Book Review: “The Busy Family’s Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World 2012” by Jeffrey Merola

categories: USA Travel

The Busy Family's Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World 2012 by Jeffrey Merola Walt Disney World. For many families, a trip to this vacation Mecca has become almost a right of passage. But where do you begin when planning a trip, especially if you’ve never been before? There are thousands of websites and guidebooks (many the size of an encyclopedia volume…) – the uninitiated could easily become overwhelmed by the sheer volume of resources on the subject.

Enter The Busy Family’s Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World 2012, written by Jeffrey Merola, a school teacher, football coach, and father of two young children. He saw a need for a more concise introductory guide – something that a typical, busy family could actually have time to read and understand. This guide comes in at only 127 total pages with the index included. Compare this to another very popular Disney guide that takes up 864 pages, and you can understand the author’s intent quite clearly.

Merola strives to break down this forty-seven-square-mile wonderland of theme parks, resorts, water parks, golf courses, shopping and entertainment districts, spas, and nearly everything else under the sun into easy-to-digest morsels. Each theme park is given a chapter with ride, show, and restaurant descriptions designed to help first-time Disney World visitors gain a better understanding of what they will find and plan their trip accordingly.

There are also sections for helping to decide if you should stay in a Disney resort hotel or offsite, how to best make dining reservations at one of the 70+ sit-down (aka table service) restaurants, and understanding your many ticket options. There is also a section for general tips and tricks that Merola has learned over fifteen years of visits.

It is not a perfect volume, however. As with any destination guide, you will find some outdated material, but such discrepancies are hardly the author’s fault. (You should certainly double check a current resource, such as Disney’s own website.) The end of each park chapter also includes a list of recommended things to see and do, broken down into four age groups, that is intended to serve as a quick-reference guide to aid in planning based on your family make up. These lists are slightly redundant as little differs from one to the other. These are small issues that will hopefully be improved in the 2013 version.

While not an exhaustive resource, The Busy Family’s Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World 2012 makes a valuable addition to the library of Disney planning guides and will serve as a good starting point for any family who is unfamiliar with many ways of The Mouse.

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Alan Lynn

by Alan Lynn

Alan Lynn is a father of one from Florida and long-time Disney World passholder who has spent more time in the "the World" than is probably safe for a grown man to admit to in public.

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