Saturday, May 12, 2012

Walt Disney World as a Solo Traveler

Living three and a half hours away from Walt Disney World means that I can visit pretty often compared to many others.  Since I work at a Monday-Friday job, it makes it easy for me to pop up for a quick weekend Mickey getaway.  My DH on the other hand-he’s on the road a LOT for work and that work schedule doesn’t coincide with my weekends very often-usually he’s home during the week instead.  That means many of my WDW trips are done as a solo traveler...and while it’s always a great trip when he can come with me, solo trips can open up so many new possibilities!
One of the best things about traveling to WDW solo is that you can do whatever YOU want without consulting someone else.  Want to ride Tower of Terror ten times in a row?  Go for it!  See every single stage show, eat at only one type of restaurant, ignore the parks altogether and just tour the hotels and shopping?  Why not?  My DH has knee issues when riding attractions that produce lots of force and/or gravity changes (like Rock’n’Roller Coaster, Mission:Space, Tower of Terror) thanks to his multi-sports playing back in the day, so say we go to Disney’s Hollywood Studios--he’ll ride either RnR or ToT, but not both...and only ride one time the whole trip.  Me?  I could alternate riding and FastPassing both multiple times in a day.  There’s other rides that he could care less about riding (Star Tours at DHS, the Carrousel at Magic Kingdom, Primeval Whirl at Animal Kingdom to name a few) that I really like to do either for the fun of the ride or for the memories it brings each time I ride it.  And so I wind up either riding alone while he waits outside (patiently?  impatiently?  I can never be sure)...or I wind up skipping the ride altogether and look back over my shoulder with a pang as we pass by.
Solo...I can wander the parks however I want, at whatever pace I want, riding whatever rides I want without making my traveling partner(s) wait for me or missing my favorites to do what he/she/they want to do instead.  Now that’s not to say that I don’t like going with DH or a group of friends-I have a fantastic time at WDW no matter what.  Being there, no matter who with, no matter the weather, no matter the budget--that’s always better than spending that same time just hanging around the house or doing the regular hometown stuff.  Going solo just provides the opportunity for a whole different experience taking only your own preferences into consideration.
Do I feel odd being there by myself amidst families, tour groups, couples and the like?  Not at all.  I’m a pretty independent person in general so vacationing by myself is no big deal.  I do prefer having DH with me when it’s a longer trip so we can enjoy it together (whether it’s WDW or somewhere else), but if I’m on my own I enjoy it as well...after all, I’m not at work, I’m on vacation!
Ideas for solo travelers:
-Tour the WDW resort hotels
-Try an all-four-parks-in-one-day itinerary 
-Spend a people-watching day/half-day/hour in one or more of the parks.  Pick up some lunch during an off-peak meal time, find a good place to sit and eat and enjoy the view-you’ll see some of the most interesting things.
-Are you a thrill ride junkie but no one else will ride with you?  Turn one of your days into a day of just that.  
-Want to meet and get pictures with all of the characters but no one else wants to “waste” ride time doing that?  Here’s your chance!  Cast members are always happy to take pictures of you with your camera-even the Photopass photographers will do so if you just ask.
-Try out something (or lots of somethings) that no one else you usually travel with is interested in-behind the scenes tours, carriage rides, water sports on the Seven Seas Lagoon, horseback riding.
-Take the Disney Vacation Club sales pressure (really!) and you may discover it really is right for you.
A solo trip doesn’t have to be can have fun, relax and enjoy everything YOU want to enjoy.  And don’t feel guilty about it after.  Walt Disney World is not just for families, couples and groups-it has something for everyone, even if everyone is just YOU.

What's your favorite way to spend solo time at WDW?

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