by Disney Magic Diva
We have been traveling to the Walt Disney World Resort with our own children since 1989, and with our grandchildren since 2010. We’ve been accompanied by kids as young as 13 months up through college-age, so we are very confident in our skills in planning and carrying out a successful Walt Disney World Resort vacation for children of all ages. However, the writers and researchers behind the venerable Unofficial Guides have just released the updated (for 2019) edition of The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World with Kids, and they bring to light many ideas we’ve never considered.
This book is structured much like the other entries in the Unofficial Guide series; divided into topics such as Basic Considerations, Budgeting, Where to Stay, Dining, and Preparing to Tour. Touring plans for different stay lengths are included, as well as descriptions and ratings of every attraction at Walt Disney World Resort. What makes this particular book different from other guidebooks in the UG Series is the additional focus on doing Walt Disney World with kids woven into each of the existing sections. If you’re not necessarily traveling with children, you will probably want to read The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World (which Passholder Diva reviewed, here.)
Take this tidbit about MagicBands as an example. When families purchase park admission for everyone in their party, the Disney computer system links everyone together. If family members happen to mistakenly switch MagicBands, each person will still be able to enter the park with the incorrect band. This has been verified by Unofficial Guide researchers having a “platoon” of men, women, and children swap bands; they all were admitted into the parks without any problem.
Most guidebooks written for Disney World focus on describing the parks and attractions, but this book wants to make sure you are taking all variables into consideration before you even decide to go. Under the section on Basic Considerations, advice can be found for single parents, grandparents, whether or not to invite your children’s’ friends, and even maintaining order on the trip to Orlando.
“Getting Your Act Together” discusses several topics important to parents as they prepare for a vacation with kids. Two babysitting services are explained in detail to allow parents to see how thoroughly the sitters are vetted and exactly what services are covered. The special programs for kids offered by Walt Disney World include several behind-the-scenes tours that work well with kids, such as Behind the Seeds at Epcot and Dine with an Animal Specialist at Animal Kingdom. The guide includes all the expected information for these programs, such as days, times, cost, and how to reserve; but also has the kind of extra highlights that help parents make a sound decision. As an example, the My Disney Girl’s Perfectly Princess Tea Party and the Wonderland Tea Party are listed among these programs, along with an entry from a reader describing her experience with both parties, which include both the good and not-so-good critiques. First-hand reports like this offer readers that something extra that makes the Unofficial Guides so valuable.
“Where to Stay” includes all of the detail about hotels we have come to expect from the UG folks. The strengths and weaknesses of each Disney hotel are discussed, with insights such as how families with younger children tend to spend more time at Magic Kingdom, making on-site hotels close to Magic Kingdom something to consider. The book also contains detailed information on almost 30 off-site hotels which the Unofficial Guide researchers and readers have determined to be good choices for Walt Disney World vacations. Perhaps our favorite topic in this section is on child-proofing your hotel room. As doting grandparents, we always do everything we can to keep our grandchildren safe, and this one page includes plenty of tips to help with that endeavor while staying in a hotel.
The Dining section is just as thorough as all of the other chapters, allowing the reader to compare restaurants from inside Disney World with good choices outside the resort. Again, their selections are informed not only by their own researchers, but also by the thousands of readers who have volunteered information over the years.
Each of the four theme parks at Walt Disney World Resort are described in great detail in their own chapters with maps and information on every attraction, including appeal by age group and cute little cartoon symbols that show at a glance if the attraction is right for you. For many of the attractions, personal comments have been added by children who have opinions to share. Everything is geared to making it easy to find out what you need to know about any and all of the attractions in each park.
This guidebook includes a section covering Universal Orlando in the same manner as the sections on the four parks of Walt Disney World. However, as the authors make clear, this is not a substitute for the full Unofficial Guide to Universal Orlando. It is enough to get you started if you are thinking about a visit, at least. They also cover the water parks, SeaWorld, Disney Springs, and outdoor recreation options in the area.
The final pages of the book are clip-out pages of numerous touring plans for the Disney and Universal parks. Each plan is designed with certain criteria: number of days, age of children, early risers or sleepyheads, parents or grandparents, etc. The touring plans may be the most valuable take-away, especially for first-time visitors.
Our final words on the Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World with Kids 2019: this is a terrific resource, even for veteran travelers like us.
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 Walt Disney World with Kids 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 26. GOOD LUCK!