Walt Disney World on a Dollar
My family and I are currently on vacation at Walt Disney World. We are Disney Vacation Club members and that means we come here with some frequency. I’m not going to pretend I don’t love Walt Disney World. I adore the place.
This year, we are trying to be pretty frugal. My wife had a bad fall during the one ice storm we had this winter (if I believed in bad luck – I would believe she had the worst ever) and is not working so we need to conserve funds. We brought our own food for breakfasts, we are on a strict “no souvenir” diet, etc.
Here’s the problem: Walt Disney World is specifically designed to separate people from their money as effortlessly and efficiently as possible. In fact, they designed it in such a way that you not only fail to notice how much money you have spent, you fail to notice you are spending money at all. You want to know where JP Morgan lost all that money? I’m betting they just went to Disney World.
If you are staying at a Walt Disney World Hotel – and you really should because they are amazing – the first thing they do is give you your “key to the world card.” It sounds so friendly. Not only does the card let you into your room – it lets you into everything! You want to put your park passes right on the card? Done! You want to put your meal plan on the card? Done!
You want to charge that Finding Nemo place setting on the card? Done!
Once you charge that stuff you to your card, they will happily ship it back to your room for you, which is fantastic! Who wants to carry ceramic models of all 101 Dalmations with them all day? I sure don’t!
Once you do that, though, you don’t have the most important indicator that you have bought way too much shit while tramping around Disney World. Instead of having half a dozen bags that make you think that perhaps, just perhaps, you don’t need another souvenir John Carter mug with your $35 food purchase, you just ship that fucker back to your room and sort it all out later. By the time you are packing your suitcase and realize that among the four members of your family, you managed to acquire seventeen of them at $1.95 apiece (x at least $35 worth of food), you realize you should have carried the damn things with you.
Another thing Disney does that is both brilliant and subtly evil is the post ride souvenir shop.
Imagine this: You step off Pirates of the Caribbean and your mind is reeling from the amazing animatronics. You have “Yo Ho, Yo Ho a Pirate’s Life for me” running through your head and you aren’t the least bit annoyed because at least it forced “It’s a Small World” out of there. You are high on the endorphins that Disney no doubt injects into all of their foods (and possibly the air) because this is they happiest place on Earth and they are going to make god damned sure you are HAPPY.
You walk out of the ride and…into a gigantic gift shop that has nothing but Pirates of the Caribbean merchandise!
For a moment, you are taken aback. How can they make so much shit that is directly related to that one ride? There is no way that is practica….ohmygodtheyhaveaplushMickeyMousedressedlikeapirate!!!! It Must Be Mine!!!!!
If you somehow manage to talk yourself off that cliff by reminding yourself that you aren’t really a big Mikey fan, you’ve always been more fond of Stitch so you don’t really need anyth….ohmygodtheyhaveonewithStitchTOO!!! It Must be Mine!!!!!
So you walk out of Pirates of the Caribbean with a plush Stitch dressed like a pirate. And you figure you got a steal because the prices aren’t all that crazy. He probably cost you about $20.
So does the T-shirt you got that shows Stitch riding Space Mountain. So did the fuzzy Stitch slippers you picked up outside the “Stitch’s Great Escape” ride (which also features other characters dressed up like Stitch).
The new suitcase you had to buy just to bring all that Stitch shit home with you? That costs a lot more than $20.
Add it up and you could spend the GDP of a small country on Stitch crap and you didn’t even know you were doing it! It was all so reasonably priced! And you used your key to the world card to charge it! And they shipped it back to your room! Free!
So here’s my advice for doing Disney world on a budget. First – don’t use that key to the world card unless you have to. Once you start swiping that thing, you are doomed.
And second – close your eyes as soon as you get off of a ride. Sure, you might knock down a couple of displays but they made you do it.
And finally – no Stich stuff. There is way too much of that crap around. Just stay away from Stich and…ohmygodtheyhaveWALL-EdressedasStromThurmand!!! It Must Be Mine!!!!