Travel Times Part 2 Disney Books

Before you check out my Disney Books podcast, check out what my friend Disney lover Richard Simms recommends for Travel Times podcast listeners and the first podcast of looking ahead (there is some strange audio at the beginning on this one, but I think it’s still OK) to my Disney trip.

Note that this was recorded well before I did the post so I put the current editions of these books in the descriptions below.

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/trundlebedtales/2015/10/10/travel-times-disney-world-part-2-books

Walt Disney World
WDW 2017

Disney in December, BABY!

Also my opinion, I read these through except things I knew for sure like cruises or Universal

Website Subscriptions

The main trust of today’s podcast is books, but there are lots of websites. While there are a lot of free websites out there others require subscriptions for access or full access. I would recommend subscribing to all of these.

Touring Plans – It gives you information about rides, menus, and optimized touring plans that you can readjust “optimize” at any time as life might interfer with your premade plans. Purchasing the Touring Plans book listed before gives you a discount on the website subscription.

Kenny the Pirate – Just the best information on character appearances that is always up to date.

UPDATE  WDW  Prep School still has its amazing podcast and a free website, but since I recorded this I also have a subscription section. I haven’t subscribed yet, but since everything else they do is top notch and my favorite, I’m sure this will be too.

Books

Birnhaum Guides. Birnbaum’s 2017 Walt Disney World: The Official Guide. Disney Editions, 2016. ISBN 1484737776

Birnbaum’s the Official guide **** MUST BUY ****

Coupons mostly if staying off grounds or have a lot of out of park time

It gives the party line, things Disney expect you to know about

Compact for easier carrying than others

Meal section most useful especially character meal chart

Also special tours section

You want most current, comes out towards end of September so frozen in August of previous year (so this year’s 2017 book was frozen in August 2016). For trips after September hold out for the next year’s or get both.

Marx, Jennifer, Dave Marx, and Alexander Marx. PassPorter’s Walt Disney World: The Unique Travel Guide, Planner, Organizer, Journal, and Keepsake. 19th ed. Ann Arbor, Michigan: PassPorter Travel Press, 2016. ISBN 158771163X ****MUST BUY****

One of two I would consider a must by, skip the section about accommodations if you’ve made yours already and dive into the stuff about the parks. Although it doesn’t start quite as basic as I’d like to see it for someone who knows nothing about the parks, it gives a lot more basic information than any of the other guide books I read. It has just beautiful maps by far the clearest and most useful I’ve seen in any book. The name labels are on the buildings so you don’t have to flip between a numbered list and the map to figure out what is what.I also liked the routes and walk times that were included to give you a good idea for routes. The descriptions were fairly straight forward and what opinion there was was given in one voice so you could decide if you agreed with it or not. Another nifty feature is that they highlight changes made from the previous edition so you can see what’s changed right away.

Downsides include its format (a plastic spiral that constantly was twisting out, an especially poor choice for a book they encouraged you to carry around and to rearrange and take pages out of it – a binder format would have been a far better choice), the fact that it really didn’t have many charts and what charts they did have were very detailed so there wasn’t much in the way of quick summaries, and that towards the end of the book they were kind of heavy on advising buying other titles from them both in paper and as e-books. Also be aware that the last quarter of the book is taken up by hard cardboard pockets (one for each day of your trip) that they encourage you to use while touring.

Be aware the new edition comes out in December so late in the year information may be out of date towards the end of the calendar year. I caught several things that I knew weren’t true anymore just from my other research.

Sehlinger, Bob and Len Testa. The Unofficial Guide Walt Disney World 2017. Birmingham, AL: Keen Communications, 2015. ISBN 1628090669

My friend Kelly really loves this resource and it has a lot of information, but it’s not one of my favorites. Personally when I read a how to book from an expert I want their opinion and the constant second guessing and quotes of opposite opinions from various readers get on my nerves. But if you want a well rounded set of opinions on absolutely everything, this is the book for you.

One of the positive things is that it rates attractions with advice on different age levels. They give advice and tips how to do it. There are lots of useful single color maps of things like resorts and highway approaches in addition to main park maps and charts and still more that are black and blue. At 848 pages it’s by far the largest and most comprehensive of the books I got. However, there are large sections on Disney Cruises and Universal Parks which explains some of the extra length.

***** I’d say this is a maybe buy. If you want lots of details and a lot of extra opinions, plus detail maps, lists and suggestions for various ages, you’ll want to buy the book. If you want a single voice that you can figure out if you agree with or not, this probably isn’t the book for you. In addition this same group of people put out a subscription website called Touring Plans. The website was a lot more useful to me than the book. If you can only do the book OR the website, do the website in my opinion.

Birnhaum Guides. Birnbaum’s 2017 Walt Disney World For Kids: The Official Guide. Disney Editions, 2016. ISBN 1484737784

*****Buy if have kids the age to read on their own (at least Magic Treehouse series level)

Note that it’s NOT WITH kids, FOR kids. They expect kids to be the ones reading this one.

Colorful, easy to read

Written in narrative format

Rating system scary, dark,or loud

Activities to do

Includes kids in planning

Must say was disappointed in how much our kids like it but I think others would

Touring plans book — Optional

First chapter apologizing for format

Information Disney wouldn’t tell you

System of opinions based on age

Maps not overly clear

Wilk, Roger. Discover the Magic: The Ultimate Insider’s Guide to Walt Disney World. 2nd ed. n.p.: n.p., 2015. ISBN 9781505687491 **** Don’t Buy ****

I admit I was on a bit of a Disney book buying binge and I bought this strictly based on its cover. Seriously this is the second most pick me up and buy me cover that I’ve ever seen. If he didn’t design it himself, I want to hire whoever did it for any book I write. Sadly the cover is the best part of the book. The inside clearly says self-published. There are good self-published books, but most of them are crying out for want of an editor and this is no exception.

Apparently Wilk defines insider as someone who has been to Disney on several trips since 2008 as a normal tourist and in those last seven years apparently spent a lot of time in the parks. However, he didn’t learn a lot because you could get absolutely everything else in this book from other guide books. The only exception are his personal opinions which certainly aren’t worth buying the book for. The opening of the book starts with him getting kind of irate at the fact that people posted negative comments on Amazon (which I totally should have read) and seemed especially focused on the fact that people complained that his photos weren’t in color. He seemed to think people didn’t understand that color photos cost more in a book. Frankly to me the photos even in black and white were one of the few pluses in the book because I do have to give him credit that he illustrated more things he was talking about with photos than the other Disney books I’ve read. However, they were nothing special and you could find just as good or better images doing a quick image search.

Note that the edition I got was the second. It seems that according to the interior text it was greatly expanded from the 1st edition which must have just been a pamphlet or something. Also, Wilk has the nerve to have published 3 more books about Disney when he didn’t really have enough to say to fill this one.

*****If it is the only Disney book available to you, it covers the bare essentials of information well enough, but a strong do NOT buy.

Final – Disappointment have to still have your physical Disney credit card to get discount, kids glad to go

Sarah S. Uthoff is the main force behind Trundlebed Tales striving to bring the History, Mystery, Magic and Imagination of Laura Ingalls Wilder and other greats of children’s literature and history to life for a new generation. Uthoff is a nationally known Laura Ingalls Wilder authority and has presented at five of the Wilder homesites, many conferences and numerous libraries, museums, and events around the Midwest. Attend one of her programs, schedule one yourself, watch her videos, listen to her podcast, and find her on FacebookTwitterGoogle+,  LinkedIn, and Academia.edu. Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.

Travel Times Amana

IMG_0008 One of the subseries of my Trundlebed Tales podcast is a series about travel and hobbies called Travel Times. Sometimes I interview someone, but sometimes I just talk about something I know about and this is one of the later. Today you get the inside scoop of eating at the Amana Colonies in Iowa. It’s right off I-80 so anytime you passing through the state, plan a stop.

Utopian NOT Dystopian

Right now Dystopian fiction, stories about what happens after we destroy the world and how every thing will be a whole lot worse, are the literary trend (which is historically true in bad economic times), but in other, more hopeful days Utopian worlds were not only the rule in fiction, but people believed they could be created in real life. There were several attempts at Utopian colonies in North America, but one of the most successful was the Amana Colonies. The colonists came from Germany, started in New York, but later permanently settled in Iowa starting a cluster of villages that straddle two counties. Such colonies normally fall apart as the second generation comes up and is not as committed to the ideals, but that didn’t happen in Amana’s case.  They began in 1714 in Germany and it took the Great Depression of the 1930s and the overload it produced on their system designed to help even outsiders in need that ultimately made it obvious they couldn’t continue. Rather than give up entirely they stopped the practice of providing members with what they needed, broke up the communal kitchens, and formed a corporation. In 1932, the former practitioners became share holders in the various Amana businesses. While there are private businesses in Amana a good deal is still owned by the shareholders.

http://amanacolonies.com/pages/about-amana-colonies/history.php

Restaurants

While the Amana Colonies were still a Utopian colony, women assigned to cooking cooked in large communal kitchens strategically located throughout the group of communities. The food was German in origin. It was served family style (meaning full serving dishes were put on the table and passed, rather than individual portions being plated up) and there was lots of chance for refills if any of the serving dishes turned up empty. Today at the Amana Colonies the traditional restaurants still follow those same practices and hungry Iowans can tell you.

Although a combination of recent historical factors have driven several of the restaurants out of business from their high point, today three traditional style Amana restaurants remain:

Colony Inn Restaurant

741 47th Avenue Amana 319-622-3030

Ox Yoke Inn

4420 220th Trail Amana (800) 233-3441

Ronneburg Restaurant

4408 220th Trail Amana (888) 348-4686

At these three restaurants you can still order by the plate, but if you’re going to have the Amana experience go with someone else and order family style. Although the meat is very good, unless you have a huge appetite or just plan on taking the meat home with you, I’d see if you could get the sides alone. They are always more than enough to fill me up.

Other Things To Do in Amana

There are other restaurants in Amana, not the original type, but range from coffee houses that offer Italian style sodas to Breweries.

Woolen Mill
Woolen Mill

http://amanacolonies.com/pages/food-beverages.php

Amana is also a center for unique shopping opportunities. All sorts of unique stores are scattered throughout although the two best known are the Amana Woolen Mill (which still sells fine wool goods) and the Amana Furniture Store (which specializes in very fine wood furniture and wooden clocks). I myself always like to stop at the Kitchen store, but there are many all around town. There are also many small museums dedicated to individual parts of the Amana story, like the communal kitchens and the entire experience at the main museum.

Recognizing their current circumstances (high end chains in nearby Coralville, etc.) Amana makes sure to have an event going almost every weekend so there is plenty to do. Before you leave town be sure to drive by their famous Lily Pond.

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/trundlebedtales/2014/03/23/ep-20-travel-times-amana

Sarah S. Uthoff is the main force behind Trundlebed Tales fighting to bring the History, Mystery, Magic and Imagination of Laura Ingalls Wilder and other greats of children’s literature and history to life for a new generation.Attend one of her programs, schedule one yourself, watch her videos, listen to her podcast, and find her on FacebookTwitterGoogle+, LinkedIn, and Academia.edu. She is currently acting President of the Laura Ingalls Wilder Legacy and Research Association. Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.

Travel Times: Coupon Crazy

For this episode of Travel Times we venture into the world of couponing with Mary Potter Kenyon. coupon CoverThis is a unique title because it isn’t a how to, it’s a history of coupons.

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/trundlebedtales/2013/10/25/travel-times-couponing

Mary Potter Kenyon Website:
http://marypotterkenyon.com

Mary Potter Kenyon Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Mary-Potter-Kenyon/124157107675519

Dubuque Telegraph-Herald Couponing Column:
http://www.thonline.com/blogs/coupon_queen

Totally Target Site Kenyon Mentioned:
http://www.totallytarget.com

Buy Her Books:
http://www.amazon.com/Mary-Potter-Kenyon/e/B000APBBJY

Sarah S. Uthoff is main force behind Trundlebed Tales fighting to bring the History, Mystery, Magic and Imagination of Laura Ingalls Wilder and other greats of children’s literature and history to life for a new generation.Attend one of her programs, schedule one yourself, watch her videos, listen to her podcast, and find her on FacebookTwitterGoogle+,LinkedIn, and Academia.edu. She is currently acting President of the Laura Ingalls Wilder Legacy and Research Association. Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.

Travel Times Guatemala

As part of our ongoing podcast, we have a subseries called Travel Times. Travel Times episodes are 30 minute episodes where we look at either a hobby or a travel destination.
Episode 18 – Travel Times Guatemala
This episode originally aired September 3, 2013. Join host Sarah Uthoff as she talks to Kirkwood Community College President Mick Starcevich about the service learning trip he took to Guatemala with Kirkwood students. This service learning trip gave something to both sides the Kirkwood students and staff who traveled there and the people they helped build a new home.

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/trundlebedtales/2013/09/03/travel-times-guatemala

If you’d like to take part in a service learning experience like this through Kirkwood Community College, contact Dawn Wood.
http://www.kirkwood.edu/international

Or contact a community college or University near you and ask if they have an International Service Program.

Sarah S. Uthoff is main force behind Trundlebed Tales fighting to bring the History, Mystery, Magic and Imagination of Laura Ingalls Wilder and other greats of children’s literature and history to life for a new generation.Attend one of her programs, schedule one yourself, watch her videos, listen to her podcast, and find her on FacebookTwitterGoogle+,LinkedIn, and Academia.edu. She is currently acting President of the Laura Ingalls Wilder Legacy and Research Association. Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.

Travel Times Historic Baseball

Join host Sarah Uthoff as she interviews Betsy Urven, manager of a historic baseball team. Historic baseball is where modern teams play by 19th century rules and it’s a growing movement. Whether you’re just interested in watching a game or you want to learn how to play yourself, take a listen and find out about this new old sport.

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/trundlebedtales/2013/08/27/travel-times-historic-baseball

Vintage Base Ball Association (Everything from advice to start your own team to a schedule of events):
http://www.vbba.org

Beadle’s Dime Base Ball Player Book:
http://vbba.org/Rules/Beadles%201860.htm

Various 19th Century Rules:
http://vbba.org/Education/Rules%20And%20Customs.htm

Wade House and the Greenbush Dead Citys:
http://wadehouse.wisconsinhistory.org
http://wadehouse.wisconsinhistory.org/Baseball/AboutVintageBaseball.aspx

World War II Girls Baseball League:
http://www.prairiestarproductions.com/WWIIGirlsBaseball.htm

Travel Times: Project A.W.A.R.E.

One of the subseries of Trundlebed Tales podcasts is called Travel Times. Travel Times episodes are 30 minutes where we talk with someone who regularly participates in an unusual way to spend their vacation or travels to an interesting place to give you a behind the scenes insider’s guide. Find previous episodes at this link or download them with the rest of the Trundlebed Tales episodes on iTunes.

https://trundlebedtales.wordpress.com/blog-talk-radio/travel-times-episodes/

Tonight’s episode features Seth Zimmerman talking about Project A.W.A.R.E. which is a once a year project where volunteers descend on a particular part of a river in Iowa for an organized clean-up. No prior knowledge is needed and volunteers are fed well. Time is spent camping and canoeing the river in addition to pulling garbage off the river banks and in the stream making Iowa a more beautiful place all the way around.

List to the episode here:
http://www.blogtalkradio.com/trundlebedtales/2013/02/21/travel-times-project-aware

Learn more about Project A.W.A.R.E here:
http://www.iowadnr.gov/Recreation/CanoeingKayaking/ProjectAWARE.aspx

Travel Times Living History

Trundlebed Tales Travel Times latest podcast looks at visiting living history sites.

Episode 11 – Travel Times Living History May 20, 2012

Have you ever been to a living history museum? Do you know how to act when someone in first person talks to you? Where can you find living history sites? How can you get involved with living history? Learn about the regional and national organizations that support living history (Association of Living History Farms and Museums and Midwest Open-air Museums Coordinating Council) Join host Sarah S. Uthoff as she talks about her experiences with living history. http://www.blogtalkradio.com/trundlebedtales/2012/05/20/travel-times-living-history-museum