THE DISNEY DINKS CREDO
To quote the great Yakov Smirnoff,
In Soviet Russia, Disney vacation plans you!
It’s true. And even more alarmingly, it doesn’t just happen at Gulag Disney. Every year, thousands of hopeful, hard-working, well-intentioned families descend upon Orlando with dreams of magic dancing in the heads.
And yet, far too many of those dreams get deferred, not because of any malice or ill-will or incompetence, but because a Disney vacation, perhaps more than any other recreational pursuit outside of an Everest summit, requires a Spartan dedication to planning, forethought, and anticipation.
Over the course of many years and many trips, the Disney Dinks have developed a steadfast philosophy and set of best practices that all but ensure you get the most out of every waking Disney minute. The Dink life is about maximizing experience and enjoyment, about squeezing every drop of essence out of the proverbial Disney stone.
A Disney vacation shouldn’t be stressful. But it can quickly devolve if you go in willy-nilly, pie-in-the-sky, footloose and fancy free. So in order to circumvent stress and defer disappointment, we present to you our credo—a tried and true list of philosophies, strategies, tactics, and habits of mind to help guide your own Disney planning.
Best of luck in your own planning. But if you’re keeping up, already you should know—if you’re relying on luck, you’re already sunk.
Without further ado, we present the Disney Dinks Credo for conquering the World.
- You’re already investing a lot of money in your experience—so invest the requisite time as well. The hours you invest in planning now will pay great dividends when you arrive at the parks (plus it’s fun to have an excuse to think about Disney!)
- Don’t expect Disney to change for you. Accept what Disney is, understand how it works, and then figure out how to make it work for you.
- Know how to let it go. No matter how hard or how well you plan, sometimes unforeseen events intervene. A ride breaks down or shuts down. You’re stuck behind the same family reunion wherever you go. A storm forces you indoors. When something happens beyond your control, just go with it and don’t force something to happen that the universe is clearly telling you won’t happen. Because if you’re following the rest of our credo, you’ll have more than enough time to make up that ride, that experience, that whatever later. And probably multiple times.
The Dink perspective
- Our tips and tricks aren’t purely about saving money—they are about getting the most out of your money. That means we’ll advocate paying more for an amazing experience instead of staying under-budget and having an underwhelming vacation.
- On a related note, time equals money. So we base our decisions not solely on price point, but on convenience, experience, efficiency, and how something fits or doesn’t fit into our schedule. An hour wasted at Disney is far more costly than an hour wasted in regular life.
- If you want to relax, go to Jamaica. A Disney vacation is a vertical vacation. A vacation where you set a daily alarm. A vacation where the question “What do you want to do now?” should never, ever be uttered—because you already need to know the answer.
Thou shalts. . .
- Thou shalt stay at a Monorail resort. Yes, other resorts have a lot to offer. But remember time equals money? Only the three monorail resorts put you in the sweetspot to make the most of every day.
- Thou shalt rope-drop every day. Discipline pays dividends. And as an added bonus, it’s far less hot in the mornings.
- Thou shalt have a car. Relying on buses is a surefire way to waste hours and hours of time. The monorail is the only efficient form of mass transit at Disney. A car is a lifesaver in getting to Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, and also greatly opens up your dining options.
- Thou shalt not purchase a Dining Plan. These things are far more trouble than they’re worth, create oodles of undue stress, and violate pretty much every tenet of Dink life. They also don’t help at Signature Dining, which is where you’re going to find us every night.
- Thou shalt use Touring Plans. We don’t know much about how those magical algorithms work, but we don’t leave our hotel without them loaded onto our phones (and more often than not mostly memorized).
- Thou shalt become a FastPass Plus Jedi. Learn the system, know the system, use the system.
- Thou Shalt exploit any and all Extra Magic Hours. We don’t want to hear “but everyone uses these so does it even help?” Of course it helps. And not everyone uses them. And plenty of people don’t even have access to them. Combined with rope drop and Fast Pass, EMH are part of the Holy Trinity of crushing every day at Disney.
- Take a siesta every day. Since you’re hitting it hard from rope drop onward, you need to recharge and refresh otherwise you’ll fizzle out mid-afternoon. An hour or 90 minutes back at your hotel (which can be concurrent with lunch) gets you ready for part two of your day, and also gets you out of the parks during the busiest times (11-2).
- Stay hydrated. Bring your own refillable water bottle (we like the Bobble brand which has its own built-in filter) and follow this rule: When you’re in line, ABD (always be drinking). It quickly becomes a habit and you’ll feel better for it.
- Protect your feet. We employ the mid-day shoe change every day. Hit it hard in the morning, come back to your resort for siesta, and put on a fresh pair of socks and sneakers for the afternoon. You’ll be amazed the difference this makes.
- Find time to relax and eat well at dinner. Will you pay more at the Signature Dining Experiences? Of course. But a) not really that much more than at a moderate table service and b) after a long day of killing it, two hours of dim lighting, relative quiet, and fine food and drink in a nice restaurant as you recount the great successes of the day is just what you need. And if you’re worried about your bottom line, we suggest replacing your souvenir/apparel budget with a fine dining budget. It’s a better use of your cheddar.
So this may seem like a lot. But hopefully after digesting our credo, you’ll see it all comes back to a few basic principles. And we can assure you: it works. In the years we’ve been putting these philosophies into practice, we’ve absolutely slayed Disney World, Disneyland, and Universal on many occasions. We’ve had the time of our lives, and we share our experiences in hopes that you will, too.
PRODUCTS MENTIONED IN OUR CREDO CAN ALWAYS BE FOUND ON THE HOT LIST: PRODUCTS