I do a lot of runDisney events, which means I often travel solo to Orlando once or twice a year. I love my family (& twin girls) but its a nice break! :) I'm sure I'll be bringing them on future trips once my girls get older though.
I can't wait to see their expression when they try Butterbeer for the first time!
But, since I have been happily married for 22+ years, I simply look forward to the day when the Mrs. and I can travel as a duo - without those three pesky chillins! Many of the same benefits you noted about solo travel in your article would apply to my wife and I traveling without the kids. The savings on food costs alone would pay for the trip!!!!
A few of the things I've noticed –
Single rider lines are indeed the bomb-digity. I’m disappointed when a ride doesn't have a single rider queue or if the queue is closed. I've been to Universal Orlando quite a few times on my own the last couple of years. I can’t imagine having to actually wait in line with someone else with me now. I really don’t know how I’m going to react to that if the opportunity comes up. One downside to being able to hop onto so many rides quickly is that I can get a bit dizzy sometimes, so if I don’t pace myself (like I would be able to do when in the normal queue), things can go a bit downhill and require me to sit down for a breather.
Rollercoaster trains with only two seats per row can be awkward. I don’t mind sitting next to a stranger, but I know that not all folks are friendly like that. Plus, if you’re in a single rider line for one, it seems to take forever to get a seat because most people are already in pairs.
My biggest single rider pet peeve that I've noticed is at Disney (specifically on the Hannah Montana Rock’n Roller Coaster at DHS). It is when families specifically get in the single rider line because they think it will be faster. Then once they reach the area where the attendant is assigning people to rows, they complain about being split up, to the point that the attendant will take them aside and try to accommodate them. Sorry, but if it was up to me, you’re riding alone. You know what line you walked into, now deal with it.
I don’t know how it happens, but I also manage to end up talking with locals quite often at the parks. They are always surprised when I tell them where I’m from and that I made a trip out to Florida on my own. They find it highly unusual that someone would do this by choice. It’s also interesting to get their perspective about visiting the parks as well.
I can’t think of a time where I haven’t found someone to take a picture for me. Sometimes they don’t speak English fluently, but everything works out okay. Usually I’ll end up taking their picture with their group and then they’ll take mine. Sometimes I’ll just help a group out for good mojo.
Eating in a restaurant alone is probably the weirdest feeling. It doesn't help when you ask for a table for one either. This can be helped by dining at the bar with the other people that are by themselves. Plus you might have the opportunity to strike up an interesting conversation with someone while you’re there.
Another activity that feels odd to do by yourself is play miniature golf. The best time to play is during the day when there are less people, that way you don’t get stuck by yourself in a backlog of groups waiting to play the next hole.
Off the topic of themeparks, visiting museums on your own is actually a good experience. You can take them in at your own pace and you don’t have to worry about taking too much of someone else’s time looking at a particular exhibit.
My advice is, if you really want to visit somewhere, but you’re waiting for someone to come along with you – don’t. Do it now. Don’t wait, waiting only prolongs the time you’re wasting in not going. If it’s a themepark you want to visit, but you’re not sure about going alone, try going to your local one first. Don’t limit yourself to having to do activities with someone else around.
I would hit USF by myself any day if given the opportunity.
Beyond the obvious benefits Robert gives above, you get added bonuses, like:- the ability to dance along with parades or sing along to songs without anyone you're with looking embarrassed to even know you right now- Want to go on a ride? Go on it. Don't want to go on a ride? Don't go on it.- Want to stay from park opening to park close without leaving? No arguments about it.- Don't feel like waiting 45 minutes in line for Fantasmic? Skip it.- You decide when it's time to sit on a bench for a half hour because your feet are sore and when you can keep going.- Hungry? Eat wherever you want.- Are you an introvert? The people watching is FANTASTIC, but if you need to recharge, you can easily find somewhere quiet and relatively hidden somewhere in the parks or on property to sit and enjoy your solitude. On top of that, you can dial up or dial down your social interactions as you see fit. Disney transportation is a great place to play "we're like friends!" with strangers for fifteen minutes and then retreat to quiet time.- Extrovert? You probably have no problem randomly conversing with new people, so this works for you, too.- Unlike going to a random city by yourself, Disney Parks are filled with enough entertainment opportunities where you will rarely feel bored or lonely when you are there solo. And you can explore on property in relative safety.- Ease of getting through crowds.- The only person you have to worry about whether or not they are having fun is you.
And yeah, Single Rider line is awesome. I have yet to go through the real line at Expedition Everest, and I get pulled onto elevators much faster on Tower of Terror.
Was in London alone and it was a awesome experience.
Being alone in the themeparks are also very interesting session.
On the other hand, going alone means no one to ride with. Yes, I do strike up conversations in line & generally get to ride w/someone on the coasters or someone may see me alone & offer to let me ride w/them on the smaller rides but most of the time, on the circular rides, water rides, etc. if I'm there alone, I generally always end up having to ride alone...whatever happened to ride operators filling up the cars on certain rides like the log flume, the bobsled, spinning coasters, the tilt-a-whirl or the scrambler, etc. I always thought that was fun, getting to ride w/other people but nowadays, the ride ops don't tend to do that & so if I just hop in from a single rider line, the other riders in the car look at me like "what are doing??" so I just end up riding alone & that's no fun sometimes.