Solo in WDW: A First Timer Tells Her Tale

Tracy's mom, Peg, in the Magic Kingdom.

Imagine my shock when, one morning in mid-April, I saw my mother’s Facebook status post read something like ‘just booked a Mother’s Day trip to Walt Disney World!’ I’d taken her to WDW for Mother’s Day last year, and that was the trip that started her obsession with all things Disney. I just assumed I’d be accompanying her this time–after all, it was a Mother’s Day trip, and I’m her only child.

Imagine my surprise when she informed me that her gift to herself was going to be a trip to Disney World–a solo trip to Disney World. 

She’s been back for almost a week now, but today was the first time I got to sit down and talk to her about her trip. Of course, I can’t just have a conversation with my own mother–that’s just not the kind of person I am. No, I have to document it and turn in into an informative and entertaining blog post. That’s just how I roll. Enjoy!

Why did you decide to go to Walt Disney World solo?
*Deep thought face*  The only times I’ve been there before I’ve been with you or with my husband. When I’m with you, I have to hurry. When I’m with my husband, I have to slow down. On this trip, I wanted to go at my own pace. I wanted to do what I wanted to do when I wanted to do it, and I didn’t want to take anyone else into consideration.

Peg loves Animal Kingdom (and she's wearing this same Disney shirt as I interview her!)

And how did that work out for you?
Wonderful.  *Big smile*.  I did everything I wanted to–and I didn’t even have to make dining reservations!  Because I was only one person, I was always able to get a table. So I didn’t have to be anywhere at a time, my days were totally open. It was very nice. I also liked having the TV on all night, because I sleep better that way. I didn’t make my bed because no one cared. I wasn’t lonely because everywhere I went there was someone to talk to. In line, waiting for a show to start, on the bus–I talked to people.  And they were always happy.  I met wonderful people from all over the world.  Really–there are so many benefits!  Did I mention it was wonderful?

You mention dining solo.  That’s a main concern for many first-time solo visitors.  How did you feel about eating alone in WDW?
It was no different from eating alone anywhere else in the world, and I always took a book with me so I always had something to do. It was relaxing.

I also enjoy listening to the other people around me, and people-watching. Plus in Disney, there’s often other things to occupy your time–like watching the ketchup antics at Whispering Canyon. I got such a kick out of watching one family deal with all the ketchup they brought to the table, and then helping to pass it out to others. I was never bored.

Also the waiters and waitresses took extra time to chat with me because I was alone. The talked to me about where they were from and asked where I was from. It was very nice. People talk to you in Disney World–it’s not like here!

Peg is a DVC member--as you can see--so she has many years of WDW vacations to look forward to!

What were some of the highlights of your trip?
Wishes at the Castle was definitely the highlight, and I couldn’t have done it if I hadn’t been solo. Because I was alone, I was able to make my way through the crowd and get a great spot on the curb right in front of Cinderella Castle. Plus my husband would never have sat on the concrete with me for a half hour before the show began–and you wouldn’t have been able to deal with the crowds (Tracy’s note:  She’s right.  I wouldn’t!)

What advice would you give to someone considering vising WDW solo for the first time?
Stay onsite. You feel safe and all your needs are taken care of. You don’t have to worry about transportation, you can stay out as late as the parks are open and not worry about coming back alone. I never felt unsafe for a second.

Also, you can enjoy a shorter trip when you are solo. I was only there for three nights, and I got so much more done because I was by myself. If you’re thinking about doing a solo trip, try it out for a shorter trip first. You may find that’s all you need.

Did you regret not taking your super-amazing daughter with you?
*Actual deep thought look*  No. I don’t think I regretted it. I thought about you often but no, I didn’t regret it. (Tracy’s note:  That’s what I thought! Though I didn’t think she’d have to think about it–I thought it would be a much quicker ‘hell no!’)

Will you return to WDW solo?
Absolutely, I’m planning to go again next May. It may be an annual thing.

Peg maintains a childlike sense of wonder in WDW--and in life!

I have to admit, I’m rather proud of my mom for taking her first–but clearly not her last–solo vacation. I’d like to think that I’ve inspired her with all of my solo travels this year. But really, she’s the original awesome, brave, outgoing woman.  I’m second-generation awesome, and that’s just fine with me.


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