Disney Parks Planning DVD. This DVD is a marketing giveaway to attract guests to the parks and has features for both the Walt Disney World Resort and the Disneyland Resort. They are attractive, have good (though at times dated) images and videos and are generally fun. Remember it is a marketing piece so the producers are trying to convince you it is a good idea to visit a Disney park. So they put some effort into each DVD and in my opinion they are far from throw away bulk mailers. The biggest piece of this DVD that has suffered over the years is the packaging which has been "upgraded" from a traditional DVD hard case to a paper and cardboard mailing envelope.
Before a Disney trip we use this DVD to educate ourselves to what has been updated or recently added to the park. And with young children we watch the DVD to prepare them for what they will see in the park including the environment, rides and characters. And for that purpose it has been highly effective.
After a trip having a copy of the DVD has given us a free snapshot of the attractions and shows that were available to us during a given year. There are other DVDs one can purchase that show what the parks offer but they become dated fast. These DVDs are focused on marketing one year of the parks so extinct attractions that you did not see on your vacation are likely not going to make the presentation. In my house we have enjoyed these DVDs so much I have actually purchased a year that we lost in a move so our collection would be complete. I may have to keep a VCR handy for the planning video from our first trip which is on VHS!
Finally, if you are not planning a Disney vacation in the coming year or did not visit during that year the DVD is still a great watch. It allows you to see what attractions and shows Disney marketing hoped would be the greatest successes for the coming year and keeps you informed for what may be available in the parks when you finally get to go home.
"Get the planning DVD" is often my first, cheapest and best advice when asked by friends what they should do to plan for a Disney vacation.