Thursday, September 04, 2014

Book-A-Day 2014 #247: Frommer's EasyGuide to Walt Disney World and Orlando 2014

Don't worry: I'm not going to waste as much space in this year's Book-A-Day for travel guides to Orlando as I did in 2010. (Then, I had five posts covering nine books; the last of them was Day 267, which links back to the earlier ones.) I think this will be it: I hit this year's Unofficial Guide as Day 222, and now I have a slightly more out-of-date book with a different perspective.

It's probably rude to mention the out-of-date thing, since Frommer's EasyGuide to Walt Disney World and Orlando 2014 was published in January, and that wouldn't make much of a difference most years. But this has been a year of major change in the Orlando theme-park world, with Disney entirely revamping their FastPass ride-reservation system (and finally opening the last piece of the "New Fantasyland" in a minor, kid-friendly roller coaster) and Universal opening a major new themed Harry Potter area in their original park. I've got a voracious appetite for information, and the world of RSS feeds only makes that too easy, so I'm in the odd position of knowing more about what's going on in a place I haven't been for a year than the expert book I'm reading.

Most people, though, won't focus on the cutting-edge changes: they want to know the basics of when to go, where to eat, what to do, and where to sleep at night -- and, even more so, how to save money and time doing those things. Frommer's is a long-running, trusted travel brand, and it's developed an excellent, info-packed style for its books that makes them browsable as well as useful to read straight through. And the author of this book, Jason Cochran, is also the editor-in-chief of, which I imagine makes him one of their top guys.

Cochran has a smart, engaging writing style: he definitely has a point of view, and can be funny much more often than I expected. Anything I lost in a book that went to press in late 2013 was more than made up for by Cochran's informed opinions and choices. More than that, though, this is a relatively brief book (250 pages) that covers all of the important aspects of an Orlando vacation: theme parks, restaurants, hotels, and even some other things to do while you're there. It will not list every option, due to its size -- it doesn't even cover the Bonnet Creek resorts, one of my favorite tucked-away corners of the not-quite-Disney world -- but it does include all of the options you'd expect and plenty of others that you didn't.

I still think the Unofficial books are the very best choice for a WDW vacation -- particularly for people like me, who like to gather as much information as possible and over-analyze every situation -- but I've seen two different Frommer's books in recent years, and both were excellent and very useful. If you're looking for a book with less opinion than either this EasyGuide or the Unofficial book, the main, larger Frommer's book may be right for you -- that one also is mama-bear-sized, between those other two options in breadth. (Though, from a quick check at That Book Store, Frommer's may have eliminated the bigger book -- the most recent edition came out in fall of 2012.)

Book-A-Day 2014 Introduction and Index

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