Friday, January 24, 2014

Book review: PassPorter Walt Disney World

Disney parks aren't cheap, but the fact that they are consistently among the top vacation destinations in the world -- and the fact that fanatics like me keep going back -- show that they are incredible places, and worth the occasional expense. They are packed with things to do, and (especially in the case of Walt Disney World) incredibly large and overwhelming, so you'll want to get the most out of your vacation dollar. That takes planning.

I cannot honestly say that PassPorter is the best Disney travel book out there. Why not? Because once I got my hands on a PassPorter, I didn't bother looking at any other travel books. There was no need -- PassPorter has everything. It's hard to compare other books when I haven't seen them!

I discovered PassPorter when planning my first trip to Walt Disney World with my boys over eleven years ago, and even now that I'm a Disney "pro," it's still a valuable resource for me. With its Walt Disney World guidebook in its 16th edition, PassPorter is a unique combination of trip planner, travel guide, organizer and journal.

It works wonderfully as a trip planner. Not only is PassPorter jam-packed with information about the Walt Disney World Resort's parks, hotels, and recreational opportunities, but it provides tips on travel times, weather, and budgeting, along with planning pages and worksheets. It's clear that the information comes from the collective experience of many seasoned travelers and can be fully trusted.

At the back of each guidebook is a set of "PassPockets," an exclusive feature which provides easy-reference, fill-in-the-blank pages for your travel details, as well as storage space for receipts, notes, tickets, and other keepsakes. The PassPockets allowed easy access to our trip details while we were on vacation, and then after we returned home, we reference them to help us relive our memories.
(Pictured: Me in 2005 at Walt Disney World, carrying my Deluxe PassPorter. And 70-80 extra pounds.)

My PassPorter traveled with us on all of our Disney trips. I carried it with me to the parks -- it has full-color fold-out maps of each park, as well as details on each attraction, restaurant and other entertainment. I also used it for note-taking for each of my (overly detailed) trip reports.

As if the bountiful contents between the covers weren't enough, there's even more information available online. PassPorter provides pages of links to Disney resources, and the PassPorter website itself is a fantastic source of current information. There is also an active and friendly community of Disney fans on their discussion boards, and you can find answers and advice for any situation there, as well as entertaining reports, photographs, and conversation.

The original PassPorter covered Walt Disney World. Now you can also get guidebooks for Disney Cruise Line, Disneyland and S. California, Disney Vacation Club, and Disney Weddings, as well as books focused on money-saving and for visiting Disney with special needs. In addition to the guidebooks, there are multiple e-books available for download on their website. Several of the guides also come in a Deluxe version, a leather-bound 3-ring binder with removable pages, as opposed to the standard spiral-bound book. (The Deluxe is what I've had -- it allows me to travel light, carrying only the pages I need into the parks. Plus I can just purchase a set of refill pages when I need to update the info!)

If you have a Disney trip in your future, and especially if you're new to the magic of the Mouse, I highly, highly recommend PassPorter. Even without a trip in the offing, it's a pleasure just to read through this fantastic guidebook and dream of the day you can go to visit Mickey!

PassPorter is available in bookstores and on Amazon, but the best way to ensure you have the latest information is to order through their website, -- plus that's where you find all of the great community, photos, and extras.

(Disclaimer: the lovely and talented Jennifer Marx, co-author of PassPorter, graciously provided me with a free review copy* of the current edition of PassPorter Walt Disney World, with no obligation to review -- or to review favorably. I've also contributed to their weekly newsletter and even had a personal quote of mine printed in their first editions of the Disneyland PassPorter. It may still be there, for all I know. If you can't tell, I'm really sold on this guidebook, and would've been glad to review it positively anyway! I do like free stuff, though.)

*(And more, too, that will be revealed in coming days! Stay tuned!)

No comments: