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The Luxury Guide to Walt Disney World    by Cara Goldsbury order for
Luxury Guide to Walt Disney World
by Cara Goldsbury
Order:  USA  Can
Bowman, 2003 (2003)
* *   Reviewed by Anise Hollingshead

There are already reams of travel advice for travelers to Disney World in Orlando, so one would think that there's nothing new to be said on the subject. However, most of the current guidebooks focus on saving travelers money, and on ways to stretch their vacation dollars. Ms. Goldsbury, on the other hand, has decided to unashamedly tout the extravagant way to see Disney, for those not afraid to throw a little money around.

When asked about reviewing The Luxury Guide to Walt Disney World, I thought it a funny coincidence, as I was slated to go to Disney World over the Christmas holidays. I was amused at the title, as I'm one of the cheapest people I know, outside of Amy Dacyczyn, author of The Tightwad Gazette, and I certainly had no intention of staying or eating at any of the places described in the book. In fact, our family found a really great deal at a budget motel in Kissimmee, Florida, at a buy one night, get one free rate of $50 a night, which was actually $25 a night! We also eschewed eating meals at the parks, but instead packed food for lunch and met back at the parking lot to eat. That being said, I found this book to be very helpful even for a tightwad like myself, and it would be a definite asset to those wanting to experience the pampered side of Disney World.

The guide is broken down into sections on Theme Parks, Dining, Accommodations, Shopping, and other areas of interest, with a detailed introduction on planning the trip, and arrival information. A section on accommodations comes next, and only top-rated hotels (either in the parks, or very close) are listed, although there are a wide range of prices offered. A handy rating system of dollar signs designates the general price range of each, and all the amenities and attractions are included, grouped according to the general ages and interests of the guests. Of course, the main part of the book is all about the theme parks, and these sections offer handy advice on how to do the parks in a day or days, without being too rigid on scheduling time.

Flexibility is the key to having fun on any vacation, and the author certainly realizes that. There are maps, and the rides and other attractions are described in detail, with helpful advice on the ages and probable interest/fun. The Fastpass is discussed, and I would certainly recommend using it. This is a special, free ticket that users can choose for designated ride times, usually about an hour or two ahead of the selection time. It's very easy to get one for a ride, go visit another attraction, then come back at the correct time, which will be actually a window of time of about 45 minutes. The line for the fastpass is always much faster than the regular line. The gift shops, stores and restaurants are also described. Universal and Sea World are included as well, with the same amount of information and format as the other parks.

The Luxury Guide to Walt Disney World is chockfull of helpful information, especially for those families who want to stay in a resort hotel inside the park to eliminate the hassle of traveling back and forth, and who want extra perks for the kids. At the same time, it's also pretty handy for the rest of us, who just want to know the layout of the parks and what the best rides are.

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