Since starting the Disney College Program at the Disneyland Resort, I have been given pretty much unlimited access to the parks while I’m not working. This is an amazing perk of being a Cast Member, but it also presented me with a dilemma; going to Disneyland by myself.
Before my program I had never gone to a theme park (or any vacation destination) without the company of family or friends. And yes, I do have roommates in the program that I can go to the parks with, but our work schedules often conflict so it’s either go alone, or don’t go at all. I came into the program knowing I was not going to waste my Cast Member pass just because I didn’t have people to go with, so I had to conquer my fear of going to Disneyland alone.
To some people, going alone may sound fantastic, but for me it was blanketed with stress and worry. I thought going alone would take all of the fun out of the parks, or that other guests would judge me for going to what is usually a group affair all by myself. And I’m going to be honest, the first time I went by myself I was anxious.
In this post I want to tell you all about how AMAZING going to the parks can be by yourself, and the benefits it brings to you having sometimes an even more magical day than you would have with other people!
What Is It Like Going By Yourself?
The first thing I felt after passing the Disneyland turnstiles by myself and walking onto Main Street was relief. There was no need for me to discuss plans with other people, or feel that I needed to compromise what I wanted to do for someone else’s happiness. I could literally go anywhere, do anything, and leave whenever I wanted to. That is a type of freedom I had never felt in a Disney Park before.
It’s also the least stressed I’ve ever felt in a theme park. There was no hurry brought on by others, or the fear that a decision I made would make anyone unhappy. In short, it was a feeling of pure bliss.
Since my first solo visit to the park, I have gone on many more solo trips. And I’ve got to say, there are a lot of positives that I have found in all of my experiences.
I took advantage of this freedom to do a bunch of weird stuff. I purposefully took detours through a lot of shops to try and find Cast Members trading pins. I rode the same rides over and over again (Splash, anyone?) and often sat on benches for long periods of time just because I could. These are things I would feel bad doing with a group, because most likely I would have been the only one enjoying them.
Another great thing about going alone is using and abusing the single rider lines. These of course can be used when you have people with you, but you definitely miss out on some of the magical experience of riding an attraction with the people you love. But, if you are at the park solo, you are missing nothing except the long queue in your riding experience. I have found in all of my trips that the single rider lines for both Space Mountain and the Matterhorn are never more than 15 minutes, and even if they are their wait would still be shorter than the stand by line. Other great single rider lines to use are for Star Tours and Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run.
A giant pro that I’ve found in my trips is that you can eat wherever and whenever you want! I do not know how many times I have eaten places I didn’t really want to, or stood in long outdoor vending lines because someone in my party just had to have that certain food. When you’re alone, it’s all your choice. Also, you never have to share with anybody (cue evil laugh).
I would not recommend choosing a table service restaurant to eat at though, because sitting at a restaurant by yourself is sad no matter where you do it. I’m guessing that it would be even more sad at the happiest place on earth. I usually grab whatever food I want and then find a nice bench in my favorite parts of the park (by the Rivers Of America, Galaxy’s Edge) and just eat and people watch.
One final pro that I really enjoy: moving through crowds. There is nothing like being able to slip through crowded streets or hustle on by people without having to worry about getting separated from your party. You go your own speed and nobody else’s. It can be very helpful when trying to quickly get to an attraction with a low wait time, or if you need that Mickey Pretzel ASAP.
Of course taking a stroll through Disneyland by yourself is going to have some cons. It is a place that was built in order for family and friends to have fun together. But, don’t let these cons scare you away from taking the solo plunge. I have encountered all of them and still love heading to my favorite place by myself.
The first con is an obvious one. It can be a little lonely to see families and friends having fun while you’re doing it on your lonesome. It can be very easy to fall into a negative mental state, where instead of enjoying your time, you’re sad about all the people who you wish were with you, but aren’t. This is the most important trap to avoid!! Remember the great times with friends, but also remember that you are so incredibly lucky to be in the happiest place on earth.
One tip I have for conquering this is to share your experiences with a friend or family member. There are lots of magical, zany, and crazy things that happen in the Disney Parks, and just because you can’t share the experience of them with anybody, you can tell fun stories to your friends and family about your experiences. I often text updates to loved ones who enjoy hearing about my adventures, even a small amount of communication can help you feel like you’re not alone.
Another con I’ve found going to the Disney parks alone is that waiting in queue lines can be especially boring when you have nobody to talk to. This isn’t really something that can be avoided, except by not choosing to wait for attractions that have queue lines over 15 to 20 minutes. This works fine for me. Since I live right next to Disneyland I feel absolutely no rush to go on any amount of rides, because I can always go the next day… or the next day… or the next. I just utilize the FastPass system and enjoy rides that have shorter lines. For me that usually means a stop in Fantasyland to say hello to Mr. Toad or Pinocchio.
I guess you could also bring headphones, and listen to music or a podcast in longer lines, but I’ve always tried to stay away from this. Disneyland is themed for all 5 senses, I think it’s a disservice to take one of them away to listen to people talk about plants (yes, I listen to gardening podcasts).
There are some rides that you should definitely go on by yourself, because for me they were even more fun solo. I personally found these to be the Fantasyland dark rides, because you get your very own car (or flying boat), and it can be magical to experience the story by yourself. Also, since you’re on your own you can do whatever you want! Dance, sing, yell at Stromboli because he’s a jerk, etc. You’re also guaranteed to get to drive the Toad car, which makes the experience sooooo much better.
Other honorable mentions for best solo rides are the Matterhorn (single file seating) and Autopia, which I never enjoyed until I did it by myself on a pleasant evening. There are also rides you SHOULD NOT do by yourself. My number one for this would be the Teacups. I thought it would be fun but instead it was incredibly lonesome, and I’m sure people saw me and judged me for flying solo in a teacup.
I LOVE going to Disneyland and Disney California Adventure by myself. Sometimes I even prefer it to going with other people. There is such a sense of freedom, and you are your own boss! As long as you go into it with a positive attitude, you will have a magical time. Take advantage of a solo opportunity if you ever get one, I promise you will not be disappointed.
Have you ever gone to a Disney Park by yourself? Let us know about your experiences or any questions you might have in the comments below! Planning a trip to Disneyland? Check out our planning guide to help you along the way. If you enjoy what you’re reading please subscribe to the blog and like our social media pages which you can find on the right side of this page. Thank you for reading, we really appreciate it!
Categories: Vacation Tips