SOLO trip - planning questions

SomeDayMyPrinceWillCome

Earning My Ears
Joined
Jul 14, 2019
Hello! So, I have ALWAYS wanted to go to Disney World. I've been lucky enough to go to Disneyland Paris three times, but Disney World is obviously something else. None of my friends or family are Disney nuts, so I always thought I'd wait until I met my Prince Charming to go, because I've always thought of Disney World as being somewhere you have to go with other people.
However, recently I've thought, why do I need to wait?! Why don't I just go alone!! It's my absolute dream holiday and I don't think I should miss out just because I'm only kissing frogs (and not the Prince Naveen type!). I'm very independent anyway and mostly like to do things on my own. I absolutely love reading everything about Disney World, and reading solo trip reports has inspired me too! I do have a few questions though, if anyone can help:


1. So, I know it would probably be cheaper to book everything separate and through places like Trivago and Skyscanner etc, but would this mean I wouldn't get the early access to FP reservations? I want to stay on property, but do I have to book through the Disney site to get the Magical Express/EMH, etc?
2. Would it be cheaper to book through Disney, or a travel agent? And if the latter, which one ? Virgin/Thomson/TUI, etc? And again, does booking with travel agents give you access to the Magical Express? And if not is it difficult to get from the airport to Disney?
3. How far in advance should I book? Because I'm sure you can't book more than 11 months in advance on the Disney site?
4. How long do you think is best for a solo visit? I know there are a few solo ride lines, and you can be called forward from the normal lines to fill spaces. So I understand you may be able to get rides done a tiny bit faster than normal visits. But I want to make sure I get as much as possible done. I'm not too interested in the waterparks, especially solo, and I don't think I'd want to go to Universal on this visit. I like the idea of being totally immersed in the Disney bubble. I think if I was visiting with someone, I'd go for two weeks, but would this be too long on my own?
5. I'm planning to stay in a value resort as to me, it's just there to rest/sleep. I'm happy to stay in any except Sports (I'm sooo not sporty so I wouldn't enjoy sporting theme!). Are there any that are better for a solo visitor?
6. Do you feel safe on a solo visit? I'm a 5ft 2, 26-year-old female, and I can feel quite nervous walking alone in an unknown place, especially on my own. But I feel that Disney should feel safe, because you're on Disney transport all the time, and safe in your bubble? It's part of the reason I wouldn't want to venture out to Universal.
7. I'm thinking of going from very late October, and hoping to do Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party, and Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party. How busy will the parks be around this time? And how is the weather? Being from the North of England, I'm not used to hot weather and can get a bit grumpy! Do you think this is the best time to go, to have more experiences (both Halloween and Christmas decorations and parties and food)?
8. Do you have any advice for someone who doesn't eat much at all? I eat a child's portion most of the time, and I am slightly worried that the portions in Disney World are huge. (Side note: I went to New York eight years ago and remember that McDonald's portions were crazy! New York's regular size McD's was the UK's large!) I don't really like wasting food/money! I know I can order a kid's meal from quick service restaurants, but would this mean I'm compromising on options? Or is it possible to just ask for a smaller portion of an adult meal?
9. What is the best way of taking money/paying? I probably wouldn't feel comfortable taking so many dollars in cash with me, but I know a lot of cards charge crazy prices.

I'm sure I have more questions but that's all I can think of for now! And if you have any pearls of wisdom for me that I haven't asked for, please still tell me! I'm so excited to get planning! <3
 

BadPinkTink

DIS Veteran
Joined
Mar 13, 2015
Have you thought about visiting Disneyland California?
Im from Ireland and have been visiting Disneyland California solo for over 5 years, Im just back and this is my latest trip report

some general solo advice
  1. I book everything separate, I book flights with the airline, I book the offsite hotel direct through their website and I buy my Disney ticket through Last Minute Travel Company, which is an authorised Disney discount reseller. I saved $50 with my 3 day 1 park ticket compared to buying direct with Disney
  2. I do solo city trips on a regular basis, so I am used to staying in a hotel on my own, used to going to shows on my own and used to eating in restaurants on my own. How comfortable are you doing these things?
  3. When I travel to USA I usually turn off data , keep my phone on air-plane mode and just use free WiFi. You should check if your phone network has a data plan for USA, I think 3 UK do.
  4. Regarding money, I use half cash and half card. The card I use is called POST FX and it is a pre paid card I get in the Irish post office. I can load it with USA dollars. It uses the MasterCard system so I have never had any issues using it. Im sure there is something similar available in The UK
  5. Dont be afraid or guilty about booking table service restaurants. Some people think that as they are solo they shouldn't eat at table service restaurants as they are taking up space a family could use. This is utter bull, you as a solo have as much right to eat in any restaurant as any one else. I usually pick restaurants based on budget and menu, if I like the food and I can pay the price, then I will eat there!
  6. One thing to remember about your budget, in America sales tax is added when you pay. So in Disney when you are buying pins, plushes or other merchandise, the price on the shelf or on the tag is not what you will actually pay, they will add on a few dollars more for sales tax.
  7. There is no sales tax on food BUT tipping is expected, no matter what you eat or drink. Many restaurants now print a suggested tip on the receipt. I usually pay the restaurant on my card and leave a cash tip
  8. Drinking age in America is 21, so it might be best to have your passport with you if you intend to have any alcohol with a meal.
  9. Make sure to book restaurants in advance and if you do decide to go to Walt Disney World, make sure to book your fastpasses in advance
 

micksn

DIS Veteran
Joined
Nov 23, 2010
You can book now for October 2020. I would book your hotel and ticket package direct with Disney. I would still book at least 10 nights to do everything. Flights using Thomas Cook or Thomson (Tui) are available to book now from Manchester for then. I've used them both and they are both fine. With Thomas Cook you will fly to Orlando and can use Magical express. Tui is Sanford and you would need transfers.
It feels very safe in WDW, I don't travel solo, but have stayed in a park by myself at night and travelled back on my own using Disney transport. A smaller resort might feel safer on your own if you can afford it. Port Orleans French Quarter would be particularly good. It is close to Disney Springs and you can get a boat there. There are plenty of very good quick service food options. Happy planning!
 
  • Simba's Mom

    <font color=green>everything went to "H*** in a ha
    Joined
    Aug 26, 1999
    There's a Solos board here. You might get lots of answers there. I've gone solo about 20 times, for as little as 3 days, as long as 12. I'm pretty much a wimp in new places, and feel very safe in WDW.
     

    cheryl.UK

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 30, 1999
    You should feel very safe at WDW on your own. The ASM is fine, ask for a room near the main pool so that you won't be walking far on your own at night.
    Disney buses always have solo passengers as many families end up splitting up with one following later or coming home early.

    Go to counter service restaurants and order a child's meal. We do this all the time, especially for lunch. We particularly like Sunshine Seasons in Epcot as the choice is huge and a lot of the meals are just smaller versions of the adult meals. Never tried to order a child's meal at a sit down. Check out the menus on this site. There are lots of self serves that offer more than the usual chicken nuggets for children, especially in Epcot. Try Katsura Grill or Lotus blossom Cafe in World showcase, the child's Tuna sandwich at Harbour House or Peco Bills in MK or the snacks it any park. The Golden Oak outpost at MK has interesting sides/snacks as do the food carts in AK.

    You can get a dollar preloaded card which doesn't cost more.
     

    SomeDayMyPrinceWillCome

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Jul 14, 2019
    There's a Solos board here. You might get lots of answers there. I've gone solo about 20 times, for as little as 3 days, as long as 12. I'm pretty much a wimp in new places, and feel very safe in WDW.
    Thanks, I've posted on the Solos board as well, because I think some of my questions are more UK related and some are more about being solo. That's fab that you've gone so many times, and always feel safe! I just want to make sure I go for long enough to do most things, because who knows if I'll ever be able to afford it again. I'm treating it as a once in a lifetime trip, even though hopefully it won't be!!
     

    SomeDayMyPrinceWillCome

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Jul 14, 2019
    You can book now for October 2020. I would book your hotel and ticket package direct with Disney. I would still book at least 10 nights to do everything. Flights using Thomas Cook or Thomson (Tui) are available to book now from Manchester for then. I've used them both and they are both fine. With Thomas Cook you will fly to Orlando and can use Magical express. Tui is Sanford and you would need transfers.
    It feels very safe in WDW, I don't travel solo, but have stayed in a park by myself at night and travelled back on my own using Disney transport. A smaller resort might feel safer on your own if you can afford it. Port Orleans French Quarter would be particularly good. It is close to Disney Springs and you can get a boat there. There are plenty of very good quick service food options. Happy planning!
    Thanks! I've now heard that Thomas Cook might be going bust so I'm hesitant to use them!
    I think I'd have to be at a value resort unfortunately, as it just seems too much money to waste when I'm on my own and probably won't be spending too much time there (apart from sleeping and napping). It's crazy how expensive it all is, but it really is my dream holiday!
     
  • SG131

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 3, 2017
    If you want to do some sit down meals you need to book at least 6 months in advance. I don’t know about UK booking but I think they get discount deals long before discounts are seen in the US. I would not book through a 3rd party site like trivago, I’ve heard of people having some issues going that route. Plus rooms aren’t released to those sites until closer to the travel date and you definitely need to plan further out than that.

    As for going solo, it feels perfectly safe. My family thinks I’m nuts traveling to WDW so often, but I’m much more comfortable traveling solo there than other places. You shouldn’t worry about it.

    As for hotel, all star movies should be fully renovated by then so that would be my pick. And the theming is really cute. And if you’ve never gone before, two weeks definitely isn’t too long.

    You can’t really order a smaller portion of an adult meal, but you can always stick to ordering appetizers at sit down restaurants. Take a look at the menu. Some quick services the kids menus are more diverse than others.

    The weather in Florida can be very unpredictable. Usually in October it can still be a bit hot, but by the end of the month it does start getting a bit more tolerable, but each year is different, you never know what to expect until a couple weeks before the trip.
     

    SomeDayMyPrinceWillCome

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Jul 14, 2019
    As for hotel, all star movies should be fully renovated by then so that would be my pick. And the theming is really cute. And if you’ve never gone before, two weeks definitely isn’t too long.
    Thanks for you reply! So I have been looking on the Disney site, and the ASM rooms don't seem to be available - will that be because of the renovation then? Because the cheapest it offers me is Art of Animation, which is quite a bit more expensive (but seems lovely!).
     

    SG131

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 3, 2017
    Thanks for you reply! So I have been looking on the Disney site, and the ASM rooms don't seem to be available - will that be because of the renovation then? Because the cheapest it offers me is Art of Animation, which is quite a bit more expensive (but seems lovely!).
    Are you looking for this October??? That tends to be a busy time and I wouldn’t be surprised if the hotels are full already and that’s why they aren’t showing. You would see the same thing if you tried to book the first week in December. Those rooms have been pretty much all booked for months now.

    It is pretty late to plan a trip for October. I mean you should still be ok for fastpasses, but dinning reservations will be very very very difficult to come by if you wanted to try anywhere other than quick service. There is an existing UK deal for hotels in 2020 from October to December people plan that far in advance.
     

    SomeDayMyPrinceWillCome

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Jul 14, 2019
    Are you looking for this October??? That tends to be a busy time and I wouldn’t be surprised if the hotels are full already and that’s why they aren’t showing. You would see the same thing if you tried to book the first week in December. Those rooms have been pretty much all booked for months now.

    It is pretty late to plan a trip for October. I mean you should still be ok for fastpasses, but dinning reservations will be very very very difficult to come by if you wanted to try anywhere other than quick service. There is an existing UK deal for hotels in 2020 from October to December people plan that far in advance.
    Apologies, I thought I'd put 2020 in my post! Tbh it'd now be looking at more 2021. And It would be the last few days of October for ten days or a fortnight, as I'd want to hit the Halloween and Christmas parties, if possible. Would this be an awful time to visit? I just would really love to see all the decorations and experience a bit of Disney Christmas, without getting the Christmas crowds in December!
     
  • SG131

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 3, 2017
    Apologies, I thought I'd put 2020 in my post! Tbh it'd now be looking at more 2021. And It would be the last few days of October for ten days or a fortnight, as I'd want to hit the Halloween and Christmas parties, if possible. Would this be an awful time to visit? I just would really love to see all the decorations and experience a bit of Disney Christmas, without getting the Christmas crowds in December!
    I think it’d be a great time to visit. Maybe someone can chime in on uk booking but maybe you need to call for availability. I know in the US sometimes you need to call.

    If you’re looking at 2021 all star music may be remodeled too. It’s next on the list. So the 50th anniversary of magic kingdom is October 2021 so it will be a good time to visit in that a lot of stuff will be going on, but may be rather crowded. I do think going between Halloween and Christmas is a good time though to see a bit of both.

    If you can afford two weeks do it. You won’t get bored. In 10 days you can see a lot, but not every ride and show.
     

    gismo1554

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jul 11, 2005
    1. So, I know it would probably be cheaper to book everything separate and through places like Trivago and Skyscanner etc, but would this mean I wouldn't get the early access to FP reservations? I want to stay on property, but do I have to book through the Disney site to get the Magical Express/EMH, etc?
    Not at all. As long as you have a Disney hotel then you get the Magical Express, EMH and FP booking etc.

    2. Would it be cheaper to book through Disney, or a travel agent? And if the latter, which one ? Virgin/Thomson/TUI, etc? And again, does booking with travel agents give you access to the Magical Express? And if not is it difficult to get from the airport to Disney?
    So it really does depend. I've usually booked everything seperately to get the best deal but this year i've booked with Virgin Holidays as I couldn't beat the price they quoted.

    3. How far in advance should I book? Because I'm sure you can't book more than 11 months in advance on the Disney site?
    So directly I think its around the 11month mark. Holiday companies however will allow you to book further in advance. I booked my VH in April 2018 for September 2019. What you will find is that depending on what you are looking at its worth checking prices in the sales and out to see if its worth booking early or not.

    4. How long do you think is best for a solo visit? I know there are a few solo ride lines, and you can be called forward from the normal lines to fill spaces. So I understand you may be able to get rides done a tiny bit faster than normal visits. But I want to make sure I get as much as possible done. I'm not too interested in the waterparks, especially solo, and I don't think I'd want to go to Universal on this visit. I like the idea of being totally immersed in the Disney bubble. I think if I was visiting with someone, I'd go for two weeks, but would this be too long on my own?
    So I really liked 10 days for the first solo I did. It gave me a good amount of time and as I was only doing Disney it worked well. I think I could have easily managed 14 but 10 was a great amount.
    5. I'm planning to stay in a value resort as to me, it's just there to rest/sleep. I'm happy to stay in any except Sports (I'm sooo not sporty so I wouldn't enjoy sporting theme!). Are there any that are better for a solo visitor?
    I loved Pop Century but I'd add that sometimes its cheaper to go for a moderate with free dining than to go for Pop. Thsi is what I did and it worked out cheaper once you factored in the food.

    6. Do you feel safe on a solo visit? I'm a 5ft 2, 26-year-old female, and I can feel quite nervous walking alone in an unknown place, especially on my own. But I feel that Disney should feel safe, because you're on Disney transport all the time, and safe in your bubble? It's part of the reason I wouldn't want to venture out to Universal.
    Deffo in the bubble I've never felt unsafe solo. I haven't at Universal either mind but never spent that long there.

    7. I'm thinking of going from very late October, and hoping to do Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party, and Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party. How busy will the parks be around this time? And how is the weather? Being from the North of England, I'm not used to hot weather and can get a bit grumpy! Do you think this is the best time to go, to have more experiences (both Halloween and Christmas decorations and parties and food)?
    I've done the first week of November and it was nice and not too busy. It was great to get a bit of Halloween and a bit of Christmas. I loved Christmas more though.

    8. Do you have any advice for someone who doesn't eat much at all? I eat a child's portion most of the time, and I am slightly worried that the portions in Disney World are huge. (Side note: I went to New York eight years ago and remember that McDonald's portions were crazy! New York's regular size McD's was the UK's large!) I don't really like wasting food/money! I know I can order a kid's meal from quick service restaurants, but would this mean I'm compromising on options? Or is it possible to just ask for a smaller portion of an adult meal?
    So yes you can order a kids meal. You can't really ask for smaller adult meals or at least I've never heard of this. I like the Quick Service dining plan as it gives 2 counter meals per night and 2 snacks (never use all in one day mind). The portions are still on the large side but I find by not having 3 meals it definitely helps.

    9. What is the best way of taking money/paying? I probably wouldn't feel comfortable taking so many dollars in cash with me, but I know a lot of cards charge crazy prices.
    Best option if possible get a credit card that doesn't charge a US fee. I know Post Office don't. If however this isn't an option there are a few pre-paid cards you can get (Travelex do one but never used) instead of taking cash. Also if staying at a Disney property you do have a safe to put money in.
     

    Connect

    Disney News and Updates

    Daily Updates and News




    Top