Touring Guides: Birnbaum WDW Dining Guide

Birnbaum Guides 2010 Walt Disney World Dining Guide
Editor: Jill Safro

Can you tell this has been used once or twice?

For those of us who have bought Disney touring guides in the past, you know you are getting the real deal when you pick up a Birnbaum Guide.  I mean, they are The Official Guide, printed by Disney themselves.

And Yes, I know this is the 2010 guide, but as far as dining in WDW is concerned, there have only been a few changes, mainly in the Epcot area.  The new book would have information on updated Catalina de San Angel, info on Via Napoli, and notice that Le Cellier is now a Signature restaurant for dining.  Overall, the format of these two books will be the same.

Since this book strictly focuses on dining, we will look at it differently than a typical guide book.  This book still does have the basics, such as the table of contents and the index, but does not include pictures or any maps.  Little cartoons of characters are the only illustrations in the book, why I am not sure.  I would like to see pictures, even black and white pictures, of some of the outsides of the restaurants or even the food.  Wait, nevermind, not the food, that would not be fair to be looking at an amazing meal that you are planning for 6 months out.

After the Table of Contents, there is what is called “A Guide to This Guide”, which explains the purpose of the book and the symbols that are used, such as a symbol meaning Table Service, symbols showing what meals are served in the eatery and explaining the pricing guide. The next section explains how to book a reservation at Walt Disney World, gives tips on how to do so, and explains the Disney Dining Plan options.

And now to the nitty gritty- the restaurants.  The book starts off, naturally, in Magic Kingdom.  It goes around to each land alphabetically listing every eatery, the type of dining there, the atmosphere, price and the type of food served. A feature that I like is at the bottom of each page is the dining and price guides, allowing for quick access to the information without having to flip back and forth to the guide in the beginning of the book. After Magic Kingdom, the restaurants in Epcot, Hollywood Studios, Animal Kingdom and Downtown Disney are listed.

After going through the main parks, the resorts are listed in alphabetical order with their restaurants. You never realize how many restaurants there are at the resorts until you look at this book! There are a ton! This section is followed by the listing of Dinner Shows offered, giving a couple paragraphs of detail about each and when the shows are.

For the adults in the audience, there is an alphabetical list of every Lounge and Pub in the next section.  The list starts in the theme parks and then covers the resorts and Downtown Disney.  The prices are not listed, but there is a brief description of each lounge and the kind of drinks that are served.

Not only does this book prepare you for dining in Walt Disney World, but it helps bring a bit of Walt Disney World dining to your home! There is a section featuring some of the famous recipes from Disney property, including Chef Mickey’s Breakfast Pizza, Tonga Toast, and Artist Point Berry Cobbler.  This is my favorite part of the book!!

The last section is called “Where to Find”. This is a series of lists that tell where on property you can find certain things you may be looking for. For instance, if you are looking for Barbeque, they list Flame Tree Barbeque and Mickey’s Backyard Barbeque as two places to find it. There are also lists for Buffets, Ethnic Eateries, Fruit, Hot Dogs, Kosher, Vegetarian, Pizza, Sushi, Open 24 hours and lots more!

A negative for this book is the lack of detail on the eateries at Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon.  These water parks get just over a half a page in the Animal Kingdom section of the book and do not go into great detail.  If someone was looking for these eateries, they would actually have to go to the index and look up one of the water parks to find out where in the book they are listed.

My other beef with this book (no pun intended….ok, well maybe it was a little intended) is where the list of character dining is.  Again, to me it seems randomly placed in the middle of the Resorts section of the book and can only be found by looking in the lists section of the book (which does not list them but refers you to the other page) or in the index.

Besides these two points, I find this book to be a quick, informative reference when planning your Walt Disney World dining.  If you are one of those people who would rather get a lot of detailed information, you may prefer over this book as it may not be nearly as informative as you would like.

For those of you going to a Disney park for the first time or even for those Disneyland veterans who are planning a Walt Disney World vacation and are flabbergasted by the ordeal of booking meals six months in advance, this is the book for you! To purchase the 2011 version of this book, visit your local bookstore or Purchase from Amazon.

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