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Book Review: Birnbaum’s Walt Disney World for Kids 2020

Birnbaum's Walt Disney World for Kids 2020Birnbaum’s Walt Disney World For Kids 2020 edition became available in September.  This guide for kids (ages 7 to 14) featuring contributions from kids was first published in the mid 1990s (1996 I believe) and updated every year .      The book is a guide for kids sharing an overview of Walt Disney World theme parks and attractions plus a glimpse at dining, recreation and resorts to help be part of the vacation planning experience.

The book is attraction centric and ratings/reviews are weighted toward thrill rides.  There are descriptions of most attractions and entertainment.  Each park receives its own chapter and at the end attractions are rated based on Cool (Check it out!), Very Cool (Don’t miss!) and Coolest (See at least twice!).  I thought this ratings system was interesting to see where the demographic has its priorities and as you would expect it was on thrill rides.

The book offers some tips on FastPass+, planning your day, etc..  Keeping the audience in mind, there are plenty of reminders to work with your parents for example or seek an adult to make a reservation throughout.

I am not in the target demographic but I thought it was helpful that they include warnings for attractions based on if it is wild, scary, wet, loud or dark.  They also list height requirements and other warnings in the text and callouts submitted by their “Kid Experts”.

I thought there was a missed opportunity that the MyDisneyExperience app is mentioned and referenced but they really do not go into depth about it at all.  Also absent is the PlayDisneyParks App.

It has been several years since I have reviewed the Birnbaum books and I was really surprised to find no digital companion, even to the extent that they are still soliciting input from kids via requests for self-addressed stamped envelopes.  The book is intended to be read ahead of time and then taken with you to use for autographs, as well as several pages to take notes and share memories of the trip.

The book suffers from the same handicap as all printed material.  It can be out of date very quickly and cannot be timely.  The 2020 edition was released in September which means it was most likely completed in mid summer.  So there are a lot of references saying “Details may change in 2020” or references to entertainment that has changed already.

Birnbaum’s Walt Disney World For Kids 2020 edition can be a great vehicle to engage your child in the planning process and get them more into the trip.  If you have a child in the age range this may be a fun addition to your vacation planning.

Note this book is geared for Kids and is not written as a general guide or a reference to visit the parks with kids. For a more general view of Walt Disney World planning the Birnbaum’s Walt Disney World guide is the publication you will want to consider.

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