Recommended Guidebooks and Books for First Time Visitors to Disney World

By Dave Shute


Because you have this site, you don’t need any of the books below. But they are affordable luxuries!

Their best use, for families whose visit is largely based on this site, is for the trip home, to pass around and use as aids to memory and discussion of the trip.

If you do buy and read one before the trip, follow this tip: do not read the descriptions of the rides themselves.

Doing so both kills the suspense of a ride and lessens the wonder you otherwise would feel from experiencing a ride without knowing what’s next!



For those with special needs, and those looking for accommodations beyond the typical, the following two books can help:


From all the other great Disney World related works, I suggest the following:


1 Joe { 10.20.11 at 12:34 pm }

Heading to disney 1st week of nov staying at allstar music, we want to do one day at Universal for Harry Potter and would appreciate suggestions as to how to get there and any tix discounts you may be aware of

2 Dave { 10.20.11 at 1:16 pm }

Hi Joe!

To get to Harry Potter see this:

I don’t track Universal discounts–suggest you check

3 Anonymous { 12.28.11 at 5:50 pm }

Should I purchase the trip insurance?

4 Dave { 12.28.11 at 5:57 pm }

I never have. That said, it’s personal, as it depends on your risk tolerance and your next best option. If this were my first visit, I was unlikely to be able to afford to return, and I’d been saving for years, I probably would…especially if I was going during the peak of the hurricane season! (See ) But if you do be sure to read the fine print…

5 Joan { 01.12.12 at 10:38 am }

Dave, looks as if one of days at wdw next week will be rainy, the day we had planned wild animal kingdom. Should we arrange itinerary? Is there a better park to be in during wet weather?

6 Dave { 01.12.12 at 11:53 am }

Hi Joan. The general effect of rain is to reduce crowds in all the parks compared to what they would have been. For that reaons I love rainy days! A poncho and an umbrella or hat makes all but heavy or blowing rain manageable. At AK the animals are more active in the rain. Because there’s more walking at AK (and Epcot) you do have more exposure to this weather. So it’s hard to say do this vs do that…

7 Susan { 02.10.12 at 8:39 am }

Hi Dave! What an amazing site you have. I’ve been to Disney World 20+ times and I am very impressed with your details. I do have one question that you can help me with. We are going down to Disney World in late August and I’m not sure if there are any tips on handling the heat. We are towing our trailer and staying in Fort Wilderness. Usually we go the week after Thanksgiving, but our daughter enters high school next year, so we decided to vacation in the summer. I don’t handle heat well and neither does she. Are we crazy?

8 Dave { 02.10.12 at 12:17 pm }

Hi Susan and thanks!

I don’t have any great ideas on beating the heat…Does your trailer have a very reliable and very strong air-conditioning system?

And are you OK that you’re going in the peak of the hurricane season? (see this: )

I’ve been at Fort Wilderness in August in a tent…but I’m crazier than most…

9 James { 01.28.13 at 7:54 pm }


I am trying to figure out how to use the FASTPASS in order to maximize time at each park. Here is my scenario: we have 2 adults and 2 kids. 1 child is 3 yeas old and can not ride many rides. I am trying to think of ways to save time using FASTPASS and had an idea….. If my oldest son and I get a FASTPASS for Everest while my wife and younger child go get a FASTPASS for Dumbo, could my wife and younger son then come back with me at Everest, wait in line for
Everest with us, and then when we get up to the front of the Line use the “switch off” so that my wife can wait with my son who can’t go on the ride while my oldest and I get on Everest. Once my son and I are done, I can go and wait with my youngest while my wife goes up to the front of the line with my oldest again. I hope you follow this. I’m basically trying to use a FASTPASS multiple times within the same time frame. Is this possible. The advantage then would be that we can then walk over to the Dumbo ride and already have had time pass on waiting to go on Dumbo.

10 Dave { 01.29.13 at 6:39 am }

Hi James! This sorta won’t work. First, on the example, Dumbo and Everest are in completely different parks, so you’d spend more than an hour–closer to 90 minutes–in getting from one ride to the other. You’d also need a park hopper add-on. And anyway, you can only do the baby switch if both you and your wife have FASTPASSES…

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11 Keith { 03.16.13 at 2:12 am }

Hi Dave,
Thanks for all of your work.
Fastpass question — variation on the “buy two tickets for each person idea.”
Would this work?
Granpda, Grandma go to get FP for Barnstormer
Dad, and Daughter go to get FP for Ariel undersea (or whatever it is called)
Can daughter and Grandpa use FP for Barnstormer?
And then daughter and Grandma use FP for Ariel?
In short, are FP transferable?



12 Dave { 03.16.13 at 7:28 am }

Hi Keith and thanks!

Yes the fastpasses are transferable! I do this all the time–including, if I’m leaving the parks for the day before I’ve used up my fastpasses, giving them away to a beat-looking family…

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13 Jared WEtmore { 04.05.13 at 12:03 pm }

What do you think the chances of free meal dining in Dec will be.
looking to be at Disnet Dec 3-9/10 . trying to save and free meal plan would help alot !
thought s ?>

14 Dave { 04.06.13 at 8:55 am }

Hey Jared, I’m pessimistic on free dining in 2013 for other than the late August-September period. See this for why:

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15 Sarah { 06.29.13 at 8:40 am }

Hi. I have never been to Disney and we are planning our first trip in April 2014 for my oldest son’s 5th birthday. I will also have a 2 year old to. I need a lot of advice on where to stay, dining plan, park tickets etc. I was thinking of April 27-May 3 , is that a good time to go next yea??? Would you recommend a guide book to purchase? Should we book through Disney or a Travel Agent? It is very overwhelming!

16 Dave { 06.29.13 at 10:23 am }

Sarah, this site is designed for you! Start on the home page and work your way through its topics– You’ve alresdy decided when to go (the first topic there) and that is in fact a good week–I rank it the 12th best of 2014 (see this: )

Your kids, tho, are much younger than most of what I have is designed for. Because of that, a guidebook will help you in picking appropriate rides to target…

A travel agent can help execute, but you still need to make the basic decisions yourself…

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17 Sheila { 01.15.14 at 10:03 am }

Hello there! I was wondering, do you have any information about Disneyland California? Universal Studios Hollywood? Or can you suggest any website?
Tks a lot!

18 Dave { 01.16.14 at 7:19 am }

Hi Sheila!

Sorry, I don’t have anything that’s good and up to date. For Disneyland, try this: I don;t know of any Universal-CA sites–I’m sure they are out there, I just don’t know enuf to recommend any…

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My response to questions and comments will be on the same page as the original comment, likely within 24-36 hours . . . I reserve the right to edit and delete comments as I choose . . . All rights reserved. Copyright 2008-2014 . . . This site is entirely unofficial and not authorized by any organizations written about in it . . . All references to Disney and other copyrighted characters, trademarks, marks, etc., are made solely for editorial purposes. The author makes no commercial claim to their use . . . Nobody's perfect, so follow any advice here at your own risk.