Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Day 1303: Going Solo

Everyone always talks about how it's dangerous to go solo...so you should obviously take a wookiee with you, and while I can't disagree that having a Wookiee by your side is frequently helpful (even when you have to admit to Chewbacca that you don't speak Wookiee), there are so benefits of the solo life. 

I've spent 20 years with my family and friends at Walt Disney World, and what a great 20 years it's been. But at the same time, we've developed our own preferences as to how we prefer to see the Disney Parks. Where I tend to slow down and can definitely go an entire trip without ever setting foot on Space Mountain, my brother adores the coasters. Mom prefers to head to the parks early in the morning, and I can often be found in them late, late at night. Dad sort of goes with whatever we're doing, but he too prefers to slow down, taking pictures while I obsess over video (a technique I learned from him). Jonny likes his churros and turkey legs, but after my trip this last January where he challenged me to eat six churros...I don't think I ever want to eat one again. 

The point here is this: a solo trip it's all that bad of an idea, and now, having experienced one for myself, I can tell you for sure that it's just as valuable of an experience as traveling with a larger group, and here's why: 

You can do whatever you want. It's pretty easy to say that this is one of the greatest reasons to travel to Walt Disney World or Disneyland alone. When I wanted to go to Afternoon Tea at the Grand Floridian and sit there for two hours reading my book while slowly snacking on my scone and sipping tea, I didn't have anyone around to tell me that we should be doing something else. And I must say, those two hours I spent there were some of the greatest of my entire trip. 

You're never really alone anyway. Aside from when you're sleeping at night with a locked door and an empty room, you're never really alone at Walt Disney World. On any old day, cast members are always more than happy to stop and chat with you, and if they happen to notice you're traveling alone, they're probably more likely to do so. I mean, the birthday button and the video camera really help too, but throughout my entire trip I never once felt like I truly had no one to talk to. 

You can find the quiet. I mentioned earlier that I like to slow down, and I'm not kidding. I often times would much prefer a walk around World Showcase than another trip on Test Track. But when you're part of a group, you're frequently attempting to do everything all at once, just to make sure that everyone in your party gets to see everything on their list. That means that when you're with other people, a slow afternoon ins't always possible, but when you're by yourself, you can speed up and slow down at your own pace. 

Fastpass+ and Dining are easier. I realized this trip that you can now finally make additional Fastpass+ reservations from the app on your phone, a topic I'll discuss in a later blog post. The thing is, as the day goes on, those fastpasses are harder and harder to come by, and the chances of you finding a Fastpass for one person are much higher than for two, much less four or more, people. The same can be said for dining, as with the exception of some of the most popular restaurants, you can usually walk up and get a table at most locations, especially if you're able to sit at the bar. 

Single Rider Lines can be used for...well, single riders. It's no question that families tend to abuse the single rider line, making wait times on attractions such as Test Track go up far beyond what they should be, but if you're alone, a single rider line can be pretty useful. I never actually used one, since I wasn't on any attractions with such a line or already had a fastpass, but I did make use of it when in open seating situations. I almost always managed to sneak my way to one of the best seats in the house simply because I could fit on the end of a row where a family wouldn't be able to. 

There are a few downsides to traveling alone at Walt Disney World, that's for sure. There's no one to chat with while in line, no one to help hold the camera when you want a picture, no one to share food with (and let's be honest...we could all use one of those), and really, fewer people to smile with. I'm not sure solo traveling to every amusement park would work, but for Walt Disney World, it certainly does. The cast members make sure you have everything you need, whether that be help with your room or bags, a special birthday cinnamon roll at the end of the night, or a smile and a high five. When you're traveling alone these thousands of cast members become sort of like your friends and family, because trust me, there was no lack of smiling on my trip. 

If you've ever been on a solo trip, I want to hear your thoughts in the comments below! Did you enjoy traveling alone, or do you prefer having a larger group with you? 

Have a magical day!