I’m doing something in one week that I’ve longed to do for a few years now. I’m leaving Michigan, my husband, and my pets home and taking my very first solo trip to Walt Disney World. I could not be more excited! My budget is low for this trip (as with most of my Disney trips) so I’ll be staying at Pop Century Resort for four nights and five days and I’m paying for all of my dining out of pocket. I’m even buying my first Annual Pass so I can experience the magic of Walt Disney World more often this year.
When I tell friends, family, and coworkers about my new adventure, they seem to question why in the world I’d want to go to Walt Disney World by myself. I seem to reply, “Why not?!” I think it’s going to be wonderful to see Disney through MY eyes only… a totally new perspective. The vibe is going to feel a little bit different since I can walk as slow or as fast as I want. I can stop anytime I want without having to hold anyone up. The “World” is mine to navigate how I please. If I want to ride Carousel of Progress four times in one trip… I can! And I probably will! I won’t have to turn to someone and say, “What do you want for lunch? What sounds good to you?” Every move I make is based on only me and I LOVE the thought of that. Maybe it sounds a little selfish to some people, but for someone that’s always based their itinerary on what everyone else wants, it’s going to be awfully nice to call the shots. Speaking of shots, I’m really excited to take as long as I want to take a photograph since I often feel bad holding my group up. I’ll even be able to do my nerdy Touring Plans research and not bother anyone. Man! This trip is sounding better and better by the second.
Are solo trips for everyone? No. Certainly not. Many people enjoy having their friends and family around all of the time and some folks don’t care for being alone. I think to do a solo trip, you have to be able to come out of your shell at times and venture on the outgoing side. Conversing with others guests and cast members in lines will definitely help to make anyone feel less lonely. Human contact makes everyone feel better. Someone that might really enjoy a trip alone would be a person that’s been to a Disney park many times with their family and they’re looking for a way to see Disney from a new and different angle.
If a solo trip is something that sounds tempting to you, there are a lot of things to think about before making your reservations. One thing I decided very quickly was that being a 23 year old female meant that my safety had to be taken into consideration. I think Disney parks are relatively safe places to be alone in but I’m using the same precautions that I would in my every day travels. Using Disney’s onsite accommodations was a no brainer for me. I knew that I had no interest in going offsite and because I don’t know the Orlando area all that well, I chose to use Disney’s transportation to get around. Messing with a rental car and GPS just isn’t something that sounds fun to me but it might work better for you, especially if you fly into Orlando/Sanford Airport. Using Disney’s bus system means that I also get to avoid parking lots which sometimes aren’t lit that well at night. My safety always comes first.
The biggest plus of a trip to Disney World by yourself other than calling the shots, is the spontaneity involved in the trip! The pacing is entirely different for the “go getters” like me. I wake up early and play in the parks until late at night so I can fit everything in that my group wants. On a solo trip, you’re able to slow down, skip attractions you don’t want to do, repeat favorite attractions, stop completely and enjoy a street performance, go back to the resort to rest, and of course… people watch! I don’t feel entirely comfortable eating in a sit-down restaurant at a table for one so instead, I’m going to treat myself to one signature meal where I can sit at the bar or counter for my meal and chat it up with the wonderful folks preparing my dinner. Just because I’m by myself, doesn’t mean I still can’t eat and drink well. Trust me, I’ll be eating enough sushi and drinking enough tequila for everyone that reads this.
As for my park plans, I’m trying to limit my crazy typical planning as much as possible. I’m allowing room for me to do anything at any given moment. This means no Advanced Dining Reservations and basically no daily park plans set in stone. I’ll be giving Animal Kingdom more attention since I typically neglect that park more than any other. I intend to explore the Epcot area resorts more in depth as well as really delve into the World Showcase. This means talking to international cast members, trying more of the cuisine available, and discovering what treasures are for sale at each pavilion.
I’ll be doing something really cool my first day at Walt Disney World. I’m going to go to the bus stop and whatever bus arrives first, that’s where I’m heading! Spontaneity at it’s best! I’m even thinking about tackling an Ultimate Touring Plan for the very first time at some point. Who knows?!
The thing I’m most excited about is interacting with Disney friends and readers via Twitter while I’m touring the resort. I think I’ll feel less alone if I have some interaction… even if it is just in the Twitterverse. So, fellow Disney nerds, I’m asking you to join me on my first solo trip. Taste the food! See the sights! Smell the… smells? I’ll make sure I’m wearing deodorant… I promise! Anyway, make sure you’re following me, @Stacey87, so we can interact.
I’d also like to ask YOU, the readers, to decide where I’ll be going on my final day at Walt Disney World by responding either here in the comments section or on Twitter. The park that gets the most votes is where I’ll spend my final Disney day!
Anyone out there have any additional tips for those of us venturing off on our first solo trip? Let us know!