on December 31, 2011
I had not been to Disney in over twenty years. On a recent trip to Orlando, I was introduced to the concept of DSOD.
Without specifically advocating any potentially untoward activities, the author does a fantastic job of explaining how one might enjoy Disney in ways not specifically intended by the park's designers. Only a true fan of WDW could have written this book; the suggestion by some that that the DSOD subverts the very spirit of Disney is as misplaced as it is silly. Respect for both Cast Members, and other guests remains paramount throughout the entire book. Having said that, Churchill warned us to "Never trust a man who has not a single redeeming vice." The Dark Side of Disney is a well-written and humourous guide to how one might indulge one or more of those vices in the midst of white bread and white picket fences so that a good time can be had by all.
I really liked this book! My husband is an obsessed Disney World fan, so that's pretty much the only place we vacation (he bought an RV almost solely for use at Disney's Fort Wilderness to eliminate the hassle and cost of dealing with hotels...he's committed). We usually go a couple times a year, depending on where the military has us stationed at the time. If we're within 12 hours of driving (I don't fly...sorry Leonard), then according to him, we're close enough!
Having been to the parks so many times I thought I knew it all and was pretty smug about my Disney expertise...turns out, I didn't know jack. I loved the stories of he and his friends roaming the parks, going down to the Utilidors (something I MUST do now...thanks), and all the tips and tricks he's come up with through the years. While many are not tips and tricks I would personally use (what with them being illegal and all), they were still funny to read about. Being military, we get obscene ticket discounts through ITT on base, so that whole section wasn't quite as interesting. However his advice on where and when to drink (the monorail bar crawl? Genius!), scams to watch out for, and suggestions of things to try or to look out for were a lot of fun (loved the fastpass tips).
Overall, if you're a Disney fan and not a total prude (yes, there's swear words in this book...get over it), this is definitely a fun read. Mr. Kinsey has YEARS of experience exploring these parks, and he really knows what he's talking about. We just got back from a 2 week vacation in Disney and I'm kinda bummed I didn't find this book a bit sooner. No worries though, hubby has us going BACK down there in December, so I'm absolutely gonna be on the look-out for those Utilidors! Don't think I'll be able to talk the husband into exploring them, but you never know! Fun book...now I just need to check out the blog!
on January 21, 2014
Being a lover of all things Disney and having been known to visit the dark side in the past, I saw this listed on Amazon and decided to treat myself and buy it.
I was skeptical at first, after reading the cover that listed "scams" as part of the book but once I started getting to the actual tips and tricks, my fears were alleviated. I was afraid this book was going to be written by some jaded ex cast member or disgruntled visitor but to my delight I found that Leonard grew up here in Florida and loved Disney. So much so that he even worked in the parks for awhile.
The book has A LOT of really good info, especially for people that think there is an easy or scamable way to get into the parks or buy tickets for 10.00 from a reseller.
There are some other tips regarding best places to have sex or scam a free meal. There are ideas about how to enjoy the parks while high or tripping. Leonard says that he included these because as a teen and young adult, him and his friends had been to the parks literally hundreds and hundreds of times and was basically looking for other ways to enjoy the Disney atmosphere while being burned out on rides like It's a Small World and Dumbo.
I would recommend this book to adults going to Disney. It will help you decide how to get there (fly), where to stay (on property), get your tickets (at Disney or at their official website Disney.go.com) and how to plan for some great meals that really don't involve loading up on a toppings bar or putting bugs in your food.(less)
on January 15, 2012
This was a purchase for my sister who is a huge Disneyphile. While everyone in our family fall under that category, she lives in Southern California and frequently flies to Florida just to go to the parks. She know everything about the parks. So, I saw this and thought that this had to have something she didn't know!
As I went to wrap it, it took me forever, because of course, I had to open it to see what it contained! This book is chock full of information, but beware, this is truly the "Dark Side" and for adults only. Do not leave this book lying around for your children to see.
Among fun anecdotes, it also tells you have to scam money, places to have sex without getting caught and places you can get into to sneak around.
My sister loved it (not that she would do any of those things)...and learned something new
on February 20, 2015
Probably a more accurate title would be "Disney World for Sociopaths." Some of what is presented is harmless hijinks, some is dangerous, some is victimless and most is illegal, but it's fun to tag along vicariously through the text.
on October 13, 2011
I kind of expected that this book would be more of a 'tell-all' from former Disney employees. It isn't... it's a travel guidebook to the 'dark side' of Disney's parks in Orlando. And by 'dark side', the author means many things, from perfectly licit money-saving tips to the totally illicit and illegal (which he does warn may garner you jail time either for real, or in "Disney jail", which he doesn't elaborate on). Did you ever want to know where to buy drugs in Orlando? Or know which shows at Disney were best seen while high? Or the best places to have sex in the parks? Or how to gate-crash the parks? You get the idea... This is not a family-friendly book!
I did find it very interesting - there are plenty of semi-licit things listed that really piqued my interest, though I'd never actually attempt them. I did find the author's language to be pretty crude - the profanities took what was actually a very well-written (and well-researched, though that's a whole 'nother story!) book and reduced it's credibility factor to near zero; it was just too much, too often, and too immature coming from a married adult.
I would recommend this only with serious reservations. It had lots of very interesting information that might appeal to the vicarious scofflaw, but its true audience is probably those who think rules are meant to be broken and who are willing to break them.
Note on Kindle formatting: Very good. There were many illustrations (and not all are in the G or PG or even PG-13 range) and those displayed well on my Kindle, though the captions would often be on the following pages. There were none of the common editing/formatting errors like homophones wrongly used; words run together, incorrect hyphenation, and the like.
on February 21, 2015
this book wasnt exactly what I expected. it was more of sneaky ways to get into disney and stories of his college days going into the utildors. It has his sneaky ways of getting meals like putting ants into your dessert or a roach into your drink. Not really what I thought it would be like.
I have reviewed a number of Disney theme park tour guides. Leonard Kinsey's "The Dark Side of Disney" provides information on what NOT to do at Walt Disney World: `It should also go without saying that I don't advocate anyone engaging in illegal activities inside WDW. If you break the law and get caught, it's all on you. So before attempting anything in this book that might be potentially illegal, ask yourself, "Is the fun and excitement of participating in this illegal activity worth the potential negatives that would come with getting caught, landing in jail, and having a misdemeanor/felony charge on my record?"...it might be best if you took a step back from those Utilidor entrances, refrained from using a one-hitter in The Haunted Mansion, and tried to keep your clothes on during that monorail ride from The Magic Kingdom to Epcot.' (page 153)
Leonard Kinsey urges the reader to make a "do no harm" policy that upholds the right of every WDW visitor to not have their vacation spoiled by the readers of "Dark Side of Disney." Besides, some of the things there have fatal consequences. Pages 106 to 114 detail some of the "critters" that can injure or kill, ranging from the alligator to "brain eating amoebas." The rides and attractions themselves are dangerous when not used as directed--David Koening mentions several fatal guest accidents in his Disney theme park books. Going `backstage' has hazards--the `on stage' portion of Walt Disney World is perhaps the safest environment in the USA. Backstage, the industrial areas are rife with hazards--and ignorant people wandering around in the innards of the American Adventure can easily be crushed by Audio-animatronic cassettes (small stages) that are used in the 30-minute automated presentation. In an interview with "Chief" and "Hoot Gibson:" "Understand that you might die. Being caught is nothing but being killed is very real."
My tours of the Utilidors are not very adventurous--I booked backstage tours that took me through the place with a tour guide. Expensive, but safe and legal. Call me a sucker if you wish, but I am risk adverse. The pay-off wasn't worth the risk for me.
Leonard Kinsey's book isn't only on the dangers of doing Walt Disney World `your way.' There are some legitimate tips that will save you time, money and frustration. I first visited Epcot in 1986 for one magical day between duty with the Army at Fort Riley and shipping out to West Germany. My total Walt Disney World experience is about two months in multiple visits with stays of up to two weeks duration--my most recent was in July 2005 for two weeks while my Nevada Army National Guard unit was in the Middle East for 12 months on Operation Iraqi Freedom II. "Driving is For Suckers" (page 7) is basically correct--driving can be much more trouble than it's worth. The horror story of "Matt's" 18 hour drive from Baltimore to Walt Disney World was appalling--I won't spoil your fun by revealing the ending. Stay on-site--there are hotels to fit every budget. Unless you have months to spend on your Walt Disney World vacation, staying on-site makes economic sense because you get to maximize your enjoyment of the four major theme parks. One of my sisters recently took a Walt Disney World vacation and she followed my "stay on-site" advice--she's been there before, but the sprawling Walt Disney World complex can take time--and money--to navigate, especially for newcomers. Parking is currently $14 a day--unless you'd rather risk having your vehicle impounded and towed for trespass. That impound and tow fee could easily be a thousand dollars--or you could lose your car.
That takes us to lodging. In the days prior to the Disney Value hotels my budget didn't permit me to stay on-site. Yes, there were issues with transportation, you have to factor in ALL costs (especially the time you spend travelling from the place you sleep to the theme parks)--but I was used to rough living and couldn't beat $15 a night in a place with hot water and clean towels. That was back in the late 1990's and the Kissimmee motel I used was bull-dozed--if it didn't burn down first! All Walt Disney World needs now is a storage locker complex--I rented a storage locker in Florida while working in the Middle East so that I didn't have to pack much through airline travel.
Food is another factor. Food at WDW can be expensive. There are multiple feeding cues. Those open air cafes aren't just for the enjoyment of diners--a feeding cue for us social animals is that other people are chowing down! "The Dark Side of Disney" offers solid advice on having groceries delivered--the off-site pizza deliveries sometimes have better hours than Disney room service as well as being less expensive.
There are ticket scams in the Orlando area. When I was there, there were people hawking "reduced price" tickets to Walt Disney World. I knew my limitations--I didn't think that I could tell a fake Walt Disney World ticket from a genuine one, and so I stuck to trusted outlets. If you are adventurous, you could try--but the two methods Kinsey mentions for "free" tickets are not the only ways to get free admission. The author suggests making friends with a Cast Member (Walt Disney World employee) and taking a Disney Vacation Club tour--sort of! There are multiple other ways to save money on admission media--legal ways--but all of them take time and research.
The Disney Company won't like the comments on the DVC (Disney Vacation Club) tours--but the advice on page 24 and the horror story that follows makes me glad that I didn't take a DVC tour. I had no intention and no resources for a `time share' when I was there--didn't even have the time to take the sales pitch and day away from one of the four major theme parks! Be wary of "free" stuff--weigh your time against the pay-off.
I agree with the author on the Disney theme park merchandise--it is over-priced when I can get the same items at my local discount store. Theme park unique items are what's hot, or things that remind me of the magic of Walt Disney World. One treasure that is hanging next to my computer desk is a `free' Walt Disney World 25th Anniversary poster that I got for having an annual passport to Walt Disney World (I was working in the Middle East at the time and would stay at WDW long enough to make the annual pass the most cost-effective ticket option--and in 2005 when I spent my two-week R&R from Operation Iraqi Freedom II the commercial annual passport available to everybody beat out two weeks of tickets through the military travel office--discounted). I framed the poster. So there is stuff at the theme parks worth having. I recommend looking over the Disney merchandise available in your local stores first, and then following Leonard Kinsey's advice on internet shopping to educate yourself before you take your WDW vacation. That way you will more likely recognize what is junk and what is treasure when your IQ drops 20 points from entering the gates at the Magic Kingdom.
The chapter titled "Sex, Drugs, and Rock N' Roll at WDW" is worth reading even if you don't do drugs. Florida has a minors' protection law that adds additional prison time if you are convicted of having illegal drugs within 100 feet of a minor--and can bring that charge of `possession' up to `trafficking.' Were you aware that the American Association for Nude Recreation is headquartered in Kissimmee, about an hour's drive from Walt Disney World (depending on traffic) and near the featured nudist resort of Cypress Cove? Kinsey mentions Cypress Cove and how to get in--but be aware that the admission charges will rival Walt Disney World's. The advice on sex and drugs helps AVOID those activities if you don't care to get laid by random strangers and get high while riding the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror--oh, wait! On page 88 the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror is listed as one of five WORST places to get high!
Go to Walt Disney World to have fun. Please don't ruin other people's `Disney Experience.' Leonard Kinsey's "The Dark Side of Disney" can help you have fun even if you don't want to be naughty--there were new "utterly unauthorized tips, tricks, & scams for your WDW vacation!" Things are always changing at Disney theme parks--I've been to the parks in Paris, to Tokyo Disneyland, and to the original in Anaheim, California. Know before you go.
I like indexes--saves time when trying to find specific information. "The Dark Side of Disney" has both table of contents and an index.
on January 6, 2012
I loved this book. Kinsey's writing style is truly hilarious and unforgiving. He takes you on a wild ride behind the scenes, showing you the bits Disney doesn't want you to see, with tips and tricks to make your trip just a little more interesting.
While I don't advocate or participate in many of the activities mentioned in this book, I will definitely be keeping my eyes out for the different utilidor entrances from now on, and maybe sneaking a little Malibu into my dole whip, or going a little crazy at the toppings bar.
If you're a prude, this book isn't for you. It's gritty, irreverent, naughty, and fun as hell.
on May 26, 2014
Got this book as it looked and sounded interesting. THe author gives some good insight to have some "adult fun" while at Disney. Most I wouldn't try as he has Disney isn't affraid of banning you for life. Also some good ideas on how to get cheaper tickets and lodging. Easy to read as well.