Sunday, September 05, 2010

Book-A-Day 2010 # 214 (9/5) -- Two Guides to Walt Disney World

Today is a cheat, I'm afraid; the family and I will be off to a quick end-of-summer vacation in a couple of hours, and I've been hip-deep in planning for a much longer and more involved vacation for later in the Fall, so I don't have anything substantial to write about this morning. I do, though, have two books about Walt Disney World that I've recently finished, so I'll toss them together quickly. (There may be another post like this later, as this one follows Book-A-Day # 192, Beyond Disney, since I'm still infested with guidebooks.)

Anyway, first (and more useful) was Birnbaum Guides: 2009: Walt Disney World Dining Guide. It's a slim book -- one could easily take it on vacation and carry it around in purse/pocket/backpack, which I suppose is the point -- and is entirely on one subject: what's available to eat within WDW. I'm a big fan of eating myself -- I find that if I don't do it regularly, bad things happen -- and there actually are some good restaurants (and excellent food) within "the World." But Disney is the kind of place that requires serious advance planning if one hopes to sit down to dinner at night -- really, I've already made dinner and lunch reservations for the duration of our stay, and I didn't always get the times I wanted -- so a book like this is crucial. I read a year-old edition from the library, so it might be slightly out of date, but this guide has the best information on food at Disney. The only possible thing I could fault it on is not having coverage of the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival -- which will be running when we hit the Mouse -- but, since that's only six weeks out of the year, it's not really fair for me to expect it. If you're going to be in WDW, and you're going to want to eat somewhere other than whatever fast-food place you pass when you happen to be hungry, this is the best book available.

Second is a more general guide, DK Eyewitness Travel: Walt Disney World Resort & Orlando. It attempts to mix the DK style -- well-designed pages, with just the right information and lots of color -- with a more traditional cover-the-whole-World guidebook format. I didn't find that entirely successful; DK skimps in areas that other guides excel (lists of restaurants and hotels, details of rides and attractions, schedules), due to the necessity of fitting everything into these classy pages, and because this book isn't an annual (and so the information is allowed to be a bit vaguer, since it won't be updated as quickly). I've got two other very colorful guides that I'm poking through, both of which look to be more useful than this DK book in their own ways. This one tries to be an all-in-one guide to Orlando, but it's not big or detailed enough to do that. (It also has at least a few errors, as when it talks about the seasonality of crowds in WDW -- yes, summer is traditionally "slow season" for Florida, but not for theme parks; that's one of the peak times, and DK's team should know that and make it clear.) So this one was a disappointment.
Book-A-Day 2010: The Epic Index

No comments:

Post a Comment