Saturday, August 04, 2012

Two Books About Disneyland

Wendy Lefkon, editorial director, Birnbaum Guides 2009: Disneyland Resort: Expert Advice from the Inside Source: The Official Guide (7/21)

That, more or less, is how the cover bills this book, with all of the things that seem to be title elements in order from top to bottom. (The copyright page is no help at providing an "official" title.) I also look dubiously on this book for not having an old-fashioned "writer," but instead having what seem like four or five editorial Chiefs, no actual Indians, and one guy credited for "additional material." (Given that this is an officially licensed Disney product published by an arm of the Disney octopus itself, it may well be that most of the text here is official, coming from some Disney functionary or document.)

Yes, I'm planning another vacation. This year, the Hornswoggler family will not be returning to the halls of Orlando (where we've been in November for the past four years), but are instead heading to the fabled land of Anaheim. And so, as usual, I'm reading a bunch of guidebooks to figure out what we'll most want to do, and how to do it with the minimum amount of fuss.

This particular book is several years old, which isn't its fault. (My local library system has far fewer books on Disneyland than on Disney World, presumably based on traffic patterns.) It's published annually; I've linked the current edition above. It's superficial and completely uncritical, though, and that is it's fault. The Birnbaum book is a decent guide to the basic details of the two theme parks and other Disney stuff in Anaheim (and has some suggestions and ideas for other things to do with your time in Southern California once you're all Moused out), but I would be very wary of trying to use a book like this a primary planning tool.

Bob Sehlinger, Seth Kubersky, & Len Testa, The Unofficial Guide to Disneyland 2012 (7/26)
I have previously expressed my admiration for the Unofficial guides (primarily the ones dealing with Orlando attractions), so take that as read -- also, the fact that these books are (for the moment) published by the same company that signs my paychecks regularly might tend to make me more positive about them.

So: as I just said above, this year's trip is to Anaheim, where I've personally been twice over the past decade (for business trips, from which I carved out half a day or a bit more to get over to Disneyland), but which the rest of the family hasn't seen. The physical layout is completely different from Orlando -- the two Disney parks and accompanying stuff are smack in the middle of a city, with a bunch of what looks like mostly older hotels surrounding it, plus a convention center and its associated stuff just to the south. I'm still figuring out where to stay, particularly since I'd like to both be able to walk to the parks and stay in a decent place with enough space for me, The Wife, and our two ever-growing sons.

After using them for several long, expensive trips, I trust the Unofficial Guides to tell me the truth: what's good and bad in any particular Disney thing (ride, show, hotel, restaurant), and also about the surrounding non-Disney stuff (unlike some official publications, which prefer to ignore anything non-Disney in the vicinity). I haven't completely decided all the details of the upcoming trip, but I am sure that this Unofficial Guide has already been a lot of help, and that I'll be referring to it regularly for a while to come.

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