staying, and surviving a visit to Walt Disney World, The Color Companion by Bob Sehlinger and Len Testa takes the Unofficial approach while also showing readers exactly where they’ll be staying and what they’ll be doing, all in a trim little book that's perfect for tucking into a backpack.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"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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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781118143162
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 5/1/2012
  • Series: Unofficial Guides Series , #285
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 384
  • Product dimensions: 5.15 (w) x 8.02 (h) x 0.72 (d)

Meet the Author

Bob Sehlinger is the Executive Publisher of Menasha Ridge Press and author of numerous Unofficial Guides, including the best-selling Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World.

Len Testa is the co-author of numerous Unofficial Guides. He is also Webmaster of touringplans.com and is the software developer for the touring-plans used in the Disney guides.

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Read an Excerpt


ABOUT THIS BOOK
1. It Really Is a Companion While there’s some information that’s better communicated in prose, other information is best presented photographically. For example, photos of rooms or the pool at a Disney hotel are better than verbal
descriptions. Our 900-plus-page Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World is the most comprehensive guidebook in print to Disney’s Orlando empire. However, when it comes to visualizing something, there’s just no substitute for a good photo. So, to cover all the bases, we offer this companion guide. There’s more than enough information here to plan your entire Disney vacation, but if you want to dig deeper, using the Color Companion in conjunction with The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World gives you the whole enchilada.

2. This Guide Has a Sense of Humor There is a plentiful assortment of dry, plodding travel guides for readers who would prefer to know how many rivets there are in a flying elephant than to have a good chuckle. As for us, we’re all about providing excellent information and having some fun. No useful information was sacrificed to make room for humor in the Companion. We nailed down the essential content first and then added artistic and humorous elements
to make the Companion a zippier and more enjoyable read. So, if you can tolerate a little irreverence, parody, and general wackiness, the Color Companion will serve you well.

3. Sometimes We’ll Pull Your Leg We might describe a fantasy resort that’s 100 feet underground with rock-chiseled furniture and an occasional mole in the guestrooms, or an octopus sandwich with tentacles everywhere and malevolent eyes peeking from between the buns. We’re pretty good at this, and sometimes we might fool you for a minute, but to make sure you don’t call Disney reservations and attempt to book a room, or try to order the octopus sandwich at the theme park, we’ve included this little icon to signal that we’ve taken a brief break from reality.

4. It’s in the Genes The humor in this guide is totally consistent with the humor in The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World. In fact, most of the humorous elements in Color Companion originally appeared in the Big Book, though not in photographic form.

PART I: PRACTICAL STUFF
SPECIAL TIPS FOR SPECIAL PEOPLE
Walt Disney World for Couples
Quiet, Romantic Places to Eat
Restaurants with good food and a couple-friendly ambience are rare in the theme parks. Only a handful of dining locales satisfy both requirements: Coral Reef Restaurant, an alfresco table at Tutto Italia, the terrace at the Rose & Crown, and the upstairs tables at the France Pavilion’s Bistro de Paris, all in Epcot; and the corner booths at The Hollywood Brown Derby in Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Waterfront dining (though not necessarily quiet or romantic) is available at Fulton’s Crab House, Paradiso 37, and Portobello at Downtown Disney and Narcoossee’s at the Grand Floridian.

Victoria & Albert’s at the Grand Floridian is the World’s showcase gourmet restaurant; expect to pay big bucks. Other good choices for couples include Artist Point at Wilderness Lodge, Cítricos at the Grand Floridian, Shula’s Steak House at the Dolphin, Jiko—The Cooking Place at Animal Kingdom Lodge, and the Flying Fish Cafe at the BoardWalk.

Eating later in the evening and choosing a restaurant we’ve mentioned will improve your chances for intimate dining; nevertheless, children—well behaved or otherwise—are everywhere at Walt Disney World, and there’s no way to escape them.

PART 5: THE MAGIC KINGDOM
THE HAUNTED MANSION
Although its roots are in the haunted houses of small amusement parks everywhere, Disney’s is done on a scale big enough to justify use of the word “mansion.” The Haunted Mansion is a masterpiece of detail, starting with the gravestones lining the lawn next to the exterior waiting area, and extending into the wallpaper and paintings in pre-show areas. Even the Castmembers get into the act as they gravely announce “Your time has come” to enter the ride, and exhort you to move to the “dead center” of the foyer to begin the show.

The Mansion is filled with room after room of visual effects, most of which are no more threatening than a whoopee cushion. Only the graveyard scene, which features a handful of skulls popping up from behind tombstones, might be considered mildly scary. Other rooms include a room with stairs running every which way, and a ballroom dancing scene that ranks among Disney’s best (and oldest) effects. As with Disney’s other classic attractions, the Haunted Mansion also features a catchy soundtrack (“Grim Grinning Ghosts”) that will keep you humming on your way to the next attraction.

The waiting queue for Mansion was refurbished in 2011, adding interactive elements that make noise and music when touched. To do this, the queue was split into two separate paths. Stay to the left if you’ve got time and inclination to see the interactive elements. Take the rightmost path for less waiting in line.

PART 9: DISNEY’S HOLLYOOD STUDIOS
FANTASMIC!
Fantasmic! is a mixed-media show presented twice weekly when the park is open late. Located off Sunset Boulevard behind the Tower of Terror, Fantasmic! is staged on an island opposite a 6,900-seat amphitheater. By far the largest theater facility ever created by Disney, the amphitheater can accommodate an additional 3,000 standing guests for an audience of nearly 10,000. During the last recession, Fantasmic! went from nightly performances to a packed house, down to two shows per week evenings a week. As you might imagine, trying to cram seven nights of capacity crowds into two nights did not work very well, as a reader from Sandwich, Illinois, reported:

The reduction in Fantasmic! shows per week is ridiculous to me. The Studios is an absolute ghost town on nights it doesn’t show, and packed to capacity on nights when it does! There has to be a happy medium.

As we went to press, Fantasmic! had resumed nightly performances, but Disney hasn’t said which schedule it will use going forward.

Nonetheless, Fantasmic! is far and away the most innovative outdoor spectacle ever attempted at any theme park. Starring Mickey Mouse in his role as the Sorcerer’s Apprentice from Fantasia, the production uses lasers, images projected on a shroud of mist, fireworks, lighting effects, and music in combinations so stunning you can scarcely believe what you are seeing. The plot is simple: good versus evil. The story gets lost in all the special effects at times, but no matter; it’s the spectacle, not the story line, that is so overpowering. While beautiful, stunning, and powerful are words that immediately come to mind, they fail to convey the uniqueness of this presentation.

Though we do not receive many reports of young children being terrified by Fantasmic! , the reader’s point is well taken. We suggest you spend a little time preparing your younger children for what they will see. Also, make sure to hang on to your children after Fantasmic! and to give them explicit instructions for regrouping in the event you are separated. Also, you can mitigate the fright factor somewhat by sitting back a bit.

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Table of Contents

Introduction 1

Part One Practical Stuff 20

Part Two Walt Disney World Resorts 57

Part Three Walt Disney World with Kids 90

Part Four Dining in Walt Disney World 120

Part Five The Magic Kingdom 148

Part Six Epcot 200

Part Seven Animal Kingdom 246

Part Eight Disney’s Hollywood Studios 282

Part Nine The Water Parks 320

Part Ten Downtown Disney and Disney’s Boardwalk 334

Part Eleven Recreation 345

Index 356

Photo Credits 365

Unofficial Guide Reader Survey 366

List of Maps

South Orlando and Walt Disney World Area iv–v

Walt Disney World vi–vii

Magic Kingdom 150–151

Epcot 202–203

Animal Kingdom 248–249

Disney’s Hollywood Studios 284–285

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 11 )
Rating Distribution

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Sort by: Showing all of 11 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 21, 2011

    Lots of good information, but irritating!

    I visit Wald Disney World about every other year and like to get a new book while I am planning. This book has wonderful full color pictures and lots of great information. It has a section on counter service and full service meals with ratings. It has a strength and weakness section on all of the Disney resorts. It also has great information on all of the rides and attractions at each of the parks, including the water parks and Downtown Disney. The size of the book is also great, because it will be handy to put in my purse in case I need it while at the parks. What I don't like about the book is the very weird humor that the author's have chosen to put in it. Just very dumb pictures for example of a child with teased up hair to get onto a ride that she was too short for. Another example would be the fake menu items that are ment to be funny, but I find them annoying. The book is full of dumb quip's and pictures. I would have given it 5 stars if it wasn't for all of these really bizzarre and dumb pictures with quotes. If I wanted a comedy, I would have purchased one. When I purchase a reference book I don't want all of that other stuff mixed in. All in all it is a great book with good information, you will just have to overlook all of the "humor"

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 3, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Avoid this "guide" unless you think the author's funny...

    I love Walt Disney World and Walt Disney World guide books, but would never again purchase this one. Due to the author's poor attempt at humor, this book is misleading and does not (for the most part) give good information.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 11, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Disapointing

    As a huge fan of the "Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World", I purchased this photo companion with high hopes. My biggest complaint is the author's cheeky attempt at humor. For example, on page 83, there is a supposed review of the "Boys Will Be Boys-Bonding Resort". Obviously this is not a resort. It seems as though the author had some pages to fill, or had some unfulfilled fantasy as a comedy writer, but these diversions serve to be nothing more than a distraction. When dreaming of my perfect Disney vacation, I want the facts, please. Another thing I noticed was the compromise of quality. The paper is not glossy and the dimensions of the pages are small (after all this is not a pocket guide).

    So, the perfect color companion guide is not this book, but "The Complete Walt Disney World 2010". Better pictures, a serious tone, better quality all around (very glossy).

    The Bottom Line: For information for your next trip to WDW, purchase the "Unofficial Guide". It is the Bible for information. For pictures, purchase "The Complete Walt Disney World 2010". It is the National Geographic of photos.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 5, 2010

    Disney World Overview

    It is a great book for the Disney World lover. It helps with trip planning along with facts about each ride, hotels, and restaurants. It is great to travel with and be able to see the reviews for each ride. Awesome book, definitely recommended!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 24, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Good compliment to the bigger "Unofficial Guide"

    This book is packed full of great pictures, both of the resorts, parks and other Orlando attractions! While I would not recommend it as the only book a new-to-Disney'er should purchase (for lack of details), it is concise and serves as the perfect compliment to the bigger "Unofficial Guide."

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 17, 2010

    Invaluable Tool

    We are planning a trip to Disney World and can't imagine doing so without this book. It is a must have in my opinion!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 31, 2013

    I absolutely LOVE the color guides and look forward to the new o

    I absolutely LOVE the color guides and look forward to the new one that is issued every couple of years. I truly enjoy the color photos that depict the experience at Walt Disney World. We actually visit the Walt Disney World resort every two years The color guide provides that little Disney fix for this Disney fan when I am not planning the trip or actually at Disney World. I read a lot of reviews of people who do not enjoy the humor in this companion but I think that is why it is slated as a companion to the Unofficial Guide. The tongue in cheek humor doesn't negatively affect the beautiful photos that can bring sweet Disney memories back to my mind.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 5, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted April 30, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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    Posted August 2, 2010

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 24, 2010

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