Stages of Disney Addiction: What stage are you?

Did you know there are actually stages of Disney Addiction we progress through? We 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: Ultimate’s 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 Diva

  • Disney Quick Tips – How to interact with a Disney Addict (chipandco.com)
  • Disney World Vacation Souvenirs for the Budget Conscious (chipandco.com)

DisneyDiva

DisneyDiva is a Communications Professor and semi-obsessed Disney blogger. She enjoys giving families tips on how to make their Disney World Vacations more delightful by packing correctly, planning days in the park, and more.
Stages of Disney Addiction: What stage are you? was last modified: September 9th, 2013 by DisneyDiva

addict Are you a Disney Addict? Stand up and be counted! Join our Facebook Group - You Might Be a Disney Addict or #ymbada for short. Share your love of Disney with other like minded individuals. If you have questions be sure to stop by our Disney Addict Website. Here you can ask Disney World, Disneyland or any other travel related question. There is no question too big or too small!




  • shelby

    Yeahhhh I’m an ultimate if not beyond. My husband says I need Disney therapy, I just say I need to go more often :-p

  • dctootall

    Ya know, I’d have to add a stage 5. One where you’ve been to the parks so many times and know your way around the park so well that you no longer really need to do any sort of planning and no longer go “commando” when visiting the park. People who are so relaxed about their trip and know another one is coming around the corner where they aren’t concerned about snagging their ADR’s early because they know the places that are good but still have decent availability late in the game. (but do grab those must haves at popular places early.)

    Most of your levels involve some level of the typical “commando” type mindset, but there comes a time when you grow out of that mindset because you have been so often, know the parks and attractions so well, that you don’t need to do any sort of conscious planning or running around because your natural “go with the flow” touring style still gets your everywhere you want to go and everything you want to do.

  • emelee1053

    What does say when I advise coworkers I’ll be out for 2 weeks the end of Sept./first of Oct. and someone says “tell Mickey hello for us!” I’m somewhere between pro and ultimate and learn something new every trip. Have DVC, AP, MNSSHP and sub scribe to every Disney blog and forum I can find including facebook pages. Would love to be a TA in my retirement years.

  • Missy

    Happy to be an Ultimate! What started out as a Pro quickly turned into Ultimate plus ended up lucky enough to become a TA!

  • http://www.chipandco.com Chip

    Nice congrats!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Hayden-Davis/666694140 Hayden Davis

    Great article!! I would consider myself ‘Advanced’ and working my way to being a ‘Pro’! I think it is funny how you can definetly tell the Newbie’s from the Ultimate Disney Addicts! Some people have no clue what ADR’s even are and think they can just walk into Cinderella’s Castle at 6 pm and be seated for dinner any night of the week!

  • Grisel Rey

    I am a pro working my way to ultimate :) hoping to make it to WDW in November!!

  • MaxS.

    We are pros moving up to ultimates, although we haven’t been fortunate to plan a trip for more than our 6 family members, and I am considering becoming a TA. We also haven’t gone to either MNSSHP nor MVMCP, but we have gone on backstage tours and we are members of not only DVC but non-Dis timeshares as well, it maximizes our park and cruise visits. The one thing you don’t mention, is that we are always looking for clues to turn an average, boring conversation into one about … Disney :)! We have learned that my parents’ visiting nurse is a DVC member & lover, and one of our daughter’s doctor’s family is also.

  • http://www.facebook.com/crystal.b.summerlin Crystal Bailey Summerlin

    Other things that defines stages: has a collection of WDW shopping bags and/or soap, has one (or many) Disney vinyls, stickers, magents or license plates on their vehicle(s), has a spreadsheet saved to share with newbies because they got tired of typing the same WDW info over and over, have one (or many) Disney tattoos, spot hidden Mickey’s on a daily basis. I loved this article! 8( :0D

  • pixie dust

    I’ve got it bad both my husband and I are ultimate fans, I can’t get enough of the dust, pixie dust that is. If everyone could spread a ;little dust, the world would be a better place. so go get dusted or give a little dust.

  • Jennifer

    What about the stage where you are so obsessed you become a Disney TA? I guess that falls under Ultimate!

  • Traci Goddard Blackwell

    I am most definately an Ultimate….headed back to WDW in 6 days for # 24, raised both of my full grown children to be ultimates (they are) and now my 10 yr old grandson ( also an ultimate) is going with us in 6 days for trip # 9. We live in NY.

  • http://www.facebook.com/erin.schmidt.568 Erin Schmidt

    Definitely a pro with many of the ultimate features
    1) bought the camera
    2) hit the Christmas party last year
    but still missing the backstage tour (the bane of having younger kids). We were going to go on behind the seeds last visit and couldn’t fit it in (because we took my mom for her first visit)

  • carters_mom

    I fall between the Pros and the Ultimate….one thing to add to the list “owns all the soundtracks to the Walt Disney World nighttime shows and park music” I love mine and listen to them all year, even Candlelight Processional and Holiday Wishes!

  • Lori

    Wow. Ultimate could have been written about my husband and I. Trip #14 for us as a couple, and #17 for me coming up in November.

  • Gaylin Chev

    Another ultimate here . . . It is my 15th trip this November or is that 16?

  • Donna Wilson

    This blog was great! I wasn’t surprised to find myself to be a Disney Ultimate! hahaha I LOVE Disney and have trained my family to love it as much as I do! :)