“How many in your party?”
If I had a dollar for how many times this interaction went down with me today, I would have $11.
Coming to Florida for grad school has proven to be more of a lonely situation for me than I would have guessed, but I have learned to pony up and enjoy it. I can feel sad about my loneliness, or I can get to know myself a little better and live the life my freezing cold relatives in Indiana wish they were living.
So, on a rainy Wednesday, I packed my Publix salad (because I am so Floridian) and headed off to Epcot. You are probably thinking, who goes to Disney alone?? Creeps, adult children, and apparently me. I’ve never been a big Disney fan but how can I live an hour away and not go? With nobody around to go with me, I took the leap knowing full well I may have to stand in 90 minute lines of boredom alone.
Besides that the ride attendants always felt bad placing me alone on rides with room for 3 more or tucking me into an odd group, it was a fantastic day. There’s something quite liberating about being in Disney world with no strings attached (and I don’t just mean a child on a leash.) These were some of the major benefits:
- Exercise– Not having to wait on anyone else meant I could power walk as fast as my average-sized legs could take me. I walked a whopping 7.4 miles by hustling my way around Epcot as many times as I could before my feet literally had blisters on the soles. Children, the elderly, and the lazy would have pooped out way before me. The opposite would also exist- if you want to take it easy, maybe ride in wagon or a motor scooter, I’m sure you could mostly avoid exercise altogether.
- Food– I went to Magic Kingdom a few weeks ago with my mom and we didn’t really care to eat much food at the park. Being on my own this time, I took the time to browse some menus and discovered some really tasty treats around the world at Epcot. I didn’t have to choose a place to eat based on anyone else’s dietary restrictions or wants. If I didn’t want to sit down and eat, I could grab something to walk with, and vice versa.
- Rides– Roller coasters make me tinkle like a little dog at the parlor and I am typically hard pressed to find a theme park companion who feels the same. By going alone, I didn’t have to suck up my fears or hold anyone back. Another great benefit to being alone was the single rider lanes. For example, Test Track has specific lines for those willing to go alone that move significantly faster than the other lines. I wish I was telling you this from experience, but if I wanted to go speeding across a road I would ride with my grandma to Bingo.
Even with all of the alone time I enjoyed with me, myself, and I, I did discover that I had some things I would have done over. Here’s a quick list of some of the things I would advise if you are considering hitting up any theme park on your own:
- FastPass– The worst part of going to a theme park alone is standing in the long lines. The time tends to goes faster when there are friends to chat with. The best way to combat this is to use FastPass, or whatever the theme park equivalent is that you are going to. If it costs extra, pay it. It’s already so expensive to go to theme parks alone, you might as well maximize the money you already spent. Option two for avoiding boredom in long lines is making friends around you. I made sure to ask plenty of mouse-eared folks what the hidden gems of the park were.
- Battery Pack– Along with not wanting to wait in long lines, is the scary balance of making sure you aren’t burning through your phone battery on social media to kill the time. If you have an extra battery pack, it’s wise to bring it along! (And don’t forget to charge it the night before!)
- Snacks– I know I’m not the only bored eater out there! Few things are as horrifying to me as not having enough easily accessible snacks. Munching in line keeps you from getting hangry and kills some more time. Start your day with a frozen water bottle, as well.
- 20 Minute Rule– Do anything that has a line under 20 minutes. This is a good general rule for Disney anyway if you really want to go exploring and you are sick of lines. I already felt that I was pushing myself outside of my comfort zone by going totally solo so I took it as an opportunity to discover things that were new to me. Some of my favorite things were the most overlooked attractions!
Overall, I would say going to Disney alone is a great time if you have an open mind and no expectations for how your day will go.