This week we recorded and uploaded a special BONUS episode of the podcast, 17.5 “Minisode: Solo Trip Report.” In this episode we got the chance to sit down and talk about my latest trip down to the Disneyland parks SOLO! I wanted to take some extra time to write out some accompanying thoughts here on our website and to share some photos from my experience as well.
First things first: should anyone go to Disneyland solo? The answer is absolutely YES! The entire experience was so enjoyable and I would absolutely do it again if the opportunity comes up. Disneyland is always a magical place and a wonderful trip experience no matter what kind of group you are with but group trips usually mean a whole lot of compromising and potentially missing a show or ride you wanted to experience that didn’t work out for the group as a whole. Experiencing these parks that I have loved so dearly on my own was extremely gratifying, relaxing and FREEING. Not having an itinerary to follow (other than a couple time sensitive shows to see) and to simply see where the day took me was amazing! I found myself wandering down pathways I normally don’t travel and taking time to simply sit and relax and fully experience my surroundings. As I have mentioned on the podcast before, previously our trips down to the parks have been brief and few and far in between so there is usually a sense or urgency to keep moving and see as much as we can absolutely see. While this was a brief trip as well, only two nights, it felt so much longer to only be on my time which made me feel like I really got the most out of my weekend at the parks. Now let’s talk planning!
Location, location, location! As I mentioned in the minisode this week, my primary concern with traveling to and from the parks alone was hotel location! Safety is always a primary concern and I knew I didn’t want to be walking far or having a long car ride with rideshare at night! I will always recommend you seek out a hotel along Harbor Blvd. This is the ideal street location to get to and from the Disney parks if you are going to be staying off property. This street allows for the shortest walk to the parks as you don’t have to walk through Downtown Disney after security, you can simply walk straight up the park gates! I was lucky enough to find an excellent deal on bundling my flight (from Portland, OR) and my hotel through Travelocity (definitely not a sponsor! Just had a great experience finding a really inexpensive bundle almost less than a week before taking this trip!). I ended up staying at The Anaheim Hotel.
View from the pool-you can see Guardians of the Galaxy! & one of the buildings and lawn games!
As mentioned in the podcast this was an outdoor seating area to schmooze!
I had a great experience at this hotel! The location was absolutely perfect and it took less than 10 minutes to get from my hotel to Disneyland and through security. This hotel was about $150 cheaper than other Harbor blvd hotels (even some further away) so it was definitely a great deal for this trip. While my favorite hotel is still the Tropicana on Harbor Blvd, The Anaheim hotel is absolutely on my list to recommend and potentially stay at in the future.
Packing Like a Pro! When travelling alone you really need to think through what you are packing and what kind of luggage you are bringing. In order to save time and give myself the most possible time in the parks I opted to not check a bag on my flight down but to give myself the opportunity to do so on the trip back (just in case because you know …souvenir priorities). Again not at all a sponsor but I was really impressed by the size of this particular duffel bag that folds up nice and tiny into its own pocket: this thing was a life saver when I was bringing back TWO popcorn buckets.
What can you even do solo in the parks? Well EVERYTHING of course! You can hit all your favorite rides, get fast passes, enjoy DELICIOUS food, see fun shows and get great photos! You are in complete control of your experience and even if you don’t have an exact plan for the day you will have so much fun! My main recommendations coming away from this solo experience is to utilize single rider lines in coordination with fast passes and utilize the photo pass photographers! These two strategies allowed me to not only have amazing fun but to have great photo memories of this trip as well! For rides: look for single rider signs on the big attractions and use those all day long! These lines typically cut the standby wait time in (at least) half and sometimes moreso. You can hit some of your favorite big attractions in no time and combine that with using fast passes for rides that don’t have a single rider option. Lastly utilize the wonderful photo pass photographers! Even if you don’t have Photo Pass (this is included with MaxPass if you purchase that ticket upgrade, which we will always recommend so you can make fastpass selections on the fly!), you can still request they take a few photos with your phone and they will oblige! I was able to capture some great memories of this trip by utilizing these friendly photographers!
In closing, this trip was so worth it. It was an excellent refresher during a busy time in life and work as well as a great way to refocus on the podcast and goals I have for our little corner of the internet. I was really touched by the amount of messages we received on Instagram, where I shared the majority of this trip, from folks who were inspired by this impromptu solo trip and shared how they have always wanted to do something like this but never quite worked up the nerve or felt too anxious to make it happen. I am here to encourage you to get out there and DO IT! I was so worried while leaving for this trip that it would be a huge regret and a waste of time and money but the second I stepped through the Disney gates a true feeling of relief washed over me and I knew everything was alright. I had an amazing time and can’t wait to try and make a trip like this happen again some time soon! Don’t let yourself be your own source of negativity telling you you can’t make a solo trip happen or that it would be no fun! Get out there and give it a shot and I promise the magic of Disney will take care of you.