Book Review: Birnbaum’s 2018 Walt Disney World: The Official Guide

Hi everyone!

I posted a review of Birnbaum’s 2018 Disneyland Resort: The Official Guide yesterday and today I am reviewing Birnbaum’s 2018 Walt Disney World: The Official Guide version. Birnbaum’s has been publishing Walt Disney World guides now for nearly 40 years. As I mentioned in my Disneyland guide review, the Birnbaum’s guides aren’t the most comprehensive books but they do give a lot of tips and information in the pages. All written guidebooks become dated from the moment they are published as the Disney parks and resorts can change quickly (though I am very impressed with this WDW guide for having so much be very current as of now). I personally like the Birnbaum’s books for the souvenir aspect of them and the coupons I use. I am in the Disney parks probably 150-ish days a year, so the guidebook aspect of any book isn’t going to be as necessary for me as it is for some. So lets get onto the rest of the review.

Birnbaum’s 2018 Walt Disney World: The Official Guide is more than double the size of the Disneyland version. Instead of being a midsize purse size, it would be more of a backpack book.

Beginning with the calendar, it is important to realize that things change (as I mentioned in the first paragraph) – for example, the Sounds Like Summer Concert Series was cancelled for 2017 so I am not sure if it will be back for 2018. And Epcot Holidays Around the World (a name that has been around forever) is now Epcot Festival of the Holidays this year. Also, attractions change. For example, the book says that Toy Story Midway Mania is wildly popular and to go as early as possible – while true that it is very popular, the third track recently added has made it MUCH easier to get Fastpass+ and have a shorter wait in line. I do still recommend Fastpass+ for it as there aren’t many rides currently in Disney’s Hollywood Studios, but fortunately the third track made Toy Story Midway Mania an easier attraction to visit.

On the other hand, I am impressed the book had the heads-up on The Great Movie Ride and Ellen’s Energy Adventure closures. And throughout the book, you can find information on attractions, entertainment and important information like how to change money, important WDW phone numbers, guided tours and a lot of things you may not even have thought of – information on lockers, strollers, first aid, package pickup, etc.

The “Did You Know” aspects of the books are favorites of mine. And there is information on the various resorts and parks with a decent amount of color photos. There is a page about Hidden Mickeys.

There are a handful of pages on the Disney Cruise Line, which guests often book as part of a land/sea package (or separately).

There seem to be more coupons than ever this year at the end of the book, and your mileage will vary on them if you have other discount opportunities like a Walt Disney World Annual Pass or Disney Visa. But some of the fun coupons here include a free Disney Springs train or carousel ride when purchasing one (I enjoy the carousel), Joffrey’s 20% off food and beverages around Walt Disney World (except alcohol), Raglan Road 20% off lunch Monday – Friday, and other coupons that include Planet Hollywood, Art Smith’s Homecomin’, Raglan Road merchandise, House of Blues, Owners Locker and a variety of dining, shopping and other coupons. For me, it would be worth the cost of the book even though I have many dupilicate discounts through my Walt Disney World Annual Pass.

While Birnbaum’s 2018 Walt Disney World: The Official Guide isn’t going to be your most exhaustive choice for guidebooks, you can pair it with another guidebook (or just with the most current online information) and enjoy the coupons in the back.