What it's actually like taking a solo trip

Discussion in 'Disney for Adults and Solo Travelers' started by lorax123, Dec 3, 2018.

  1. lorax123

    lorax123 DIS Veteran

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    I just got back from my first solo trip... after going with family and spouses for years, this was my first time alone.

    I imagine many solo travelers have all had day dreams about how you would tackle a solo trip, while mired in the chaos of a family trip.

    Here's my list of the POSITIVE attributes of a solo trip:
    • I can commando tour from rope drop to closing and no one complains that they are tried
    • Flying... no need to worry about herding kids through security, trying to get seats together... just so much less hectic. And your seating options on Southwest are so much better since you only need one seat
    • Eating alone is not bad at all, plus so much cheaper!
    • Any ambitions you have of going to the hotel lounge later are wiped out by exhaustion
    • Apparently kids do drive you to drink, I didn't have one alcoholic drink
    • The rides that exit into gift shops don't cause you anxiety. There's no need to talk a 9 year old out of spending their entire allotment of trip funds after the first ride on a souvenir.
    • Counter service, you only need to visit one counter service station per meal. No need to wait in line for burgers at this stand, chicken fingers at the other.
    • Snacks, no need to share with someone that said they weren't hungry when you decided you really wanted that turkey leg or ice cream.
    • Snacks... in addition, you can have ice cream or a turkey leg even though you just ate lunch. No judgement or need to set a good example.
    • You only go to the bathroom when you want to and you aren't left holding all the bags while everyone else goes.
    • Observing that other families spend a lot of time looking at their phones while eating.
    • Not having to stop for photo-ops. Yes! I know that's a thing for some people, but I have no desire to be in any pictures.
    • No need for an itinerary.
    • Single rider all the time, anytime!

    Of course, there are always NEGATIVES, even a solo trip can't be perfection:
    • You do say to yourself... XXXX would have really loved that.
    • You do get nostalgic for any memorable experiences you had with loved ones.
    • It does feel weird going on 'kiddie' rides without a child. I skipped a few just so I didn't look like a big creep
    • You can't have your smart kid memorize the locker number you stored your stuff in. I spent a lot of time trying to figure out what my locker number was.
    • No one to split counter service with. Counter service is usually more than enough for 2 people. So, not being able to split means I had to eat it all. I was not properly hungry for my table service later.
    • It's even harder coming home, since it would be so much easier to miss that flight home and not leave central Florida.
    Hopefully you enjoyed my list of positives and negatives. If you are on the fence, or feeling awkward about going alone, don't be. It's fun and your favorite place. If you feel lonely or awkward, just look around and realize, no one is paying any attention to you. They are all there having fun and enjoying the parks, which is exactly what you should be doing.

    I really enjoyed my solo trip. The only real regret was that it was so short. I wish I had stayed a few more days. By the time I started to wind down from commando mode, it was time to go home. I'll definitely be planning another solo adventure next year. While I'm not a complete curmudgeon and want to spend the entire time alone, it was nice not having any responsibility for others stuff, happiness and schedule. It would be fun to hang out with other solo travelers for snacks, ride or social drink, I just put this adventure together at the very last minute and had no time to investigate the possibilities of any social gatherings.
     
  2. darlaya

    darlaya Mouseketeer

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    Thank you for the breakdown of the positives and negatives. Very helpful. I am going on my first solo trip January 6-11. I especially love the reminder that...

    "If you feel lonely or awkward, just look around and realize, no one is paying any attention to you. They are all there having fun and enjoying the parks, which is exactly what you should be doing". I think feeling self-conscious has been my greatest angst about my solo trip especially around meal times. I am also doing the Star Wars Dessert Party..which I am really looking forward to even solo.

    Thanks for your tips. I am thinking I might convert my tickets to an Annual Pass just in case I love it so much I want to come back and do it again:cool1:
     
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  4. cdg121990

    cdg121990 Earning My Ears

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    Good info! Thanks for posting. Looking forward to my first solo trip in 2019.
     
  5. lorax123

    lorax123 DIS Veteran

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    Thank you!

    I’m glad you found that advice useful darlaya. I saw a few postings of others that had some anxiety about going alone. I know I have anxiety issues and I had to give myself that reminder a few times.

    If you have the opportunity, finances and reason to convert to an AP, I don’t think you will regret it. It just gives you more opportunity to make quick, cheap, trips to the parks.
     
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  6. ChimCher-ee

    ChimCher-ee There's been a change of plans.

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    I loved reading about your trip! You really captured the plusses and minuses of Disney solo. I hope you have many more (mixed in with trips with loved ones, too, so you can catch them up on what they missed). I'd like to add

    1) No need to feel guilty when you're back in your cool, dim room cozied up in your toastie bed with a good book ... at 4:30 in the afternoon! I'm a rope-dropper but take a ribbing for being a napper. No ribbing when you're solo!
    2) Not only do you not have to shepherd others, plan itineraries for others, hold their things outside of the bathrooms (I have named all the palm trees outside of the one next to Spaceship Earth), and generally watch out for derailments, but being at Disney is almost like having someone else take care of you for a change. People offer suggestions for how they (not you) can make things smoother, easier, more pleasant, fancier, better than dreamed of ... almost anything you want, almost any way you want it, just ask. It's actually a pretty remarkable feeling, being the one taken care of, for a change!
     
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  7. jsmla

    jsmla DIS Veteran

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    This made me smile. It took me several hours spent wandering around various Disney parking lots as well as one humiliating ride through the DHS parking with Disney security before I wised up and began taking pictures of my parking row. Trivial stuff like where our ride home was located was always the province of DH and DD.
     
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  8. lorax123

    lorax123 DIS Veteran

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    That was the one thing I made sure to do, take a pic of the parking spot! I always assume I would remember the locker number. I'd look at it, read it and then promptly forget it, since I was overly stimulated going on the ride. I blame it on my inner 8 year old.
     
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  9. goofyernmost

    goofyernmost Aged to Perfection

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    There is a truth that needs to be repeated over and over. I'll even use CAPS. NO ONE IS WATCHING YOU. They are busy trying to take in all of what Disney Parks are. They are trying to keep their families or companions together, deciding what to do next, making sure they have FP's for everyone and just generally wrapped up in what they are doing. They don't give a tinkers damn about what you are doing. Even those rides that are usually for people with kids. Really? Ask yourself, do you know every person in the queue line? Do you have any idea if they are with someone else or not? I always figured that the people in front of me, if they thought about it at all, probably assumed that I was with the people behind me. Those behind me figured that I was with the group in front of me. By the time they realize that I'm not with them, I'm on the ride and we never see each other again. We tend to overthink these situation and, I guess, our ego's allow us to think that we are the focus of thousands of people touring WDW or any of the Parks.
     
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  10. jsmla

    jsmla DIS Veteran

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    The new lockers at Universal were life-changing.

    Once after an, uhm, rather boozy dinner I noticed that Hulk had no wait. I was so excited that I neglected to give my locker my full attention. It was park close and the poor attendant had to spend a good 20 minutes opening almost every locker at Hulk until I found my stuff. That was even more embarrassing than riding around the DHS parking lot with Disney security.
     
  11. fla4fun

    fla4fun DIS Veteran

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    I take photos of anything that requires memory on vacation, so my brain can relax as much as the rest of me. I don't want to have to think too much . . .

    Looking at the list of cons, I can cross number six off the list, since going home doesn't mean leaving Orlando. I can also cross off number three, as I don't allow anyone to make me feel awkward or odd riding whatever ride I want to (no one cares anyway). As far as CS dining, I agree the portions can be very filling for one person. As a solo, I usually only have two meals per day, spaced about 6-7 hours apart. I might hit a CS for brunch when they first open at 11:00, and then not have another full meal until 5-6 pm. It not only saves me money from a quantity of meals standpoint, but it also cuts down on waste, because I'm actually hungry when I eat and don't throw away food because I get full too fast. Of course, if I get a little hungry, there's no lack of good snacks around to tide me over either.

    If I come across something going on that I think someone would have liked to see, I make a video for them to watch. Sharing things by text or SM keeps me connected enough that I don't really miss having other people there physically. I do visit with friends/family occasionally as well, so it's not like they never get to experience WDW. I just get to do it more often.

    I don't know if I can actually think of any cons to taking a solo trip . . .it's all good! :D
     
  12. kaitlin-n-mom

    kaitlin-n-mom Mouseketeer

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    I really enjoyed reading your post. I am taking my first semi-solo trip at the end of April '19. I have family that will be staying at the BC and I am staying solo at POP.

    I've had a bit of anxiety about the trip but I'm also looking forward to all the Positives you shared. Thanks for sharing your experience.
     
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  13. darlaya

    darlaya Mouseketeer

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    Thank you for reminding us of this fact :P I am feeling more and more comfortable about my solo trip:thanks:
     
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  14. lorax123

    lorax123 DIS Veteran

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    It's a lot of fun being able to do ANYTHING you want! It will be nice to have family you can visit, if you feel the need to socialize with people you know.

    I think my anxiety was before the trip and was related to, am I going to enjoy myself going alone? Will I be bored, since I'll have none of the slow downs involved with kids, partners, family, etc., and have ripped through the entire park in 4 hours. Doesn't this seem a bit excessive for one person?

    The trip, and the prep, did feel like a dream. Hard to believe before and during that it was reality.
     
  15. lorax123

    lorax123 DIS Veteran

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    It does need to be repeated. A lot of us anxiety, socially awkward people feel like we are such outcasts that everyone is criticizing our every move.

    We do need to remember, no one is paying any attention to us, and, as you said, they are focused on their own moments.
     
  16. StageTek

    StageTek It's kind of fun to do the impossible.

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    I'll risk over-kill....

    You are so correct! I go solo and with friends/family. When I'm with others none of us ever even look at someone alone. Never. We are focused on ourselves. I hope anyone thinking about a solo trip thinks about their last few trips; how many times did YOU notice someone in line who you thought was alone? How many times during your trip did YOU or anyone in your group give a solo traveler a "look" or comment amongst each other in quiet contempt? If I don't do it and you don't do it I think it's fair to consider that most people don't.

    But if you get lonely without others, that is an understandable reason for avoiding a solo adventure. For years I thought I would get lonely especially at WDW. But when I couldn't find anyone to travel with me for two years I just sucked it up and did it. 10 days, first visit. I know go solo a couple of times a year. Still love being with friends or family, but I really look forward to a solo trip.
     
  17. shocker

    shocker DIS Veteran

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    Thanks for your reports! I've had many family & many solo trips & they are different. I enjoy meeting other solos on my trip. My last one a few weeks ago I went to Typhoon Lagoon & found there were 3 rides I could not ride alone. I was surprised!! I had to ask multiple strangers if I could ride with them (I was only willing to ask on 1 of the 3 due to configurations). But, then I found another solo rider asking for partners & we talked about the dilemma & ended up riding all 3 rides together :D

    I also really enjoy eating where & when I want to, even packing in my own food from time to time (much easier for 1).

    My favorite thing is exiting the park at closing with the crowd. I can weave in & out, no stroller, no holding hands, no walking four abreast. I can easily overtake a thousand people on my way to the bus line.
     
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  18. shocker

    shocker DIS Veteran

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    Two weeks ago I'm in line for tea cups & the CM counts me off with the guy & 2 kids in front of me & moves along to the next group (assuming what you describe above). I tap her on the shoulder & explain that I'm riding alone. She asks "oh, you want your own tea cup?" To which I replied "well I am a party of 1" and she explained she thought we were all together. This didn't bother me at all. I have no problem explaining I'm 1, I have no issue with needing to justify my desire to spin on the tea cups just like the kids. But, I did want an accurate count or someone would be left without cup when the gate opened. I sometimes wish I had a teen to spin me faster than I can alone, but alas I've never tried THAT.
     
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  19. shocker

    shocker DIS Veteran

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    I have an AP, did first trip with muti-day tickets for the family & all subsequent trips for me will be solo.

    I'm also doing the MK dessert party in Jan on my solo trip as a birthday treat for myself. I took my kids several years ago & the price had gone up so much. More doable when only paying for 1.
     
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  20. lorax123

    lorax123 DIS Veteran

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    I don't think you can over-kill the subject. Looking through a few posts on traveling solo, I see a lot of people concerned about traveling solo. Self-esteem, anxiety, paranoia and overly self-conscious are part of many peoples personality. It pays to remember and repeat the mantra whenever you feel self-conscious. NO ONE IS WATCHING YOU.
     
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  21. lorax123

    lorax123 DIS Veteran

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    OMG... yes, it makes crowd navigation so easy. And, now that the kids are older and have more free reign, you don't have to wander around an extra 10 minutes looking for them before you move on.

    Can't we just fit people with restraining bolts and use an app to give them a zap when we want to find them? Works well in Star Wars.

    You don't want to know how many times I wish I could do that...
     

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