Thursday, March 3, 2011

Guide to the Magic For Kids by Tim Foster

Last Thursday, I started my series of weekly reviews of Disney-related products, books, etc.  I’m going to have a hard time limiting these reviews to Thursdays because I have so many fun things to share! 

Disney Reviews 001 This week, I’d like to introduce you to Guide to the Magic For Kids by Tim Foster.  I’d like to preface my review by reminding you that when it comes to Walt Disney World EVERYONE is a kid!  So, though this book says it’s “for kids” on the front cover, don’t let that turn you off – I’m 40, and I love it!

Here’s a snippet of what the Guide to the Magic website has to say about this book:

This full color book is a guide book, activity book, sticker book, journal and autograph book all rolled up into one! You'll also find scavenger hunts, Hidden Mickeys, little known facts, and lots and lots of full color photos of every attraction in every park at Walt Disney World!

Guess what?  It really is all that!  I chose to take my own pictures of this book to share in this review because, though the images on the website are very clear, it’s hard to see some of the features that I’d like to promote.  To start off, this book is 200 pages!  It’s spiral-bound, so it will lay open nice and flat.  Here’s a picture of the inside front:

Disney Reviews 002

Right away, upon opening this book, your child will know it’s HIS/HER own treasure!  I love that this book has so many features rolled into one.  Sure, you can buy guidebooks, autograph books, photo albums, and journals – but with Guide to the Magic, you can have all that in one handy resource!  By allowing your child to actually fill out and use the book, you are gifting them with a keepsake they will treasure forever. 

The book starts out with a “how to use” page, followed by lots of great tips for making your vacation more memorable and fun.  There are monorail and character scavenger hunts (checklists) and information on Hidden Mickeys and where to find them.  Next is the attraction index.  Then, it jumps right into the parks, starting with the Magic Kingdom, and moving right through EPCOT, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Animal Kingdom.  Each park’s section includes a park map

Disney Reviews 003 I love the full-color illustrations that are throughout this book!  While planning, kids will be able to get a great idea of what they want to see and do by looking at the pictures and all the handy-dandy information for each attraction.  After your trip, they’ll be easily able to reminisce with the pictures and records that they have kept during their vacation. 

The image above is of one of our favorite Disney attractions – Toy Story Mania.  You can see the cool, full-color pictures on the page, but I wanted to take some  close-up shots of the informational section that’s included:

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Here you can read a bit about the attraction itself, see an insider tip, get a heads up on any Hidden Mickeys to be on the look-out for, and see even more secrets! 

For other attractions, this section could also include interesting facts about the attraction. 

Directly above this section (I didn’t capture it on this picture but you can see it above), there’s a symbol to indicate if the attraction has a Fast Pass option, and will also denote if the attraction is dark, wet, loud, or fast (some things that may effect whether or not your child will be interested in participating). 

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There’s a place to check off when you’ve completed an attraction, and even a rating system (thumbs down, just ok, or thumbs up). 

The Things I Liked section is a great place for a child to record his/her personal thoughts. These will be great fun to look back on over the years, as preferences change! 

The  bottom of the page indicates if the ride is scary – and, if so, how scary!  Very handy indeed, especially if you have really little ones.

Disney Reviews 008 The back of the book contains stickers that can can be placed on each attraction as you do it – another way to record what’s done and what’s not done, as you travel throughout your vacation.

I love the World Showcase section of this book – for each country, there’s a place to get a passport stamp, an autograph, and a blank flag for the child to decorate like that country’s flag (I would recommend doing these before traveling).  Each page also tells how to say “hello” in that country’s native language, and includes lots of extras to watch for in each country. 

Another really neat feature in this book is the Where Am I? sections.  These are at the beginning of each different park section and are random pictures of segments of attractions.  Older kids will especially enjoy trying to locate these in the parks. 

Disney Reviews 006 The back of the book contains a vacation journal with enough pages to record a 2-week long trip.  On the left-hand side of each day’s 2-page spread, you’ll find a place for the date (underneath you can circle the day of the week), weather and temperature, and checkboxes for which park you visited and how you got there.  There’s a box to record any souvenirs purchased, and a large box to journal about attractions visited.  This page also includes a “tip of the day”.

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The right-hand side of the journal includes boxes to record “what I ate” for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snack, with a line under each to list “where I ate”.  This might not seem important on a typical vacation, but at Disney the dining is an experience in and of itself!  On this page, your child can record his/her favorite thing from the day, any Hidden Mickeys found, and other things.  Small pictures could be pasted on these pages as well – especially for younger/non-writers. 

While I’d say this book is probably most appropriate for the pre-teen age  group (8-13), I’d recommend it for all ages.  My 4 year old absolutely adores this book – he doesn’t care that he can’t read it or write in it.  So, for a younger child, I’d recommend having the child dictate his answers while the parent records them in the book.  They can definitely do the stickers and rating system on their own, and will surely feel very proud doing so!

So, while this particular copy will most likely be Gracie’s on our next trip to ‘the World, I’m sure she’ll allow Ian to help with the stickers.  And, I have a feeling Ashley will like participating in the scavenger hunts and other things too.  Like I said at the beginning of this post, EVERYONE is a kid once you enter the gates of Walt Disney World.  With that being said, I’d even recommend this book for a young couple, visiting the Disney theme parks for the first time – maybe a honeymoon trip. 

As you can probably tell, I’m pretty impressed with this book!  If you hurry over to the website, you can snatch up a copy of this keepsake book for only $19.95.  If you have more than one child, multiple copies can be purchased for a discount as well.  While you’re there, be sure to check out the other resources that are available, such as The Lost Journals (I’ve not seen this one, but it looks neat!)

If you have looked at my Recommended Disney Resources list, then you’ve probably noticed that I have Guide to the Magic listed under recommended websites also.  That’s because the website is about so much more than just the book!  There’s a whole page devoted to trip planning, or you can click on the links for each individual park to get a park description, touring tips, history, little known facts, and a photo gallery.  I could spend hours on this site alone! 

Stay tuned – I have lots more to share over the weeks to come!  Get busy planning your Disney trip TODAY – and get the kids involved, using Guide to the Magic for Kids!

NOTE: I received a free copy of this book, courtesy of the author, in order that I might share my thoughts here on my blog. I was not required to write a positive review. I do not recommend products on my blog that I do not, personally, use and enjoy.


Jen said...

This is just what we've been looking for! We just booked our resort!! I will definatly be going over to get these.

DisneyMacAddict said...

We are planning our trip for 2012. Do you know if there will be an updated version or should we just go with the 2011 one? Thanks and great review! I think my kids will love this book.

:DISTherapy said...

Fantastic!! This book is definetly the next generation of our 1990's one! I like your idea- I may get one for myself :D Thanks so much for the tip!

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