Unofficial Guide - Comments

Discussion in 'Theme Parks Attractions and Strategies' started by henrylovespooh, Feb 18, 2005.

  1. henrylovespooh

    henrylovespooh DIS Veteran

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    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.
     
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  3. BostonRob

    BostonRob DIS Veteran

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    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.
     
  4. ashjohnson80

    ashjohnson80 <font color=red>Everything is sexier in a kilt...<

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    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...
     
  5. Micca

    Micca Where there's a will, there's an heir

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    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:
     
  6. mariamouse

    mariamouse <font color=CC66CC>Believes in the magic!!<br><fon

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    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
     
  7. Dizznee Freak

    Dizznee Freak Mouseketeer

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    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.
     
  8. Luv2Travel

    Luv2Travel Member since there were less than 5000 members!

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    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. :)
     
  9. JessetheCowgirl

    JessetheCowgirl DIS Veteran

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    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

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

    sk!mom DIS Veteran

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    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.
     
  11. DMRick

    DMRick I prefer to be tagless!

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    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.
     
  12. Brian Noble

    Brian Noble His Curmudgeonly Highness

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    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.
     
  13. buckeye

    buckeye Mouseketeer

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    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.
     
  14. goofy4tink

    goofy4tink No tags...not needed! Transportation moderator Moderator

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    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.
     
  15. paigevz

    paigevz <font color=blue>I work on the other side<br><font

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    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...............
     
  16. nbandfour

    nbandfour Mouseketeer

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    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
     
  17. LegoMom3

    LegoMom3 I have just met you and I love you.

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    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.
     
  18. blanq

    blanq DIS Veteran

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    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.
     
  19. PolyHereWeCome

    PolyHereWeCome DIS Veteran

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    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:
     
  20. dis-happy

    dis-happy DIS Veteran

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    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. ;)
     
  21. NoPepper

    NoPepper Earning My Ears

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    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.
     

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