Monday, December 17, 2007

Do They Fact-Check Frommer's Guidebooks, Or Are They Just Plain Lazy....

....Not To Mention Deceptive and Woefully Out-of-Date

In planning a just-completed trip to Walt Disney World (a super-swell time was had by all), I turned to Frommer's as one of the two guidebooks I'd use to plot our travels.
Over the years, I've often turned to Frommer's as a reliable information source, providing a range of choices of attractions, hotels and restaurants in all price ranges. The books are usually filled with commentary written by seasoned travelers who are not hesitant to highlight the shortcomings of a destination as well as its virtues.
But in communing with The Mouse, the Frommer's Walt Disney World and Orlando 2008 came up woefully short, and highlights the need to not rely on a single guidebook for a trip. Fortunately, we had also brought the Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World 2008, the Big Kahuna of WDW books that provided information that was not only more useful but refreshingly current.
Ironically, both books are put out by Wiley, which has a variety of travel imprints under its corporate umbrella.
But when it came to the Frommer's version, somebody isn't minding the store and lays waste to the claim that the book is "completely revised." Because it's not.
If it was, then author Laura Lea Miller wouldn't tell readers that one option to get to Orlando would be taking Delta's subsidiary, Song Airlines. Which would be difficult, given that Song ceased operating as a distinct entity in May 2006, a fact that Delta first announced in October of 2005.
The Soarin' ride at Epcot receives extremely scant mention, even though it's been open since 2005, and is one of the top attractions at WDW.
Things are even worse at the Frommer's Web site, which lists daily admission to the parks at $59.75, and parking at $8 (it's $71 and $11, respectively). And it provides links to rides and attractions that don't exist and none that those that do -- including the aforementioned "Soarin," and the best show in all of the parks --"Finding Nemo -- The Musical."
You know going in that some items in any guidebook will be dated by the time it gets to the printer, let alone bookshelves. You take that for what it's worth and plan accordingly. But there's scant evidence that Frommer and Miller have updated this guidebook in any meaningful way over the last two to three years.
The book boasts that Miller, a freelance writer whose name appears on other Frommer's Disney and Florida books, makes several trips a year to Central Florida.
The question is, where is she going once she gets there, as it sure as hell doesn't appear to be Disney World.

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