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Book Review: Birnbaum’s 2022 Walt Disney World Guides

The 2022 editions of both of Birnbaum’s Walt Disney World Guide & the For Kids version are now available. I was sent review copies of both and took the opportunity to see how the guides ave evolved since they were last published in 2020 (there were no 2021 editions due to COVID-19).  Below are my first impressions of both  –Birnbaum's 2022 Walt Disney World: The Official Vacation Guide

Birnbaum’s 2022 Walt Disney World: The Official Vacation Guide is now available.  I was sent a review copy of the guide as well as the For Kids edition.   This annually updated resource dates back to 1981 and has the goal of providing a comprehensive reference to help you plan your vacation to Walt Disney World.     Over the years the book has continued to expand along with WDW.  This year’s paperback checks in at 350 pages divided into eleven chapters.  These include general vacation planning information such as: Getting Ready to Go, Transportation & Accommodations.  A chapter devoted to each of the four theme parks (Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom).  Each park chapter includes sections on getting oriented, attractions, shopping, entertainment and tips.   There are also chapters on Sports & Recreation, Dining, and everything else in the world.   The final chapters feature the Disney Cruise Line and a look at the Walt Disney World 50th Anniversary Celebration.

This past year there has been a high rate of change at Walt Disney World with various COVID related procedures evolving as well as other changes with Disney’s systems being introduced.  Trying to keep up with them has been challenging and when you add in the lead time a print publication has the team that put this book together had some very big obstacles to deal with.   They were faced with a lot of uncertainty and some early details but not a lot of in depth information on the upcoming changes and plans for the resort.   The authors did a great job of noting the current operating procedures at the time of press and made a number of assumptions saying how it was and the expectation of how it will be.  They had numerous disclaimers, notes, and references directing you to the Disney World app or website for more up to date information.

Overall the book is still a great resource for general information and a comprehensive look at the offerings.     The team did the best they could but the number of changes really hurts the usefulness of the book as a planning guide for your day.  For example it still relies on the FastPass+ model,  it went to press well be Genie, Genie+ and individual Lightning Lanes entered the vocabulary of WDW guests.    I would have liked to have seen more emphasis put on the official App with its features as that is becoming more essential to your WDW visit with each new offering.    One side note I thought the need of a Walt Disney Quote for each chapter/section was unnecessary and came off as a bit awkward at best.

A large omission this year is the popular coupons.  There are none in the book.  Over the years there were usually a number of coupons for various activities and dining locations with either buy one get one free or a percentage off.  For many these coupons were more valuable than the book itself with their total savings being substantial.

Birnbaum’s 2022 Walt Disney World: The Official Vacation Guide continues the tradition of the series as a solid reference for Walt Disney World providing overviews, descriptions and some details for almost every aspect of a vacation.   It is heavily disadvantaged and your mileage will vary if you want to use this as your primary resource for your itinerary planning due to the number of changes since the book went to press and the ever changing environment at Walt Disney World right now.

Birnbaum Walt Disney World 2022 for KidsBirnbaum’s Walt Disney World 2022: The Official Guide for Kids is now available.    This book shares an overview and some planning tips geared towards children ages 7 to 14.   The book features descriptions of the theme parks, attractions, and other vacation options at WDW.   It includes ratings, tips, and insight from kids for kids as well.   The book is substantially less than the regular guide, half the number of pages, larger fonts, and a smaller size but it still packs in all the essential information.

Much like the regular guide this version suffers from being in print and the early press deadlines.  So it still has a lot of emphasis on FastPass+ and quite a few references saying to check the app or website for more up to date information since so much was unknown and still in flux.

I am not in the demographic of this book and my two primary data sources for kids related material  (my two nephews) are still too young for this book.  On the surface it appeared to me to skew more toward the upper ages of the range than the lower with the top attractions being all thrill rides.  I did find it interesting that Rise of the Resistance did not make the top 20.  Guessing it was still too new when it went to press.

I was also expecting more coverage of the Play Disney Parks mobile app and for that matter the regular MyDisneyExperience App. There are references to both but neither is explored that much.

Birnbaum’s Walt Disney World 2022: The Official Guide for Kids may act as a companion for your trip planning and a vehicle to engage your kids in the planning process.  I think each family’s mileage will vary depending on their kids and how the book is introduced and explored.


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