Review by

The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World with Kids
(John Wiley and Sons) ISBN 978-1628090567 1628090561

This comprehensive Disney guidebook tells moms, dads, single parents and grandparents how to plan and enjoy a Walt Disney World family vacation in Florida. The WDW guide includes detailed advice on how to budget, select hotels, restaurants and attractions, and how to organize theme park tours to save time and money.

Highlighted advice from parents and families provides tips on where to stay, what to eat and what to do at Walt Disney World.

The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World with Kids has 488 pages of practical, helpful, well-organized and humorous information, guidelines and suggestions—everything you need to know to plan and go on a trip to WDW.

Answers to questions about WDW

Chapters follow a logical sequence providing advice for typical questions about Walt Disney World. What's the best age to bring children to WDW? What are the best websites for Disney information? Where can I find information and ticket phone numbers, Disney apps and podcasts? When is the best time to go? Where should we stay and eat? What should we bring with us? What rides are best for kids?

Advice from the authors and families, helpful comparison charts with pros and cons, prices and ratings appear throughout the Disney World guidebook.

Theme parks near Disney World

Two chapters provide information about theme parks and water parks near Walt Disney World, such as the Harry Potter Theme Park at Universal Orlando and Aquatica at SeaWorld Orlando.

A trivia quiz ends the chapters on WDW theme parks (The Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Animal Kingdom, Disney's Hollywood Studios).

Which rides are best for kids?

Black and white icons add humor and advice, e.g., six symbols indicate if Disney rides are scary, rough, dark, wet, and potentially cause motion sickness or lost items.

Readers will laugh at the cartoons and comments that accentuate points. Maps help visitors find how to get around Walt Disney World and specific park locations including Downtown Disney. Other maps show hotel locations around WDW and best places for viewing IllumiNations.

Maps of Disney theme parks

The back of The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World with Kids contains clip out sample touring plans, with maps for each theme park. There are one and two-day touring plans for families with small children, tweens, parents and grandparents.

For each Disney theme park attraction, the guidebook specifies ride description, appeal by age, scope, scale, fright potential, bottleneck rating, when to go, duration of ride, average wait time, loading speed and authors' rating.

How to save money on food

A chart compares restaurants where kids can meet Disney characters. It lists location (WDW theme park or hotel), meals served, type of service (breakfast, lunch, dinner, buffet, menu, family style), food variety and quality, setting, noise level and which characters kids will see.

Theme park live entertainment sections describe WDW parades, where to see Disney characters, street entertainers and nighttime laser and fireworks shows.

Shorter wait times for rides

The FASTPASS section specifies how the system works to reduce Disney wait times, how to obtain a FASTPASS, when to use it, and guidelines for use.

A hotel information chart compares Disney hotels by location, room rating, cost and commuting time to parks. The section on where to stay outside Walt Disney World specifies cost per night, pool, fridge, maximum persons per room and shuttles to parks, with contact information and comments on restaurants and children's programs.

A sidebar lists and rates WDW Resort swimming pools. Charts for Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon describe water slides, height requirements and where to find food in the water parks.

Cost of Disney World tickets and passes

The Budget section specifies how much it will cost for a day at Walt Disney World, including admission, meals, parking, souvenirs and extras like babysitting. Charts compare prices for basic tickets and park hopper passes for visits of one to ten days.

The Dining chapter of The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World with Kids describes ways to save money on food, the Magic Your Way Dining Plan and meal deals with coupons. You will learn about buffets, dinner shows, restaurants offering full-service meals, fast food stands and character meals.

Where to eat

Charts list when to make advanced reservations at Disney World, types of cuisine, cost of fast food and popular snacks. Information includes where to eat outside Walt Disney World (restaurants, addresses, phone numbers, websites, type of food and costs).

For each restaurant in Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney's Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom, the WDW guidebook describes types of food, quality, portion size, location and value for money. Especially helpful are the comments from families who have visited WDW (e.g., problems with the Disney Dining Plan, such as too much food, difficulty obtaining reservations and cost of tips).

The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World with Kids


  • List of maps
  • Introduction
    • How come "unofficial"?
    • About this guide
    • A quick tour of a big world
  • Part One: Basic Considerations
    • Is Walt Disney World for you?
    • The age thing
    • About inviting your children's friends
    • A few words for single parents
    • 'He who hesitates is launched' tips and warnings for grandparents
    • Order and discipline on the road
  • Part Two: Getting your act together
    • Gathering information
    • Allocating time
    • Planning your Walt Disney World vacation budget
    • Babysitting
  • Part Three: Where to stay
    • Some basic considerations
    • Walt Disney World lodging
    • Walt Disney World hotels: strengths and weaknesses for families
    • Lodging outside Walt Disney World
    • How to childproof a hotel room
  • Part Four: Dining
    • Eating outside Walt Disney World
    • Dining in Walt Disney World
  • Part Five: Disney Boot Camp: basic training for world-bound families
    • The brutal truth about family vacations
    • Mental and emotional preparation
    • Physical preparation
    • Developing a good plan
    • Logistic preparation
    • Remembering your trip
    • Trial run
  • Part Six: Get in the boat, men!
    • Ready, set, tour! Some touring considerations
    • Character analysis
    • Strollers
    • When kids get lost
  • Part Seven: The Magic Kingdom
    • Main Street, U.S.A.
    • Adventureland
    • Frontierland
    • Liberty Square
    • Fantasyland
    • Tomorrowland
    • Live entertainment and parades in the Magic Kingdom
    • Magic Kingdom touring plans
    • Magic Kingdom trivia quiz
  • Part Eight: Epcot
    • Kidcot fun stops
    • Future World
    • World Showcase
    • Live entertainment at Epcot
    • Epcot touring plans
    • Epcot trivia quiz
  • Part Nine: Animal Kingdom
    • The Oasis
    • Discovery Island
    • Camp Minnie-Mickey
    • Africa
    • Asia
    • DinoLand U.S.A.
    • Live entertainment at Animal Kingdom
    • Animal Kingdom touring plans
    • Disney's Animal Kingdom trivia quiz
  • Part Ten: Disney's Hollywood Studios
    • Live entertainment at Disney's Hollywood Studios
    • Disney's Hollywood Studios touring plans
    • Disney's Hollywood Studios trivia quiz
  • Part Eleven: Universal Orlando and SeaWorld
    • Universal Orlando
    • Universal Studios Florida
    • Disney's Hollywood Studios versus Universal Studios Florida
    • Universal Studios Florida attractions
    • Live entertainment at Universal Studios
    • Universal Studios Florida touring plan
    • Universal's Islands of Adventure
    • Islands of Adventure attractions
    • Islands of Adventure touring plan
    • SeaWorld
  • Part Twelve: The rest of the world
    • The water theme parks
    • Wet N' Wild
    • Aquatica by SeaWorld
    • Downtown Disney
    • The best of the rest
  • Index
  • Clip-out touring plans


Bob Sehlinger and Liliane J. Opsomer with Len Testa have visited Walt Disney World frequently over the past 25 years. They combine their travel advice with tips from four children and 40,000 interviewed families.

More information on Walt Disney World:

Walt Disney World Animal Kingdom

Disney Water Parks - Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach

Walt Disney World - What to See and Do

Return to Travel Index