3 Money Saving Tips for Your Walt Disney World Vacation

The cost of a Walt Disney World vacation continues to rise, which means you need to find ways to stretch your dollar while in the Most Magical Place on Earth. That’s why your old friend Turkey Leg Jeff has put together these money-saving tips to help you get the most out of your vacation without breaking the bank.

Eat Off-Property

It’s no secret that you are paying a premium when you dine on Disney property. You are a captive audience and Disney isn’t sympathetic to your budget. Getting a rental car and hitting up the local Waffle House is a common way to save. Rental cars can get very pricey though—the gas, the insurance, and the parking fees add up pretty quickly. So forgo the rental cars in favor of a free option: a simple teleportation spell. All you need is a 10-foot circular area, a hooved quadruped, a vial of salt water, and 2 – 6 ounces of virgin blood.

Use a stick to draw your circle, wet the ground with the salt water, and smear the virgin blood on the animal while crying to the heavens “Auferas me de hac infernalis nocturnaque mundi!!” There’s no telling where you might wind up (though Myanmar, Bolivia, or southern Mozambique are some common places), but one thing is certain—the food will be cheaper than in Disney World. Stay tuned for a future blog post detailing how to get back to Lake Buena Vista.

Befriend a Duck

Lyle the Duck

Lyle can often be found in EPCOT’s China Pavilion.

Ducks have enjoyed a free ride at Disney World for over 40 years. They don’t pay for food or admission, and they are so thrifty… have you ever seen one sporting a set of mouse ears? Befriending a duck is a sure-fire way to learn the ins-and-outs of gratis Disney magic. An affable quacker can teach you tricks such as waiting patiently under counter service seats for dropped food, preying on the stupidity of children who don’t know how to read the “Don’t Feed the Ducks” signs, and fighting skills so you can grab the corndog nugget that was OBVIOUSLY MEANT FOR YOU from usurping ducks. Go to the China pavilion and find Lyle. Tell him Turkey Leg Jeff sent you and you’re in.

Sacrifice Livestock in the Name of Walter Elias Disney

The headline is pretty self-explanatory but very few tourists know this. If you sacrifice some of your local livestock in Walt’s name, his spirit may bless you or a member of your family with a counter service dessert, an extra FastPass (usually only good for Fantasyland attractions), or a strong Wi-Fi connection inside a Caribbean Beach Resort standard view room. Be sure to pick a member of your livestock community that you don’t have an emotional attachment to, as the ROI on this one can be pretty low.

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The Bay Lake Society Fight Club: Stump Crunchin’

There is a place beneath the Magic Kingdom, in a corner of the utilidors long-abandoned by the park’s cast members, where the mines of sulphur burn in the hearts of the people—where malice is the common tongue and blood is the currency. It is here, amid the water-stained concrete and the terrified rats, the dusty crates of old costumes and multiplying roaches, that the Bay Lake Society Fight Club meets.

The club’s weekly feasts of pain and truculence are a hovel for hatred itself. Bookies exploit the desperate-hearted looking to make ends meet. The aggressors combat for glory and the honor of fulfilling violence’s commands. And in the air, the heavy wrath of mankind sits and waits: waits for the offerings, waits to be fed. Tonight it will consume a repast of fear and despair.

******

She stands in the center of a ring of zealous belligerents, all of whom are chanting her name: STUMP! STUMP! STUMP! Her grey 2009 year merchandise sweatshirt is caked with the blood of her past victims. Her fuchsia leggings are ripped from the countless times that past sufferers had clung to her, begging for a mercy they were never shown. One such fool knelt at her feet even now—battered and bloodied, drained of will—with the audacity to beg for hope. Defiantly, Stump scans the faces in the crowd. Did any of them dare ask for clemency for this pathetic waif? More egregious, had any of them dared to bet against her? She knew that look well. The look in the eyes of an unbeliever, as if they’d fallen off the edge of a great precipice, that said their choice was folly and now they would plunge eternally into a chasm of despondency from which there could be only one sickening end—faith in her, the Stump Cruncher.

Her eyes locked with a young man dressed in white, tears in his eyes. His eyes begged for tomorrow, but tomorrow was not a gift that she was willing to give tonight. She raised her voice to the crowd and asked, “Who wants to see Hermioknee Painger?” The crowed roared its approval and the young man let loose his soul in a howl of unbearable anguish.

In a single move, she grabbed the waif’s head with both her hands and thrust it into her swiftly rising right knee. A revolting, wet crunch. A soft crumple as the limp body hit the floor. The deafening cries of elation from the maddening throng. A brief twitch. The man in white ran to the corpse to savor one last moment of warmth before the cold of goodbye. And then the insignificance of death.

Stump turned to face the bookie as the crowds parted to giver her a wide berth. He inclined his head to her, flashed a smirk and threw her a towel. She wiped the sweat from her forehead and tossed it to a member of the crowd, who clutched it fanatically to his cheek.

“How’d we do tonight, Drunkie?” she asked the bookie, then turned to a boy in tattered rags and snapped, “Get me a Kungaloosh, kid.” The boy scurried off as she gave him light kick.

“A record night, babe. We’re rolling in it. Give me a minute to count out your cut. Should be over two grand.”

“Make it quick, Drunkie. I want to get outta here before the fans are up my ass.”

“Yeah, yeah, be right back,” he said and walked over to the flimsy folding chair.

The boy returned and handed her a skull with a straw sticking out of the left eye socket. She grunted a thanks to the kid and gave him a light shove, signaling to leave her alone. The crowd had begun to calm and gather at the board at the far end of the room, which listed the night’s schedule. The next match was the main event. Bets were in for the night, so she knew she had maybe five minutes before the throngs descended on her, asking her for her autograph. Some of them would beg her to name them her next opponent. Fight or be excommunicated—a fate worse than the pain of The Circle. She entertained the notion of staying, of giving the people her attention. But she was tired, hungry, and ready to indulge the triumph of her victory alone. She walked over to the buffet and grabbed a turkey leg, sinking her teeth into the salty flesh. She felt the grease run down her chin and onto her sweatshirt. She turned as Drunkie approached with a sweaty wad of green. She snatched it out of his hand and began counting it, getting it wet with the sticky juices of the turkey leg.

“$2,153. It’s all there.”

“Yeah, don’t blame me for checking your math, Drunkie,” she growled at him through a plentiful bite of turkey.

“Your call, Stump. Hey, you staying? Glover’s gonna slay Burgen, I bet. Should be fun to watch.”

“Nah, punk. I told ya. I’m outta here.”

“What are you off to do?”

“Same thing I do every night: Stump Crunchin’.” Then she clubbed him playfully across the face with the turkey leg, slapped him on the back, pocketed her money, and strode down the long utilidor hall into the darkness.

Behind her, the crowd began to amplify as the announcer called out, “Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the Bay Lake Society Fight Club, where we fight to live and live to fight. Tonight’s main event is a duel to the death between two of the club’s most fearsome competitors. Let them do as demons do and all your wishes will come true!”

The crowd roared into the night, formed The Circle, and gave theater to the next two fighters.

How I Met The Disney Hipsters

I met The Disney Hipsters in a sweaty bar in Harambe in the summer of ’97.

Adam smelled musky — like the feral cats that American tourists hope to see on their African safaris. Andrew sparkled like a Norwegian pop star slathered in a sweet, honeyed milk custard. Jamie announced her presence with an exuberant caterwaul, while Keith’s piercing blue eyes penetrated the room with a frozen gaze of doom. They wore indifferent faces, caked with sweat, grime, and weariness. They were a long way from New Jersey, mouths dry and desperate for anything to whet their whistles.

I said to them as they approached, “Jambo, y’all. Yins lookin’ fer a beer, eh?”

“Fuck. YES.” Keith blurted out, looking at me as if I were a saint. I gave him a Bud Light, the last of my stores of American lagers. He looked down at the swill, back up at me, and to his wife. Jamie raised her eyebrows, shrugged her shoulders, and said, “Well, boys, I think we just found out that beggars can be choosers, after all.”

Adam and Andrew put on their Ray-Ban’s, straightened their bowties, turned on their heels, and left my little bar. Jamie looked me up and down mercilessly with her eyes, shook her head disgustedly, and followed the boys out the door.

Keith asked me a question like a dagger piercing a defeated man’s chest. “What’s the name of this worthless dump?”

“D-d-d-dawa Bar,” I stammered, taken aback by this reaction to the Bud Light.

“You got a long way to go, pal, before this place is a bar I’ll ever give my money to,” he said as he locked eyes with me, grabbed the Bud Light off the bar, and poured it out over the floor right in front of me. He held his intense gaze for a few extra seconds, straightened his shirt, and followed the rest of the Hipsters out of the bar and out of my life.

I have been an avid listener of their podcast ever since.

Consuelo In the Treehouse

Consuelo and her family were leaving the Magic Kingdom. Consuelo did not get her hug from Merida, and she did not have any fun. Mother and Aunt Lola had made her ride each attraction alone. Consuelo was happy to do this, since she really didn’t want to be around them, or Father, or her brother, Juan. She sat rather dejectedly on Buzz Lightyear, Space Mountain, and Pirates of the Caribbean and let each moment pass her by. She just wanted to go home. She was going to wait patiently for this vacation to be over, then go home and sleep in her own bed and dream of being anywhere other than with her family.

This was their last night in Disney World, and tomorrow she would happily get on a plane and return to her normal, hopeless life. There would be no more dreaming of a hug from Merida. There would be no more believing that she had even one single friend in this world. She would go back to being Consuelo, the sad girl from Brookfield, IL.

But first she must endure one last night of this cruel journey. Consuelo and her family stood on the boat launch outside the Magic Kingdom, waiting for the little motor boat that would take them across the lagoon and back to the Polynesian resort. A little down the dock, Consuelo noticed an egret resting standing on a wooden post. It was slender, tall, and an almost shimmering white. She walked toward the bird, a short way away from her family.

As she approached, the egret spoke to her. “Why are you so sad, Consuelo?”

Now Consuelo was quite surprised at first that the animal spoke. But she quickly reasoned that she was in Disney World and if Mickey and Donald and Goofy could all speak, why not this magically white egret as well? She blurted out the full story of how she came to Disney World with her family and hoped to meet Merida and get a hug from her and how her hopes were now tragically dashed.

“My name is Johanna,” said the egret, “and I know of one Scot in this magical place who loves you and would like to meet you. Would you like to meet her, Consuelo?”

“Yes, very much!” Consuelo exclaimed with hope in her heart. Could there really be somebody out there that would love her and give her a hug?

“Then you shall meet her in your dreams,” said Johanna. And with that, the great egret spread her wings and flew off, back into the Magic Kingdom, over the train station and far out of view.

Consuelo was confused and a bit upset. She did not want a make believe friend in her dreams. She wanted a real friend she could hug and laugh and joke with, just like everyone else she knew had. Why had the bird taken off like that? She had many questions, not the least of which was how she would find this magical friend. Soon the boat arrived and Consuelo’s family climbed in. There wasn’t enough room for her, so she had to wait for the next boat. She knew her family well enough to know that they would take the time without her to run off to dinner, leaving her behind. But Consuelo was okay with this, since she hoped Johanna would return and answer her questions. Johanna didn’t reappear though, so Consuelo boarded the next boat and sailed off across the lagoon, quite puzzled by the entire situation with the egret.

She returned to the hotel room and sure enough, her family was nowhere to be seen. She popped on her headphones and cranked Three Dog Night and waited, and waited, and waited. She was growing quite tired and while she listened to her favorite song, Shambala, sleep washed away her sorrow…

Consuelo dreamt…

Johanna greeted her on the balcony of her hotel room. Johanna spread her wings and Consuelo knew she wanted her to do the same. But Consuelo didn’t have wings, or did she? Yes! She had a pair of hot pink, glittery wings! She spread them and, having never flown before, nervously jumped off the balcony with Johanna. But she soon realized there was nothing to be nervous about—flying was as easy as breathing to her now. She and Johanna sped across Seven Seas Lagoon toward the Swiss Family Treehouse in Adventureland. Johanna motioned for them to land at the base of the tree.

“Climb to the top of the tree, Consuelo. There you will find her,” said Johanna.

Consuelo was a bit hesitant—after all, it was night and she didn’t know what exactly she would find a the top of the tree—but she did as she was told and began to climb the steps into the tree. The impeccably themed staircase seemed impossibly high.

Consuelo climbed and climbed and climbed. She was unsure of how far she had gone or how far she had to go. She stopped briefly to take in the view of the castle and Space Mountain. Consuelo found herself aching to stay in this magical place forever. But she knew that this was only a dream and that dreams can only endure if you sleep through life. So, Consuelo began to climb again. Finally, she reached the top of the tree and waited. Where was the friend Johanna spoke of?

Rather slowly, the tree began to pulse with light. The leaves became a white and soothing glow, the branches radiated with warmth, and the floor grew brighter and brighter until it was finally a blinding light. Consuelo had to close her eyes. When she shut her eyelids she heard the sound of a woman.

“Welcome to my home, Consuelo,” said an ethereal, soothing voice from behind the downtrodden girl.

“Who are you?”Consuelo asked, her eyes still clamped shut, though she could sense that the light had diminished.

“My name is Tilda—Tilda Swinton—and I am Mother of all creatures that call Walt Disney World home,” said the woman.

Consuelo was confused and curious and opened her eyes slightly. Standing before her was a slender woman dressed in white with piercing eyes and a very… modern… hairstyle. She wore a long, flowing nightgown that shimmered and sparkled just like the egret, Johanna. Consuelo knew immediately that she could trust this woman named Tilda.

 “Johanna brought me to you, but why am I here?” asked Consuelo. “Why aren’t we awake and sipping tea or playing with beach balls like the girls in my school?”

“You are here because you are unloved, and I am love. I love all unloved things, like Stitch’s Great Escape, George Clooney, and Consuelo. But we are here in your dreams because that is the only way you have to reach me, Consuelo. I exist only here, in Disney World, and in the beyond,” Tilda replied with a graceful wave of her hand.

“The beyond?” Consuelo asked.

“That place between reality and dreams. That is where we are now, Consuelo. You aren’t actually dreaming, though I’m sure that is what it may seem to you. We are here, in that space in between, where the things that you wish for so hard become very nearly real. So what is it, Consuelo, that you have wished for so much that you have spun into reality?”

“I… I think… maybe… I think maybe that I’ve wanted a friend so badly that I am here because you and Johanna are now my friends and this is the place where we can be together.”

“Yes,” said Tilda with a knowing smile. “Yes, I do believe that is the case. You are here with friends now, Consuelo. What would you like to do now?”

“May I have a hug, Ms. Tilda?”

Tilda nodded and opened her arms wide. Consuelo rushed forth into the loving embrace.

“Now listen to me, Consuelo. You are beautiful and wonderful, and if you ever need love, simply dream of this happy place and I’ll be here.”

Tilda kissed Consuelo on the forehead and vanished into white light.

Consuelo woke up and smiled. She had a friend at last. Consuelo found love. Consuelo found Tilda.