Hassle-Free Walt Disney World Vacation: A Book Review

The 2011 edition of The Hassle Free Walt Disney World Vacation guide marks two milestones this year. The first is this is the 10th year, I believe. Secondly, it includes several pages of color pictures.

Steven Barrett checks in with the regular updates and mentions of new/changed attractions that you would expect to find, including recent changes like the addition of Captain EO as well as mentions of the upcoming changes to Fantasyland. The Hassle Free guide follows the same easy to read format of the previous editions. There is a brief description of each park, then one of each attraction with some notes/comments, followed by touring plans for various age groups and lengths of stay.

The color photos I mentioned above come into play for the new photo quiz for this year, color really does make the difference and adds to the fun!

As I have mentioned before I really like the touring plans in this book because they include some of the live entertainment as well as time to rest. With the influx of dining plan guests I would have liked to have seen the packages/dining plan section expanded as well as more warnings to the average guest to get their dining booked as early as possible during some times of the year due to these promotions/packages. Also I found it odd that the Kim Possible interactive experience/game at EPCOT was listed as other things to do in Chapter 7 versus in the EPCOT section.

My thoughts from previous editions (that still ring true in this one): I have really enjoyed reading these books over the years as I agree with the author’s premise that a wait of 15-20 minutes is too long, and I would add in many cases can be avoided. I think featuring such useful information as the least-crowded restrooms and places to rest is great. It goes beyond attraction descriptions, attractions that usually have minimal wait times, and those that may frighten children.

I found the detailed touring plans easy to read and they appear to be well researched and thought out. The book contains several permutations of touring plans for the Magic Kingdom and EPCOT taking into account one day or two day, early morning, regular day guest, adults/teens, young children, and seniors. I found it interesting to see what the author had picked out for each.

The only thing I did not like was the labeling of the audiences. For example the touring plans for seniors was probably the one closest to my tastes and I am a good 35 years away from collecting social security. I would have rather seen it arranged by type of attraction interest, thrill seekers, etc… I also found it great that Barrett includes some of the shows and other entertainment offerings in his plans.

As with other guidebooks for the parks I really think there needs to be a huge disclaimer/warning message telling guests to remember it is vacation and to be flexible, have fun, and remember the hassle-free part of the title! Sometimes by reading a list of attractions to visit or things to do you can fall into an attack model where you are going to push through the park and experience everything on a tight schedule. That really does not work that well for most people.

Like many guidebooks, a majority of the book is devoted to the parks, attractions, and touring plans. The other WDW offerings are relegated to the back of the book and are quickly covered. For example Chapter 7 is one of the most interesting chapters to me as it covers what else to do at WDW, but it’s basically a listing of recreational, tour, and other activities.

Barrett is also the author of the best-selling Hidden Mickeys series of books.

The publisher is offering special pricing for the new edition of The Hassle Free Walt Disney World Vacation. Click here.

About The Author:

Jason Dziegielewski, also known as the Disneygeek, is the primary author and webmaster for disneygeek.com, where he shares his thoughts, observations, and photographs about Disney parks. He is a regular visitor to the Disneyland resort, stopping by every couple of weeks, and he makes trips to Walt Disney World a couple times a year. The site launched in 1994 as Jason’s Disney Facts and Opinions and became disneygeek.com in 2000.