How to Do a Solo in Disney Parks
I have made three solo trips to Disney in the last three years. Two visits to Disneyland and one to Walt Disney World. I have had an absolutely incredible vacation alone each time – and I would recommend Disney’s solo travel to anyone who has ever wanted to enjoy a visit to Disney park at their own pace.
The logistics of booking a single trip to Disney are pretty much the same as any other Disney trip; you decide when you can go, come up with a budget, choose hotels and flights, book restaurants based on your budget, etc. Since this is Disney, you also need to keep track of things like FastPass + travel choices in advance, but this is not why you are reading this article.
You want to know what it’s like to work at Disney alone, and if you’re going to stand out as an individual at Disney, and if it’s all going to be downright weird and awkward.
Well, since you will be the only person on your trip, the only awkwardness will be what you bring into it, but this is what worried me before leaving and why you don’t have to.
You don’t have to share trips with strangers
Before my first solo vacation at Disney, what worried me the most was whether I would have to spend the trip awkwardly sharing a Doom Buggy or a spinning cup with a couple of randoms.
It turns out that Disney is well prepared for the solo traveler, and they have a system: when you step into the foreground for whatever experience you hope to have, the actor will ask you how many people are in your party. Say “one” (or throw your finger up because these lines can be noisy) and you will be provided with either a private car or a private lane in a shared car.
In other words: you don’t have to squeeze in next to a stranger and have small talk about where you are from. You get a whole Dumbo for yourself or a row of Pirates of the Caribbean barges for yourself, and you can enjoy the ride as well as your own company.
All classic Disney adventures are open to single travelers.
Want to take a photo in front of the Sleeping Beauty Castle? Want to meet your favorite characters? Would you like to book a table for one of the best restaurants in the hotel? Go ahead, continue. The Disney team is here to help you have a great time, no matter how many people you have at the party.
In practice, this means you don’t have to explain to a Disney photographer that you are traveling on your own; they’re too professional to ask personal questions, and professional enough to compliment what you’re wearing and make you feel like the most interesting person they’ve photographed all day.
This means your three-course meal will be served with the same care and attention as any other.
This means that when you buy breakfast for a character (this is one of those deals where you are guaranteed a private conversation and a photo with a select group of Disney characters at breakfast), each character already knows exactly how to calm you down. In my case, Mary Poppins came up to me and said, “I also prefer to travel alone.”
You can move as slow or as fast as you like
The best thing about doing Disney yourself is that you can walk through the parks at your own pace. You can be the person who lines up for Rope Drop and then zooms through an optimized travel checklist, or you can be the one who spends all morning looking for every Hidden Mickey in Main Street, USA.
Here are three of my favorite Disney solo memories:
- Disneyland and the first person on Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride (my favorite ride in the entire park).
- I got to the Haunted Mansion early enough in the morning that I could walk without waiting five times in a row (yes, the actors started to recognize me; no, they didn’t care).
- Hosting Extra Magic Hours at Hollywood Studios hoping to ride the Tower of Terror; The tower wasn’t working, so I spent my magical hour wandering around the completely empty Muppet Studios looking at all the visual gags literally built into the buildings while everyone else in the park queued up for Toy Story rides.
When you do Disney alone, you can get up when you want, eat when (and what) you want, go back to your hotel for a nap whenever you want, and not go out as long as you want. You can look at people; you can talk to the actors; you can even talk to the people standing next to you in line if you like.
But you don’t have to worry about feeling out of place like a lonely person in Disneyland or Walt Disney World. There will be too many people there and no one but you will notice them.