First Time At WDW And First Solo Trip Ever!! Tips and advice?

froganon

Earning My Ears
Joined
Feb 18, 2020
Sure hope I posted this in the right location. Anyways...


After long nights and grueling months of thinking, planning, staying safe, working, moving, watching tons of videos, and reading hundreds of blog posts, forums, and articles, I have finally did it. I'm going to Walt Disney World for the very first time in early 2022 for 12 nights!
January 29th - February 10th. 8 days at the parks and a couple of rest days. I saved up funds, got vaccinated, and booked my trip a while ago, and it's reaching closer and closer.

I'm on my own budget and am staying at the All-Star Movies Resort. It may be the farthest away from everything, but it was the cheapest on-site hotel, so I took it! I'm a morning person, so I plan to get up pretty early before park openings to catch the buses every day. I'm most likely going to only be using my budget money for food and snacks since I don't plan on buying extra perks or merchandise. (unless it's like, a tiki room mug or obscure disney park memorabilia. like a sonny eclipse finger puppet or something. idk.)

So much has changed since I booked that trip back in January 2020. I'm a big Disneyland fan, so I hope the wait for this WDW trip will be worth it. Some things are unavailable and experiences are still modified for safety, which I am very grateful for and I'm glad Disney is at least taking that seriously. Things are changing every few weeks and it's a bit overwhelming, to be honest. lol!! I think I can deal with those as they come. Wow, and the last time I went to Orlando was back in 2011. I was just a kid then!

Anyway!
For my arrival day, I will be landing at MCO very late at night and taking the new Mears Connect transportation service to my hotel. I'm just going to get to my room and sleep in the next day, walk around the hotel, do some resort-hopping, walk around Disney Springs. Nothin' too special. The day after that, I go to one of the parks!


I have one-park-per-day tickets and have already made reservations for my days in the parks, so here is what I want to go to and when. (I can change my reservations if it's recommended):
_______________________________________________________________
  • January 31st: Magic Kingdom
  • February 1st: EPCOT
  • February 2nd: Hollywood Studios
  • February 3rd: Animal Kingdom
  • February 4th: Rest day
  • February 5th: Animal Kingdom
  • February 6th: Hollywood Studios
  • February 7th: Rest day
  • February 8th: EPCOT
  • February 9th: Magic Kingdom
________________________________________________________________


I should mention that I take COVID-19 very seriously, and even if cases decrease in the future, I still want to do my part in keeping myself and others safe; Getting tested beforehand, already vaccinated and plan on getting a booster as soon as it's available to me, masking up all day every day, keeping my distance, washing my hands, having disinfectant wipes at all times (Even if I already did that during travel before the whole pandemic began. Honestly, everyone should have been.) So, yeah. COVID-19 is not fun and it's the last thing any person wants on vacation. Bleh.

Anyone have any tips and tricks to getting around the World solo? Any dining locations or snacks to recommend and how to get them? I'm no picky eater but for reservation-type places, I am reeeeally eyeballing places like Homecomin', Skipper Canteen, Be Our Guest, Trader Sam's, Garden Grill, Yak & Yeti. Just to name a few. Are there, say, any free perks or goodies as a first-timer or not? Like, buttons and such? What are some good shows to watch? What are the most effective ways to get onto attractions as a solo guest? What are some of the absolute weirdest things to do at the resort? And what rookie mistakes should I be aware of? I wanna hear your thoughts as it would really help me out! Thanks a bunch and godspeed to you if you read this whole thing.
 

Skippyboo

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jan 27, 2017
Welcome. You can get first visit buttons at Guest Services in any of the parks for free. Epcot should be doing their Festival of the Arts festival then. It’s will have food booths, live performances and a giant paint by numbers that you can help paint for free.

MK and Epcot has their new night time fireworks shows, there’s a new Cirque de Sol show at Disney Springs. Totally recommend seeing Festival of the Lion King at AK.

A couple of rides have single rider lines: Everest, Rock n Rollercoaster, Test Track and MFSR.

When you go to make your ADR at your 60 days out, it’s easier to book them for 2 people and then adjust it to 1 when you check in. The adr system doesn’t like odd numbers. The Disney Springs restaurants are really good. Boma is cool place to dine and AKL Jambo is a beautiful hotel. You could hit the traders Sam’s tiki bar at Polynesian. Steakhouse 71’s menu looks interesting.

As for Covid, the social distancing and not seating different parties together on rides, full mask mandates that they had when they reopened are gone. No real social distancing in line other than what you can do yourself but that doesn’t stop the people behind you from getting right up next to you. Currently only inside mask mandate and still you will see a lot of nose peakers.
 

StageTek

It's kind of fun to do the impossible.
Joined
Apr 20, 2007
My very first solo trip and first trip to WDW I stayed at All Star Movies, too. And for 12 nights. Your schedule sounds perfect!

You can get a "First Time" button. Some of the good shows to watch are Beauty and the Beast and Indiana Jones - both at Hollywood Studios. Perhaps Finding Nemo will be back by 2022 when you are there. Look for "Single Rider" lines - not too many of them. Skippyboo is right - when you book a table service restaurant, book for 2.

One weird thing I did on my first solo trip was to take a big chunk of a day to ride Disney world transportation. I rode buses to different resorts. I took the boats from MK to Fort Wilderness then from FW to the Contemporary then the Monorail to Epcot and back. My most recent trip I rode each leg of the Skyliner and then took the Friendship boat from Hollywood Studios to Epcot. I took a bus to Disney Springs, then the boat to Port Orleans French Quarter, then the bus to Animal Kingdom then the bus back to ASMo.
 

CBMom01

Mouseketeer
Joined
Jun 9, 2015
My very first solo trip and first trip to WDW I stayed at All Star Movies, too. And for 12 nights. Your schedule sounds perfect!

You can get a "First Time" button. Some of the good shows to watch are Beauty and the Beast and Indiana Jones - both at Hollywood Studios. Perhaps Finding Nemo will be back by 2022 when you are there. Look for "Single Rider" lines - not too many of them. Skippyboo is right - when you book a table service restaurant, book for 2.

One weird thing I did on my first solo trip was to take a big chunk of a day to ride Disney world transportation. I rode buses to different resorts. I took the boats from MK to Fort Wilderness then from FW to the Contemporary then the Monorail to Epcot and back. My most recent trip I rode each leg of the Skyliner and then took the Friendship boat from Hollywood Studios to Epcot. I took a bus to Disney Springs, then the boat to Port Orleans French Quarter, then the bus to Animal Kingdom then the bus back to ASMo.
I had two solo evenings and also enjoyed the transportation - at least skyliner and monorail. Wish I’d done a boat
 

bluecruiser

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jan 1, 2008
The ADR system is weird. You can search same day for 1 person, then 2 people and then a ADR will show up for 2 people at a restaurant but it doesn’t show up for 1 person.
Which is strange because Disney doesn't generally have tables that seat only 1 person. So they'd have to give you a 2-top anyway. My suspicion is that it's a revenue thing - they know they're not going to get as much money from 1 person as they would from 2 people.
 
  • Skippyboo

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jan 27, 2017
    Which is strange because Disney doesn't generally have tables that seat only 1 person. So they'd have to give you a 2-top anyway. My suspicion is that it's a revenue thing - they know they're not going to get as much money from 1 person as they would from 2 people.
    You see the same scenario with 3 people and 5 people, easier to search for 4 or 6. The system is glitchy.
     

    DisneyFansInNYC

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    May 28, 2012
    You definitely will see a lot in the 12 days. I love going to visit the other hotels. Especially the ones on the monorail. We haven't been to DW since COVID so I am not sure what you are able to do but we love watching the fireworks and the Electric Water Pageant from the Poly's beach - they would pipe in the music. We love our Dole Whip and you can get them at the Poly. We also love to sit in the GF and listen to the piano player.

    Our favorite restaurant is Sanaa at the AKL and their delicious bread service. We then love to go right outside from the restaurant to see the animals.

    Also know that you can get free water with ice at any quick service restaurant in the parks. Many of them have them in the cups already when you ask.

    We eat mostly QS at the parks - except for EPCOT. We mostly eat TS restaurants at the resorts. BOG is okay but definitely a lot of money. I would rather eat QS in MK.

    In EPCOT - there are so many great TS restaurants - it depends on your taste. We love walking around the EPCOT pavilion and love the Mexican boat ride.

    I hope you have a great time and come back and tell us how it was.
     

    loves to dive

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 21, 2011
    I've been to WDW solo many times, I will actually be there this Dec. solo. As others have said, you can get a first visit button at any of the GS locations. There isn't much else that's free any more.

    Some of the resorts have activities, a lot of them of suspended them but you might check into that. They show movies at night at the resorts and those are free. They have not been showing them every night but there should be a few while you are there. Generally they put up a big blow up screen on a lawn. They also have bonfires and give you free marshmellos to roast at some (if not all of the resorts) that is usually before the movie. When you get to your resort there should be an activity guide either in your room or on the TV or posted in the lobby for that week. You could also check on the website for the other resorts and see theirs too to see if there is an activity or movie you'd like to see.

    A lot of the restaurants have bars or lounges that serve food which can be cheaper than the actual restaurant but you still get the feel of the place. I love Nomad Lounge in AK (next to Tiffins) HBD Lounge in HS but you can just look at the menus for any of the restaurants and they should list the lounges as well.

    Since you have so many days there (I envy you) take your time when you are in the parks and enjoy all the details. There really is a lot to see that doesn't involve riding rides. I enjoy all the shows so when I'm solo I tend to watch them all.

    Take a few hours and resort hop. Just hop on the resort monorail at MK do the loop, maybe grabbing a snack or something in a QS. Ride the boat from MK to WL. There is a boat from WL to the Fort, which is the campground. They have a horse stable there and you can go and look at the horses for free. Go out the back gate at Epcot (International Gate) and tour the resorts around the lake. I love to get a cup of coffee or something else to drink and sit on the big porch at BW and just watch the BW. In the before times they had entertainers out on the BW at night, not many but they were fun to stop and watch. They might have some back by the time you go. Hop a bus at AK to AKL well worth a visit. Hop at bus at any park and go to Coronado Springs, they have a few nice restaurants and a new tower that's pretty. Hop on the Sky Liner from either Epcot or HS and go to Riv. well worth walking around and seeing. While you are on the Sky Liner, go to AoA resort, it's really fun to walk around. A few of the resorts (AKL and BW I know) had free tours of the lobbies in the before times, not sure if they are doing those now.
     

    MARCIAKAZ

    Proud to be called Disney Geek by my kids!
    Joined
    Jun 29, 2004
    If it comes back in time for your trip, the Hoop-De-Doo Revue at Fort Wilderness is wonderfully weird in a kitschy campy way. Dinner and a show - good food, sangria included! A relaxing boat ride away from MK.
     
  • daae3

    Sue Donym
    Joined
    Dec 15, 2013
    Since you seem interested in unique items...definitely a trip to Trader Sams and buy a souvenir cup for whatever drink you get!
     

    Bete

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Sep 14, 1999
    Keep in mind Genie+ and Lightening Lanes will be available for your trip. Extra charges apply; so, you have to decide if it's worth it. The good thing here is you choose which days to do it. You may want to do this for one day at each park and one day without at each park. You have plenty of time with 12 days; so, you can save a little bit that way.

    You are going when crowd levels are suppose to be low; so, this should help. It can be cold especially early morning and evening; so, be prepared to layer your clothing.

    One favorite thing for me is dining at the Grand Floridian resort which has a few choices of table service restaurants. Time it for the night of MK fireworks and you can watch from afar at the dock.

    Maybe, do a park tour. Look at which are available right now and choose the one you like best. This will be an extra charge.

    Take advantage of any extra time like early mornings for Disney parks. You beat the crowds and can work yourself to the back of the park before the general public storms the park.

    I prefer quick service meals over many table service restaurants as a solo. I would suggest since you have two days in each park to do a TS one day and quick service the other day. Table service meals will take at least twice as long to do if not even longer. It's better to do off times like 2 pm for table service.

    Take in as many live shows that are available especially the street performers.

    Take in the details everywhere. There are hidden mickeys to find everywhere. Maybe, get the photo package for the memories.
     

    bryanb

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Sep 10, 2013
    The ADR system is weird. You can search same day for 1 person, then 2 people and then a ADR will show up for 2 people at a restaurant but it doesn’t show up for 1 person.
    Which is strange because Disney doesn't generally have tables that seat only 1 person. So they'd have to give you a 2-top anyway. My suspicion is that it's a revenue thing - they know they're not going to get as much money from 1 person as they would from 2 people.
    I have a guess that the reservation system was built based on an inventory model where they throw a bunch of reservations in for 2 and 4 people and put only a small number of slots for 1 and 3. If the system was smarter, it would know that a table for 4 can seat 3-4, and a table for 2 can seat 1-2.

    As a result, it’s a good idea to try the next higher even number if you can’t find a table for 1 or 3. They won’t penalize you for showing up as a solo guest if you booked a table for 2. However, keep in mind if you make a reservation for 2 and are a no-show, you will be charged any cancellation fees for two. You can also try calling (407) 939-3463 for assistance with adjusting or making the reservation.
     


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