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  • Official or Unofficial Guide?

    Of the two major books on Disneyland--Birnbaum's Official Guideand The Unofficial Guide (Bob Shelinger) which is the best?

    I prefer Unofficial, although I think they both have alot of flaws. Official (Birnbaum's) is too thin and optomistic, while Unofficial never changes and their ride descriptions are the same in both Disneyland and WDW versions--as in, the Magic Kingdom WDW and Disneyland Dumbo have exactly the same description. They're the same thing, but you know what I mean.

    So which is better and any comments anyone? No this is not a bona fide poll.

  • #2
    Honestly, I usually get both just so I can sythesize what they say. Official is good for the official line and such but the unofficial is more realistic. But if I could only buy one I would have to go with the official one because it at least has the official Disney line in it.
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    • #3
      Unofficial touring plans *BUG* me. They say "The Disney Magic this" and "The Disney Magic that" but then they want you to dash from ride to show to this to that? How is that expericing the magic?

      I say: No touring plans, do what you want at Disneyland (or any theme park).

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      • #4
        Like Brian, I buy both. Although I don't actually utilize either (I've been enough times to know what I'm doing). And personally, although I've never been to WDW, it would seem to me that one Dumbo is pretty identical to another, so it doesn't bother me that the descriptions are the same. Birnbaum has pretty pictures and the unofficial has some interesting information; it's a tie.

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        • #5
          I prefer the Unofficial! The Florida version is extraordinarily comprehensive.

          An interesting side note: Jim Hill is a contributing author of the Unofficial guide.
          ~ Tasty, yet morally ambiguous! ~

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          • #6
            Having read another thread where chatters brought up another book, 100 Things You Never Knew About Disneyland, I went to Barnes & Noble in search of it. (They said they will not have it until sometime next month) While there, I browsed the Disneyland books. I just purchased "Frommers Portable Disneyland" book and "The 7th edition Disneyland & Southern California With Kids" book. The first was a waste of money. 116 pages which I already read that told me EVERYTHING I already knew. The second is actually better. Getting to go only once a year, I miss a lot of "secrets" that this book has pointed out. Such as, for me, touching the apple outside the Snow White ride will make thunder and the witch laugh. I never knew this.

            I looked for the Unofficial Guide when the worker mentioned it but they were sold out. What do the two books mentioned in the first post entail? Do they give out more "secrets" I can look for?

            Does anyone know of a place I can find a list of these little hidden things? We are taking my 10 year old niece for the first time and I would like to show her all these types of things.

            :o
            Mellymouse




            (do you think the Finding Nemo Subs line will be under 3 hours by then?)





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            • #7
              Official sounds too much like the company line, hence "official". Ideal for guests who want recommendations, but still want to draw their own conclusions on what is "must see" and "pass".

              Unofficial makes judgements on rides even before you have the chance to see and ride it for yourself. May cause people to pass on attractions they might really enjoy. Ideal for guests who see visiting theme parks as an assigned mission.

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              • #8
                I like the Official guide and own the 2005 edition for Disneyland, but a couple things aggravate me about it. For example, the Tower of Terror description is obviously a direct copy from the wdw book, and as we all know, the two rides are not the same. It's annoying when you read about scenes that aren't in this version (like the fifth dimension room) and then it tells you the fear every drop drop sequence is in place. Sometimes I think they don't read these books before publishing them.
                -Kyle, Member of the DCA Lovers Alliance
                I'M GOING TO YALE!!!!!!!

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                • #9
                  It doesn't surprise me if they copied the Tower of Terror stuff from one Official guide to another. I don't own any of the Officials, but I've read them from the librbary. They don't seem worth $$$ to me.

                  As for those "hidden little things" Someone above had asked about, a good book to find them in is usuaully the Unofficial, or something like it. Official guides usually don't have them. Examples of Official guides: Birnbaum's, Frommers, "For Dummies" (sort of), etc. Try the actual Unofficial guide or something similar, and it's probabe they have listed some of those hidden little things. I can tell you anything you want from my 2005 Unofficial Guide (Disneyland).

                  Jim Hill writes in the Unofficial? That's cool, although I get bored of his website alot. It's usually just "what would have been" which he could just be making up (i'm not saying he is, just that dont you realize it could all be made up)? Besides it's annoying to read descriptions of rides we'll never be able to go on! Just my opinion

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                  • #10
                    I think most are good. I have both editions as well as other books. I always think it is best to get as much information from different sources as you can! (which includes this website!)

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                    • #11
                      Here's how I see it...
                      The official guide has so-so information, but great maps, and great pictures. They too have been repeating information between Disneyland and Disney World. They do not update their ride descriptions often (at least not in the last seven years), and they do not give age opinions.

                      The unofficial guide lacks in maps and pictures, but what it lacks in them, it makes up in information. It has a comprehensive description of all attractions, gives age recommendations, and looks at the attractions frankly. Their touring plans are not the best and one bad habit they have is given away "secret" locations. This leads to the "secrets" being revealed and disappointment for those expecting to find them. Often, the unofficial guides give infomration on surrounding attractions as well. Also, they tend to mock Disney as well as advertising them.

                      Overall, I find the Unofficial guide to be superior if you are a first time or repeat (once in a great while) tourist. If you are a Disney fanatic, the Birnbaum book is best. I buy only the Birnbaum guides with the hopes of finding updated pics...
                      In view, a humble vaudevillian veteran, cast vicariously as both victim and villain by the vicissitudes of fate.

                      DoppelV

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                      • #12
                        Read the Hidden Gems Thread

                        Originally posted by MellyMouse
                        Having read another thread where chatters brought up another book, 100 Things You Never Knew About Disneyland, I went to Barnes & Noble in search of it. (They said they will not have it until sometime next month) While there, I browsed the Disneyland books. I just purchased "Frommers Portable Disneyland" book and "The 7th edition Disneyland & Southern California With Kids" book. The first was a waste of money. 116 pages which I already read that told me EVERYTHING I already knew. The second is actually better. Getting to go only once a year, I miss a lot of "secrets" that this book has pointed out. Such as, for me, touching the apple outside the Snow White ride will make thunder and the witch laugh. I never knew this.

                        I looked for the Unofficial Guide when the worker mentioned it but they were sold out. What do the two books mentioned in the first post entail? Do they give out more "secrets" I can look for?

                        Does anyone know of a place I can find a list of these little hidden things? We are taking my 10 year old niece for the first time and I would like to show her all these types of things.

                        :o
                        There is a thread entitled hidden gems. I do not know how to link to it. If you search for it, it is entitled Hidden Gems of Disneyland . It is great. It tells you a very lot of cool inside secrets to Disneyland, just what you are looking for.
                        BarbaraAnn

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