[DISCLAIMER: The following was originally written by Jerry Skids back in 2009. He is a big Disney fan. He has his own WDW-themed podcast, which you can find here, or here. This is 100% Jerry’s words, completely unedited, out of respect to Jerry. If you are confused by any of the acronyms, check out the previous posts. My comments are listed in [ ] – anything in ( ) are all Jerry’s words. I have not fact-checked any of this information. Obviously some things have definitely changed since 2009, e.g.: prices, and should be used for comparative purposes only, as many attractions have come and gone since the time this was written. However, that does not invalidate his suggestions one iota. This is still useful, and I think this is so amazing, that I want to share his knowledge and wisdom. Thank you Jerry! Posted with his permission. – Editor]
WDW For The Single Guy: an experiment, part 17
Another Weird Section: Mouse Rant #3
Basically Getting Away with Murder: Being Cheap, Crafty, and Getting What you Want at WDW — brought to you, but not always “suggested” by a Jew 🙂
I know you have no money… neither do I. The thing is, it is possible to take a trip to WDW for a decent price. Sometimes it’s as easy as going during the least expensive times, staying at a value resort, getting free dining plans, and flying dangerous airlines with lots of stopovers. But those are obvious solutions. Before I get into hoe to bend the rules to get what you want, let’s talk ways to
be cheap… I mean conserve your money.
- Certain counter services sell double cheeseburgers (such as Pecos Bill). You can pay $0.40 for an extra bun and split the burger with another member of your party – then load it with fixins! You’re saving at least $2 each time you do this (although I think it’s silly).
- Some counter services have quite large fixins bars. Again, Pecos Bill, but also Electric Umbrella, Backlot Express, and even Casey’s Corner (which has “special service” [get your mind out of the gutter – it’s not that kind of service you pervert!]). For the economically challenged, you can get mushrooms, pickles, cole slaw, and many other small snacks to munch on here. Bring Tupperware from home!
- It’s extremely hot in Florida. Instead of buying soda for $2.75, why don’t you just: A) bring a water bottle and keep refilling it at water fountains (the coldest one is at the International Gateway at Epcot; B) Go to the Club Cool and fill up your water bottle(s) with your favorite soda from around the world for free!; C) Certain counter-services have self-serve sodas – – you know what to do. Just don’t get caught.
- Bring your own stuff from home. You can get a little spray fan from Wal-Mart for $2. It costs $13 – $16 in WDW. For those who don’t want to carry a wallet, they have ID holders in Wal-Mart for $0.50 – $1 (in WDW it’s $6). Sunglasses, towels, and other necessary items are also a million times [more hyperbole than hyperinflation – by Jerry’s math here, it’s more like 6x – 10x, not 1M] cheaper at your local Wal-Mart, Kmart, Walgreens, etc. Also, snacks are cheap at home. It pays to bring them (or buy them at the nearby Publix – four blocks from Downtown Disney outside of WDW property) to munch on at the parks. If you’re staying at a place with a fridge, it doesn’t hurt to get deli meat for sandwiches and stuff. (If you have a kitchen like in Fort Wilderness, make eggs or pancakes or whatever every day. It’ll save you much cash.
- Get discount tickets. Try mousesavers.com – they have a list of all current discounts.
- Go to a buffet at the last breakfast time available and stay for lunch – you’re getting more for a lesser price! Just remember to check the hours of breakfast and lunch before making ADRs.
- Why buy souvenirs when there are so many free things such as shampoos, napkins, cups, etc. with the WDW log on it? Be creative, man!
- Befriend a Cast Member who can get you in for free with their pass (CMs with blue passes are unlimited!)
Now, let’s talk about tricks to have yourself the best experience at WDW possible. Best seats on attractions are important, but how do you get these seats AND follow the rules?
The Theatre Trick
At almost EVERY theatre performance, from Country Bears, to Muppetvision, to Flights of WOnder, to Fantasmic!, they will tell you to select a row and move all the way down. If you stop in the middle (which should be right, but I understand why they don’t allow it), you will get dirty looks from guests and probably get yelled at by a CM. After years of attending these shows, I have devised a scheme (if I may say) to destroy the system. It’s quite simple. First, pick your row. Stand in front of it (not directly in front or you’ll defeat the purpose and be in the way) and pretend you are still making a decision on which row you’d like. If you time it correctly, jump into the row when it’s halfway filled – remember, it takes a good visual since some people are standing and moving – BAM, you’ll be in the center. If you’re a good judge of space and distance, and you’re not too shy about merging into lanes, you’ll have the best seats in the house. In [a future] version, I will research exactly how many seats (in average) there are per row for every show. BTW, don’t be fooled by large families!
Where Are the Best Seats?
Honestly, each show is different. For 3-D shows, you want to sit closer to the back, since the effects work better at a distance – sit about 3/4 of the way, maybe 4/5 of the way back for the best view. In some shows, action happens behind you too, that’s why the back back is not the best option. In other stage shows, it varies. Just remember where the VIP seats are — there’s usually a reason — try to sit there if you can. (In Fantasmic!, the VIP seats are in the back – those are great seats, but there are special effects involving water and fire that you can feel if you are up close, so I usually sit up near the 3rd row center. But that’s me.
I went through this earlier. If you want to be in any specific row on an attraction, just ask! Nine times out of ten, they’ll be happy — the rest of the time they’ll either do it with an attitude. In the small cases where they say no, PUSH it! Do not give in to that crap! Come up with an excuse, ask to speak to the manager, and be realistic. All you want is a front row and you are willing to wait! It’s your trip. You will not leave unhappy and you might even leave with a little something extra for your troubles. Persistence is the key! Don’t forget to always be pleasant – a grumpy CM will feel “stupider” the nicer you are.
The Better Treatment Buttons and More
Wanna know why some people get treated better than others at WDW? Three reasons. #1. They are
retarded [ autistic special needs]… and for some reason, people treat them better than real… ahem… I mean “average” people. I never understood that. #2. They have / are kids … this is one you can’t help… unless you’re gonna have a kid for the sole purpose of better treatment… but that’s just CRAZY [TALK]! So we’ll go with option #3. If you go to Guest Services (there’s one in every park – check the map), you can get a whole bunch of buttons stating, “It’s my birthday!”, to “1st Time at WDW!” These buttons will not only get you more attention, but sometimes will get you to the front of the line, or free “dreams” including private seating at the fireworks. Since 2009’s “Celebrate You” theme, the birthday buttons are only passed out with ID for adults. But all the other buttons work out very well! (You get free admission on your birthday OR if you have tickets already, you can take the money in “Disney Dollars” and buy souvenirs! It’s a free fuckin $70!) Some CMs will even give you a special ride by yourself on an attraction, depending on who it is and how busy it is. So get some freakin’ buttons! Also, if you are with a girl and you wear the bride + groom (Mickey + Minnie) ears, you will get lots of congratulations AND special treatment! This is a great idea and it’s fun to pull off the hoax, since you can get away with discounted meals or special events!!
I am not recommending this – I am just stating possibilities!Enter at your own risk! I said nothing! But in Epcot, MGM, and AK, it is possible to eat cheaper. If you know where the the Cast Member backstage areas are, you can venture into the CM cafeterias and score food and drink for a fraction of the price in the parks. However, if you are asked or ID, you are screwed. Company D (the CMs store with CM merch) now requires ID to purchase. For example: in MGM, Take 5 is located behind and to the right of the Animation Studios. They do not ask for IDs, and sell big-ass bottles of Powerade for $0.75 and 1-liter bottles of soda for $1. They also serve burgers, fries, chicken sandwiches, lasagna, soups, salads, roast beef, fried chicken , Thai specials, sushi, and other random things (it changes every day). Then you can sit and eat in the cafeteria with all the other CMs. But here’s my advice: Do NOT look like you’re lost… EVER! If you look suspicious, a manager may ask for ID – and the only way around it is to “freak out” and say you left it in your costume… then jet “back” to whatever attraction you are off to. 🙂 Anyway Take 5 is behind a rope and stanchion directly to the right of the Animation Studio and in front of Playhouse Disney. Unhook the latch and walk through with a purpose (ALWAYS hold it open or hand it to any CMs leaving or entering, and smile at them or say, “Hi” as you continue along your way. The door will be on your right, but you can’t miss all the people eating inside. Be warned! You are not supposed to be here! But to get cheap sodas, some people must do what they gotta do. (You can always get ice from any counter service around the park). – – You can not go backstage in MK for 3 reasons: 1) you MUST be goddamned familiar with the utilidors underground system; 2) you must know where all the hidden entrances are in the park — no, I’m not kidding – they are actually hidden!; 3) the managers are ultra-fucking uptight here and ask for your ID every fucking time. When I was a CM there, I got yelled at for walking around the utilidors! I worked at MGM, so apparently, I’m not supposed to be there, but that’s BULLSHIT cos what if I had an appointment with costuming or with a manager or something? Magic Kingdom – do not even try it unless you are psychotic.
The Free Upgrades
Sometimes, you can request to upgrade your hotel room at no charge! For example: [Animal Kingdom Lodge] AKL has 3 different kinds of rooms at three different prices: 1) Standard; 2) Savannah; and 3) Concierge. If you paid for a standard view (which I never suggest here) and ask nicely when you check in if there were any savannah rooms available, they will (95% of the time) do it for you at no extra charge! The price difference is usually $20 – $50 a night, so it never hurts to ask! The only tough ones are concierge. You usually must pay to upgrade to this level, although sometimes you get lucky. My friend Denise was able to upgrade to Polynesian concierge from a GARDEN view for free! Sometimes, you can get a fireworks view at the MK Resorts (Contemporary, Grand Floridian, and Polynesian all overlook MK).
Pick Up a Cast Member – The Easiest Way
- Find a College Program chick in your league. They have schools printed on their nametags.
- Ask her opinion on a specific attraction / show.
- Ask if she likes working at WDW. If she replies with a negative answer, she’s probably too negative and it won’t work… try again.
- Tell her you wish there were somewhere to go for a beer.
- When she gives you some ideas (Jellyrolls/Downtown Disney) — ask her if she wants to go after work — since you are here “on business” and have no one to join you.
- If she say she’s between 18 and 21 and can’t get into said places, tell her you’ll buy some for a party if there is one.
- Get invited to Vista Way.
- Fuck all the College chicks there as they get drunk and then split before 2 AM, cos you get kicked out. NICE!
By the way, Star Tours was filled with cheap whores and Mormons in 2001.
…to be continued
Next chapter: we head towards the stretch as we finally hit Disney’s Animal Kingdom. [AK pt. i]