Best Disney/ Universal Guidebooks

What guide book do you recommend to newbies and the inexperienced?

From Skipper Adam
Posted October 31, 2011 at 7:34 AM
Both as a CM and a Disney/ Universal nut, people ask me what guide books I think they should use to plan their vacation. I know most readers of this site probably don't need a guidebook at all because we know the contents by heart, but what are your top recommendations for the better guide book?

From Fred Koury
Posted October 31, 2011 at 8:06 AM
Birnbaum's for Disney hands down.

From duncan henny
Posted October 31, 2011 at 8:15 AM
i don't really use books i tell people to use this site because nearly any question can get answered from many different point of views and you get great tips too

From Tom Rigg
Posted October 31, 2011 at 9:43 AM
I gotta be honest, I used to be a Birbaum's guy. And I still think it is a really great book. (My parents buy one every year they go as a sort of souvenir even though they don't need it.) But, a couple years back I bought the unofficial guide to Walt Disney World and it blew me away. It had things in it I didn't know and had a lot fo full color pictures and more game planning tips than Birmbaum's does. It is definitely the most bng for your buck.

Another great suggestion for those who want a guide that isn't for the novice Disney traveler is the Imagineer's Field Guide Series. They aren't really trip planners, but they are fascinating guides to the Disney Parks.

From Robert Niles
Posted October 31, 2011 at 11:16 AM
I've mentioned this a couple times on the board, but I'm working on a Theme Park Insider Guide to Orlando book, and will eagerly accept suggestions on what to include (or leave out).

From Andy Milito
Posted October 31, 2011 at 2:10 PM
The one I own from 2007 is really neat and handy. It's The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World.

From Skipper Adam
Posted October 31, 2011 at 2:29 PM
I'll admit that my favorite is the Unofficial Guide because of the way the have categorized, researched and surveyed everything. Their touring plans easily save me hours of waiting in line.

The amount of information is amazing too. It's a little different most guide books because it's scientific, based on numbers, attendance, capacity etc.

From Anthony Murphy
Posted October 31, 2011 at 9:14 PM
I agree with Unoffical as well. Birhibam, while the guidebook of choice for Disney, I think is missing some important items.

I can't wait for the TPI Guidebook. I think it would be better than most!

From Robert Niles
Posted November 1, 2011 at 8:05 AM
What are the most important items that you want to see in a guidebook?

From Rob P
Posted November 1, 2011 at 12:17 PM
Well Robert I can advise you what NOT to put in in your guide. All the other guide books have recommended, for years, making your way around the Parks in a kind of anti-clockwise direction to avoid the crowds. The result is that everyone now does that so it's actually far better to go the usual route. Confused ?

I would like to see more information about the actual in-line entertainment. Some attractions have great theming which can be missed if you have a fast pass and I think a lot of people , like me, enjoy that pre-show ( ie Indiana Jones ride @ Disneyland )

From Andrew Carrieri
Posted November 1, 2011 at 3:24 PM
Disney: Unofficial Guide. I'm not a huge touring plan guy but the rest of the info is incredibley useful and often laugh out loud funny imo. Also, since the 2005 edition, I feel the reviews aren't as pessimistic as they were in prior editions. Only real qualm is sometimes it isn't as thouroughly updated as it should be.
I also think Birnbaum's is good for a first timer due to the pictures. The Complete Guide by Julie and Mike Neal are good for remembering your trip (descriptive summaries and lots of photos).
I think Passporter is good if you want to organize but doesn't have much value otherwise. Any other general-purpose WDW guide to me isn't worth buying (i.e. Everything Guide, Fodor's, and general Frommers).
Universal: Universal Orlando: The Ultimate Guide to the Ultimate Theme Park Adventure by Kubersky and Monaghan. It is to my knowledge the only strictly Universal book on the market and has good descriptions of almost everything. Be forewarned that in past editions the book was 99.9 percent positive (i.e. not much criticism of the resort).
The only other option for Universal I can think of is the section on it in The Unofficial Guide to WDW or the the Unofficial Guide to Beyond Disney.

From Jennifer Schwing
Posted November 2, 2011 at 8:00 AM
Robert, there are a TON of guidebooks on Disney (my favorites are the Unofficial Guide for it's no-nonsense straight up reviews and the PassPorter Guide for the gorgeous full-color, pockets in back, planning tables, etc.) but not enough for the other resorts! I wish there was a super-in-depth guide for Universal, Legoland, Seaworld, and I really had wished there was one for Busch Gardens Williamsburg when we went in August! I asked for advice here, but got very little response.

Important to me in a guidebook: color photographs to get me in the mood and relive memories, places to make notes and calculations, HONEST opinions on restaurants and attractions, and plenty of humor!

From Skipper Adam
Posted November 2, 2011 at 8:00 AM
I have to agree with Jennifer, the last thing we need as a guidebook to Disney. But one that focuses on other parks in the area would be most helpful.

From Seth Kubersky
Posted November 4, 2011 at 7:31 AM
Did someone ask for a Universal Orlando guidebook? :-)

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