SEOMike - 3:37 am on Jun 5, 2013 (gmt 0)
If you have an algorithmic penalty (if your traffic immediately dropped when Penguin was updated, you do), don't tell Google you did something wrong by submitting a reconsideration request. Try very hard to pursue manual removal until you get below the threshold for the algorithmic Penguin penalty. Build good links in the meantime to help change how your link profile looks. If you can't get below the penalty threshold without disavowing, then use it, but it's a last resort.
Remember that in the post that discusses how to use the disavow tool [support.google.com] it says disavowing could take a number of weeks to have an effect. Be patient. Google put you in timeout because you were screwing around. The bigger the tantrum you throw about it, the longer you'll stay there. Once you get out of the proverbial corner, do more work to clean up your link profile while keeping link acquisition v. link decay rates in check because you know Google is only going to get stricter about link spam.
Remember, MC himself said they are reporting nearly 100% of all manual penalties, and the intent is to get to 100%. You don't need "reconsideration" if there isn't a manual penalty, you need to get below the algorithmic penalty threshold.