“But I may NEVER get to ride Splash Mountain again!” I cried through teary eyes at my kitchen table one evening in late July 2020. With that, I decided to book a trip back to my happy place. I should also mention that I had no one to go with me, and I booked the trip with 6 days notice -- ya know, right after Walt Disney World reopened after the Covid closure. And guess what? That last-minute, mask-wearing, solo trip turned out to be one of my best trips ever!
I guess I should backtrack just a bit. First, the Disney love runs DEEP in me. I was the 11-year-old crying on the back of the ferryboat after leaving Magic Kingdom on the last day of our first trip back in 1994 because I was so incredibly sad that I probably would never return again (it’s been 35 trips since then).
Next, I’m nothing if not sentimental and nostalgic (see above). So, when I heard that Splash Mountain and Spaceship Earth would undergo drastic changes, I was devastated that I might not get to say my goodbyes to these classic attractions and childhood favorites.
Also, I already mentioned that this was in July 2020 just after the parks reopened following the covid-19 closure. The spring and summer were HARD for a lot of people - me included. I made the mistake of re-watching "The Imagineering Story" on Disney+ during this time, and episode 5 wrecked me. I will try to not give too many spoilers if you haven’t watched this series yet, but you definitely need to watch! This episode perfectly showed how people NEED Disney during hard times, whether in times of a natural disaster or in this case, during a global pandemic. I remember turning to my husband at the end of the episode and asking, “It will be ok, right? Things will get back to normal, right?” When the parks reopened, I knew I had to get there -- even if it meant going all by myself.
Finally, as a travel agent, I knew I needed to be able to give my guests first-hand experiences of what the parks were like both during Covid and also as a solo traveler. Being able to share the details and logistics of hitting the parks solo and navigating everything that comes along with that was something I wanted to be able to share personally. In fact, I was able to help a sweet guest who is now one of my Disney soul sisters on her first solo trip shortly after I returned. So, if you are thinking of taking the plunge or find yourself without a travel companion, I say: DO IT AND EMBRACE IT!
3 Perks of Solo Travel:
1. You're on Your Own Time
Do you know what it’s like trying to get a room full of people up and moving at the same time? Showered? Dressed? Fed? Out the door at a certain time? How about sharing one bathroom? If you know exactly what I’m talking about, you will love the freedom of living on your own timeline on a solo trip. If you want to get up at the crack of dawn and enjoy the quiet of your resort before boarding your bus, monorail, Skyliner, or boat, you can. These times make for some of the best crowd-free pictures, in fact.
2. Your Agenda is Your Own
What if you are a park commando and your normal travel party likes to stop and smell the roses? Then you can hit the pavement from open to close and have no one to slow you down. Or maybe you like to stop into each unique store around World Showcase or stop for a Mickey pretzel or churro right after a meal? On a solo trip, YOU get to decide what to do. I took time to enjoy The American Adventure, Hall of Presidents, and other attractions that I normally skip because no one else wants to do them. I also am one of those get-out-the-door early people, so I can be one of the first on my mode of transportation to the parks each day.
3. Companions Not Required for Magical Moments
I’m not sure if it was being a solo traveler, or because the parks had just reopened and the Cast Members were SO happy to be back, but I experienced more magical moments during this trip than in all 35 past trips combined. To name just a few of many:
- I went to buy a mid-day Mickey pretzel and the Cast Member told me it was “on Mickey.”
- This was the trip that I first rode Rise of the Resistance, the newest attraction in Galaxy's Edge. I can’t say for certain that being a party of 1 helped make getting a boarding pass easier, but it certainly didn’t hurt!
- I bought a pressed Penny book at the Space Mountain gift shop and the Cast Member handed me a fistful of pressed pennies telling me that she couldn’t sell me an empty book.
I will be totally honest with you: I was really nervous that I was going to get lonely or, dare I say, bored with no one to share the trip with me or help me make decisions. I’ll be honest again, and I’m sorry Mom, Dad, husband, and friends that I’ve shared many trips with, but I didn’t get bored or lonely for a single moment! I never would have considered a solo trip if it hadn’t happened out of necessity, but I am SO glad I had this experience and these memories. Go, do it, and have a magical time! -B
Let us know in the comments, have you ever taken a solo trip?
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You can also find Brianna hard at work on her travel agent Facebook Page: Destinations to Travel with Brianna Wright Moore