I work all week. I parent. I blog.
This momma needs a little downtime.
In this still-new Florida life that I lead, I have developed new and unexpected ways of relaxing during my me-time than when I lived in New Jersey!
When I get time to myself here in the south, I love heading to one of the Disney parks to ride roller coasters and blow off steam. There’s something about the thrill of acceleration on the Aerosmith Rockin’ Roller Coaster at Disney’s Hollywood Studios or the total experience of Expedition Everest in Disney’s Animal Kingdom that erases my mind from worry and fills me with pure joy!
Now, before I launch into my tips, I will acknowledge: I know that not everyone can relate to this as an option for “relaxation.” I’m not sure I would, either, if my past employer hadn’t given my family our annual passes as a parting gift, and I am forever grateful (I will be renewing, there are payment plans for Florida residents!).
But I will say, before I moved to Florida, I traveled across the country for work. Especially to Orlando, for conferences and other work. I also came to visit my best friend. So I was in town, and I had opportunities to visit the Mouse!
And you can bet that I did touristy things – Disney and Universal parks included!
So my intent here is to offer some light tips for those who may be in town, and contemplating a park visit! Whether you travel for work, you live near the parks, or if you are planning a solo vacation…I hope these tips help you get the best out of your time in Disney!
1. Single rider lines!
(A selfie as one of my single-rider line rides on Expedition Everest ended!)
I realized that Expedition Everest had a single-rider line quite accidentally. It’s off to the right side of the normal queues, but they update the wait times for it, too. So my favorite Disney roller coaster has a wait time of 50 minutes? Not for me! I’ll wait 15 to 20, tops, in the single-rider line!
One of my other favorites, Aerosmith Rockin’ Roller Coaster, also has a single-rider line. Just this past weekend, in the throes of spring break, the wait time was 100 minutes. I got in the single-rider line and I waited about an hour.
This option isn’t ALWAYS faster, and the Aerosmith coaster Cast Members come over a PA system to let you know that, but bank on those parties or three, five or seven in line…and hear those sweet words from a Disney Cast Member as you inch your way in the single-ride line, calling you to your hopefully quicker ride, “Single rider, row XX!” I’ve always experienced a faster time to ride in the Expedition Everest single rider queue.
Unfortunately, these are the only two rides that I know of where single riders can queue separately, but they are two of the best!
2. Pack Light for the Park
When I do Disney, I take the bare necessities to make my experience going through security quick. I do feel more comfortable carrying a purse, so I use one that is super light. I favor one of my Vera Bradley outlet bags for the parks. I know that some of you might be able to do it with no purse at all, and you are my hero!
I bring one I can use as a cross-body bag. It has slots for my license, credit/debit cards and my Disney Annual Passholder card.
Quick tip: When you get in the security line, unzip all the pockets/areas of your purse so they can rifle through and you don’t have to waste time when it’s your turn unzipping everything for the guards!
I bring a nail file. I don’t know why, but somehow, I always end up breaking a nail while at the parks! It’s nice to be able to file it down. I also bring a cloth to keep my eyeglasses clean, and I bring my lipstick or a Chapstick.
And of course…
3. Bring a Small Back-up Phone Battery
I usually just go to the parks for a few hours, but I always bring a small, credit card-sized, less-than-an-inch-thick backup battery for my iPhone.
Unlike the Universal theme parks, you can stow your purse and loose items on the ride with you (Universal makes you stow them in lockers before you get in line), so I carry this small backup battery in case I use my phone a lot to surf the Internet, social media or even blog. I’ll also text my family and snap some pictures.
My post from Monday – I did some of that while waiting in that line I mentioned earlier for the Aerosmith roller coaster!
4. Comfy shoes
This is a must no matter HOW you do Disney! But I find that being solo, I move quicker around the parks, and I am more willing to walk all over for one or two attractions before heading to another “land” or area of the park. When I’m with my family or others, we tend to do an area before moving along.
I have a pair of Vans sneakers that I favor with socks, but I also have a pair of cushiony Crocs – open-toed sandals – that I love to wear, too. If you can find a comfortable pair of shoes like that, you’re even better off on rides like Splash Mountain in Magic Kingdom, where you will get wet! I still remember getting absolutely soaked on a water ride several years ago, right down to my socks, and it was an uncomfortable feeling!
5. Wear the Mouse Ears
I mean, “When in Rome…” It did not take me long to get my first pair of Mouse Ears. But I swore I would never wear them by myself. Guess what? I totally do. All the time! And I lasted about 10 minutes of purchasing those ears before I popped them on my head proudly!
The cool thing is…no one cares!!!
Everyone is at Disney because it’s the Happiest Place on Earth…everyone else is either wearing ears or Disney shirts or is into their Disney experience. I have never been judged and frankly…I don’t really give darn if I am!
Wearing the Mouse ears makes me feel a part of the park, the experience and the fun. I just got myself some Philadelphia Eagles-themed ears off of Etsy for football season!
Again – I know that not everyone has the proximity to Disney that I do, and I recognize that I am very fortunate to have this as an option for my me-time.
But if you find yourself with the chance to do a Disney park solo, I hope you enjoy it as much as I do. And I hope that these tips help!
Would you ever do a Disney park by yourself?