A Solo Trip Recap

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It’s not typical practice for me to talk about my trips in great detail on the Touring Plans blog. I usually leave that for my personal blog. However, I’d like to tell you briefly about my solo trip and how it all turned out since so many of you took the time to write in and give your solo trip tips. Wow! Say that ten times fast. Solo trip tips! Solo trip tips!

The four and a half days that I spent alone at Disney World undoubtedly changed me for the better. I was able to reconnect with myself and learn how to be okay with just spending time with just me… and thousands of other park guests. If you followed me on Twitter during my vacation then you probably understood how I felt at different points in the trip.

There were countless experiences that were priceless. From my sensual and educational private tequila tasting at La Cava Del Tequila, to my relaxing 3 hour dinner at Jiko where I met interesting people and shared life stories. I even attended my very first Touring Plans meet in Epcot!

Many of you wrote to me on Twitter or posted a comment on my previous post here on TouringPlans.com’s blog and I was surprised at how many people said they suddenly felt inspired to try a trip to Disney World by themselves. While I definitely would not and could not call myself a solo touring expert, I feel that I can share my afterthoughts and suggestions for anyone that is ready to brave this new experience for themselves. It’s something to really think about before you decide to go alone, but when you do, dive into it head first.

As I said, I had a memorable dinner at Jiko. This was my first signature meal ever at Walt Disney World believe it or not. If you’ve never indulged in Disney’s fine dining and you’re going solo, do it! Forget the price and get whatever you want. That is a direct tip from Chef Joshua and he was right. The man took good care of me and I owe him a lot for how well my night turned out.

Be social and sit up at a counter or bar where you can watch the chefs or bartenders work their magic. They’ll chat it up with you and make you feel special. Any other patron who sits down next to you is also probably open to a little conversation and trust me, it’s welcome conversation after you’ve not had anyone to talk to for a few days. You don’t realize how very little you use your voice when you’re alone.

Something that I thought was going to be harder for this power touring guru was the ability to go slow. I surprised myself. On my first day at Animal Kingdom, I was in the parks for an hour and a half before I even stepped foot into an attraction queue. I took a lot of pictures, grabbed a tea, and just strolled around in the sun’s warmth. It was so new to me to travel like that and also so absolutely wonderful. I discovered a new appreciation for Animal Kingdom all because of a slower pace. My suggestion to those who find themselves in the parks alone is to take your time. Don’t rush things. The parks will always be there and not “accomplishing” something just gives you a reason to return.

At numerous times throughout the year, folks from TouringPlans.com and The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World are cooking up different opportunities to meet up in the parks. Never been to a meet? Going there solo is a perfect way to give it a shot. I had a great time at my first meet and partially because I didn’t have to worry about dragging people along or leaving people behind. After not saying much more than, “Jambo” for a few days, I loved being able to talk to people about all things Disney. If you can, try scheduling your trip around a TouringPlans.com meet or another online community get together in the parks. It’ll be worth it! Trust me!

I’d like to thank all of you that followed me on my vacation. I’ve essentially been wearing a “Stalkers welcome” sign on my head for a week. Your suggestions and words of positivity helped me on my journey. I truly hope that many of you are more prepared and better educated about solo touring.

If you decide to take your first solo trip, be sure to let us folks here at TouringPlans.com know about how it goes!

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Posted on January 26, 2012

18 Responses to “A Solo Trip Recap”

  • Yay! I LOVE solo trips and just came back from one myself where I had AMAZING experiences, met a ton of great cast members (they seem more willing to chat when I’m alone), and even a few other solo guests!

  • I took a solo trip back in October, 2011 for the MK 40th Anniversary Celebration. You’re advice about going slow is right on the money.

    One of my favorite memories of the trip was watching Illuminations at Epcot from the south (far) side of the lagoon, then very casually making my way back to the exit. I took pictures, people watched, explored a bit, and just enjoyed everything about the Epcot nighttime atmosphere without an ounce of stress. This ended up being my approach for most of the trip.

    I highly recommend a solo trip to anyone who’s contemplating the idea. I would do it again in a heartbeat if I ever had another opportunity.

  • Glad you had a good time and thanks for hanging out with us.

    Good advise on trying to sync solo trips up with TouringPlans.com meets (or other groups *gasp* if there isn’t a TouringPlans.com meet scheduled). It’s a great oportunity to meet others and find a different perspective on touring.

  • Hey Stacey. It was great to finally get to meet you. Guess I’ll have to finally put away those stilts I always walk around on. They always got in the way anyway.

    It was a lot of fun having you along on the meet that never really ended.

    • It was AWESOME to meet you too, Todd! I think I just figured out your birthday present for this year… :p Would you also like some foliage and face paint to disguise yourself as DiVine?

  • Glad to hear you enjoyed your trip!

    I just returned from a trip to the World on Monday and my wife was a bit under the weather on Sunday morning, so I went to MK by myself to give her a chance to rest without me hovering over her and me a chance to do some of the things she wouldn’t want to do anyway. Gotta say, and I mean this with no disrespect to her, I loved it as a change of pace from the rest of the trip. For about 3 hours, I got to do whatever I wanted, eat whatever I wanted, and indulge whatever whims I had. It was very liberating. My wife actually had a meeting in Orlando that started on Monday evening, so when I left to go to the airport on Monday morning, she went to the parks herself for some alone time. To make a long story short, we both agreed that while our preference is to tour together as a rule, we’d make an effort to give each other a half day or so to ourselves on future trips (at least on longer trips).

    What it comes down to is this: no matter how in sync you are with someone, a trip to Disney with someone else is all about compromise. When travelling with a larger group, this becomes all the more apparent. Unless you are an oaf that just foists your will upon those in your party, it’s probably never going to be your ideal itinerary. Having a little “me” time built into your schedule allows you the freedom to be a complete Disney hedonist and unapologetically do exactly what you want to do. I’m not sure I’d want to do an entire extended trip by myself, but as a component of a larger trip or a short trip, it’s really nice to be able to experience the parks at your own pace, on your own schedule, doing what you want to do.

    • I think it’s wonderful that you’ve experienced a taste of solo touring and have seen how special it can be. It’s a totally different experience, right? Like you said, you mean no disrespect to your friends and family but it’s something new to tour alone. Thanks so much for giving your feedback on solo touring!

  • Question for Stacey (or others if you can answer it): Did you make a 1-person ADR for Jiko or do walk-up? I’m doing a solo trip (the second one I’ve done) in May for the Expedition Everest 5K, and Jiko is on my “must do” list for the trip. I always prefer sitting at the bar when I’m solo, for the reasons listed in this post, so I’m curious if solo diners get seated at the bar automatically or if that’s a walk-in area.

    • I walked up around 6 p.m. I was taken to a seat right up at The Cooking Place (which is what I requested). It wasn’t that busy up there but the rest of the restaurant was pretty busy for the day and time of year according to the chefs. Don’t bother with the ADR in my opinion. It’s a solo trip so stay away from things being too scheduled. Just go to Jiko when you feel like it and ask to be seated up at The Cooking Place.

  • FYI. I read your blog through google reader and your closing where it says “Or get news via Email, Twitter, & Facebook” the facebook link has .com at the end taking me to a dead end. :(

  • Glad you had a good trip! I will make it to Disney World by myself one of these days! You have inspired me to do a solo trip! As a former travel agent, I have traveled to Disneyland by myself, met up with other travel agents along the way, but vaguely remember what traveling alone feels like. 10 years later, after having two kids and 3 crazy busy, and at times stressful vacations to Disney World and never a moment to myself (even here at home), I relish the thought of “me” time and think I would be in heaven doing a solo trip to the World! Thanks for the inspiration and the nudge to get my mind thinking about it!

  • So glad you had a great trip. I have taken quite a few solo trips to the World and have the best time! People act like I am crazy – but what better place? You know where you are going, you have a feeling of safety, you don’t have to drive yourself – LOL!
    I haven’t done a signature dinner, and I don’t think I have done a sit down dinner on any of my solo trips, I may have to try that next time (MAY – yay!!).
    One suggestion that I loved doing is taking a backstage tour. Also a chance to talk to new people!

  • Stacey, I really enjoyed the twitter updates as it made me feel like I was part of the fun even while sitting at my desk at work. Thanks for letting us follow along. I hope to do my own solo trip sometime this year.

  • Sometimes you sit around the house browsing the internet for days. Sometimes you end up reading boring blog after boring blog. Sometimes nothing catches your attention all day long. But then…

    Sometimes you forget to bathe and feed yourself (and your kids) because a blog you stumbled upon is so good, so perfect, SO magical it makes you cry rainbow colored tears.

    This is that blog.

    If this masterpiece of a blog doesn’t make you want to jump up off your chair right now, brush those Cheez Doodles off your shirt, and go do a Disney solo trip then you, my friend, are just dead on the inside. Listen to this woman and book yourself a trip to make all of your friends jealous of your insane, jet-setting, unicorn feeding, Touring Plans following, solo trip having, awesome life!

    This blog/adventure has it all… 3 hour dinners at Jiko, words of wisdom from someone named chef Joshua, the best Touring Plans meet ever …and even the word “sensual” thrown in there for you fellas. Stacey’s blog is like Disney themed poetry that hits straight to the heart, or solar plexus, take your pick.

    Not since Kelly Clarkson belting out the national anthem have I seen such an outstanding performance provided by Stacey and/or Touring Plans.com. On a scale of 1-10 this blog is a 672… TRILLION.

    p.s. please don’t delete this one; I didn’t use the phrase “needs more Tom” even once!

  • I have never taken a solo trip to WDW, but often get “me” time while on our trips, since no one else in my family is up for my crazy touring thing for 8 full days. I also really enjoy my alone time. this year I got the opportunity to go to Paris for 3 days by myself with no phone or internet connection, and I fell in love with Paris and traveling alone. I then met a friend in Israel, and as much fun as I had there with people, I also loved the times I spent alone, touring Jerusalem. I definitely want to do more solo trips, both to Disney and around the world. I love the freedom and quiet, as well as the opportunity to meet new people.

  • Just booked my 1st solo trip for this December. As much as I love sharing Disney experiences with my travel companions, I’m looking forward to really taking the parks at my own pace. Great post on solo dining – any tips for other experiences?