Oh hello blog. Sorry I’ve neglected you for so long. And I never finished writing my European travels….oh well. I hope you’ll forgive me.
But ever since I’ve been back in the States, back to my job at Disney, I find that the lens through which I view the world is just a little bit different. I find that I have more patience when dealing with foreigners, I have a greater appreciation for how exhausting a “vacation” can really be, and perhaps strangely enough, I’ve discovered the joy of going to Disney on your own.
Perhaps this sounds weird to you, especially if you don’t work at Disney. Why would anyone go to the parks by themselves? Isn’t that awkward/boring/lonely? Perhaps for some people it is. I certainly used to think that it was. But there are lots of good reasons why going to the parks by yourself is actually pretty great.
- You don’t have to wait for anyone. You know that moment when you’re walking along, trying to keep a schedule, and then someone in your party pipes up, “I need to use the restroom.” Great. Now you have to go out of your way to find a restroom for that one person, and everyone else is just like, “Nah, I don’t have to go.” Then you’ll end up taking two restroom breaks in the afternoon, instead of just one.
- You don’t have to compromise. Mom wants to ride It’s a Small World, but Johnny wants to ride Expedition Everest. Is there anything more annoying than when your family/friends can’t even decide which park to go to? When you’re on your own, you go where you want, whenever you want.
- You can do all the stuff that no one wants to do. Ever wanted to watch those shows in Epcot that no one sticks around for? Everyone wants the big rides like Soarin’ or Test Track, but who really says, “Hey, let’s go see Oh Canada!”? No one. Except maybe Canadians. But when you’re by yourself, you can take the time to go see stuff you wouldn’t normally see.
- You can wait on lines if you want. Have you ever wanted to meet the Disney Fairies, but couldn’t justify the 45 minute wait? As a 21-year-old, I never had anyone that wanted to meet the fairies with me. If the line were shorter, I might be able to convince people to do so. But it’s always long. However by myself, I can wait for as long as I want, and not worry about bothering people! I can wait an hour for the Peter Pan ride if I want to, because it’s one of my favorite rides with one of the longest waits. I’m not going to make my friends wait for it, but by myself? Why not!
- You can get a more personal character experience. Once you meet a character, there is a character attendant (and probably PhotoPass) who is more than willing to take your picture for you, so you don’t have to worry about having a friend take it for you. And you get personalized one-on-one time with the character too! Usually if you’re in a group, they encourage you to take group shots and meet the character all together. It saves time and helps keep the line moving. I get it. I know the importance of keeping the line moving. But sometimes it’s really nice just to be able to talk to your favorite character and not have to fight for attention. You can think of clever things to say to elicit a reaction from that character.
- You can spend time just enjoying the atmosphere. Sometimes all I want to do is sit in front of the castle with an ice cream cone and people watch. And then if I see a family trying to take a photo, I’ll probably offer to take it for them, because it’s hard to completely turn off the helpful-cast-member urge. I’ll walk all the way to the other side of the park to buy a churro if I really want one, and I don’t have to worry about others complaining about how far it is. I can wander through the shops without having to keep track of a group. You can just go with the flow, instead of planning every minute of the day.
- And lastly, you can do things faster and more efficiently. Want to see Fantasmic, but there aren’t seats left? You can almost always find space for one more. But finding space for a whole group at the last minute? Not a chance! Or maybe you want to ride Rockin’ Rollercoaster, but there are no more Fast Passes for the day and the line is over an hour long. You can go in the single rider line and not think twice about it. Better yet, if you’re waiting in a fairly long line for a ride, and the attractions cast is looking for a party of one or two to fill in the last seats of a car, you might be able to skip half the line. You can also eat lunch on the go if you don’t feel like stopping for long. You can weave through crowds without having to worry about getting separated. Then when you’re hot and tired and don’t feel like being there anymore, you can just leave. You don’t have to worry about pleasing a group.
So I guess when it comes down to it, I’ve learned that if I want to go to the parks I don’t have to wait for my co-workers’ next day off. I can just go, and have just as good (if not even better) of a time. I can go wander around the World Showcase in Epcot and reminisce about my European travels. I can go one rides, meet characters, see shows, and eat food in places that I might not otherwise go to with my friends. So if you’ve got a (free) way to go to Disney, but don’t have anyone to go with, don’t be afraid to go by yourself! You might have an unexpectedly magical time.