How to Make the Most of a Trip for One to Disney
When we think of a Walt Disney World vacation, we imagine a magical trip with our family and friends, creating memories that will last a lifetime. Can a trip to Walt Disney World be just as magical by yourself? You bet. Here are some ways to make the most of a solo trip.
First, let’s quickly discuss why you might take a solo trip. One of the most common reasons is because you’re the only one in your circle who wants to go: rather than let others dictate when you take your next trip, you decide to plan your own Disney vacation. Another common reason is because of work: your boss sends you to a conference or event in Orlando, and you decide to extend the trip into the weekend so you could enjoy some time at Disney. One final common reason is because you live close to the magic and decide to try a day in the parks by yourself, whether out of necessity (nobody else can go) or desire (nobody else wants to go).
While you might feel hesitant to travel by yourself, I can assure you that a solo trip to Disney is by far the best way to take a solo vacation. I say this only because I have personally taken many solo trips to Walt Disney World over the years, both as a local and a tourist, for all the reasons cited above.
Before we get to the good stuff (how to really maximize your solo trip), let me start with a quick summary of the pitfalls. There’s really only one: if you’re family-oriented, a solo trip to Disney can feel lonely at times, especially as you watch other families around you enjoying their time as a group. Going in with this mindset will help to really make your trip more enjoyable. Ultimately, even with those lonely moments, a solo trip has so many advantages.
1. You have permission to do 100% of the planning. A trip to Disney usually means juggling multiple priorities. It’s important to compromise in a group setting, but a solo trip gives you permission to treat yourself. At any given point of the planning process, including spur-the-moment decisions, you are only accountable for your own wishes. That means you can choose which attractions to experience (as often as you want, in any order you want), which dining locations to visit, which shops to browse, and so much more. If there’s ever been a time you wanted to see a show or eat at a restaurant nobody else in your family has wanted to try, a solo trip is the time to try it.
2. You can focus on the details. In a group setting, it’s difficult to observe your surroundings beyond a basic level. As you’re making memories with your family, your attention is drawn to the people in your group, as it should. Traveling alone grants you the opportunity to soak in the parks and resorts on a much deeper level. You’ll hear the music and ambient sounds more holistically; observe details you might have otherwise missed in a queue, on an attraction, or walking around a land; and grow a deeper appreciation for the brilliant work the Walt Disney Imagineers have created.
3. You can (and should) try something new. We’re creatures of habit, which leads us to rituals on a Disney vacation. We tend to eat in the same places, start our day with the same attraction, pick our favorite spot for a show, and even stay at the same resort. On your solo trip to Disney, truly make it your own. Stay somewhere on property you’ve never stayed before (our friends at Academy Travel can help you plan it all out at no additional cost by the way). Take a look at the restaurants with open reservations and pick a place where you’ve never eaten. Change up your counter service routine with a different quick-service location. Most importantly, take a good look at the list of attractions and see if there’s anything you frequently skip or have never even heard of. Give the attraction a try and it’ll likely become a part of a new tradition (at worst, you’ll spend a small part of your day trying something new).
4. You can stock up on photos and videos. One way to really appreciate the details is through photos and videos. You won’t want to spend all your time behind the lens, but if you find something you’ve never seen before (a hidden detail, for example), take a quick photo or even a video. Solo trips are also an opportunity to get more selfies in the parks.
5. You can maximize your Play Disney Parks experience. The Play Disney Parks mobile app offers a way to gamify your Disney vacation. Whether answering trivia questions or hacking different parts of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge (you could arguably spend a whole day on that latter example), the Play Disney Parks app is a fun way to pass the time in the parks. In many cases, the app also encourages you to explore more parts of the park, which can help you to discover new places and attractions.
What advantages or tips for a solo trip would you add to this list?