Last week I did something that I haven’t done in a really long time, I visited a book store. Now personally I am not and have never been a really strong reader, but as I was driving past the local mall I was drawn to a Barnes and Noble. My ever growing collection of Disney based books has mostly come from Amazon for the reasoning that the B&N in Dayton, Ohio doesn’t have a dedicated Disney section. So I wandered around and found myself in the travel section and all at once a blast from my childhood caught my eye.
There it was, the rectangular wonder that is the Birnbaum’s 2015 Official Guide to Walt Disney World. I still remember the day that my parents told me about our first trip to WDW and gave me the 1997 version which I read over and over again both before and after our trip. I memorized every word of that guide from the letter from the editor to the coupons in the back. That guide was marked, highlighted, and eventually started to deteriorate under the wear and tear it went through. At that time it was my only known source or pictures and descriptions of everything at WDW. Sure the Disney Channel would play some specials that would briefly give you glimpses of Pirates of the Caribbean or Spaceship Earth but nothing about all the other shops, rides, attractions, accommodations, or restaurants that you’d encounter while visiting. I also tried to do some research on the internet before the 1997 trip but my two older sisters often tied up the phone lines which made the Birnbaum’s Guide my best choice.
Today, I have a firm grasp on what’s going on at WDW and where things are located thanks to previous experiences, websites, podcasts (shameless plug for Enchanted Tiki Talk), and the unending social media outposts dedicated to Walt Disney World however seeing the 2015 version on the stand was too much for me and I just had to buy it. Upon leaving the store I found it funny that I traded $15.95 for 355 pages of information I already know. The real draw though isn’t the words on the pages but as a remembrance of the happiness that my 1997 copy brought me. Maybe I’m just a sentimental person but I find a lot of enjoyment reading the 2015 copy and seeing a lot of the same factoids and descriptions that were in my 1997 copy.
At this point in my Disney obsession most of the information in this guide is basic knowledge but I do recommend it for the first time trip taker because it is an innocent guide that is free of the preformed opinions of the masses that the internet offers. Right now for me it serves as a nice reminder that I will get back to Orlando as soon as my daughter is out of diapers (my wife has been very strict about this policy).
If you want any of the coupons from the back of my guide follow me on Twitter at TerriblePirate7 and I’ll be happy to mail them out to you.