The Complete Idiot's Guide to Walt Disney World

Ed Forteau's picture

Dream of heading to Walt Disney World, but are a bit stressed about the crowds, lines, and the quantity of great things to see? We've got a solution! The Complete Idiot's Guide to Walt Disney World (2012 edition), by Doug Ingersoll, addresses all of your concerns. Doug Ingersoll is the author of five editions of The Complete Idiot’s Guide® to Walt Disney World, as well as the creator of the iPhone application The Walt Disney World Complete Travel Guide. A lifelong Disney fan, Ingersoll has been vacationing at Walt Disney World for more than 40 years!


Doug Ingersoll


This book is a gem, filled with tips on planning, budgeting, transportation, buying tickets, vacation strategies, where to stay (and a complete rundown of hotels/resorts), dining at WDW, and a truly complete guide to the theme parks.


One of the most useful parts of the book is the hotels/resorts section. Ingersoll outlines the benefits, prices, features, best room locations, and more - and did you know that there's a CAMPGROUND at Disney? And that there are shows, restaurants, and outdoor activities (think horseback riding, archery, campfires, seasonal hayrides, and sleigh rides!)?


Of course, the meat of the book lies in the Disney Parks section itself.  Each of the attractions is detailed, along with the audience it is best for (and location). There are great maps, touring strategies, entertainment, and a plethora of tips.


It's well-worth a read (or ten) - this book is a game-changer for visiting Walt Disney World.



We caught up with Doug to learn more about this book, avoiding crowds, don't miss attractions, traveling with disabilities, and more. Here's what he had to say...

Please tell us about The Complete Idiot's Guide to Walt Disney World,

DI: The book really is a comprehensive planning tool with the first time visitor in mind. It is designed to provide a fast planning process in what can be a
rather complex and confusing process. Through helping people plan based on their unique family needs, they can be sure to get the most out of the trip, but not have the planning be so overwhelming that it is like having a second job.



WE: What inspired you to write this book? 

DI: So many of the books were either too cursory in their coverage or they were for enthusiasts that provided more detail than most of us would want. With titles that either had only 3-4 pages on Disney travel planning, or were 700-plus pages long, there seemed to be nothing that helped show the
everyday first time traveler what they needed to know, and ONLY what they needed to know.



WE: How can travelers avoid the crowds at Walt Disney World?

DI: Disney has put in place a number of crowd management programs, like the FASTPASS program that lets any guest get a pass to a ride for later in the day that is accessed by a shorter line experience. But ultimately the most important rules to avoiding larger crowds are:


  • Visit during the school year. If kids are in school, they aren't at Walt Disney World.
  • Arrive at the parks early to beat the bigger crowds. 
  • Use programs like Extra Magic Hours and FASTPASS wisely to beat the lines.
  • Learn how they can help, or hinder, your park experience.


WE: What are your don't miss attractions?

DI: There are several in each park, and of course they can differ if you are traveling with little children, but the book organizes them into a simple
list of "Must Do!" attractions. Some of these include;  Magic Kingdom: Space Mountain, "it's a small world", and Wishes Nighttime Spectacular (Fireworks) EPCOT: Soarin', IllumiNations, and Test Track Hollywood Studios: Toy Story Midway Mania, the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, and Fantasmic! Animal Kingdom: Expedition Everest, Festival of the Lion King, and Kilimanjaro Safaris.



WE: Do you have any money-saving tips on visiting WDW?

DI: Don't over plan your meals. Many families plan three sit-down meals per day, but with so many marquee dining destinations being buffets and family style meals, the quantity of food can become excessive and expensive. For most families one sit-down per day can be more than enough, with counter service meals and even just light snacking filling in the hunger pangs for the rest of the day.



WE: What about visiting WDW if you have disabilities - any suggestions?

DI: Disney is all about accommodating the needs of guests-all guests. For those with more advanced mobility and disability needs, they can request a GAC (or Guest Assistance Card). With this the guest and their party can avoid long line waits in more secluded venues. It is not a pass to the front of the
line, but instead a way to get children that have issues with crowds or others with mobility challenges a way to more easily and comfortably
navigate the parks.



WE: Is there anything else you'd like to share with us?

DI: Planning is essential when it comes to a Walt Disney World vacation, but it doesn't have to be work. Have fun planning the trip, preparing for what lies
ahead, and get ready to have a magical vacation!



Thanks so very much, Doug.  Wandering Educators - if you're traveling to Walt Disney World, grab a copy of this book - you will be glad you did.



Paperback: 432 pages
Publisher: Alpha; Original edition (September 6, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1615641122
ISBN-13: 978-1615641123





Note: We received a review copy of this book from the publisher. Thank you!