Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Grumptastic Reviews: The Hassle-Free Walt Disney World Guide

A couple weeks ago, I got an e-mail asking if I'd be interested in reviewing the 2011 edition of Steve Barrett's latest book, The Hassle-Free Walt Disney World Vacation

After a short wait for the postal service to do their job, I was really excited when I went to the mailbox and found the brown envelope containing the book I was asked to read and review.  I quickly tore it open and snapped a picture of the cover with my iPhone in order to send it to my friend and Disney book aficionado, George Taylor, to show him that I was actually going to read a Disney-related book.

I must admit that I'm not that big of a reader due to the fact that my Asperger's causes me to have ADHD-type tendencies.  In order for me to increase my odds of staying focused on a task, it must be engaging.  It takes a very colorful and detailed writer to enable me to get sucked in and stay engaged long enough to enjoy the words they put to paper. 

It didn't take long for me to realize that I wasn't going to have an issue with reading this book.  Steve's writing style is very informal, engaging and most importantly for me, descriptive.  But, be alert, he does like to throw the occasional $10 word in the mix. 

The book takes you along in an almost linear approach to how a family typically plans a vacation:
  • When to go 
  • Where to stay
  • How to get there
  • How to get around once there
  • The plan once there
This is not a very thick book, comprising only 262 pages including the index).  I need to commend Steve for his ability to be descriptive and entertaining while being thrifty with the words. 

Steve has a chapter devoted to each of the parks, Downtown Disney and the Water parks.  Within each of these chapters he provides a good high level overview of the park, it's theme and a few things it's "known for".  In addition to the quick tour of the parks he does point out where to look for a few Hidden Mickeys. 

After the "tour" he launches into what I'd consider the meat & potatoes of the book….the touring plans.  He provides several different plans focused at different groups:  Adults with Teens, Families with Small kids and then older park guests.  Each of these plans are further enhanced with a plan for when there is Early Magic Hours (when the park opens an hour early for resort guests) and when there isn't Early Magic Hours.  He also has one and two day touring plans for each of these.

What I found great about the touring plans was that they read like a GPS navigation system.  He literally provides you turn-by-turn directions that includes such fabulous tips as to where to "duck in" to avoid bottlenecks and how to get to where he's taking you quicker.

He really seems to have all the bases covered.  Even though all the touring plans are geared toward the "rope drop" guest, he does provide a starting point for those who like to get a little more shut eye.

The thing that I found really enjoyable about the book was Steve's levity.  An example that has stuck in my head is from the section where he talks about not wasting a day of your Magic your Way Tickets on the first day and to do something instead.  Well, he rattles off a list of excellent things to do and one of the things you could do he provided was to "get married".  I got a great chuckle out of that.

Steve has also included 8 pages of 20 color photographs that challenge our knowledge of Disney World.  Each photo is of a place around the parks and we are to name where the photo is taken.  Even as many times as I have "Wandered the World", I still found the pictures challenging and I must admit I didn't know where all of the pictures were taken.  But, I wasn't left dangling for the answers.  The answers are provided in the back of the book.

It may not be readily known, but Steve Barrett is a doctor and he frequently provides tips regarding things like blister prevention, dehydration, sunburn protection, etc.  So, I recommend that you pay particular attention to all the tips that revolve around medical or first aid since that is an area he's an even greater knowledge expert than Disney related topics.

I really feel this book is a great addition to your trip planning arsenal.  If you want a book that is easy to read, very concisely and descriptively describes the Walt Disney World travel experience and provokes easy to follow trip reports, then this book is definitely for you.

For those of you that like to jump on a deal, there is a special advance offer: It’s available at just $9.95, including shipping.

I would be remiss if I didn't include a reminder that Steve Barrett's Hidden Mickey Field Guides are also a must haves that make it way to your book shelf and travel bag to the parks.  

Sunday, August 29, 2010

The Claw

Found at Target

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Sunday, November 1, 2009

Princess Tiana debuts at The Disney Store

Was at our local Disney Store and spotted the Princess Tiana merchandise

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Saturday, October 10, 2009

Found at my local grocery store

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Saturday, September 26, 2009

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Grumptastic Video: Tim Devine meets Wes Palm

I finally have a way to process high definition video and I have a lot of it on my camera taken since June 2008.  I found this one and thought it would make a great inaugural video post.  Pay attention to what Wes says to Tim Devine about his camera.  [Editor’s Note:  I don’t think Tim knows I shot this video of him because he saw us right after I shot this]

Tim Devine meets Wes Palm

Friday, September 18, 2009