The Unofficial Guide Walt Disney World 2013

The Unofficial Guide Walt Disney World 2013

by Bob Sehlinger, Len Testa



Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781118277560
Publisher: Wiley
Publication date: 08/28/2012
Series: Unofficial Guides Series , #287
Pages: 864
Product dimensions: 5.10(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.70(d)

Table of Contents

List of Maps & Diagrams xvi

Introduction 1

Why “Unofficial”? 1

Declaration of Independence 1

Dance to the Music 1

The Importance of Being Goofy 2

Honey, I Blew Up the Book! 3

Your Unofficial Walt Disney World Toolbox 4

The Death of Spontaneity 5

Don’t Let the Tail Wag the Dog 5

Corrections, Updates, and Breaking News 6

We’ve Got Attitude 6

The Sum of All Fears 8

Too Many Cooks in the Kitchen? 9

The Unofficial Team 10

The How and the Why of It 11

This Is Not a Novel! 12

The Unofficial Guide Publishing Year 13

Letters and Comments from Readers 13

Walt Disney World: An Overview 14

What Walt Disney World Encompasses 14


The Major Theme Parks 15

The Water Parks 18

Other Walt Disney World Venues 18

The People 20

PART ONE Planning Before You Leave Home 26

Gathering Information 26

Walt Disney World on the Web 29


When to Go to Walt Disney World 33

Selecting the Time of Year for Your Visit 33

Extra Magic Hours 39

Early Entry (a.k.a. Morning Extra Magic Hours) 41

Summer and Holidays 43

The Walt Disney World Calendar 45

PART TWO Making the Most of Your Time and Money 48

Allocating Money 48

Disney and the Economy 48

Walt Disney World Admission Options 49

Help Is on the Way! 49

Magic Your Way! 50

Base-Ticket Add-Ons 52

A Cloud Is Just a Cloud 53

Big Brother Is Watching 54

How to Get the Most from Magic Your Way 54

Gotcha! 55

Where to Purchase Magic Your Way Tickets 55

For Additional Information on Passes 56

Where the Real Deals Are 56

The British Are Coming! 57

More Discounts on Admissions 57

How Much Does It Cost Per Day? 57

Allocating Time 58

Which Park to See First? 59

Operating Hours 59

Official Opening versus Real Opening 59

The Vacation That Fights Back 60

The Practicality of Returning to Your Hotel for Rest 61

Arrival- and Departure-Day Blues: What to Do When You Have Only Half a Day 62

The Cardinal Rules for Successful Touring 64

What’s a Queue? 67

Of Utmost Importance: Read This! 67

Touring Plans: What They Are and How They Work 68

Overview of the Touring Plans 72

Extra Magic Hours and the Touring Plans 79

Fastpass 80

Understanding Walt Disney World Attractions 87

Cutting Your Time in Line by Understanding the Rides 88

Cutting Your Time in Line by Understanding the Shows 91

A Word about Disney Thrill Rides 92

Attraction-Breakdown Rates 93

Central Florida Roller Coasters 94

PART T H R E E Accommodations 100

The Basic Considerations 100

The Tax Man Cometh 100

About Hotel Renovations 101

Benefits of Staying in the World 101

Staying in or out of the World: Weighing the Pros and Cons 102

The Disney Resorts 104

Disney Resorts 101 104

How to Get Discounts on Lodging 107

Choosing a Walt Disney World Hotel 112

Researching Walt Disney World Hotels 127

Unofficial Guide Readers Speak Out 133

Readers’ 2012 Disney Resort Report Card 133

Walt Disney World Hotel Profiles 136

The Magic Kingdom Resorts 136

The Epcot Resorts 153

The Bonnet Creek Resorts 168

Independent Hotels of the Walt Disney World Resort Area 196

Camping at Walt Disney World 201

How to Evaluate a Walt Disney World Travel Package 206

Cut to the Chase 207

Walt Disney World Travel Company Magic Your Way Packages 208


Number Crunching 217

Throw Me a Line! 218

Packages from a Different Perspective 218

Hotels outside Walt Disney World 219

Selecting and Booking a Hotel outside Walt Disney World 219

Driving Time to the Parks for Visitors Lodging outside Walt Disney World 225

Good Neighbor Hotels 226

Hotel Shopping on the Internet: Welcome to the Wild West 226

Condominiums and Vacation Homes 230

The Best Hotels for Families outside Walt Disney World 239

Hotels and Motels: Rated and Ranked 249

What’s in a Room? 249

Room Ratings 249


A Word about Toll-Free Telephone Numbers 253

The 30 Best Hotel Values 253



PART FOUR Serenity Now! A Look at Disney-Area Spas 280

Spa Profiles 281

PART F I V E The Disney Cruise Line 286

The Mouse at Sea 286

The Future Is Now 289

The Ships 289

Cabins 290

Services and Amenities 291

Dining 292

Facilities and Entertainment 294

Children’s Programs 296

Sports, Fitness, and Beauty 296

Castaway Cay 297

Disney Cruise Line and the Economy 298

Cruise–WDW Packages 298

Advance Reservations for Shore Excursions, Spa, Palo, Remy, and Children’s Programs 299

A Few Tips 299

PART S I X Walt Disney World with Kids 300

The Ecstasy and the Agony 300

Reality Testing: Whose Dream Is It? 301

Recommendations for Making the Dream Come True 301

About the Unofficial Guide Touring Plans 312

Stuff to Think About 313

Strollers 315

Lost Children 320

How Kids Get Lost 321

Disney, Kids, and Scary Stuff 322


The Fright Factor 328

A Bit of Preparation 329

Attractions That Eat Adults 330

A Word about Height Requirements 330


Waiting-Line Strategies for Adults with Young Children 332

The Disney Characters 337

Meeting Characters for Free 340

Character Dining 342

What to Expect 343

When to Go 344

How to Choose a Character Meal 344


Getting an Advance Reservation at Cinderella’s Royal Table 349

Other Character Events 350

Babysitting 350

Special Programs for Children 352

Birthdays and Special Occasions 353

PART SEVEN Special Tips for Special People 354

Walt Disney World for Singles 354

Walt Disney World for Couples 354

Weddings 354

Honeymoons and Vows Renewals 355

Romantic Getaways 355


Walt Disney World “At Large” 357

Walt Disney World for Expectant Mothers 358

More Tips for Moms-to-Be 360

Walt Disney World for Seniors 360

Getting Around 361

Timing Your Visit 361

Lodging 361

Transportation 362

Senior Dining 362

Walt Disney World for Guests with Special Needs 362

Visitors with Disabilities 364

Friends of Bill W. 367

Guests Who Don’t Speak English 367

PART E I G H T Arriving and Getting Around 368

Getting There 368

Directions 368

The I-4 Blues 371

Sanford International Airport 371

Security at Orlando International Airport 371

Getting to Walt Disney World from the Airport 372

Disney’s Magical Express 373

Renting a Car 377


Getting Oriented 382

A Good Map 382

Finding Your Way Around 382

How to Travel around the World (or, The Real Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride) 383

Transportation Trade-Offs for Guests Lodging outside Walt Disney World 383

All You Need to Know about Driving to the Theme Parks 383

Good Fuzz, Bad Fuzz 387

Sneak Routes 387

Taking a Shuttle Bus from Your Out-of-the-World Hotel 392

The Disney Transportation System 393


PART N I N E Bare Necessities 401

Money, Etc. 401

Credit Cards 401

Banking Services 401

Currency Exchange 401

A License to Print Money 401

Visiting More Than One Park in a Single Day 402

Problems and Unusual Situations 402

Attractions Closed for Repairs 402

Car Trouble 402

Gasoline 402

Lost and Found 402

Medical Matters 403

Sergeant Blisterblaster’s Guide to Happy Feet 404

Rain 405

How to Lodge a Complaint with Disney 406

Services 407

Messages 407

Pet Care 407

PhotoPass 407

Excuse Me, but Where Can I Find . . . 408

PART T E N Dining in and around Walt Disney World 411

Dining outside Walt Disney World 411

Room Service Orlando 411

Dining at Universal CityWalk 412

Buffets and Meal Deals outside Walt Disney World 413


Dining in Walt Disney World 418

Getting It Right 418

Disney Dining 101 419

Disney Dining Plans 419

It’s the Economy, Pluto 419

Behind the Scenes at Advance Reservations 420

Getting Advance Reservations at Popular Restaurants 421



Dress 427

Food Allergies and Special Requests 427

A Few Caveats 428

Walt Disney World Restaurant Categories 428


Hard Choices 432

Full-Service Dining for Families with Young Children 432

Quiet, Romantic Places to Eat 433

Fast Food in the Theme Parks 434

Disney Dining Suggestions 436

The Magic Kingdom 436

Epcot 438

Disney’s Animal Kingdom 442

Disney’s Hollywood Studios 443

More Reader Comments about Walt Disney World Dining 444

Counter-Service Restaurant Mini-Profiles 448

Walt Disney World Restaurants: Rated and Ranked 456

Readers’ Restaurant-Survey Responses 456

Full-Service Restaurant Profiles 457


PART E L E V E N The Magic Kingdom 502

Arriving 502

Getting Oriented 503

Fantasyland Expansion 506

Dining in the Magic Kingdom 506

Starting the Tour 506

Main Street, U.S.A. 507

Adventureland 510

Frontierland 513

Liberty Square 517

Fantasyland 520

Tomorrowland 528

Live Entertainment in the Magic Kingdom 535

Parades 537

Afternoon Parade 538

Evening Parade(s) 539

Parade Route and Vantage Points 539

Vantage Points for Fireworks 540

Leaving the Park after Evening Parades and Fireworks 540

Traffic Patterns in the Magic Kingdom 542

Magic Kingdom Touring Plans 544

Choosing the Appropriate Touring Plan 544

Magic Kingdom Touring-Plan Companion 546

The Single-Day Touring Conundrum 546

Preliminary Instructions for All Magic Kingdom Touring Plans 546

Park-Opening Procedures 547

Before You Go 547

Magic Kingdom One-Day Touring Plan for Adults 547

Magic Kingdom Authors’ Selective One-Day Touring Plan for Adults 548

Magic Kingdom One-Day Touring Plan for Parents with Small Children 548

Magic Kingdom Two-Day Touring Plan 549

Magic Kingdom Dumbo-or-Die-in-a-Day One-Day Touring Plan for Parents with Small Children 549


The Epcot Acronym 550

Operating Hours 550

Dining in Epcot 551

Arriving 551

Getting Oriented 554

Future World 555

Test Track Pavilion 560

Imagination! Pavilion 561

The Land Pavilion 564

The Seas with Nemo & Friends Pavilion 566

World Showcase 568

Mexico Pavilion 571

Norway Pavilion 572

China Pavilion 572

Germany Pavilion 573

Italy Pavilion 574

United States Pavilion 574

Japan Pavilion 575

Morocco Pavilion 575

France Pavilion 576

United Kingdom Pavilion 576

Canada Pavilion 576

Live Entertainment in Epcot 577

IllumiNations 579

IllumiNations Cruise 583

Traffic Patterns in Epcot 583

Epcot Touring Plans 584

Before You Go 585

Epcot One-Day Touring Plan 585

Epcot Authors’ Selective One-Day Touring Plan 585

Epcot One-Day Touring Plan for Parents with Small Children 586

Epcot Two-Day Early-Riser Touring Plan 586

PART T H I RTEEN Disney’s Animal Kingdom 587

Arriving 589

Operating Hours 589

Getting Oriented 593

Dining in Disney’s Animal Kingdom 593

The Oasis 593

Discovery Island 594

Camp Minnie-Mickey 596

Africa 597

Asia 601

DinoLand U.S.A. 606

Live Entertainment in Disney’s Animal Kingdom 610

Traffic Patterns in Disney’s Animal Kingdom 612

Disney’s Animal Kingdom Touring Plan 612

Before You Go 613

Disney’s Animal Kingdom One-Day Touring Plan 613

PART FOURTEEN Disney’s Hollywood Studios 614

The End of the MGM Connection 614

What’s Offered at the Studios Today 614

How Much Time to Allocate 615

Disney’s Hollywood Studios in the Evening 618

Arriving at Disney’s Hollywood Studios 619

Getting Oriented at Disney’s Hollywood Studios 619

Dining in Disney’s Hollywood Studios 619

Disney’s Hollywood Studios Attractions 619

Hollywood Boulevard 619

Sunset Boulevard 621

Echo Lake 627

Streets of America 629

Pixar Place 632

Mickey Avenue 634

Animation Courtyard 634

Live Entertainment at Disney’s Hollywood Studios 636

Disney’s Hollywood Studios Touring Plan 638

Disney’s Hollywood Studios One-Day Touring Plan 638

PART F I F T E E N Universal Orlando 640

A Universal Primer 640

Universal on the Web 640

Cost 641

A Word about Crowds 644

How Much Time to Allocate 644

Lodging at Universal Orlando 645

Arriving at Universal Orlando 645

Universal Express 646

Singles Lines 648

Lockers 649

Universal, Kids, and Scary Stuff 649

Quitting Time 650

Impact Wrestling and Blue Man Group 650

PART S I X T E E N Universal Studios Florida 652

Universal Studios Florida Attractions 653

Live Entertainment at Universal Studios Florida 668

Universal Studios Florida Touring Plan 669

Buying Admission to Universal Studios Florida 669

Universal Studios Florida One-Day Touring Plan 669

PART SEVENTEEN Universal’s Islands of Adventure 670

Beware of the Wet and the Wild 671

Getting Oriented at Universal’s Islands of Adventure 671

Decisions, Decisions 671

Universal’s Islands of Adventure Attractions 674

Marvel Super Hero Island 674

Toon Lagoon 676

Jurassic Park 678

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter 680

The Lost Continent 693

Seuss Landing 694

Universal’s Islands of Adventure Touring Plan 696

Rolling the Dice with Harry Potter 696

Universal’s Islands of Adventure One-Day Touring Plan 696

PART E I G H T E E N SeaWorld Orlando 697

Discovery Cove 700

PART N I N E T E E N Behind the Scenes at Walt Disney World 701

Multipark Tours 701

Behind the Scenes at the Magic Kingdom 701

Behind the Scenes at Epcot 703

Epcot DiveQuest 704

Dolphins in Depth 704

Seas Aqua Tour 704

Behind the Scenes at Disney’s Animal Kingdom 705

PART TWENTY The Water Parks 706

You’re Soaking in It! 706

Watch the Weather 706

Extra Magic Hours 707

Blizzard Beach 707

Typhoon Lagoon 709

Shark Reef 711

Surf Pool 712

Typhoon Lagoon versus Blizzard Beach 713

When to Go 713

Planning Your Day at Disney Water Parks 714

Water-Park Touring Plans 718

Wet ’n Wild 719

Body and Mat Slides 720

Raft and Tube Rides 720

Other Attractions 721

Wake Zone 721

Aquatica by SeaWorld 722

PART TWENTY-ONE Beyond the Parks 725

Downtown Disney 725

Downtown Disney Marketplace 725

Whither Pleasure Island? 725

Downtown Disney West Side 726

DisneyQuest 726

ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex 729

The Disney Wilderness Preserve 729

Walt Disney World Speedway 730

Walt Disney World Recreation 731

Walt Disney World Golf 731

Golf beyond Walt Disney World 734

Grand Cypress Golf Club 734

Other Standout Courses in Orlando 736

The Best of the Rest 741

Miniature Golf 742

PART TWENTY-TWO Shopping in and out of Walt Disney World 744

Hey, Big Spender 744

Pin Mania 745

Vinylmation 746

Shopping in Walt Disney World 746

Tips for Disney Shopping 746

Downtown Disney 748

The Magic Kingdom 754

Epcot 756

Disney’s Animal Kingdom 758

Disney’s Hollywood Studios 759

Disney Outlet Stores 760

Shopping beyond Walt Disney World 760

Celebration 760

Universal CityWalk 760

International Drive 761

Outlets 761

Traditional Shopping 762

PART TWENTY- T H R E E Nightlife in and out of Walt Disney World 763

Walt Disney World at Night 763

In the Theme Parks 763

At the Hotels 763

At Downtown Disney 764

Walt Disney World Dinner Theaters 767

Universal CityWalk 770

Appendix, Indexes, Touring Plans, and Reader Surveys 771

Readers’ Questions to the Author 771

Readers’ Comments 773

Accommodations Index 777

Restaurant Index 784

Subject Index 788

Touring Plans 816

Clip-Out Touring Plan Companions 835

2013 Unofficial Guide Reader Survey 843

Walt Disney World Restaurant Survey 845

Customer Reviews

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The Unofficial Guide Walt Disney World 2013 3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 20 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was full of suggestions and information that were wonderful. We referenced this book many times during our trip - a must have.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I just got this book on my nook color, and i have had no problems with it whatsoever. I find it extremely infomational and a must have for anyone planning to go to Walt Disney World!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Ebook doesn't work on the nook tablet. It freezes constantly, can't even select the contents without it freezing.
jnoble82 More than 1 year ago
Missing about 50 pages in ebook format. Sad.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
We have used this book for the last three trips to Disney World and I wouldn't consider making a trip without it! It is definitely worth buying a new edition each year because they do such a good job with updates. The online Touring Plans website and mobile app have also been a huge help in de-stressing our trips!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Picked this up in paperback for our upcoming trip.  Chock full of information designed to save you time and money, helping you to get the most out of your trip.   I'm SO glad I picked this up!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This ebook doesn't work properly on my nook. It locks up constantly! I have many other books on my nook and none of them have this problem.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Do not buy this ebook for the nook tablet. I got partway through the book, then it started freezing repeatedly!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book has caused several problems with my Nook. It keeps locking up unless I am near my WiFi connection. Very frustrating.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love this book it's great for the frst time around Disney World !!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I went and it helped so much with our trip but not worth 10$
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I kind of consider myself as a Disney geek,so I flipoed through pages in last year's edition,and I picked up Disney info on what was to come and to know.I like this so much,I could read it cover to cover.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
An absolute must have for anyone planning a trip to Disney World. While I don't have any experience of having this on my tablet, I've owned the last three paperback releases and they have proved invaluable. It's the power of algorithms and statistics at your fingertips in the guise of touring plans, saving you hours of time each day in line. As long as you live by the rule, "if you're not at rope drop, you're late", you'll get more done in the first four hours in the parks than most others will all day.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love this book, its so helpful and full of great information. But the ebook for Nook is terrible. It constantly freezes and crashes. Now I have to buy the paperback just to continue my planning without pulling out my hair. What a waste of time and money. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I need this but it is $11. My family and i are going in march. I have lots of other WDW guides. Let me know if you think it is good by hitting the yes button below. : : : : ?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have only made it a couple of pages before it locks up and i get an errer. Decided to try downlloading the Nook app to my iPsd and tried it there, and it wirks fine.. Not exactly ideal, but at least I can use it.