It’s a guidebook!
It’s an examination to the little touches that makes The Walt Disney World Resort special!
It’s a grill!
It’s a cooler!
It’s The Hidden Magic of Walt Disney World Planner: A Complete Organizer, Journal and Keepsake for Your Unforgettable Vacation, and three out of five isn’t bad.
The Hidden Magic of Walt Disney World Planner by Susan Veness and Simon Veness is the follow up offering to Susan Veness’ The Hidden Magic of Walt Disney World, a Disney fan favorite. The first book is a land by land review of Imagineering Easter eggs and hidden history throughout the parks of the Walt Disney World Resort. This new book does have additional “Hidden History” call outs for interested readers, but the bulk of this text falls within the traditional planning guide. The authors provide a park by park, land by land overview of the Walt Disney World Resort and the planning experience.
The guide opens with basic planning advice that could improve any trip to Orlando for a guest. They provide an in-depth description of accommodations within the resort. The authors then guide readers through each park of the Walt Disney World Resort. From The Magic Kingdom Park to Disney’s Animal Kingdom they provide a summary of attractions, dining, shopping and special occasions for every park. But recognizing that the resort is not parks alone, they also extend their summaries into the water parks, resort dining, Downtown Disney and the often unknown attractions within the park. Throughout the book the authors sprinkle in tips for rookie guests and “Hidden History” providing background or history on aspects of attractions, restaurants or dining. Each section is accompanied by blank lined pages for guests to journal or take notes of their own trips. Chapters on each park are accompanied by simple maps (non-cluttered) of the parks. And working as a planner there are folder pockets with each major park section to store documents or notes to help with your trip. The book concludes with a selection of color photos, which readers are directed to as they read through the text.
Overall, this is a very solid and useful guide. The summaries are helpful, and would give first time guests a good idea of the experience they can anticipate without being completely spoiled. I had to laugh when discussing the tips with the Between Wife. I commented to her that the descriptions of Disney’s PhotoPass included all the basics, but I thought rookies needed to know that the photographers will take a picture with your camera. Her response was, “Do you think you hit a point where you know too much about Disney?” As always her point was made. This book isn’t for me, it’s really directed at those first timers. And with that in mind, the advice and guidance the Vennesses’ offer is very solid and helpful. I mean, I could argue that Dole Whip isn’t “pineapple-flavored yogurt.” Dole Whip is non-diary so not yogurt. But I am a self proclaimed Dole Whip expert and for the first timer who might find Dole Whip in a yogurt shop that is probably a pretty good description.
Now with the Dole Whip caveat out of the way I still found plenty of Hidden Magic I just did not know in The Hidden Magic of Walt Disney World Planner. I had no idea that some of the pools have opening ceremonies, with the description of the opening of the Fuentes del Morro pool at the Caribbean Beach Resort definitely sounding like an extra special piece of magic. I was amazed at the tricks that Imagineers have used to make guests think a Nazi swastika is present in the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular! while it is not actually there. There are plenty examples found throughout the text where Between Disney learned something new.
I was concerned about the physical durability of the book. It does have a spiral spine with a cover that is bigger than the pages. I was convinced that with my lifestyle that pages would rip off the spiral rings and that the cover would be beaten up after a few days in a backpack. So I was mean to the book, in fact I tried to destroy it through normal usage. I have carried it in my backpack, not a happy place for books for two weeks. I cram my bag to capacity with books and other items of odd shape. And being a commuter I bang and bash my bag on my daily journeys. I knew it would fall apart, not being the first book my bag defeated. I have been defeated. No pages have ripped out and the over sized cover seems to have helped the pages from being attacked by the random pens and highlighters floating in my bag. And the cover is showing slight wear, with the corners bruised with a few slightly upturned. But it has survived two weeks of book bag living! Maybe I didn’t torture this book enough.
So who is Hidden Magic of Walt Disney World Planner for? First, rookie visitors to the Walt Disney World Resort would find this book really useful. The text includes all the basics that a first time visitor would need to know. And the authors with their “Rookie Mistake” additions sprinkled throughout the book clearly targeted this audience. Additionally I could see recommending this book to friends who have never visited the parks but I know would want details about the attractions that are not obvious. The “Hidden History” for them would not be overwhelming but still provide enough to whet their curiosity. Second, this book would serve well for folks looking to save money by not buying a separate planner, guidebook and Imagineering guide. Here right in one text their basic needs would be met. It’s not the biggest guidebook, but it is one that serves multiple purposes. Second, more experienced travelers may find this book interesting as a reference; it is always handy to have a book with important telephone numbers for dining and accommodations in one easy to find location. Third, fans of The Hidden Magic of Walt Disney World will probably jump at this book with over hundred new hidden magic secrets. I expect that the Hidden Magic of Walt Disney World Planner will find its way into many Between Disney libraries to aid vacation planning.
Review Copy Provided by Adams Media