Fodor used to publish two guide books on Walt Disney World each year, Fodor’s Walt Disney World: with Universal & the Best of Orlando (reviewed here) and Fodor’s Walt Disney World with Kids. The “with kids” book was last published in 2016 and elements of that book are now included in this book.
Fodor’s Walt Disney World: With Universal Orlando and the Best of Orlando is written by a number of writers including Jennifer Greenhill-Taylor, Leigh Jenkins, Joseph Reed Hayes and Gary McKechnie.
As the title suggests, this book is not just about the Walt Disney World Resort and in fact the Disney theme parks only take up a little over half of the content.
The rest of the book covers the Kissimmee, Lake Buena Vista and Celebration area, Universal Orlando, the rest of Central Florida including International Drive and a number of excursions including Winter Park, Wekiwa Springs State Park, Mount Dora, LEGOLAND Florida and Bok Tower Gardens.
Fodor’s Walt Disney World follows a similar format to Fodor’s Walt Disney World With Kids with plenty of tips to help you save both money and time plus opinions and reviews from many families who have visited Disney giving you a wealth of information including the times and places to meet characters, the best locations for the parades, best rides and best places to eat. Look out for “Word of Mouth” sidebars for independent TripAdvisor advice from readers along with suggestions on where to take a break or buy unusual souvenirs.
Page: 416 pages
Publisher: Fodor’s Travel 10th edition
Date: November 17, 2020
Size: 8.0 x 5.0 x 0.75 inches
The opening chapter “Experience Orlando and the Parks” gives plenty of advice including taking young children, how to plan to avoid a meltdown, best times of year to visit, some of the best annual events, enjoying the parks for people with disabilities and the usual information of ticket types and prices, getting around Orlando, driving, money etc. For most people who have been to Orlando before, a lot of this will be common knowledge but for the first timer, it is essential reading.
There is a list of 25 ultimate experiences including some of the best rides and attractions that Walt Disney World has to offer as well as some interesting side trips like the Harry P. Leu Gardens and kayaking at Wekiwa Springs State Park.
If you have young children then the section “Best Orlando Thrill Rides” is useful background information when deciding on which rides and attractions to take them on.
For each of the four main Disney theme parks, there is an introductory section including directions where to find first aid, ride queue time information, lockers, lost property etc.
The “Top Attractions” by age groups (young kids, kids and adults) help you plan your visit according to the age and make up of your party.
Each ride or attraction is rated for entertainment value along with typical crowd levels, audience, duration, best time to visit, any height restrictions and an overall description. All of this is summed up in a handy overall chart, giving a useful synopsis on each attraction and ride.
Touring plans are not up to the standard of those in some other guides but they do give you an overall strategy for tackling each park as well as descriptions of the organised guided tours that are available. Suggestions on where to eat is covered but only briefly.
Each park has around 20 to 30 pages but there is a limit on what can be covered though when compared to the massive Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World for instance.
As well as the main parks, the book also covers Disney Springs, Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach, and the three parks plus CityWalk at Universal Orlando. SeaWorld, Aquatica and Discovery Cove get a small mention.
The book finishes off with some of the many activities you can watch or take part in like auto racing, boating, fishing, golf, surfing and tennis.
In total there are over 20 clear and easy to read maps of the parks (some double page), as well as resort areas and the book is illustrated throughout with colour photographs.
Note that most guide books are re-published annually so you can often pick up a bargain if you don’t mind last year’s edition of Fodor’s Walt Disney World.