The 2022 edition of The Unofficial Guide to Universal Orlando by Seth Kubersky was published by Universal Guides on December 7, 2021. Seth Kuberky is no stranger to Universal, having once worked there and has written other books on the subject including earlier editions of Universal Orlando: The Ultimate Guide to the Ultimate Theme Park Adventure.
Whilst the Universal Orlando Resort gets a mention in other Unofficial titles, this book is the first “Unofficial” book dedicated purely to the two Universal theme parks, Universal Studios Florida and Universal’s Islands of Adventure as well as Universal CityWalk and the new Volcano Bay water park.
If you have read The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World then you will be very familiar with its structure and layout.
If you are a fan of the Walt Disney Unofficial Guides and plan on spending time at Universal then this book is a “must have”
The 2022 edition brings you complete coverage of Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure, the new Jurassic World VelociCoaster roller coaster, reviews of all Universal Orlando Resort hotels including Endless Summer Surfside Inn and Suites and how Universal has coped with the COVID-19 pandemic.
There are also details of the upcoming new theme park, Epic Universe featuring Super Nintendo World, which has been delayed because of COVID-19.
The touring plans for both Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure have been revised as well as more information on how to get the best of the Universal’s new Virtual Queue reservation system and mobile food ordering.
Like the Disney book, the first couple of chapters deal with planning your trip, timing your visit, different weather seasons, ticket prices and accommodation options as well as useful information if you are taking kids with you.
Like most of the Unofficial guides, the book concentrates on information and facts rather than glossy images.
For each hotel, there are details on the rates per night, shuttle transport available, bed configuration, maximum occupancy per room, whether pets are welcome, location, theming, amenities like fitness, sauna, spa, games room and guest survey results.
There is an interesting bit of history on how Universal’s first theme park, Universal Studios Florida came about and how Disney beat them to the punch with what was originally know as Disney MGM Studios (now Disney’s Hollywood Studios).
There is also a companion Touring Plans website which gives you up to the minute details on predicted crowd levels, updates to the book, latest Universal news and a subscription touring guide service.
The team of editors interview many families to get their views on each of the rides, shows and restaurants and each attraction is described in detail and rated for different age groups from pre-school right up to seniors with details of type of ride, best times to go, duration of ride, loading times.
The book also contains many independent customer comments and opinions.
As well as chapters on planning, such as when to go, it also covers tickets, opening hours and reviews of the onsite resort hotels as well as offsite options.
All the Universal restaurants plus alternatives for eating outside of the parks are rated and reviewed in a complete dining guide.
There are also comprehensive touring plans for each park split by different types of family; for example those with small children, couples and seniors. These can be torn out so you can carry them with you rather than taking the whole book.
As earlier alternative was Beyond Disney: the Unofficial Guide to Universal, Seaworld & the Best of Central Florida which covers these parks and others like Legoland and Busch Gardens but in less detail. However the Beyond Disney book has not been updated for many years.
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 The Unofficial Guide to Universal Orlando.