I’m excited to announce that the newest version of the guidebook that I co-write with Dave Shute of yourfirstvisit.net is now available for your consideration. Now in its seventh year, The easy Guide remains Amazon’s highest-rated Walt Disney World guidebook series of all time (of all time). Take a look at the product page to “look inside” at everything the book offers and follow along below. The Kindle version should be available shortly.
The release schedule of this year’s book is a little different than past iterations because of the timing of the opening of the first part of Galaxy’s Edge back in late August, combined with the opening of the Disney Skyliner in late September. Ordinarily, the first version of the guidebook would be released around August, but it didn’t seem to make a lot of sense to us to release a guidebook with 2020 on the cover before Star Wars had an opportunity to not only open, but mature a bit. We also didn’t want to base our thoughts on Disneyland’s version, or, heaven forbid, put a picture of Disneyland on the cover of a Walt Disney World guidebook because we decided to rush out incomplete work based on a smorgasbord of assumptions that obviously haven’t come to fruition. Even the most recent update of our 2019 version of our guidebook would be more up to date than any of the 2020 guidebooks currently on the market.
As with each of the last six years of guidebooks, “The easy Guide to Your Walt Disney World Visit” is the culmination of everything that you see covered on this website and over at yourfirstvisit.net. If you’ve ever been reading here, there, or on any other Disney-related site and said to yourself, “I just wish someone would put this all together for me so I can understand it without having to look at another freaking wait times chart,” then here you are. Although I’ve still included some wait times charts.
Together, Dave and I have visited the theme parks
hundreds thousands of times, stayed at every resort, rope-dropped attractions that have no business being visited before 8am, eaten hundreds of things that we wish we hadn’t, and spent hundreds of thousands of dollars and 20+ combined years of our lives to bring this information to you in the most easily-digestible format possible.
We also revise the book throughout the year as things change and send regular PDF updates to those who have purchased the book. With the last version, book readers received access to exclusive Toy Story Land touring plans, an updated Hollywood Studios map, and consolidated advice on the best way to experience everything that Toy Story Land offers before that information was available online. With this edition, we’ll continue to update on how Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is shaping up, and provide insight into other happenings, including the opening of Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway and Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure. You can also enjoy those updated PDFs long after you’ve let someone borrow the physical copy of the book.
Let’s see what’s in store in these 300+ jam-packed pages.
As with past editions, Chapter 1 is all about the “what,” offering quick and easy (GET IT?) advice for each planning topic and breaking down the main points.
Above is Chapter 1’s introduction to Chapter 7 on dining. Readers have an opportunity to familiarize themselves with some of the more unique dining options before arriving at the seventh chapter, which spans about 60 pages and includes more than a hundred reviews comparing and contrasting all of your options.
Here’s an example of how clear we make recent changes:
This should help refresh memories and may also introduce some things that are easily missed with the thousands of little changes Disney makes every year. Knowing when resort and ticket prices are lower can save you hundreds or thousands of dollars over the course of your trip, with some of these savings materializing if you simply shift the dates of your trip by a day or two. It may also help explain why the cost of a similar yearly trip now costs a wildly different amount of money than it has in the past.
Chapter Two addresses height restrictions and how much age and maturity levels (guidebook authors’ mental states notwithstanding) matter:
Several diagrams and charts help visualize how much of a difference a couple of inches make.
Chapter 3 is all about how long to stay:
It offers advice based on the ages of the kids, whether you plan on returning, what you want to accomplish, and budget.
Chapter 4 is key and hones in on the best times of year to visit, in addition to breaking down each month:
Over the span of about a dozen pages, you’ll know just about everything that’s happening at Walt Disney World over the course of the entire year.
A variety of charts and graphs help visualize some of the ticket pricing differences, for example:
We can quickly identify the more expensive times of year, such as a 20% increase in ticket prices around the spring break period during the first week in April. For the lowest prices, check out late January and most of September.
Chapter 5 covers all resorts on property in depth, including room diagrams for each room type:
This chapter also breaks down what to expect from each resort category and when it makes sense to pay a little extra for a larger room or additional amenities, or spend less on cheaper accommodations:
Chapter 6, the book’s longest, is all about theme parks. Every land is introduced:
And every attraction reviewed:
There’s a ton of information here consolidated into each little capsule.
Wait times charts offer insight into what you can expect to be able to do and how long it will take. These are provided for all Parks in a variety of crowd scenarios.
You’ll also find all sorts of touring plans and advice on how to make just about any itinerary work:
Here’s an example of two ride-focused plans for Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Also included are two-day plans and late arrival plans, among others.
Chapter 7, the second longest chapter, is all about what to eat:
Considering there “literally” isn’t a quick service entree at the theme parks that your authors haven’t tried, you might say you’re in good hands.
We’ve expanded the Dining Plan section to discuss more about what’s offered, how to maximize each credit, and whether it makes sense to purchase it in a variety of different situations.
All of the restaurants see updated pricing and offerings. Toledo is an example of a review that was just added for this edition.
The Disney Springs section may be of particular help with so many new options there.
Chapter 8 is titled “Which Tickets to Buy and How Much to Budget:”
And that’s exactly what it covers, including some recently added nuances in ticket season pricing and add-ons:
And finally, Chapter 9 brings it all together, discussing important deadlines and walking you through setting up My Disney Experience accounts, how MagicBands work, when to make dining reservations, and a lot more:
As the co-author of the book, I am slightly biased in favor of its contents, but I don’t think you’ll find a better-written, more consolidated source of information than The easy Guide to Your Walt Disney World Visit. It takes hundreds of hours every year to move through all of the changes and make all of the updates, but it’s a project that helps tens of thousands of families create unforgettable vacations each and every year. And for that, I’m very proud.