Did you know there are actually stages of Disney Addiction we progress through? Linds Pierce, fellow Chip & Co. blogger (and Disney travel agent) and the Disney Diva decided to (virtually) sit down and define these stages so that you could test yourself and see what level of Disney Addiction you, or your family members, are in.
Stage 1: Newbie (majority of park attendees)
# of Disney trips: 0 as adult, may have visited as children but don’t remember much about their trip(s)
Symptoms: Don’t know how much planning Disney vacations require. Are likely to only eat Quick Service the entire time and don’t know to take mid-day breaks. Choose parks based on interest on that day and don’t know about crowd flux. Relatively clueless about fast-passes and aren’t sure if they are free or not. May return to Disney, but no immediate plans to do so.
Identifying them in the park: Have a slightly glazed look as Disney is still overwhelming to them. Have a map they stop and check often and can be found looking exhausted while waiting in long stand-by lines. Will have bought at least one silly looking Disney theme hat (“Sorcerer Mickey” or Goofy buck-teeth”). Wears their Mickey Ears around the park. Will buy an autograph book for their kids, but have no idea what they’re going to do with the autographs when they get home. Alternates between huge smiles and grumpiness throughout the day.
Stage 2: Advanced.
# of Disney Trips: At least 1 as an adult, or many as children. They have developed a love of Disney growing up, but with all the changes that have occurred in the parks they’re practically starting over.
Symptoms: After having one successful trip, the Advanced visitor is feeling better about their ability to plan, and are likely reading planning books and the occasional Disney blog. Have a plan for most of the day, can navigate most parks on their own with occasional help from the map, knows to avoid certain parks in the morning and the best times of year to travel. They’re better with their fast-passes, but haven’t figured out that they shouldn’t cross the park so often. Have at least 3-4 Disney clothing items, most likely bought on their last trip, however they’ve now shifted to the Disney ball-cap or visor instead of the novelty hats.
Identifying them in the park: Have started doing the “matching family” outfits for the purpose of easily spotting each other if someone gets lost. Pay for cutesy Mickey-themed outfits for their little girls. Know what ADR stands for and have a few character meals scheduled. If they have older children/pre-teens they have likely bought a pin-trading starter kit. They’ve started an autograph/ rare character photos collection.
Stage 3 Pros
# of Disney Trips: At least 2 as an adult, at least one really successful as a “family”or with a group of friends where they were the primary planner.
Symptoms: Pros begin making plans for their next trip relatively close to departing their current one. Checks with travel agents frequently hoping to discover a good deal. Pros read blogs and books frequently because they love Disney or because they’re planning their next trip. They have 10+ items of Disney clothing and have begun collecting “something” exclusive to Disney Parks (house-ware items, ornaments, figurines, snow-globes, pins). Have debated becoming annual pass-holders so they could make an extra trip that year (or two). No longer get irritated when a Cast Member moves their stroller (because they knew to mark it.) Would never go to Magic Kingdom without buying a Dole Whip. Understands the value of staying on the monorail loop. No longer feels the pressure to ride every single ride or see every parade. At least one piece of Disney art is in their home now. Sport their Disney scarf, purse, totebag, or crocs with pride even in the “real world”. Gets a little misty eyed when watching Disney commercials. Has gone on, or has at least seriously considered going on, a Disney cruise. Has taken at least one set of grandparents or friends on a trip with them.
Identifying them in the park: These are lanyard-wearing, pin-trading types. They don’t rush back and use their FastPass once their time is up, but grab another FP instead. Pros are at the front of every rope-drop line and have their spreadsheet with park hours, ADRs and parades/showtimes. They pre-paid for their Photopass. They have albums of pictures and autographs and show everyone that comes in their home!
Stage 4: Ultimate
# of park trips: They have a hard time remembering because they’ve been so many times.
Symptoms: Ultimates would be content if every vacation was at a Disney park or a Disney Cruise. Read blogs daily, and likely HAVE their own Disney blog. Knows who is a knowledgeable source and who is an idiot on Disney open forums. Often ask for Disney books and travel guides for Holiday gifts. Ultimates no longer need a park-map. Almost every t-shirt they own has something Disney on it. They laugh at people who wait in long stand-by lines and are experts in the art of fast-pass. Know the importance of running at a dead sprint at rope drop to Soarin, Toy Story Mania, and Expedition Everest. Get nervous if they don’t have their ADR’s secured exactly 180 days before their trip. Are in, or have seriously considered, the Disney Vacation Club (or have a time-share that allows frequent trips). Have bought at least one high-end camera just to take better pictures at Disney Parks. Ultimates know short-cuts to get around the masses on Main-Street and the importance of mid-day breaks. They likely have the ringtone for Wishes!, Spectromagic, or Main Street Electrical Parade on their cell-phone. Not only know, but can repeat, the monorail spiel in Spanish (“¡Por favor manténgase alejado de las puertas!”). Ultimates have been to at least one “holiday party” and know what MNSSHP is. They know who the Sherman Brothers and Ub Iwerks are.They have attempted to “Drink around the world” at least one time. They have gone on (or want to go on) a Backstage tour.
Identifying them in the parks: Can you miss these people? Special pouches for their Keys, ID and FastPasses,they jump from one attraction to the next with minimal wait times. Likely have their own Disney nametag, and can give a newbie directions in the park. Uses the “Disney point” even in the outside world! Look for the person who looks the most relaxed at Disney, and they are likely an Ultimate.
Can you think of other things that define the stages? Free to comment them here and tell us what stage YOU are in! Stay tuned this week to discover which stage some of your favorite Chip & Co writers are in and “proof” of their addiction!!
Linds & the Disney DivaFollow Chip and Co on Instagram @chipandco or on Twitter @chipandcompany
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