The Best Disney World Guide Book (and three to skip!) for a 2024 Vacation

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Countless blogs tell you to go here, to do this, but mostly they tell you about their Disney vacation and how magical it was. You already know that, that’s why you’re going!

You need something tangible. Something educational. Something that has all the information you need in one place You need… good, old-fashioned books! 

Let’s cover some of the Best Books below for planning, and 3 books I wouldn’t recommend.

This post may contain affiliate links, read my full disclosure here.

Disney World Guide Book Quick Overview

You’ll see a lot of people talk about the Official and Unofficial Guide Books for Disney World, and while I own both, they are gigantic!

These are both good books to get, but so jammed packed it can be overwhelming. Which is why I really like the Kid’s Version of the Planning Guide, since you will get all the relevant information without the ridiculous expectations.

Disney World is huge and very confusing, especially if you’ve haven’t been a few times. I highly recommend this coloring book to not only get excited for vacation, but learn some of the landmarks and rides at Disney World.

The Food Allergy Beginner’s Guide to Disney World

1 in 10 adults and 1 in 13 children have a food allergy in the US! And going on vacation with a food allergy can be complicated sometimes… but it doesn’t have to be if you have the right planning tools!

To save the most time on your trip (and have the least amount of food-anxiety) there are two great books to choose from. The first is the Disney World Gluten Free guide (which is just for gluten free folks). The next one is for all top 8 Food Allergies plus Gluten (as Disney World lumps gluten and wheat together as one).

Birnbaum’s Walt Disney World: The Official Vacation Guide

Birnbaum’s Guide is a pretty tried-and-true classic. It’s the “official” Walt Disney World vacation guide and it gets updated every year to reflect new rides, attractions, pricing, and trends.

It will also give you some good planning and money-saving tips to help you out as you prepare for your trip.

This book is known for being easy to digest and easily portable, so you can take it with you when you travel or even when you’re inside the parks! Yes, you can buy it inside of the parks, but I recommend you grab it before vacation for easy planning

Birnbaum’s For Kids

The regular Birnbaum’s gives you a great general vacation planning guide, but if you’re travelling with kids (as most of us will be!) then I highly recommend the “kids” version of Birnbaum’s.

This one is written “by” kids, for kids… so your kiddos can help with the planning, especially your slightly older, more intrepid readers! (And it’s a nice way to help get in those 15 minutes of reading each day)

It’s simplified but also offers lots of information on where to find the best rides and character meet-and-greets so your youngsters can get the most out of their Disney experience. And honestly, adults will love it, too!

The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World

Where there’s an official guide, there must also be an “unofficial” guide, right? This book is an independent guide to the parks, but the main difference is, it’s way more comprehensive than Birnbaum’s.

The Unofficial Guide is really good for those of us who like to have ALL the information, but if you’re a first timer, you might be a little overwhelmed, and that’s why I rank it below the Official Guide! It’s also why I like the kindle version of this book (so you can get all the info you need without lugging a giant book around) BUT I believe the paper back is important for first time guests!

Thankfully, they do offer summaries at the start of every chapter so you can get a sense of what to expect, and I appreciate that they have a ‘boots on the ground’ approach to their research.

The Unofficial Guide for Kids 

Right alongside the regular Unofficial Guide is the corresponding kids’ version. This one has basically the same idea as Birnbaum’s, with kids offering advice to their peers on how to have the most fun at Disney.

But just like its grown-up counterpart, this book is going to be more comprehensive–so probably better for older kids (or even just adults traveling with young ones)! 

Art of Coloring: Walt Disney World

Learning about Disney World can be overwhelming and stressful. There are some other approaches, especially for ND folks, that are non traditional but highly effective.

I highly recommend this coloring book to not only get excited for vacation, but learn some of the landmarks and rides at Disney World. You’ll find pages and pages of landmarks and characters, including a section for different lands and the 50th Celebration.

The Hidden Magic of Walt Disney World

Of course, the magic of Disney World starts when you enter the parks, but with so much to see and to do (and so much history behind everything!) there’s a lot we tend to miss.

If you want to know about all the hidden gems and best-kept secrets, then this is the book for you! 

The Hidden Mickeys of Walt Disney World

If you’ve been to the parks, or even heard a little bit about them, then you know that Mickey Mouse is literally everywhere, from window panes to food to within the rides themselves!

But there are also more obscure “Hidden Mickeys,” and it can be really fun to make a game out of spotting them around the park!

This book guides users through where to find them scavenger-hunt style. Great for kids and adults alike, especially if you visit often and are looking for those extra details! Yes, it’s available randomly at some shops in the parks, but grab it ahead of time to make the most of your planning!

Not Recommended- Secrets of Walt Disney World

This is another VERY outdated book. It’s nice if you want something small to leaf through, and fun for considering how Disney World used to be.

Think of this book like the kid’s version of The Hidden Magic. Designed with kids in mind, this is a great gift for the kiddo who wants to dive a little bit deeper into the Disney parks before your vacation. 

Not recommended- Walt Disney World Hacks

When you see the word “hacks,” you know you get curious! Because usually that means you’re saving time or money, which is always a good thing, especially on a Disney vacation!

But this book was published in 2019, and likely info gathered from 2017/2018 trips. The World has Changed a lot since 2020, especially the Disney World Parks. This book needs an update.

Not Recommended- Fudor’s Guide Physical Copy- Kindle OK

The reason I wouldn’t recommend the physical copy, is that it’s not worth purchasing the physical copy when other quality books exist (like above). I would recommend the kindle copy, since it is smaller that some of the other guide books and can be consumed digitally when you’ve got a planning question or need clarification.

The top books for a Disney World Vacation

well there you have it friends! The best books for getting you started with planning your fun and memorable Disney World Vacation.

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