The first time my family used one of “The Unofficial Guides” was in the early 1990s on a trip to Walt Disney World (WDW). My mom convinced us that following their touring plan, as zig-zagging as it seemed, would be the best way to experience as much as we could on our vacation. We followed their guide on that trip and on subsequent trips to both WDW and Disneyland, and appreciate the time saving advice each time. So I gave a quick ‘YES!’ when I was offered the chance to review the 2019 version of The Unofficial Guide to Disneyland.
The 2019 version of this travel guide covers everything within the Disneyland Resort, as well as reviews of nearby non-Disney hotels and an entire section on Universal Studios Hollywood. The book is authored by people that go as tourists, just like you and me, plus they include in the book opinions, reviews and advice from their readers, giving you a wide-spectrum of ways to plan your vacation. While the book is 384 pages long and it is not meant to be read cover-to-cover, I found myself doing exactly that. Based on my nearly 40 years of going to Disneyland, the advice is accurate plus the amusing stories and anecdotes kept me engaged.
I was pleased to see a section on the upcoming Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, as well as touring plans that incorporate this new land into your day. We plan to hit Disneyland in 2019 once Stars Wars opens, and will be able to test out the plans to see how well it works. The authors do note that they are not sure how Disneyland will implement control over what is expected to be record crowds. They are assuming Disney will restrict admission in one way or another, such as only allowing Disneyland Resort Hotel guests access into the new land at certain hours, which could impact how you end up being able to use the touring plans.
Sections in this book cover what you need to do ahead of your vacation, reviews of both the Disneyland Resort Hotels and off-site neighboring hotels and restaurants, an entire section on doing Disneyland with kids, and of course detailed descriptions of each attraction and entertainment option in both Disneyland and Disney California Adventure. The back of the book has touring plans that are meant to be cut out and brought with you on your trips. There are plans for one day or multi-days, plus plans for families with children – my favorite of which is the “Dumbo-or-Die-in-a-Day Touring Plan”. The book helps you decide which of the many plan choices will be right for you, and give you the flexibility to skip steps in the plan and also how to recover from blips, such as loosing your wallet, while you are in the midst of your plan. If you don’t want to pull out the pages, you could also take a photo of the plan on your phone to take with you.
The reviews of dining and shopping options include detail on pricing, location, type of food, and if reservations are required. This section of the book is very thorough, but I did find that the review for Plaza Inn noted that reservations are recommended. I think it should be made clearer in this review that there are only two reasons to make reservations at the Plaza Inn – one is for the Character Breakfast and the other is for the Pixar Play Parade reserved viewing. It was confusing to me reading the review, even though I know that the Plaza Inn is otherwise a Quick Service dining option (that happens to be my husband’s favorite!) that does not require reservations. Also, mobile ordering was just added to certain dining options at Disneyland, and this is even covered in the 2019 version of the book.
One of the biggest complaints the authors received about their touring plans is how they are “The Death to Spontaneity”. These plans have prescribed steps on the order you should ride attractions and eat meals, and following them means you’ll be crossing the parks regularly to both pickup FastPasses (if not using MaxPass) or to wait in a queue for a ride. My suggestion is to follow these as much as you can, especially if you are a first-time visitor, and then make adjustments based on your family and your experience at Disneyland. We still use the same principals and steps offered in this guide (we ALWAYS plan to be there at least 30-40 minutes prior to rope drop), and we make changes based on how we feel that day, what rides on the top of our must-do lists, and how crowded or not-crowded a park is on that day.
Overall, I highly recommend this book to both the seasoned visitor and especially to the first-timer. Even though I have been to the Disneyland Resort more times than I can count, I picked up new information from the 2019 version, and we will be using this guide on our upcoming trip. If you are interested in a review of The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World 2019, be sure to read Passholder Diva’s review.
GIVEAWAY: Would you like to win a copy of this Unofficial Guide for yourself?? Great news, we’ve partnered with the Unofficial Guides to offer one lucky Tips from the Disney Divas and Devos reader a copy of their own Unofficial Guide to Disneyland 2019.
First, you will need to sign up for the Unofficial Guide newsletter here.
Second, you will need to like Tips from the Disney Diva on Facebook
You will use the Rafflecopter link below to confirm your entries – additional entries are available, but the two mentioned above are mandatory to enter.
You will need to “LIKE” each of the Facebook entries for those to count. All entries will be verified. The winner will be contacted by email and have 48 hours to respond. The contest ends on Friday, October 5. GOOD LUCK!
*Disclaimer: Liliane Opsomer from The Unofficial Guide series provided me with a complimentary copy of The Unofficial Guide to Disneyland 2019 to review. She also generously has allowed Tips from the Disney Divas and Devos to give away a copy of another Unofficial Guide book to our readers. I received no other compensation for my review, and my opinions are completely my own.
*Copyrights for the photographs used in this article belong to Liliane Opsomer as noted and are being used with her permission.
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