Going on a solo trip to Walt Disney World is not something that was always on my radar. In fact, it sounded absolutely crazy to me.
Then, a few months ago, the opportunity was presented to me and suddenly I couldn’t think of anything I wanted more! Having two days alone in the parks to explore and do whatever I wanted sounded absolutely amazing, and I soon booked my hotel and flight and bought park tickets. I was going solo!
As I write this, I just returned home a few days ago (my trip was April 6-8 with two park days and one travel day), and I had a wonderful time! I go into more details of what I actually did each day *****(((((here)))))*****, but I also wanted to outline some of the pros and cons of visiting solo! Some of them were outlined in this post, but some are original to this post.
When I booked my trip, I had nobody else’s schedule to worry about. I didn’t have to check with my husband to see if he was okay with a full day in the parks after waking up at 3am. I didn’t need to coordinate dates with anyone. I was free to make choices about time both before my trip and during it.
Once I got to the parks, I was able to decide how to spend my time. I took a lot of time just walking around and taking pictures: of the castle, of the architecture on Main Street, of the carousel, of the Rapunzel bathrooms. It was okay if I took 15 shots of the same thing or took 10 minutes to wait for the crowd to clear before snapping that one glorious photo.
I was also able to decide when my body needed to rest and recharge. I definitely have a tendency to push myself over the limit at Disney World, and there were several times when I had to sit down for relatively significant periods of time (up to an hour) to recharge and rehydrate. I didn’t feel guilty for “wasting” someone else’s time because I didn’t have anyone to answer to except myself.
Cool your jets, I didn’t actually cut anyone waiting in line.
But, when you’re a single rider in a non-single-rider lane, you should always listen for the cast members who are looking for single riders to fill one open spot on a ride.
I was pulled to the front of the line on Space Mountain, the Tower of Terror, Soarin’, and Jungle Cruise (where they were looking for a party of two but I offered myself up anyway), just to name a few.
The Space Advantage
The Space Advantage is my fancy way of saying that one person can fit into spaces that larger groups would not be able to fit into.
This really came in handy as I was powering through the overly-crowded Magic Kingdom, when I was trying to find a good spot to view and photograph the parades, and when I was trying to beat the crowd to the bus after the nighttime shows.
Though it was very crowded while I was there, I wasn’t really bothered because it was easy for me to navigate around large groups (or go through crowds) because it was just me and my backpack.
Self Actualization (or something like that)
This was a huge one for me. I have lived with social and generalized anxiety for years, and I am also an Enneagram 3, so I am always hyper focused on my image and how people are perceiving me.
I initially thought it would be incredibly awkward to be walking around on my own. What would people think? Would the cast members think it was odd if I had a party of one? Would I be able to sit and eat at a table all by myself without people wondering where my friends or family were?
But here’s something very important that I learned on this trip:
People don’t care.
I don’t mean that in a negative way. People are just too busy enjoying their own vacation to worry about some stranger sitting alone while they eat. I barely got any second glances from people walking by (and hopefully those second glances were to peek at my shirts, which I designed myself ;)).
And honestly, the cast members didn’t care that I was a party of one; they shuffled me through the queues and put me on the rides just like everyone else.
Along the same lines, I also was initially too embarrassed to try and get any of the really cute food pictures that I wanted to get (holding up my coffee in front of the castle, holding up a Mickey bar in front of the balloons, you know the type).
I really thought that people would laugh at me and think… well, I don’t know what I thought they’d think, but it wasn’t good. And then, it again dawned on me, they don’t care.
There are literally hundreds of thousands of pictures just like the ones I was describing above all over Instagram and Pinterest, so why did I think that I was the only one taking them and why was I making it awkward?
I decided to let my inner basic bitch come out and proudly snapped those Starbucks and Mickey bar castle shots with confidence.
And now, it’s time for the cons.
This was definitely one that I didn’t expect to be bothered by, but I was a little disappointed as I was walking around World Showcase that I didn’t feel comfortable buying a lot of delicious-looking snacks simply because I knew I wouldn’t be able to comfortably eat the whole thing.
I didn’t want to spend $8 on a dessert, only to then have to throw half of it away because I was too full to finish it!
While I didn’t always let it stop me (don’t worry, I destroyed puh-lenty of snacks while I was there!), it was a bit of an unexpected ‘con’ that I even called Thomas to lament about.
This one wasn’t a surprise, but it must be noted that doing competitive attractions (Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin, Toy Story Midway Mania, etc.) is significantly less fun when you’re alone! I went by myself on both rides and, while I still had fun trying to get the highest score I could, it was way less fun than having someone to compete with and talk smack to. (I can get a liiiiiiittle competitive when playing with others.)
Oh, My Aching Back!
A definite con of going to the Parks alone was not having anyone else to carry the park bag backpack! I like to take all the things into the Parks with me, and usually the responsibility of carrying it around is shared with whoever I’m with.
But, when I was solo, it was just me carrying around all the things. I tried not to let it bug me too much, but my back was definitely aching by the end of the second day from lugging it around!
My arms were also really sore from having to take the bag off and on so often. It’s so easy, when you’re with someone else, to tag-team this (“Hey, can you grab the water bottle from the bag and hand it to me?”) but alas, there was no one to pop into the bag really quickly while we were walking and so I had to take it off and put it back on dozens of times a day (or so it felt).
Sharing Stories and Inside Jokes
When you go on vacation, it’s expected that you will come away with memories and inside jokes with the people you traveled with. After all, everyone loves reliving vacation experiences with others!
Traveling solo doesn’t grant that kind of experience sharing, though. It was a little sad when something funny would happen and I didn’t have anyone to laugh with (like watching a flock of birds swoop down and steal chips from off of someone’s tray, or when I saw a squirrel literally go into someone’s parked stroller and steal a huge cookie and drag it away, or when a large group of people walked past me wearing shirts that read “Disneyland Florida 2019” [SERIOUS FACEPALM and I did call my mom to report that as soon as it happened]).
Of course, I relayed all of those stories after the fact, but it wasn’t nearly as fun as having someone experience those things with me.
I took over 1,000 photos in the 2.5 days I had in Florida, but not one of them features my own face. As much as I wanted some pictures, it felt silly to wait in line for 10 minutes to ask a PhotoPass Photog to just take a picture of me.
Traveling with others means that there will always be someone there to take your picture (or a picture with you), but it’s much harder to get pictures of yourself if you are traveling solo.
One Final Addition
I really struggled with whether to place this in ‘pros’ or ‘cons,’ so I decided to put it in its own little section. This may sound horrifying to some (especially extroverts!), but I hardly talked to anyone during the whole 3 days I was away.
Of course, I talked to the cast members a bit and maybe had quick quips with the people standing in line around me, but I mostly just kept to myself and didn’t do a lot of socializing… and I absolutely loved it.
In fact, every time I called Thomas during my trip, he would ask, “So, have you talked to anyone yet?” and I would happily chirp back, “Nope!”
I consider myself to be a friendly person, but I don’t tend to talk to people I don’t know if it’s not necessary.
It may seem obvious, but I am not a person who really ever gets lonely. I love spending time alone. However, if you are highly extroverted and do get lonely or feel drained from a lack of contact with others, this is definitely something you’ll want to consider before taking a solo trip.
So, there you have it! My biggest pros and cons for traveling solo to Walt Disney World. I absolutely loved my trip and am already looking forward to going back again (and again, and again, and…)
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