Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Loss Of Innocence

Back in 2005, I took a trip to Walt Disney World with my eldest brother, Scott and his family.  On our flight I remember my brother pulling out a huge book called the "Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World."  He had little bookmarks in the pages and clearly it had been used frequently.  Little did I know that within a year this "tiny" book would become my Disney bible. 

I admit, I owned a Birnbaum's guide book in like 2003 but we just won't talk about that.  It was a low point in my life.  I'm so glad that I realized that the Unofficial Guide was truly the best Disney guide book out there.

Authors Bob Sehlinger and Len Testa are the powerhouses behind this book of genius.  Len's tribe of minions do research all year round to make sure the Unofficial Guide is as accurate as it can be.  They do a great job at allowing readers to be informed of honest opinions instead of coating their brains with how marvelous WDW is.  Disney isn't perfect and the Unofficial Guide points out the pitfalls so you can be well informed before arriving on your vacation. 

Where I think the Unofficial Guide seperates itself from other guide books is all of the leg work that goes into being factual.  I've heard some of the stories from Unofficial Guide researchers of all the crazy things they've done/endured in order to get the most accurate statstics.  What may seem time consuming and frivolous to some actually ends up meaning a lot to readers at the end of the day.  Isn't it helpful to know which resort on property has the most efficient transportation?  Or which restaurant serves the absolute best steak?  Okay, so I'm vegetarian... steak doesn't matter to me so much but a darn good ice cream sundae sure does.

All of the statistics happen to be my favorite part of the Unofficial Guide.  Especially in the dining section.  I'm such a foodie and I'll shout it from the rooftops that I can recite most of the menus from WDW restaurants.  Every dining location has good years and bad years.  Managers and chefs change all the time.  I like to keep up to date on that stuff for my upcoming trip so I'll know which places I may want to avoid and which places I should give another chance. 

The masterminds behind the Unofficial Guide also operate an amazing website called Touringplans.com.  Please go check it out!

Okay, I admit it.  I have a secret crush on every person that works on the Unofficial Guide.  My Disney nerd brain longs to sit down with these people and have a conversation about the fluffiness of resort pillows.  Then we'll all get dole whips together and take shots of maple syrup.


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  2. In case you're bored or interested...my friend has written a few blog entries over at touringplans.com.

  3. I love the Unofficial Guides and I'm a HUGE reader of www.disboards.com - my 2 favorite Disney planning sites. I also like TourGuide Mike, as well as the Passporter. Being a Disney addict, though, I pretty much like anything related to Disney! :)

  4. I do belong to touringplans.com...love the crowd calender!! I plan my days based on their info!! And it has yet to lead me astray! But I do love the Passporter and frequent their message boards!

    Hey...if you're interested, stop by my blog and sign up for my first ever blogfest!! http://thewriterscocoon.blogspot.com/2011/01/my-first-ever-blogfest.html

  5. The disboard is the devil. Way too many wackos there. Passporter.com and wdwmagic.com have much better forums.