I love going to a Disney Park with friends. Sharing the Disney magic, making new shared memories, and other such saccharine clichés. It’s Disney though, so I’m more than happy to embrace those clichés.
Recently though, I had a big vacation in Walt Disney World all on my own to celebrate my 30th birthday. Coming from the UK, it’s a bit more expensive than a long weekend at Disneyland Paris, so it ended up being a bit too hard to convince pals to come with me. While I did try and embrace the concept of going on my own, I still had concerns before heading out to Florida.
Fear not though, as I’m here to tell you that I had the time of my life, and you can too. Here’s why.
1) You can make a personalized plan
It’s your trip, so you can make a list of the attractions you want to go on, choose which hotel to stay in, and plan out your days without having to compromise with other people’s interests or budgets. My personal favourite part was creating a comprehensive schedule of where I was eating each day.
Making the trip personal and to your specs also leads in to the obvious benefit of going solo, which is…
2) Do whatever you want
The best part about going on your own is that if you want to change your plan, the only person you have to convince is yourself.
You can make a detour on a whim because you spotted Balloo and Louie and you absolutely need a photo with them. You can take a quick rest in the World Showcase because your feet are killing you. Even popping to the loo without having to consult your party is oddly freeing.
Do be honest with yourself as well, though. I realized I’d not be able to fit in a Boma breakfast on my last day, so I cancelled it despite how much I wanted to go.
3) Other guests are very friendly
However well you plan and however smart you are with your FastPasses, you’ll spend a decent amount of your time at Walt Disney World waiting in line or on the bus. Here’s where you’d usually have a little chat with your party, so if you’re getting a bit lonely and have run out of distractions, you might be able to say hi to the folks you’re in line with.
Now, disclaimer here: usual social interaction rules apply. Don’t try and jokingly butt into an argument. It’s a bit rude. In my case, I’d usually spot a cool shirt and compliment it, offer a bit of relevant Disney trivia (thanks, Connecting with Walt!), or just try and help them out with their own plans. I met many folks on my trip who were more than happy to have a little nerd-out over their plans; after all, most people are excited to be there and it’s pretty infectious. Probably helped that I’m very handsome and have a British accent as well, though.
Want to be more approachable but aren’t British? Disneybound! Cast Members and guests alike loved my Aladdin and Spaceship Earth outfits and they acted as a great icebreaker. Speaking of which…
4) You don’t have to Disneybound in a group
Your mileage may vary on this, but as a seasoned cosplayer I know all too well about being in groups you’re not too bothered about, and being forced to do a character you could take or leave. If you’re on your own, you don’t have to do your Goofy bound when everyone else is doing the Fab Five (or Sensational Six, apologies to Daisy).
You can also dress appropriately for the parks as well. You definitely want a cooler outfit for Animal Kingdom.
5) Smartphones are amazing
We live in a globally connected world you can access using a computer in your pocket. I never felt alone thanks to immediate access to my network of friends, some of whom were still excited to receive food pictures ten days in. I was even able to organize briefly meeting up with a pal, thanks to my phone.
Take photos, browse your PhotoPass, try your hand at vlogging, phone home, etc. There’s so many things you can do on a Disney trip thanks to phones now. Just make sure to pack a hefty portable battery.
I won’t pretend there’s no downsides to going on your own — ‘Ohana and Garden Grill are a bit much to tackle solo, and travelling alone isn’t for everyone, but hopefully I’ve helped allay some of your fears. Or at the very least given you something to show your mum — she does worry, you know.