Bigfoot’s usual stomping grounds. What conceivable interest any ‘intelligent’ UFO would have in earth. How Sean Connery avoids aging. And until now, Walt Disney World’s method for determining to whom to send discount PIN Codes. Strike the latter off of the list of society’s great unsolved mysteries, as Disney’s PIN Code recipient selection process is about to be resolved. For those unfamiliar, PIN Codes are the holy grail of WDW discounts; an exclusive discount sent to a limited number of recipients that frequently allow early booking of a special offer that will later become available to the general public, or a variant of a deal that will become available to the general public, typically offering a more advantageous or ‘better’ discount for most guests.
For years, Disney’s manner of choosing recipients for these PIN Codes has perplexed Walt Disney World visitors the world over. Some assume its based on luck of the draw, or perhaps alternatively that Disney has a room full of monkeys tucked away in the Cayman Islands and the company uses the whims of the monkeys to make decisions. A dangerous practice, no doubt, but some of the practices of the Walt Disney Company are so head-scratching that the only logical explanation is that they were made by untrained chimps.
Unfortunately, this glamorized version of the process Disney uses for selecting PIN Code recipients is likely untrue. As someone who frequently found these PIN Codes arriving in my email inbox and home mailbox up until a few months ago, it is my assertion that Disney more than likely has some sort of formula for determining who should receive the PIN Codes.
My fascination with these elusive PIN Codes began to grow a few years ago when I first heard of a friend receiving a PIN Code. The prospect of such a great discount piqued the interest of my frugality, and I embarked upon a mission to receive one myself. He cautioned me against trying, since the codes were sent out randomly, and nothing I could do would improve my prospects of receiving one. For a short while, I was content with this advice. However, after I began listening to WDW Today and hearing the hosts discuss how they never or seldom received the Codes, I began to think that maybe there was more to the process than haphazard luck.
On a whim, I decided to sign up for everything Disney-related that I could. Some of this I had already done due to the fact that I was an obsessed Disney-geek. However, there were other things I did to help my odds, like creating multiple Disney.com accounts, registering as both “Tom” and “Thomas,” putting my address down as my mother-in-law’s house for some accounts, and some other questionable things that I thought might help my odds.
Suddenly, the PIN Codes started to pour into my wife’s and my inboxes. Over the course of the two years, my wife and I received, from best I can tell based on my activity on various Disney forums, four of each PIN Code offer that was sent out. It is important to note that during this time, while we vacationed to Walt Disney World twice per year, we never booked a room ourselves, instead always having a Cast Member friend of ours book for us. This June we finally used our Disney Vacation Club membership to book a trip ourselves, and since, we have only received one PIN Code offer, and that only went out to two of our email addresses.
While two PIN Codes is better than none at all, I can’t help but theorize that the decrease was precipitated by us booking a trip ourselves. Disney has little reason to incentivize frequent guests to continue visiting with these ‘exclusive’ discounts, so it is counter-productive for the company to send the discounts to these guests who will come anyway. Offering them a greater discount only loses Disney money, so instead, Disney likely concocted some sort of algorithm to determine to whom to send the PIN Codes, and the frequency thereto. This would explain why the hosts of WDW Today and other folks who commonly visit receive the PIN Codes with less frequency. While I am hardly a mathematical whiz, my intuition says that there are a number of variables that impact the algorithm, and that even frequent guests can employ certain ‘strategies’ to attempt to beat the algorithm.
Here are some suggestions:
• Create a Disney.com account for each of your email addresses and express an interest in Walt Disney World with each account.
• Order a set of Custom Park Maps for your kids or yourself to enjoy.
• Order a Vacation Planning DVD (since both this and the above create waste, consider giving these to friends who are planning trips when you’re done using them).
• Make Advance Dining Reservations for random dates, cancelling them shortly thereafter.
• Search for Resorts on Disney.com while logged into your accounts, completing the survey that will pop up when you close out the window by selecting the option indicating the cost was too high.
• Place a booking hold on a resort over the phone, cancelling it shortly thereafter.
• Inquire about Disney Vacation Club.
• Attend a Disney Vacation Club web sales presentation (you’ll receive a free gift) or in-person “Vacation as You Wish” presentation (Chicago/New York/New Jersey only)
• Sign up for Disney Movie Rewards.
• Sign up for any other Disney-related account you find.
I believe that using different mailing addresses (that you can access) and variants of your name “James” for “Jim,” etc., might help your chances, but I cannot substantiate this. We have managed to receive a high number of PIN Code offers by utilizing all of the above, so I have reason to believe that these factors will at least help increase your odds of receiving a PIN Code!
Have any other suggestions for increasing the odds of receiving a PIN Code? Let us know your secrets in the comments!