How To Do Disney Parks Solo

How To Do Disney Parks Solo
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I’ve done three solo Disney trips in the past three years. Two visits to Disneyland, and one to Walt Disney World. Each time, I had an absolutely incredible vacation all by myself—and I’d recommend solo Disney travel to anyone who’s ever wanted the pleasure of experiencing a Disney park at their own pace.

The logistics behind booking a solo Disney trip are pretty much identical to any other kind of Disney trip; you figure out when you can go, you come up with a budget, you choose hotels and flights and restaurant reservations based on your budget, etc. Since this is Disney, you also need to keep track of things like selecting your FastPass+ rides in advance, but that’s not why you’re reading this article.

You want to know what it’s like to do Disney alone, and whether you’re going to stand out as a single person at Disney, and if the whole thing is going to be totally weird and awkward.

Well, since you’ll be the only person on your trip, the only awkwardness will be what you bring to it—but here’s what I worried about before I went, and here’s why you won’t have to.

You won’t have to share rides with strangers

One of my biggest concerns, prior to my first solo Disney vacation, was whether I’d have to spend the trip awkwardly sharing a Doom Buggy or a spinning teacup with a couple of randos.

Turns out Disney is well-prepared for the single traveller, and they’ve got a system in place: When you get to the front of the line for whatever experience you’re hoping to enjoy, a Cast Member will ask you how many people are in your party. Say “one” (or hold up one finger, because those queues can get noisy), and you’ll be given either a private vehicle or a private row in a shared vehicle.

In other words: you won’t have to squeeze in next to a stranger and make small talk about where you’re from. You’ll get a whole Dumbo to yourself, or a whole row of a Pirates of the Caribbean barge to yourself, and you’ll be able to enjoy both the ride and your own company.

Every classic Disney experience is open to single travellers

Want to get your photo taken in front of Sleeping Beauty’s Castle? Want to meet your favourite characters? Want to book a table for one at one of the nicest restaurants on the property? Go ahead. The Disney team is ready to help you have a great time, no matter how many people are in your party.

In practice, this means that you won’t have to explain to a Disney photographer that you’re travelling on your own; they’re too professional to ask personal questions, and just professional enough to compliment whatever you’re wearing and make you feel like you’re the most interesting person they’ve photographed all day.

It means that your three-course meal will be served with just as much attention and care as anyone else’s.

It means that when you purchase a character breakfast (that’s one of those deals where you are guaranteed a personal conversation and photograph with a select group of Disney characters, over breakfast), each character will already know exactly how to set you at ease. In my case, Mary Poppins walked right up to me and said “I also prefer travelling on my own.”

You can go as slow—or as fast—as you want

The great thing about doing Disney by yourself is that you can take the parks at your own speed. You can be the person who lines up for Rope Drop and then races through an optimised checklist of rides, or you can be the person who spends the whole morning finding every Hidden Mickey on Main Street, U.S.A.

Here are three of my favourite solo Disney memories:

  1. Rope-dropping Disneyland and being the first person on Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride (my favourite ride in the whole park).

  2. Hitting the Haunted Mansion early enough in the morning that I could walk on, with no wait, five times in a row (yes, the Cast Members started recognising me; no, they didn’t care).

  3. Doing Extra Magic Hours at Hollywood Studios with the hopes of riding Tower of Terror; the Tower was out of service, so I spent my Magic Hour wandering through a completely empty Muppet Studios, looking at all the visual gags literally embedded into the buildings, while everyone else in the park stood in line for Toy Story rides.

When you do Disney on your own, you can get up when you want, eat when (and what) you want, go back to your hotel for a nap when you want, and stay out as late as you want. You can people-watch; you can have conversations with Cast Members; you can even have conversations with the people standing next to you in the queues, if you want.

But you won’t have to worry about feeling out of place as a single person in Disneyland or Walt Disney World. There will be way too many people there for anyone but you to notice.

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