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henrylovespooh
02-18-2005, 04:25 PM
I read these boards, allearsnet.com, and mouseavers.com obsessively and am a plan-a-holic. I had seen some recommendations for the Unofficial Guide so I purchased it. I have to say I'm disappointed in most of the book. I'm not sure I would recommend it to others.

I don't think I learned anything new (the touring plans are good but you can also find that info on the boards), and the Guide authors don't seem to like any of the dining at WDW and are negative about almost everything, even restaurants I have been to and love. For lodging, we are staying at ASMo this time because we're going at peak time and we wanted to save money that could be used better elsewhere. The Guide's write-up on the Value Resorts starts with: "If you're planning to save for a Disney vacation, save enough for a bigger room." Well, not everyone can.

What I love about the DIS boards is that they are written by people who love WDW. They may not like individual restaurants or hotels, but they love Disney. These are the opinions I value.

Thanks to all who participate on these Boards - your advice is invaluable.

BostonRob
02-18-2005, 04:31 PM
I guess the point of the unofficial guide is to give you opinions from people who aren't working for Disney or so enamored by Disney that they love everything.

You've got to keep that in mind when reading these boards. 99% of the people who are here are here because they LOVE Disney. That tends to make their opinions biased - they'll always look on the bright side of things and try to like things or try to convince themselves they liked things.

I didn't like the unofficial guide the first time I read it, but the more I read it, the more I liked it. There's something ot be said for impartiality. I can't say I like it more than the Birnbaum book, but I think maybe I like them equally.

ashjohnson80
02-18-2005, 04:36 PM
I'm glad that I'm not the only one who doesn't like this book. I decided to buy it instead of Birnbaum's book and I was really disappointed. I thought that they were way too critical of the dining and other things its like a sourpuss book. I don't know...

Micca
02-18-2005, 04:42 PM
I have been buying the UG for years. When the book was first published, there was no internet, and precious few other guides(Birnbaum was the Official book and it pretty much sugar coated everything). In the UG they state right up front that a Disney vacation can be a wonderous thing, but savvy travelers will go in with eyes open and a plan to prevent the whole experience from becoming overwhelming. YMMV :earsboy:

mariamouse
02-18-2005, 04:46 PM
Aren't the Unofficial Guide editors members of the DIS? :confused3

Personally, I like the book more and more as I read it-- it is overwhelming for a new Disney visitor to read, but I find that, as a frequent Disney visitor, it is really helpful... I agree that many restaurant reviews are overly harsh, though... it's a good change of pace from Birnbaum's, though-- I like having both! :wizard:

mariamouse

Dizznee Freak
02-18-2005, 04:47 PM
I agree I get more info from my fellow dis'ers. Books cost money and usually have outdated info. The info I get here is usually cutiing edge and most of all factual.

Luv2Travel
02-18-2005, 04:52 PM
I love Disney, I'm a huge plan-aholic, and I happen to love this book. I buy the "Unofficial Guides" to just about any destination I plan to visit. I find the book very honest and helpful.

My first trip to WDW I carried it into the parks with me :blush: to know what my children might or might not like to ride. The touring plans were a must on our first trip. I still use them, but have tweaked them to fit our style better. I recommend this book to anyone I know who's going to WDW for the first time. I don't need the book as much now (10 trips later), but I still enjoy reading it and bought the 2005 edition. I love the inserts from Jim Hill that they have added.

I don't agree with some of their ratings, but they get lots of feedback from readers to help them make those ratings. I believe the authors do enjoy WDW, but they don't look at the resort through rose colored glasses like most of us do ;) . I appreciate that not everything has a huge build up to it, that way I'm less disappointed. I like not expecting quite so much and then being surprised by liking something more than I thought I would. Like Sci-Fi Dinner theater for example. That place gets horrible reviews for its food, but I happen to love the place! I think they have the best corn chowder I've ever had. :teeth: Anyway, I really appreciate the book (can you tell :p ), but to each his own. :)

JessetheCowgirl
02-18-2005, 05:02 PM
I LOVE the UOG. And I disagree that the same info can be had here (or anywhere). The itineraries are WONDERFUL!!!! We followed them to the letter on our last trip and never waited more than 10 minutes to ride anything. This was the 4th of July week with a 4 and 2 year old. I can't imagine our trips without these itineraries!!!

This morning someone asked for Fantasyland touring tips---you will notice that no two posters recommended the exact same order:

Fantasyland Tips Thread (http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=744099)

I agree that the dining reviews are harsh---but then, my family thinks Chili's is fine dining :banana:

sk!mom
02-18-2005, 05:03 PM
I love the UG. Some things I agree with and some I do not but I like the unbiased advice.
I agree with them about the value resorts. I have stayed at both ASSP and PC and found the rooms to be uncomfortably small, and PC was too noisy. We stayed at a value the first time because we had previously stayed off-site and thought that staying on site would be enough no matter where we were and looked at it from the perspective that we would not be in the room much. The second time we were traveling with another family: Disney virgins who were having sticker shock about the whole vacation and would only stay value. DH says never again. Values are fine if they are your only choice but the UG wouldn't be much of a travel guide if it didn't point out the negatives of staying there.
We are staying at the CR on our upcoming trip and I am looking forward too a larger room and the monorail.

DMRick
02-18-2005, 05:12 PM
Books cost money and usually have outdated info.
***
They are updated on the website.

I do find a lot of times, people here on the boards, quote their info, and state it's from the UG. I know I like it, but don't study it. I've been there lots of times, and I know where I shoud be and when. However, we are bringing a newbie to this next trip, and he won't let go of the book. He found it very helpful and has his plans made. Luckily there are lots of different books you can buy to carry with you..so you don't have to use a book you don't care for. As for the Dis, while I bring them with me to DW, I can only ask for info at night, on the laptop, back in my room.

Brian Noble
02-18-2005, 06:08 PM
From where I sit, the UOG seems pretty balanced. True, they have found that certain restaurants (and for that matter, certain attractions) don't review well with people who visit, and others don't review well with food critics. But, they also point out which restaurants are visitor favorites, critical favorites, or both. Since I don't expect to eat at all of the WDW restaurants in my life, let alone one trip, this is valuable information to me.

I suppose it is possible that one could compile all of the info that is in the UG if one combed the various and sundry boards constantly, and could distinguish between those who knew what they were talking about and those who did not. However, even if your time is worth minimum wage, that $20 investment is repaid if it only saves you four hours of board-combing.

The UG, along with TourGuideMike, are the two resources I recommend to family and colleagues considering trips to the World. Considering that the two of them together cost approximately what it costs to add parkhopping to one ticket, I think they are well worth the money.

buckeye
02-18-2005, 06:09 PM
My family loves the UG. My 8-year-old son loves to read the book at bedtime. It's fun to have a book to read about all the rides and the hotels and the pools, etc... when you're waiting for your trip to arrive! The DIS is great, and I spend a lot of time on it, but there's something nice about having a book that you can hold. We read it on the trip down too. Plus it's written in such a humorous way. We always get a good laugh at the letter written by the guy who dressed his family up in garbage bags for Kali River Rapids!! :rotfl2:

So, we don't really buy it for the info, but for pleasure reading.

goofy4tink
02-18-2005, 06:32 PM
Another UG lover here. Yes, I can get very up to the minute info here. But for dining reviews and room layouts I like to have something in hand. And even though UG seems to dislike WDW and everything in it, I have found that I do agree with a lot of the things in the book. They are giving you the facts as they see them, not as Disney would like you to see them.

And I have to say that the writers/contributors for the UG have been very good about taking our critiques very well. They have even made changes to the website based on input from us. I know that when I saw something wrong in a room layout, Len made adjustments on the website in order to correct it. So, things are kept up to date that way.

I will continue buying and recommending it to friends. Is it perfect? No, but it's good to have and reread.

paigevz
02-18-2005, 06:33 PM
Sorry you didn't like it................I just found these boards this year, but have bought each year's Unofficial Guide since 1998, and have had fabulous success following their plans..........and did you also know they update on-line, and have other plans there that are more "exact" specifications for certain types of groups at www.touringplans.com. Len Testa is on these boards frequently, I think he's a contributing source for the book. He just posted some very cool "cheat sheets" they are beginning to come up with to make it even easier to minimize waits, I've never seen anything like them. I can't live without my UG!

Edited to say, not sure, but I think someone else mentioned Len is an editor of the book? I don't know, but I know he has a lot to do with it! Sorry if I got it wrong, Len...............

nbandfour
02-18-2005, 06:34 PM
It's pleasure reading for me too- sits on my bedside table year round. We also found the touring plans to be very helpful last spring on our first trip to MGM. I'm just waiting for the updated 2005 to come out this month. Then, and only then, I can toss my 2004.

NB

LegoMom3
02-18-2005, 06:44 PM
For lodging, we are staying at ASMo this time because we're going at peak time and we wanted to save money that could be used better elsewhere. The Guide's write-up on the Value Resorts starts with: "If you're planning to save for a Disney vacation, save enough for a bigger room." Well, not everyone can.

I just had to throw in my own 2-cents here because on this point, I couldn't agree with you more!! We stayed at ASMo last fall, simply because we couldn't afford anything else, period. Yes, the rooms are small, but when you're asleep, who cares?! We aren't people who tend to spend oodles of time in our room, so it didn't matter to us. I found the UG write-up on the value resorts pretty critical, too. I guess if you're a world traveller, or go to WDW frequently and spring for larger rooms, these would seem small. But they seemed pretty average to me, compared to other hotels we've stayed at. And it's really hard for me to justify spending upwards of $200 or more per night just for a place to sleep!!! I'd much rather spend the money I save on dining or souvenirs! ;)

On the other hand, there are many things I like about the UG. Among my favorites are the little cartoons in the rides section that says "Warning: This ride will muss your 'do!" DH and I quote that everytime we board something like Space Mt. or Splash Mt.!...it's become a running family gag.

blanq
02-18-2005, 06:52 PM
Really? You didn't learn one new thing? I frequent all of the websites you mention, and I have learned things from the UG that aren't available anywhere else. For one, the "Peek Behind the Scenes" boxes scattered througout the book provide all sorts of interesting tidbits I didn't previously know about. Also, the UG provides a plethora of information on traffic patterns that I haven't found elsewhere, and the day-by-day crowd calender is something unique too. I had a 2000 UG, and recently purchased the 2005 version. Between those dates, I have visited WDW 6 times. Granted, alot of the information was not new to me, but I did learn something.

PolyHereWeCome
02-18-2005, 07:06 PM
The beauty of these boards is that everyone is entitled to their opinion!

As for me, I've thoroughly enjoyed reading the '04 UG and am eagerly waiting for the '05 revised UG. Just checked our local Barnes & Noble, and they don't have the newly revised '05 yet (they do have the earlier '05 one, but I'm holding out for revised).

I like that it "tells it like it is." :flower:

dis-happy
02-18-2005, 07:07 PM
I love the UG too! :love:

And I am eternally grateful to the friend who loaned me her copy before our first visit to the world---during spring break in 2003. I was a veteran of Disneyland, pretty confidant, and had NO IDEA what I would be getting into at WDW. The UG helped us decide which of 3 parks to visit, how to get PH's at a discount, plus we followed the touring plans and missed all the lines. Since then I've bought my own copy, loaned it out liberally, and spread some Disney magic along the way. Long live the UG! :cheer2:

PS. The DIS has been great too. But I didn't find it until I was researching DVC last August. Another plus is that the UG can go into the park with you---it's harder to lug my laptop around and try to dial in while in line for Test Trak. ;)

NoPepper
02-18-2005, 07:47 PM
My wife and I are making our first trip to Disney in March, and without the UG we would be in a complete panic! As dauting a task as tackling Disney World may be, we have found the UG perfect for planning, suggestions, tips, and tricks to make our trip better.

Obviously we all have different opinions on the best ride, the best restaurant or the best hotel, but I feel if you use the book for what it is intended - it is a "Guide" afterall, it is a great asset. Use the book as a guide, but make your own decisions.

MickeyMouth
02-18-2005, 08:07 PM
Since I have been lucky enough to go to WDW a number of times, I don't use any guide books to help with my vacation. That being said I love :love: The Unofficial Guide to WDW! :earsboy: I read it to make me feel better about not being at WDW. I don't care about bad reviews about restaurants or rides, :confused3 the only opinions I care about are my family's! :grouphug:
But I enjoy reading other people's comments good :teeth: or bad :rolleyes2 . Just reading about different resorts, restaurants or attractions brings me closer to the magic! :wizard:

fam4jc
02-18-2005, 08:14 PM
I love the UG. I recommend it to anyone planning a trip to WDW. Agreed some of their reviews are harsh, but you must remember that they are partially grading on quality vs price. And in than sense hardly any of the WDW restaurants would receive a grade of A :teeth: or realistically the hotels rooms either. I could really stay ultra, ultra posh for $450 a night in most any major city in the world. but I choose to spend my bucks at a place I love - WDW :love:

I like that they research crowds and actually walk the parks taking notes, etc. It's a great guide that isn't intimidated or biased with Love. :cheer2: I own two of their guides now. I only wish they would do a day by day crowd level for Disneyland!!!

Gotta Love Len :banana:

Poohbear123
02-18-2005, 08:21 PM
I bought this book back in 1999 and thought it was a hoot! :rotfl: Especially when they tell you if you are short on cash, dip into the "fountains for change." :earseek: That would be a NO! :sad2: I thought it was funny picture-ing a few people fishing they're hands into a fountain for some lunch money.... :rotfl: :rotfl2:

danny1649
02-18-2005, 08:30 PM
On this board I would like to to say I'm proud of all poster's to this thread for posting your opinions in a great way.Being good enough to post many opinions without being nasty or mean spirited to each other even though many good and bad points are discussed in and expressed without anger.Congratulations to you all :goodvibes :earsboy: :wave2: PS I like the UG but I think they are a little tough on dining venues.

skiwee1
02-18-2005, 08:32 PM
I don't like the UG either. The way they try to cheat at different things makes me crazy. I'll stick to the Official Birnbaums when I want a good read and to the boards when I want accurate info. To each his own though. I know many love UG. I'm just not one of them. :flower:

floridagirrl2
02-18-2005, 08:45 PM
DH and I have annual passes and have been 8 times in the last 14 months. I read the DIS boards nearly every day (sometimes obsessively!)

But I still LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the Unofficial Guide. While the DISboards, AllEarsNet, MousePlanet, the Steve Soares site, etc. are very helpful, the UG has the most organized, unbiased, and thorough collection of information in an easy-to-use format (a book! :earsgirl: ). I learn something new everytime I pick it up.

It's written in such an informal, anecdotal, entertaining way that I, too, keep it on my bedside table and use it for pleasure reading....as a way to fall asleep dreaming sweet Disney dreams.

tomerin
02-18-2005, 09:01 PM
What I love about the DIS boards is that they are written by people who love WDW. They may not like individual restaurants or hotels, but they love Disney. These are the opinions I value.

Thanks to all who participate on these Boards - your advice is invaluable.

i couldnt have said it any better then you did !!!! :goodvibes :goodvibes
:disrocks: :disrocks: :banana: :earboy2: :earboy2: :banana:


but i have to agree with others who do like the book. actually i have bought it 2 years in a row and i have found advice in it very useful. the reviews on rooms and resturants i always take with a grain of salt anyway. after all they are opinions based on how a person feels at that particular moment. But i do read them anway.

i do like to read so the book is something i enjoy reading. to be honest everytime we go to Borders i always get a disney book and sit and have a cappy while my wife goes about shopping. i dont know if i will buy it again next year but i will definitly buy it again.

LegoMom3
02-18-2005, 09:19 PM
i do like to read so the book is something i enjoy reading. to be honest everytime we go to Borders i always get a disney book and sit and have a cappy...

Absolutely! I just love to read the WDW guides, period. Makes me feel like I'm there even I can't be. :sad2: I could pass many an hour at Border's that way... :hourglass

pumpkinfish
02-18-2005, 09:29 PM
Dipping in with my opinion...
I guess I like the UG because it is another book on Disney! Who cares if I agree with the authors in all aspects or not. I figure it is entertaining, and deals with DISNEY! What is there not to like! :love: :earboy2: :hyper2:

minivan3
02-18-2005, 09:29 PM
Bought it a few years ago.......didn't like it at all!!!!

Found it waaaay too negative. On several things.
I came to feel that I was sitting with someone who picks at each part of something until they find a negative about it. Became too much of a chore to make myself read it and not get mad at it. :confused3

Stick with these boards! :)

Gabrielle
02-18-2005, 09:34 PM
I love the UG - I think the UG and Birnbaums are the two books to read and bring to WDW with you.

But, as others have said - these boards have the most up-to-date information.

lentesta
02-18-2005, 09:51 PM
I'm sorry to hear henrylovespooh didn't like the Guide. I've PM'd him to see if there's anything I can do to help with his trip.

On a lighter note, (and I'm laughing when I'm writing this, just so there's no misunderstanding) what's this "don't love Disney" talk? I have a tattoo of Mickey Mouse just above my ankle; I've permanently inked the corporate logo to my leg! I'm probably banned from Universal's press events! All I ask is that we keep that tattoo in mind when reading the Guide. Okay, maybe not the best visual, especially at night, but darn it, you know what I mean. :earboy2:

Len

pumpkinfish
02-18-2005, 09:54 PM
I'm sorry to hear henrylovespooh didn't like the Guide. I've PM'd him to see if there's anything I can do to help with his trip.

On a lighter note, (and I'm laughing when I'm writing this, just so there's no misunderstanding) what's this "don't love Disney" talk? I have a tattoo of Mickey Mouse just above my ankle; I've permanently inked the corporate logo to my leg! I'm probably banned from Universal's press events! All I ask is that we keep that tattoo in mind when reading the Guide. Okay, maybe not the best visual, especially at night, but darn it, you know what I mean. :earboy2:

Len

LOL :rotfl: I am actually sitting here picturing the tattoo right now! :earboy2:

Luv2Travel
02-18-2005, 10:11 PM
On a lighter note, (and I'm laughing when I'm writing this, just so there's no misunderstanding) what's this "don't love Disney" talk? I have a tattoo of Mickey Mouse just above my ankle; I've permanently inked the corporate logo to my leg! I'm probably banned from Universal's press events! All I ask is that we keep that tattoo in mind when reading the Guide. Okay, maybe not the best visual, especially at night, but darn it, you know what I mean.

It's that since of humor all through out the book (and all "Unofficial Guides") that makes me love it! :teeth: :teeth: :teeth:

paigevz
02-18-2005, 10:45 PM
Len is the Director of Data Collection and Field Research for the 'Guide..............now I got it................the tattooed Director, it would seem................

crazee4mickey
02-18-2005, 11:08 PM
I love the UOG...it was my travel "Bible" for our entire trip! :teeth:

valandemmy
02-18-2005, 11:15 PM
We have not yet read the UG, however, since this was our first trip we wanted something that gave us a little more information about the surrounding area's.
we went with the "EVERYTHING family guide to the walt disney world resort, universal studios, and greater orlando" by Jason Rich (WWW.Jasonrich.com)

I would be hard pressed to find another book as detailed as this one is.

anyone ever read this one????

Bella2000
02-18-2005, 11:18 PM
I have also purchased other Unofficial Guidebooks (Las Vegas, Cruising to name a few). This WDW version is the first book I recommend to eveyone and I have to say I l:love: the associated website.

I appreciate the updated info there and those cool data tools. The new cheat sheets, the sample tours, the best day to visit and the ticket examples - I could go on and on and you can see all of these things for FREE. Of course I also think the value is fantastic enough to purchase the book year after year. I've enjoyed the new info (JimHill history) they have placed in it for the 2005 version and I am waiting for the 2nd printing revised with best days to visit annual chart.

I believe that they do love Disney and believe in it (so much so that they are dedicated to have people experience it eyes wide open to ensure they know what they are undertaking). I also found them particularly inclusive giving info and praise to others (The DIS, passporter, allearsnet etc all have gotten nods from them). This is why I give this as a gift to every Disney novice. I cringe everytime I hear someone going into the parks with no clue and expressing later how they waited in line all day and the experience wasnt a good one.

So I personally haven't lost any magic reading the Unofficial Guide. I read it and then place my rose color glasses firmly back on since I know what pitfalls that may befall me and avoid them.

YourMajesty
02-18-2005, 11:45 PM
I'm a big fan of the UG. It's written with great humor and a nice dose of reality. I will have to say that during our first trip in 1996 we were afraid to eat at any of the restaurants. Now, two kids later, we realize that the restaurants are part of the disney "magic". With the price you have to pay and the average food quality we can understand why they rate them like they do;however, we add more PS with each trip! We have never stayed at a value resort but I can understand that most people have to pick and choose where they spend their money. It's nice for them to point out if room size and quality is important you might want to save more for your room. We're lucky to be able to stay at SOG which has both!

Wish I lived in Fl
02-19-2005, 12:15 AM
I read once there was an empirical formula for happiness on vacations
Happiness= Expectations/Actual

So if you read both positive and negative views ,then on your vacation you'll have more realistic expectations and will be less likely to be disappointed.
The Disney dining seems to vary incredibly in quality and service.

Sammie
02-19-2005, 01:26 AM
I think if you mix it with the Official guide, take most of what is said in it with a grain of salt, you can digest it without too much heartburn. I do find most of it very cynical though.

I the daily plans are the most useful thing in the book. I do not agree with a lot of the reviews of resorts and dining.

I agree with Skiwee they always seem to promote the method of "cheating the Disney system".

I will stick with these forums and when I need an detailed plan I will go with TourguideMike.

FanofG00fy
02-19-2005, 04:30 AM
I bought my first UOG in 2003. The first time I read it, I was shocked that someone was giving BAD reviews about my Dream vacation stop. So I dropped it and didn't pick it up for 2 years. Now that I read it, and after I have been 5 more times since then, I have to admit...I have changed my opinion! I'm looking forward to buying the 2005 edition. I think I wanted sugar coating when I first bought it....now tell me the truth!!!

Thanks for letting me share my opinion!

Chris

Mainebound
02-19-2005, 06:57 AM
I love the UG, and one of my very favorite things about it was exemplified in Len Testa's reply to this thread: humor! These people are very funny. Not many books make me laugh out loud, but this one does.

As for being critical of WDW, well, you don't have to share the UG's criticisms of particular things to find the book valuable. Many many DIS threads (about thievery, bad meals, bad resort stays, broken or defunct rides, crowds, park hours too long or short, rude CMs, line -cutters, shall I go on???) are on the negative sidee, but I don't let them dictate my own view.

Anyway, the OP has a right to like or not like any particular book. There's no right or wrong when it comes to these kinds of personal preferences. Next time, you can make other choices, and be happier with them.

goofy4tink
02-19-2005, 07:28 AM
Well, who knew? Len with a tattoo!!!! :earsboy: Very cool.

But I have a question for Terry and the other poster who said the UG 'cheats'. Could you give me an example? I can't think of what or where you mean. Yes, they give some shortcuts but, my word...with all that traipsing all over the park, back and forth, how can it be cheating? Or am I missing something? Just curious.

TLinden16
02-19-2005, 08:03 AM
I'm another fan of the Unofficial guide, and I have recommended it to many folks over the years. Everyone I've recommended it to has found it to be a valuable planning tool for their trips.

The reason why I like it is they tell it like it is. They don't sugar coat it. It gives you a lot of useful information that helps you make the most of your time and money. Yes, they are tough on the food, but let's face it, the food at Disney isn't always that good. It's over priced, and less than stellar.

I have had the pleasure of meeting both Bob Shelinger and Len Testa, and both of them are very passionate about Disney, and their products. I spent a bit of time talking to each of them individual on a Drink Around the World at Epcot in December 2003, and they joined me and other DISers for an evening at Jellyrolls that evening (I even dragged Len into the conga line). They make frequent trips to the World to make sure that they are providing the most accurate and up to date information in the guide.

And, of course, I agree that the DIS is a valuable tool as well. Where else can you get pretty much instantaneous responses to anay question you have. We have a great group of people here.

Karen

Ariel Wanna-be
02-19-2005, 08:39 AM
I just have to board the UG Love Train, too...

When we decided to make our first trip to DW, the very first "planning" thing I did was to buy the UG...and boy, am I glad I did! The information in that book was invaluable, and I loved the humorous way it was presented.

These boards are wonderful, they are up-to-the-second accurate, and I will never leave them, but the UG will always be my first love! :lovestruc

Becky

MickeyMonstersMom
02-19-2005, 09:41 AM
Another fan of the UG here - the level of detail is boggling, and the humor adds to it in a way that keeps me buying each version every year. Even as a first-time trip planner I appreciated the realism of the UG, finding Birnbaum's nauseatingly (and seemingly falsely) upbeat - I mean, no vacation can be *that* perfect. I'd much rather be prepared for the worst and pleasantly surprised than the opposite.

A comment RE: the All-Stars - I happen to adore ASMu and don't love its disparagement in the UG, but I've also seen similar - if not stronger - negativity about the Value resorts here at the DIS and among acquaintances as well. If anything, the UG does reflect that (apparently sizeable) portion of the population who simply do not like them. I simply choose to disagree. :)

J.C.&ALI'SMOM
02-19-2005, 09:48 AM
I

For lodging, we are staying at ASMo this time because we're going at peak time and we wanted to save money that could be used better elsewhere. The Guide's write-up on the Value Resorts starts with: "If you're planning to save for a Disney vacation, save enough for a bigger room." Well, not everyone can.






I wanted to put the quote from UG regarding the All-Stars in context. "If you are planning to save for years for your grand Disney vacation, save enough money for a bigger room"

I think the writers are referring to those who plan to visit one time and will be (obviously) saving for years. I don't think they were making any statements about people who have small budgets.

Please tell me how UG condones "cheating"?

J.C.&ALI'SMOM
02-19-2005, 03:32 PM
I'm bumping for an answer to my question.

Poohbear123
02-19-2005, 04:54 PM
Len, that is the SAME tatoo I want to get!! I am sooo jealous....

JessetheCowgirl
02-19-2005, 05:03 PM
I'm bumping for an answer to my question.
I think they are referring to the Chuck Bubba Relay where both parents wait in line separately to get the kids 2 turns on a ride with only one waiting period?

Asil65
02-19-2005, 07:08 PM
Hi, Just wanted to mention to check into your local library for WDW resource books. You may be suprised what you will find. I just borrowed a Birnbaum for kids guide from 2003. A little old but still helpful. I like the passport book. Lisa

dreams4disney
02-19-2005, 07:37 PM
I have read my copy that I bought last October so many times it is the most worn out book I have. I love it!

MECH8T7
02-19-2005, 08:08 PM
We're planning our first family trip to WDW in a few weeks. Our planning began with the UG almost 8 months ago. These boards have great detailed info, but the UG gave a comprehensive starting point. I'm the type of person that wants to hear about all potentially not so great aspects of WDW. We knew we were going to be spending a lot of money on this and we also knew that we were going to during a VERY busy time. The UG prepared us for being realistic in our expectations and forced us to plan our trip in a way that we will still really enjoy it despite the crowd.

I can perhaps see why WDW veterans who have their own opinions on the accomodations, restaurants and attraction may not find much use for it. But, for newbies like us, it gave a great starting point for our planning and really got us thinking about our trip in a way that other guides would not. For example, I don't think any of the other guides would have got us really thinking about exactly what it would be like to tour the parks with our kids. UG has a detailed guide on the character meals and the ratio of characters to diners. The UG gives you enough detail that you can plan out which parks you would visit on which day on a multi-day stay. The data on estimated travel times by various modes from resorts to parks and resort to resort. Again, all of this was invaluable for a trip like ours which is happening during one of the three busiest weeks at WDW all year. It would have taken us months to figure all of that stuff out as Newbies just by reading posts on the DIS boards!

DrTomorrow
02-19-2005, 08:33 PM
Jumpin' in late, but I lurve the UG too! I started reading it way before I found the DIS (all I had was RAD [see Internet, history of]) and it was the only even-handed reference there was. Even now, I read each new addition because I learn new things - yes, even things that I don't learn here - and because it's an amusing and well-written reference.

More than anything else, I trust the folks who put out the UG. I don't always agree with every review - just like with my trusted movie, music, book and TV critics - but I know that they are honest.

Be well.

PS To the OP: all you're going to find around here is folks who are generally pro-Disney; I'm not sure what kind of person would hate Disney but read and post on the DIS....

disneylizzy
02-19-2005, 09:23 PM
My kids think I am obsessed because my copy of the UG is in the pocket of the driver's door of my car, so I can always "escape" to WDW while waiting to pick up from hockey, basketball or CCD. I love, love, love it.

lham1531
02-19-2005, 11:00 PM
Anyone know when to expect the revised version to come out? I checked our bookstore 2 weeks ago and it still had the first 2005 version (the one before the ticket and EMH changes) -

I like UG too and am ready for the latest!

dmslush
02-19-2005, 11:31 PM
I just bought my very first UG. I am a huge passporter fan.. but tired out waiting for the 2005 books to ship, so I bought a UG. I haven't formed a solid opinion of it yet, but I think I am going to like it. I like the touring guides. I think it is a good compliment to the passporter when it comes to planning our trip.

I also know that I can get 99.99999% of the info that both UG and passporter have in their books right here on the boards, but I know that I like to lay down and read before I go to bed, and there is nothing better than falling asleep with a planning book in hand and dreaming about disney!!!!!!!!!!

Mermaid02
02-20-2005, 07:42 AM
Anyone know when to expect the revised version to come out? I checked our bookstore 2 weeks ago and it still had the first 2005 version (the one before the ticket and EMH changes) -

I like UG too and am ready for the latest!

I'm wondering too. :sad2: I'm getting impatient!!

bytheblood
02-20-2005, 08:48 AM
I totally agree OP. I do not care for the book one little bit. I use it for toilet paper for the dog. (Okay, I really don't have a dog :teeth: )

I have no issues with the unbias opinions, but I do like to get the opinions from people that actually enjoy their visit to WDW. That is why I come to these boards. Not haters of WDW, but people who tell their experiences.
*Just a side note, I do not purchase the Offical Guide because it is laced with pixie-dust from Disney, therefore it is completely bias. Again, the reason I come to these boards.

The individuals who work for UG and write their opinons may as well be writing, "I hate Disney World, what a sucky job I have, I cannot believe I have to go to WDW again just to get this stupid book out." :crazy: Sorry Len, you may have Mickey tatooed on your ankle, but you have cynicism tatooed on every page of the book.*In the book they make comments that they have been accused of being "cynical" but swear they are not - if a lot of people are getting that from the book, there must be a reason for it.

In defense of the guide, I do not see where they are condoning cheating or anything of the sort. The only thing I see is the writers provding short-cuts to make your trip easier. I think that is unfair to accuse them of providing documentation on how to cheat.

GoofieRuthie
02-20-2005, 09:12 AM
Please tell me how UG condones "cheating"?

I think they are referring to the Bubba Chuck relay.

My boss let me borrow her UG and it's not too bad. I like alot of the info in it. I was rather surprised that it persuades parents to use "lifts" or taller shoes to make a child the right height to ride a ride. I know lots of people do it. I was just a little shocked to see it in print, I guess. Other than that, I think I like the book. I probably wouldn't pay for it, but it was nice to have it borrowed.

skiwee1
02-20-2005, 09:14 AM
I have never heard of the bubba chuck relay so that wasn't what I was referring to. There were other things in the book that I was talking about but won't repeat them here. It's bad enough that those that buy the book see them.

JessetheCowgirl
02-20-2005, 09:18 AM
You have peaked my curiosity---I can't think of anything else that would constitute "cheating".

Unless you mean the section on "tall" shoes??

We love the UOG---I guess I should be glad that some people do not.

Fewer people following the itineraries means shorter waits for us :banana: :banana: :banana:

bytheblood
02-20-2005, 09:23 AM
Unless you mean the section on "tall" shoes??

You know, I wondered about that too - but then I thought to myself - it seems like the parent would be more concerned for their child that they would want to follow the rules in place. Which is more important? Your child's safety or worming a way to get your child on a ride that Disney is suggesting was not designed for them quite yet.

So - I do not really think that is cheating, just a poor suggestion.

I personally did not see anything that suggested "cheating".

disneyjunkie
02-20-2005, 09:46 AM
I buy the UG each but I no longer read the dining reviews or the touring plans.

We travel during school breaks. By getting to the parks early, taking advantage of EMH, and using fast pass, we avoid long lines, and manage to hit pretty much everything in each park.

I love the detailed ride descriptions and the reader comments that are found throughout the book.

I'll never understand why parents would try to make their child appear taller than they are just to get on a ride. What happens if the child gets hurt? Will they fault Disney for allowing the child on the ride?

SteinsLaFemme
02-20-2005, 10:30 AM
I was dissapointed with the book because some important information such as ticket availibility and prices were incorrect. They said MYW tickets were only available for 7 days (when they are available to 10 days) and they said all of the tickets are non-expiring. They had no option for the less expensive non-expiring kind.

I bought the book early in year. It is possible that a revised edition has come out since and corrections are listed on their website.

RobinMarie
02-20-2005, 10:33 AM
I have always appreciated the perspective of the guide myself. I used to buy Birnbaum but while it's pretty I feel like it's just another ad for DW. I like critical feedback and find the book provides just that.

Bella2000
02-20-2005, 10:52 AM
I was dissapointed with the book because some important information such as ticket availibility and prices were incorrect. They said MYW tickets were only available for 7 days (when they are available to 10 days) and they said all of the tickets are non-expiring. They had no option for the less expensive non-expiring kind.

I bought the book early in year. It is possible that a revised edition has come out since and corrections are listed on their website. The UG is printed in the Fall of the previous year - so 2005 was printed I think in August or Sept. Most guides are printed the previous year. The only exception that I know of is Passporter which typically prints in January. Frankly with so many changes that Disney is making even the upcoming 2005 Passporter will have a slew of changes. I think this is just the nature of print vs. online. I think that the UG companion website is fantastic and they have done an excellent job updating the 2005 and older version there as well as lots of other great tools. Unofficial Guide Website (http://www.touringplans.com/)

Slacking
02-20-2005, 10:55 AM
Undertaking a WDW vacation can be a huge task. Also, people going in without realistic knowledge and expecting an entire stressless and 100% happy vacation will most likely come away disappointed. I think the Unofficial Guide gives the readers a realistic view. Its not sugarcoated and void of any negatives (Birnbaums...... I'm looking at you), which WDW does have. I love the Unofficial Guide, and still buy a copy every few years even though I live an hour away from the parks.

As for the height issue. You don't have to listen to a book. A book isn't a parent. The parent obviously makes the final call about whether they want to "cheat" the system or not. The book gives suggestions, it doesn't say YOU MUST DO THIS!!!! Anyway, my opinion is that if a child is very close to the requirement, but not quite there, a tiny lift isn't going to endanger their safety.

MickeyMonstersMom
02-20-2005, 11:08 AM
I totally agree OP... [snip]

I have no issues with the unbias opinions, but I do like to get the opinions from people that actually enjoy their visit to WDW. That is why I come to these boards. Not haters of WDW, but people who tell their experiences... [snip]


The individuals who work for UG and write their opinons may as well be writing, "I hate Disney World, what a sucky job I have, I cannot believe I have to go to WDW again just to get this stupid book out." :crazy: Sorry Len, you may have Mickey tatooed on your ankle, but you have cynicism tatooed on every page of the book.*In the book they make comments that they have been accused of being "cynical" but swear they are not - if a lot of people are getting that from the book, there must be a reason for it... [and one more snip]


Obviously, many people do read the UG this way. Yet - and I find it fascinating - I never did. I've read the comments to that effect both in the book and here on the DIS, and am mystified that people would see the book as cynical or hypocritical, when I honestly have always perceived it as sincerely, lovingly, realistic - sort of a "we really love this place but sometimes think it does not meet its potential" vibe. Whereas Birnbaum's vibe is more of a "everything here is always perfect; vacationers will never experience a less-than-ideal-moment," to me the UG says, "this place can be near-perfect as long as you are prepared to deal with these possible pitfalls."

Again, I find the differences in readers' perspectives fascinating.

bytheblood
02-20-2005, 11:12 AM
Whereas Birnbaum's vibe is more of a "everything here is always perfect;


You could not be more precise. :) That is the very reason I refuse to purchase the Birnbaum book.

PatriciaH
02-20-2005, 12:19 PM
LOVE the UG! I bought my first one in 1993 for a trip with my little sister. I was facinated with the descriptions of the ride systems and how they worked. Now the guide is twice as large and chock full of great info like that! It made me want to work for WDW:) I never thought the writers hated WDW! How could someone that hates the parks spend that much time researching and writing about them? Check out the rumors board and you will see many people that love Disney saying very critical things about what needs to be improved. Some of the people on there have worked for Disney for many years and love the parks but know it is a good thing to be critical sometimes.

We met Bob S. at Mousefest and he is a great guy. We also own the UG for Las Vegas and cruises and they are a big help when you sell travel.

Dopey's twin Dippy
02-20-2005, 01:07 PM
i used to read those books to along time ago. now i just come on here. But i also book all of our res. by myself, we usually dont do packages. I still laugh though when people talk about room size. i gues s to each their own. But we have stayed off site, in condos , and at the all stars at least 7 - 8 times. We have been really lucky cause we have had great stays . The rooms are clean, we love the food courts, the cm were always nice. So we really arnt in our room much. But for what we need it is fine. We have had 2a and 2 kids with all our luggage and still had plenty of room.But like we all say, to each their own. someday i would like to try poly. cause i dont like to fly so i know ill never see Hawaii..........ha ha ha ......no matter where you STAY you will have fun..................................

henrylovespooh
02-21-2005, 10:23 AM
As the starter of this thread, I just wanted to add that I have continued reading the UG and my initial negative opinion has changed for the better. The park info and touring plans are great, the essential phone numbers have already been a big help, and the tips and humor throughout the book have got me smiling again. :)

My husband also looked through the book last night (he's not a big planner-type) and found it very informative.

pumpkinfish
02-21-2005, 10:39 AM
As the starter of this thread, I just wanted to add that I have continued reading the UG and my initial negative opinion has changed for the better. The park info and touring plans are great, the essential phone numbers have already been a big help, and the tips and humor throughout the book have got me smiling again. :)

My husband also looked through the book last night (he's not a big planner-type) and found it very informative.


:cool1: :goodvibes :cool1: :goodvibes :sunny: :cool1: :goodvibes :cool1:

Good to hear!

swilphil
02-21-2005, 11:21 AM
The UG is great for people who have very little Disney experience. A disney vet won't learn much from it though I constantly do. It's definitely better than any other travel/guidebook out there. It's also very well written and a fun read. I do think the Dining Reviews are a little harsh, so I take that with a grain of salt.

ExPirateShopGirl
02-21-2005, 12:17 PM
If it weren't for the Unofficial guide....

I never would have learned about Mousesavers...

If it weren't for Mousesavers...

I never would have known about All Ears Net...

If it weren't for All Ears...

I never would have found DIS place....

I got more for my money (plus free shipping and no tax from Barnes and Noble!) than I knew!

:earboy2:

fishy_mouse
02-21-2005, 02:19 PM
The UG is the best Disney World guide book available. It is straightforward, unbiased information. The Birnbaum book is little more than a printed version of the Disney vacation DVD. It's Disney advertising that people pay for.

Granted, UG can be a bit irrevrent. One persons, irreverence is another person's criticism. But here is some shocking news for this site: NOT EVERY PERSON LOVES DISNEY. UG realizes this and reports accordingly. That is what I like about it. A person going to WDW for the first time knows exactly what they are getting into.

That said, any information source can be useful if you understand where the writer is coming from. No guide book will be 100% accurate in a constantly changing environment like Disney. Before the web, these books were just about the only information source and sometimes you just don't want to log on.

SoCalKDG
02-21-2005, 07:25 PM
I love the book.

I'm glad that they now include % of people that enjoyed a restuarant besides their own review.

On the lifts in the shoes. I don't believe in lifts, but I wouldn't have a problem with a shoe that might have a 1/2 heel. I also wouldn't condemn the book for making that suggestion. You can find something like that on the Disboards.

By the way, I like Birnbaums as well. Easier to relate with the wife, who wants less details, but still enjoys some info.

jimmiej
02-21-2005, 08:56 PM
I respectfully disagree with the OP. On our first trip to WDW, we did everything wrong (& still had a blast!). Then I found the UG. My eyes were opened! That's when I became an expert. I think it's a must for newbies. I read it now for fun, although the latest version had a lot of new things to enjoy.

Dave Dizney
02-21-2005, 09:24 PM
If you're only reading one book before you go, UG is the guide. From the very first time I bought one, to the one I bought last year, I still consider them all good reading, and I've got a shelf full of them (sometimes just to see what they've updated). Some may say it's essential to newbies, but I still love it when a plan comes together! Long before the "Mini-Mickey" I was using the UG to put together my little daily planners.

This was the original guide for us OCD people, and continues to give pretty good reviews from the top down. A few of the problems with the guide include completely up-to-date information (that's what the DIS Boards are for!) and better graphics and layout.

One of the greatest moments of my life was being in the same production as the writer Bob Sehlinger! He is right when he says those who don't go to Disney with a plan could use a frontal lobotomy!

fishy_mouse
02-22-2005, 08:30 AM
There would be a lot less post that are negative or expressing disappointment on the DIS is everyone read UG.

meandtheguys2
02-22-2005, 09:05 AM
I think we have every UG ever written. I like it. I don't care for Birnbaum (my kids like the kid one though) the Passporter just wasn't my style, but did like the Disrespectful guide to disney. I enjoy knowing what needs to be planned around. And how to do it. Fluff is not my style. I already know how awesome Disney is!

princesstommi
02-22-2005, 11:00 AM
I love the UG! Every trip, it helps in a different way. For my honeymoon, it was invaluable for PS planning, and on our last family trip, i was so thankful to have a review of all attractions because I had never travelled with a toddler before. I'm sure I will be getting the new one closer to our October trip, just because I can't imagine travelling without one.

sarahsmom3
02-22-2005, 03:37 PM
Has The New Copy Of The Unofficial Guide Come Out Yet And If So Where Can I Get It???