I’m surprised that the print edition is out this early, since we were making changes to the text as late as July 20 (to cover the new 2-hour Evening Extra Magic Hours). That’s amazing considering the book is 848 pages. Between Bob, me and the other contributors, we submitted close to 200 pages of updates and new content for this printing. And that excludes corrections for things such as typos, prices, hours, and phone number changes. Speaking of corrections, we’d like to thank the dozens of proofreaders and fact-checkers who helped update this edition – you folks are teh best. (Ha!) Thanks also to everyone else who sent in updates. Finally, while we’ve made every effort toward accuracy, there are bound to be some things we’ll need to correct. Drop us an email if you notice anything, please.
Below is a quick summary of the major changes for the most popular chapters of the book. I’m sure I’ve missed some sections, so drop us a line if you have questions.
Part 1 – Planning Before You Leave Home Updated details on changes to Extra Magic Hours schedules, including AK dropping evening EMH entirely; Disney’s switch to 2-hour evening EMHs at the other parks; the addition of a second morning EMH at the AK most mornings; an expanded “Walt Disney World Calendar” covering more special events each month, and their impacts on crowds.
Part 2 – Making the Most of Your Time and Money A new overview of Disney’s current discounting strategy; updated ticket prices; updates on Disney’s new FASTPASS enforcement; an updated section on FASTPASS guidelines; a completely new section on the upcoming “FASTPASS Plus” program; a new section on how to use our mobile app, Lines, to update your touring plan while you’re in the parks, in the event something unexpected just happened; a new section on ride break-down rates, useful for contingency planning when in the parks.
Part 3 – Accomodations Updated reader perspectives on the efficiency of Disney’s transportation system (in the section on benefits of staying in WDW); Updated economics on renting DVC points; New recommendations on the best Disney-specialist travel agents; updates on which Disney resort to choose depending on the kind of hotel you stay at outside of WDW; a new review of Disney’s just-opened Art of Animation Resort, including room diagrams and pool ratings; updates on Disney’s converting from wired Internet to WiFi; tips on where to find the best bars and lounges at the Disney resorts; the 2012 Readers’ Disney Resort Report Card, with ratings on every Disney hotel; new coverage of the Grand Floridian DVC resort; a substantial change in our coverage of the Downtown Disney Resort Area (we think many resorts here are not good choices), and a chart showing the additional charges you’re likely to pay if you book at these resorts; updated reviews for several DDRA hotels; several pages of new or updated reader comments on the Disney Dining Plan; a new section describing the various resort fees and expenses you’re likely to find at the Swan and Dolphin that are not shown at the time you book; the addition of more than 20 new resorts; updated ratings on dozens of others; a section on new websites to find deals on boutique hotels and on how to use “bidding” sites such as tingo.com, guestmob.com and others; and a new section on specific hotels to avoid in Orlando and Kissimmee.
Part 6 – Walt Disney World with Kids A new section reviewing outside stroller-rental companies in Orlando, including how we tested each stroller and stroller company, and how much you may save by using these.
Part 8 – Arriving and Getting Around An update to the section detailing where to find the best airport and off-site rental cars; a discussion of the new SixT.com rental company; updates to the Readers’ rental car report card; new advice on how to avoid the traffic at Downtown Disney; an updated chart showing the travel times times between the Disney resorts and theme parks when driving and when using the Disney transportation network.
Part 9 – Bare Necessities Updates to the price comparison chart between two Publix stores, Goodings, Garden Grocer, and Winn-Dixie; updates to the Garden Grocer section.
Part 10 – Dining in and Around Walt Disney World An updated section which restaurants are most likely to have last-minute Advance Dining Reservations, including new charts showing restaurants for breakfast, lunch and dinner; updated details on Disney’s new $10 cancelation fee for certain restaurants and how this affects your ability to get a reservation; a new section on drinking at Epcot’s bars; updated menus for all counter-service restaurants in the Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom; updated menus, reader ratings and Unofficial Guide reviews for around 100 sit-down restaurants.
Part 11 – The Magic Kingdom A new review of Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom; updates on the Fantasyland construction, including the new “double Dumbo” and addition of FASTPASS at Dumbo; 12 new Jim Hill anecdotes; and 6 new Magic Kingdom touring plans for adults and parents of small children, including 1- and 2-day plans.
Part 12 – Epcot An update on Agent P’s World Showcase Adventure; new Jim Hill anecdotes; new Epcot 1-Day touring plans; a new Selective touring plan; a brand-new Epcot plan for Parents with Small Children.
Part 13 – Animal Kingdom Updates on the new EMH schedule; details on the new parade route; new Jim Hill anecdotes.
Part 14 – Disney’s Hollywood Studios We separated DHS out from the Universal and Sea World parks here; the 2013 edition is the first time that each park gets its own chapter. Most of the updates here involve tweaking the text describing how lines develop at the various attractions and how to avoid them, and the amount of actual movie-making that happens at the park (none); updates to the strategy for getting your children into Jedi Training Academy; updates to the Live Entertainment section for the addition of Mulch, Sweat and Shears; a new one-day touring plan and an updated “Not-A-Touring-Plan” touring plan.
Part 15 – Universal Studios Updates to Universal Express; updates to our coverage of Universal’s child-swap process; updated touring tips and touring strategies for several attractions.
Part 16 – Islands of Adventure Updates to the Spiderman review; updates on how to getting a wand at Ollivanders; updates on the procedure for seating guests of different body types at Harry Potter; a new tip on how to tour Hogwarts without riding the attraction.
Parts 19 through 23 cover behind-the-scenes tours, shopping, the Disney water parks, golf, nightlife, and more. Most of these updates include additions or deletions to stores, tours, bars, etc., and updates to their prices.
I’m also happy to report that a photo of DinoLand does not appear on the cover. (How the cover art is chosen is a mystery to me.)
Finally, the next printing of the 2013 edition should be out in February 2013. Happy reading!