A Whole New Solo World: My First Solo WDW/Orlando Trip, July 18-26, 2015 Hello! This is my first time writing a trip report! (So be kind. Ha. ) I've been on the boards for a few months now and have read some really great TR's, and it made me want to share my amazing first solo trip to my favorite place. About me: I’m Christy…35, single and live in Alabama. Originally from Georgia, but moved for college and stayed here after graduating (with a degree in history). I am Mary Poppins…I mean I am a nanny for 4 amazing kids and have been for 7 years. Ok I’m not really Mary Poppins, but that’s a minor detail. This was my 5th trip to Walt Disney World as an adult, the other 4 all being in 2013 with my boyfriend at the time. My very first trip was with my family in 1985, then another family trip to Orlando that included MGM in 1992 and then I was there briefly during a high school trip in 1996. I am planning to move to Orlando next summer now, so this trip had many purposes. My primary goal was to HAVE FUN and just enjoy WDW. I also wanted to make WDW my own thing, after so many recent trips there with the now ex-boyfriend, and take a little time to go beyond the Disney bubble and explore Orlando a bit. So…I had been planning this road trip for several months. My last trip to WDW was December 2013. So it had been awhile and I was so eager to get back. At first I wasn’t sure about doing a solo trip. I have traveled solo several times, but never to a place like Disney World, a place so family oriented. And I was a little anxious to take myself back to a place where I had so many memories with someone who was no longer a part of my life…I was afraid it might be too hard. But I decided this was something I really needed to do, so I booked the trip and started planning. Before I get started, this trip was about a LOT of Walt Disney World firsts for me. So here is a list of all the things I planned to do for the first time while there. *1st time AP holder *Going solo *Staying at Caribbean Beach Resort *Be Our Guest *Rope Drop/Welcome Show at MK *Festival of Fantasy Parade *7DMT *Akershus Royal Banquet Hall Breakfast *Character Meet ‘N’ Greet *Finding Nemo the Musical *The Boathouse *Raglan Road *The Plaza *Frozen Fun at DHS *Wishes FP *Exploring Orlando/The Orlando Eye SO….let’s get started! Day 1 – Saturday, July 18th I left very early that morning, eager to get there! I chose the route with the shortest distance (about 530 miles), so I took mostly 4 lane highways through eastern Alabama into south Georgia, until I hit I-75 at Tifton, Georgia. This was my first time actually making the trip from where I live. I enjoyed this route. It was a lovely drive through the country. Tifton was almost exactly the halfway point. So I grabbed lunch and jumped on 75 South, ready to get to Florida! I arrived late that afternoon, about 4:30pm. For the first night, I had decided to stay off-property near Downtown Disney. So I checked in at the Fairfield Inn by Marriott (more on this hotel later), changed clothes and headed to Downtown Disney for my dinner reservation at The Boathouse! I was so excited to try out this new restaurant that had only opened a few months ago. Downtown Disney was crazy. I knew all about the construction and traffic issues, but it’s even worse than people tell you. It’s truly amazing that it can take THAT long to get into a parking garage, yet once you are in it, only a few minutes to park. I was starting to worry I wouldn’t make the 6:30 reservation, but luckily I parked and had 20 minutes to spare. So I headed straight to the restaurant and checked in. I really enjoyed getting to watch the amphicars while I waited for my table. If only it didn’t cost $125 to take a ride! But the wait was not long. I don’t mind dining alone, it’s something I have done a lot and am very comfortable with. However, it was a bit awkward to be seated at a large table for 4 right at the front of the stage where a man was singing. I went with it though and had an excellent server. The atmosphere in there is many things. It’s beautiful…all of the wood work and the boats and décor, it all works together well and creates a warm atmosphere. It’s fun and elegant in a way, yet also casual. The side of the restaurant opened out onto the deck with some tables out there and a bar. The weather had cooled off just enough to where it was actually pleasant sitting there, looking out over the water. I ordered the steak sandwich with a baked potato. The bread that came out first was so very good. The sandwich itself would have been really great, except that it had a spicy sauce on it, and I can’t handle anything remotely spicy. I had asked about this and was told there was nothing spicy about it, but he said he would have the sauce put on the side just in case. This didn’t happen and normally I would have it sent back, but I was so eager to get to Magic Kingdom that night, I just dealt with it. I really should have just sent it back though. My mistake. So I scraped off what I could. The steak itself was very good and the potato was great. I would order this again and just be sure that the sauce is left off. I opted to skip dessert, being fairly certain I would get a treat at the park. But the dessert menu was very tempting. Overall, I loved this place. The atmosphere alone is worth trying it at least once. It is slightly pricey. But again, I found it to be worth it. I left dinner and was amazed at how crowded it had gotten outside of the restaurant. There was a sea of people as far as I could see. I headed to Guest Relations as quickly as I could, so I could activate my annual pass voucher. I have 2 other trips planned in the next 8 months, so I decided to get an annual pass. I can’t even begin to tell you how excited I was (and still am) about this! I was able to get my pass activated and get my card very quickly and with no problems. I then headed back to the car and over to the Polynesian. The plan was to grab a drink at Trader Sam’s before heading to MK. I underestimated how crazy busy that place is! I waited for a little bit, but finally gave up. I did get to take a quick look around. What a fun, cool place! I hope to try that again sometime. I then jumped on the monorail and headed to the park! Magic Kingdom does something to me, as I’m sure it does to many. I really feel myself turn into a 5 year old little girl at the slightest glimpse of that castle. I become so amazed and in awe of it all. It truly is magical. Especially at night. The lights, the sounds, the smells…the entire world just disappears and it is just me in that moment. It’s no longer hot or crowded, I’m no longer tired from driving all day, I’m just so happy to be there. I had booked some fastpasses for the night, so I set out to make it to my first one, Splash Mountain. I hadn’t done this ride since September 2013, so I was very excited for this one. Got through with it and then met up with a fellow DISer (shout out to catmom46!). Fun to meet up with someone from the boards! We watched Wishes from Frontierland and then headed towards Haunted Mansion. Love riding this one at night! Even though the attraction itself is indoors, it adds something to it to be in the queue at night and come out of the attraction at night. Next we headed to Memento Mori, which I was excited to check out for the first time. Really cool store! Love the shops that are specifically attraction themed. Next I had to have some up close and personal time with the castle. I hadn't walked through the castle since I was a little girl. So this was a must. (And I'm very glad I did it that night, because the next day the walls went up for the stage redo that is currently underway!) I adore the Cinderella scenes found there. So beautiful. And I love looking up and seeing this... From there it was on to Tomorrowland for Space Ranger Spin and the People Mover. I’ve always liked Space Ranger Spin, especially since my very first time on it, I got a top score of 999,999. Yes I am that good. Ok, maybe just that lucky? I do have to say though, it needs some work done to it. I ended up with an impossibly low score, and it couldn’t possibly be user error. I’m a certified Galactic Superhero. Haha. But really, I would have my laser right on something right in front of me and pull the trigger repeatedly and get no points. That’s just not fun. I adore the People Mover. I know some people think it is just a place to take a quick nap and put your feet up, but I really look forward to this little trip around Tomorrowland! Love the views, especially of the castle. I love that it passes through Space Mountain. And I love the narration along the way. After that, I was done. It was around 11:30 I think, and I had been awake since 5:00AM. So it was time to call it quits. I took my time with the trip down Main Street and browsed through some of the shops. On my way into the park I happened to spot something in one of the shops that caught my eye. Allow me to be a total girl for a moment. I’m not one who shops a lot. I don’t care about clothes shopping or buying lots of shoes or having tons of different necklaces and earrings to go with every thing I wear. I do however, care about bags and purses. That is my thing. My weakness. In my defense though, I typically don’t go for the really expensive, designer type stuff. I have an extensive collection of Vera Bradley bags and a lot of those are Disney patterns. I’ve had my eye on some of the Dooney & Burke Disney bags for quite awhile now, but they are pricey, so it has always been fairly easy to talk myself out of them. However, this one bag, the “sketch” pattern in the letter carrier style (for those of you who have some clue what I am talking about), has been the one I have wanted the most. And it isn’t nearly as pricey as so many of them are because of the material. “Placement” is a big deal with these bags though. Each bag is different with where the castle, Mickey, Minnie, Chip and Dale, the glass slipper, the rose, Tinkerbell, and many other characters and such are located. Well this bag I saw through the open door of this shop, had what I would consider “ideal” placement. I loved it. I didn’t want to buy it when I got there though and carry it around the park. So I told myself that I would get it as I left, if they still had it. Well they did! I am so excited to have this purse! And I love that I bought it in Magic Kingdom on my first night of this trip. What a great souvenir! MK was having EMH that night, so it wasn’t crowded at all getting back to the monorail, which was very nice. It was also nice to have my car parked at the Polynesian. I was quickly off the monorail and back to my car and on my way back to the Fairfield Inn. Let me cover the hotel for a moment here. While the hotel itself was fine and seemed to have been recently updated/renovated, was very clean and the staff was very nice, I was slightly bothered by the location. I wasn’t familiar with this road when I booked it, but I thought it was close enough to DTD that it would be fine. The hotel is kind of jammed sideways in between the Sheraton Resort and a small strip mall, and behind a closed restaurant. There was very little actual hotel parking. So arriving back late at night meant having to park over in front of the strip mall. Being alone I just wasn’t a fan of this. It just didn’t seem like the safest place in the world for a woman to be parking alone late at night. I’m usually not overly worried by such things, but I am cautious and always aware of my surroundings. You never know what could happen. Once inside the hotel I always felt very safe. I had planned to stay here later in the week for 2 more nights. At first I considered changing that part of the trip to another hotel. But I decided not to and again it all turned out fine. The beds were very comfortable, the free breakfast was good and overall it was a fairly quiet hotel. However, I don’t think I would stay there again in the future. I had one night booked there in December, but I have cancelled it. So that’s Day 1! It was then time to sleep and rest up for Day 2, which included lunch at Raglan Road, checking in at Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort, and an evening at EPCOT! I should be posting Day 2 very soon!