2014 Guide Books at Hitting the Shelves

Deb's Digest Blog

It’s that time of year again…. Summer is ending, most family vacations are over, the kids are back in school, and the 2014 Walt Disney World Guide Books are starting to arrive in stores (real and online).

Listed below are my perennial favorites. The current copy of each sits on my desk within easy reach.

#1) The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World by Bob Sehlinger and Len Testa.

This book has been the bible for many fans, including myself, since it arrived on the scene in the 80s. In fact, many of the editions take up an entire shelf in my book library. (I am missing the first 2 if anyone happens to have a spare 🙂 It is irreverent and as tells it like it is. It is THE unofficial guide.

Just about anything you’d want to know about Walt Disney World is in this book. If you want to do in-depth research prior to your trip, the Unofficial Guide is for you!

#1A) The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World with Kids 2014 By Bob Sehlinger, Liliane J. Opsomer, Len Testa

Much like the regular guide (#1 above) this book targets kids and families, offering great suggestions on this to do, avoid or do better, quicker, faster.

#2) PassPorter’s Walt Disney World 2014: The Unique Travel Guide, Planner, Organizer, Journal, and Keepsake! By Jennifer Marx, Dave Marx, Alexander Marx

Another unofficial guide book, the PassPorter series offer a viable alternative (or companion if you must read them all) to the Unofficial Guide. It’s a unique travel guide, organizer, planner, and journal all in one. The back section of the guide contains “Pass Pockets” which allow you to jot planning notes, record what you actually did, and even has a pocket for keepsakes and receipts. And say, there are stickers too! Very family friendly and the format makes it easy for everyone to get involved.

#3) Finally, there is the official Disney World Guide Book, Steven Birnbaum’s Walt Disney World, The Official Guide. If you are looking for information straight from the mouse himself, then this is the guide book for you. The 2014 guide also has a Birnbaum exclusive: A brand-new Kingdom Keepers Quest from bestselling author Ridley Pearson.

#3A) Walt Disney World for Kids: The Official Guide:

Designed with families in mind, this book makes fun reading for young ones!

There are dozens of other guide books on the market. I wish I had time to read them all, but it’s near impossible to keep up with “everything” Walt Disney World these days. You won’t go wrong with one or a combination of the above guide books.

What is your favorite WDW guide book and why? Leave a comment below!

Happy Planning!

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12 Replies to “2014 Guide Books at Hitting the Shelves”

  1. We have been coming to WDW since 1982 and have lost, given away most of our early Birnbaum guides.
    They were wonderful…..many a night saw us perusing these guides just to talk about past or future trips. Great memories!
    One question we have been unable to answer over the years is where was the first hotel we stayed at in 1982. It was known as the Orlando Vacation Resort or the John Newcombe Tennis Resort. Would love to see an address for a trip down memory lane.

  2. For two editions, there was an awesome WDW for Couples by the Perlmutters I believe. It was one of the few which showed room floor plans at the time. They were my bible for the family without children. I wish they would created an updated guide!

  3. Why would you keep the old guides once you got the new ones? Do you use them for anything? I was going to throw out my old one when I got the new one, so I’m curious as to whether I should save mine.

    DEB: I keep them for historical/research purposes. Also, for a long time, Birbaum was the only guide book that was allowed to have photographs.

  4. Hi Deb,
    I remember being a kid back in the “80’s and waking up early and running all over the Magic Kingdom with my family, with my dad carrying the Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World. We followed the touring plan exactly. We went to 5-7 rides/attractions crisscrossing like maniacs. Their were approx. 10 other families doing exactly the same thing. Their dads had the books too. This large group of strangers was following the exact same plan and rushing as well. After the 5-7 rides were done, we were able to enjoy the rest of the park at a leisurely pace. It had such an impact on me that I use it every time I am there with my own family. I like that now the book has the plans that can be ripped out instead of bringing the whole book.

  5. Thanks for reminding us that the first sign of Autumn over here (we’re in the UK) is usually the arrival of our pre-ordered Birnbaum and Official guides from Amazon! Although we love the many Disney-orientated websites (AllEars.Net is still the best (!), while we find the official Disney websites difficult to navigate), having a hard-copy of the guides to browse remains a pleasure to enjoy without turning to computer, tablet or smartphone. But we worry over the long term future for all travel guidebooks as, in the UK, sales have been steadily declining for many years as more people search online for information. Fingers crossed the power of Disney will still see our favourites being published for many years to come!

  6. Hi Deb,

    For those visiting from the UK I would recommend ‘A Brit Guide to Orlando’ by Simon & Susan Veness. We found this book to be a great help, especially on our first couple of visits. As well as the usual ‘guide book’ information it has tips and advice specifically aimed at British visitors, such as US brand names for common medicines, driving tips for being on the ‘wrong’ side of the road & advice on the do’s and don’ts of the most bewildering custom of tipping!!

  7. The fist time we visited WDW we read and followed ‘the unofficial guide’ very closely.
    It was the best thing we could have done.
    And it made for a stress-free holiday. We got to go on all the rides we could with minimal wait, we ate in all the best restaurants,(with little or no wait) including Cinderella’s castle, picked the best area in our resort to stay, and picked up a ton of ‘tips’. Too many to mention here.
    (Planning our third trip. Using the guide of course)

  8. I like the Unofficial Guide but for British visitors I would strongly recommend “The Brits Guide To Orlando & Walt Disney World”. Its been my main guide book for many years. It covers everything and also helps Brits with some of the differences we encounter in the USA. It also gives a bit of explanation of cultural references in shows and attractions that we would otherwise miss.

  9. The Unofficial Guide has the best information you can find about Disney World and the surrounding area. They give you great tips about where and more importantly where not to go.

    The Official Guide is also useful for the cold hard facts of Disney World. It’s designed well to give you information, but it’s not as useful for getting tips and meaningful opinions.

  10. Old Disney guidebooks are my preferred before-bed reading and I read all of the unofficial guides cover to cover. Amazon says my 2014 will be arriving after September 9 and I can’t wait!

    I have the Birnbaum from 1986 and it’s really interesting to see how things have changed.

  11. I totally agree with your number 1 choice. We buy this book every year and follow the awesome touring plans in the back very strictly. A friend recommended this to us when went on our honeymoon in 1996 – best recommendation ever.

  12. I would be lost without Steve Birnbaum’s book along with the Unofficial Guide every year. They keep me up to date on things and give me plenty of reviews from guests. The latest editions are always in my living room for a reference book whenever I need them. My bookshelves, like yours, are filled with old copies. Next year we’re taking 3 grandchildren, so I’ll have to have the books for children. Can’t wait.