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View Full Version : Guess who I got an email from...


va32h
03-27-2007, 07:37 PM
...Len Testa, author of the Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World. I had written to him to express my disappointment with the Unofficial Disneyland guide - I know he's not the author of that one, but his coauthor on the WDW guide is.

Anway, I wrote to tell him that while the WDW is fantastic, the Disneyland guide doesn't offer anything close to the same kind of depth.

His replied that he understood what I was talking about, and that the DL guide was being majorly revamped, and what sorts of things would I like to see in it!

He also said that his feeling was that the majority of DLR visitors are locals, who don't need as much info on hotels or dining.

I haven't sent my reply yet. What suggestions would you have?

Amy&Dan
03-27-2007, 08:08 PM
Thats too funny! And you are so right, the DL unofficial guide is pretty lame. I would just tell him that Disneyland is getting more and more new rides and attractions and there are lot of changes in the works (if you read sites like Miceage etc and I would think he does) and that he needs to stay with the action or miss out! Hydroguy posted some information awhile back about the number of out of town visitors DL gets, so its not a small number. Good for you for writing and good for him to actually respond back. Pretty amazing this day in age.

mystic_path
03-27-2007, 08:21 PM
Its true the Unofficial guide just isnt as good at the WDW one. Its good, but not great. Im happy to hear it should be getting better. As for ideas....

- everyone is always asking about crowd levels and the best times to go. Have them alaborate it a bit more. As well as explain what the weather is like at different times with a chart and explain what people should be wearing during each season, and if they can go swimming etc. That wasnt all that well elaborated I didnt think.

- Disney Dining and other places to eat in the surrounding area would be great along with the disney dining number.

- Different airports and different types of transportation such as Disney shuttles to the Disney hotels, or Supershuttle.

- ART transportation, so many people get really confused on that area as to when the shuttles run, how often they come etc... Even if he gave a map of where the busses run. The maps are on certain disney sites so theres no reason they shouldnt be in the book.

- More money saving tips would be a great idea

- An explination over getting riverside seating, or balcony seating for Fantasmic. How you get the priority seating, who to call and when to call and the benifits of each seating vs standing room

- Tips on when to stake out a spot for the fireworks and parades

- I also didnt find there to be a whole lot on DCA park. I found there wasnt much talked about when it came to the Animation Studio and how you can over dub your voice to different character scenes, take a test to see what dis character you are, how you can go learn to draw characters etc.

- I didnt even know about the "Bugs life" 3D show until I got there. I just kind of stumbled up on it. It would have been cool to know about before hand.
- Fast passes should be elaborated on. Which rides have them, and when you should get them as some rides seem to run out of them faster then others. As well as you cant get some fast pass rides until your other fast passes expire.

tinkermell
03-27-2007, 08:25 PM
There is no chart for crowds and so forth. He doesn't give hardly any dining reviews at all... if any. I know that there aren't as many as WDW, but he could still give his opinions on the dining places there are! Also would like more input on Hotels, maps of Hotels, reviews, and so on. It just seems like it could be in the same format, just a smaller version.

darph nader
03-27-2007, 08:29 PM
Ahh,you foolish mortals. NEVER buy 'any' guide,when your tax $$ pay for a library. I check mine out from the local library every-other year for any 'updates'.

(of course if your library dosen't have it,you're pretty much hosed):sad2:

mystic_path
03-27-2007, 09:23 PM
LOL I actually looked at my local library, but they only have one from 2004. I kinda was hoping for something a bit more current. So I bought mine.

Oh and another thing that would be really good to add, is how much it costs an average family per day at the park and why.

princess@heart
03-27-2007, 09:42 PM
Maybe people who aren't local to DLR don't go as often because "Guide Books" don't do it justice? :confused3 Maybe what DLR needs is a good, in-depth guide like the ones to WDW.

mystic_path
03-27-2007, 10:27 PM
Maybe people who aren't local to DLR don't go as often because "Guide Books" don't do it justice? :confused3 Maybe what DLR needs is a good, in-depth guide like the ones to WDW.

Exactly. I am really enjoying this thread. No one really knows what the resort has to offer. Its a good idea to have a resorce book, but come on, you gotta do something to promote yourself a bit better.

va32h
03-27-2007, 10:34 PM
Thanks for everyone's replies so far - I want to give him a good answer. He did say that he and Bob Sehlinger, the other author, would be in DL very soon to start researching the new guide.

My feeling is - sure DLR attracts a lot of locals, but are they the ones buying the guidebook? Probably not.

My general response would be - treat DLR just like they do WDW and write the same kind of comprehensive guide with hotel reviews, dining reviews, attraction and entertainment reviews, etc.

I pointed out that the DLR guide does not review any offsite hotels, which is downright shocking, considering that offsite locations far outnumber onsite. And the WDW guide reviews several offsite hotels and resorts as well as all the Disney ones.

DLR may not have many table service restaurants, but the WDW guide reviews counter service as well, why not for DL?

Basically, I just want them to treat DL as a destination in its own right, not as the red headed stepchild of the franchise.

princess@heart
03-27-2007, 10:39 PM
Exactly. I am really enjoying this thread. No one really knows what the resort has to offer. Its a good idea to have a resorce book, but come on, you gotta do something to promote yourself a bit better.

BTW, I love you pic. pirate: I did kinda the same thing with me infront of my Cinderella Castle poster. People think I was really there when it was taken! LOL

mommy2allyandaveri
03-27-2007, 10:53 PM
I 2nd the vote for more dining reviews and stuff about food in general.

JenDisneylandlver
03-28-2007, 12:31 AM
Disneyland, just for locals????? I think not! LOL Yes I'm sure locals do go there often (I sure would be there all the time if I lived there!). But people come from all over to see where the magic all started. Just locals, PHOOEY!

grimgrningghost
03-28-2007, 10:02 AM
bummer I just bought the 2007 book yesterday from amazon. I would never buy a guidebook for WDW because there is just so much information available online but I have been trying to research our first trip to disneyland and I haven't been able to find much so I broke down and ordered the guide. Looks like maybe I wasted my money.

tinkermell
03-28-2007, 11:38 AM
bummer I just bought the 2007 book yesterday from amazon. I would never buy a guidebook for WDW because there is just so much information available online but I have been trying to research our first trip to disneyland and I haven't been able to find much so I broke down and ordered the guide. Looks like maybe I wasted my money.No... you didn't waste your money. It still has good pointers, general info, and ride critiques. It's just that it's inferior to the WDW version!

Alex2kMommy
03-28-2007, 12:37 PM
Thanks for everyone's replies so far - I want to give him a good answer. He did say that he and Bob Sehlinger, the other author, would be in DL very soon to start researching the new guide.

My feeling is - sure DLR attracts a lot of locals, but are they the ones buying the guidebook? Probably not.
Exactly what I was going to say! A local is not going to be buying their book; perhaps an experienced DL vet wouldn't buy it, either. Treat their audience as someone who has never been there, and will be coming in from out of town. (Ie. Needing hotel and transportation information, including airport tips, car rental, taxi, bus, shuttle, etc.)

I read an article awhile ago indicating which cities were the 4 major markets for DL. I don't remember what the other cities were, but Seattle area was one. What would travelers from these cities need to know? When I go to DL, it's not for one or two days, it's for a week!

My general response would be - treat DLR just like they do WDW and write the same kind of comprehensive guide with hotel reviews, dining reviews, attraction and entertainment reviews, etc.

I pointed out that the DLR guide does not review any offsite hotels, which is downright shocking, considering that offsite locations far outnumber onsite. And the WDW guide reviews several offsite hotels and resorts as well as all the Disney ones.

DLR may not have many table service restaurants, but the WDW guide reviews counter service as well, why not for DL?

Basically, I just want them to treat DL as a destination in its own right, not as the red headed stepchild of the franchise.
Thank you, YES! You are right on the money with all of those points. :)

I have not seen the WDW Unofficial Guide, but in comparing different DL/So Cal guidebooks, I liked Birnbaums because it had more pictures, and more detailed descriptions of restaurants and shops. The UG was great about describing/rating rides and shows and touring plans, but not much else. IMO, the UG was the best of the bunch, but could have been better.

Information on weather (by time of year) and crowds (by time of year, day of week, time of day?) would be helpful. Tell them to review this site and see which questions get asked most and which are answered in our stickies! Also peruse HydroGuy's Rules. (And if they use them, they should pay/credit him for the information!) :thumbsup2

Zoemakes5
03-28-2007, 12:40 PM
No... you didn't waste your money. It still has good pointers, general info, and ride critiques. It's just that it's inferior to the WDW version!

I have to agree. What made me mad was that a lot of the excerpt and little stories were exactly the same!! GRRR! At least change it up a little bit!

That being said, I'm a DLR and WDW veteran, and I still purchased it again for this trip! Even with it not being "as good", it's still better, IMHO, than the other options out there.

The dining info. is what I'd really like to see and there is just nothing. Off site hotels is another. A section specifically dedicated to WDW goers who are going to DLR (maybe he can contract HydroGuy to do that section!) as it's a very very common question here, IRL and on other boards I've been to.

From what I understand (heard it here!), the authors WANTED to do one like WDW's, but was limited on pages because "the park caters to locals". The dining reviews got axed. Another thing that I could see as a problem, DLR seems to change it's dining info./options just way too often and quickly and dramatically. (Example, allearsnet updated menus, etc. in 10/2006 and since then DLR has limited the "child" age to those 9 & under, while it used to be 11 & under for the food. Pretty big difference in price to some people.)

mystic_path
03-28-2007, 12:46 PM
BTW, I love you pic. pirate: I did kinda the same thing with me infront of my Cinderella Castle poster. People think I was really there when it was taken! LOL

LOL Thanks... No really Captain Jack and I were really cuddling... ha um yeah :rolleyes: :rotfl: Your Cinderella castle picture sounds adorable. You should post it.

Oh and as for this thread, if you reply back to the guy, send this thread link along with it. That way he can see what other disers have to say. I am sure he would love to hear feed back from other obsessed fans.

JennyW
03-28-2007, 12:53 PM
I, too, was disappointed with the Disneyland version. I bought the WDW one for our trip there last summer. Then I read the Disneyland version. It read as if they took the Disney World one, took out the rides that Disneyland doesn't have, and add a few, and that's about it. It has some blatant (to me) inaccuracies. For example, it says on the Pooh ride that you ride in honey pots. You DO ride in honey pots at WDW, but at Disneyland you ride in bee hives. C'mon people.

mystic_path
03-28-2007, 12:56 PM
I, too, was disappointed with the Disneyland version. I bought the WDW one for our trip there last summer. Then I read the Disneyland version. It read as if they took the Disney World one, took out the rides that Disneyland doesn't have, and add a few, and that's about it. It has some blatant (to me) inaccuracies. For example, it says on the Pooh ride that you ride in honey pots. You DO ride in honey pots at WDW, but at Disneyland you ride in bee hives. C'mon people.

You are so right. I guess thats what Disney calls trying to save time and money. HaHa!

cedmonds
03-28-2007, 05:43 PM
We actually purchased the Birnbaum's guide. It has much more information then some of the other "unofficial books". It reviews all dining, hotels on and off property. we found it to be very helpful in the planning stasge for our WDW trip first time and I will let you know when we come back from our first trip to DL Next MOnday:banana: how it went. Borders had a special and we got it 30% off to make it even better