Who are you going to Disney with? It’s the words ever solo traveler is bound to hear before they head out on a trip. I must admit… myself, always seems like a great answer to me. I just finished my first solo Disney trip and there are some things I wish I had known before I left. So, in no particular order, here are the 10 things I wish I knew before my first Disney solo trip.
It’s not that lonely.
Everyone that has never gone on a solo trip will tell you “the trip is going to be lonely.” Let me tell you this, the trip isn’t that lonely. You will find yourself too busy to even get to that point. Plus, you will have tons of interactions without really engaging with people. For example, when you are on a ride with a family they can be quite entertaining. My favorite was on Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, the dad of the family I was sitting with was blind and it was cool to listen to him describe his experience on the ride, it completely elevated my own experience.
You shouldn’t be afraid to engage with other people.
On night one I dined at California Grill all by myself. While I don’t think it is all that common judging by my interactions with all the Cast Members, it can be a really fun time. I spent the evening chatting with the lovely couple at the table next to me, and they even invited me to come over to their table during Happily Ever After to get a better view.
You can do what you want when you want to do it.
I am a planner for sure, so many spreadsheets. While I did follow my spreadsheets as closely as possible, it was nice to just leave the park when I felt like it. I took advantage of rainstorms to head back and shower real fast and then make a quick turn around back to the parks. This meant I missed most of the rain but since it was only me I could get back quickly and enjoy the park while it was empty.
You won’t get as much done as you thought.
Every solo Disney thing I read before going said I will get so much more done at the parks than I anticipated. It was so not true for me on this trip. Before I knew it, it was 4 pm every day. Don’t get me wrong I got a lot done, I just expected to have a time where I was essentially struggling to find something to do and that was never the case.
No one really notices you are alone in the park.
Honestly, if you are afraid of being awkward around others, don’t worry, no one will even notice you are alone. There is honestly so much happening around you that people tend to fail to realize you are alone.
Table service isn’t as awkward as you think.
I dined at both California Grill and Be Our Guest during my last visit. The benefit of solo travel is you can snag that last-minute dinner reservation for one. I snagged my Be Our Guest reservation a few weeks before I left. Honestly, Cast Members are the best when you choose to dine table services, they realize the situation and will they do everything to make your trip enjoyable and extra special.
You will score better Fastpasses than you thought you could.
Did I score a Nav’i River Journey pass that opened in 10 minutes as soon as I scanned my Fastpass for Flight of Passage? You bet I did. I found myself scoring pretty awesome Fastpasses throughout my entire trip and the window for most of them opened almost immediately after I snagged them. Be sure to use the refresh option to your advantage, after all, you are standing in line by yourself, so click through the times constantly and see what pops up.
You can grab a great last-minute spot for the fireworks.
My final night at Disney I decided I wanted to watch the fireworks from in front of the castle, the problem was fireworks were scheduled to start in about 7 minutes. What I realized as a solo traveler is that it is easy to get a prime spot for the fireworks at the last minute. Why is that you might ask? People think you are looking to meet up with your party so they clear the way for you to get through. As I scooched in the lights dimmed at the show started, it was the perfect last-minute spot.
Lounges are great places to grab a drink and chat.
Bonus, they are also a great place to cool down during the summer. Animal Kingdom has my favorite in the park lounge with Nomad Lounge. It’s right on the path to Pandora and has this wonderful outdoor seating area, so grab a drink and enjoy the view. I also love resort hopping and stopping at lounges all around Disney property. My personal favorite is Territory Lounge at Wilderness Lodge. I enjoyed an afternoon there before taking the boat to the Contemporary and walking to Magic Kingdom for the night.
You should appreciate all the details and take a ridiculous amount of photos.
One thing that I really enjoyed about my solo trip was the ability to stop and take photos of anything I wanted. Mainly, when I would stop in an area people would continue to rush by me to get to their final destination. This time allowed me to slow down, appreciate all the details and take lots of photos. My favorite spot was Pandora, there is so much to see and take in.
With my first solo trip in the books, I can’t wait until my next one. I feel like I have been able to figure out what works for me and I can’t wait to explore the parks by myself again!