Many times the purpose of a solo trip is to “get away” from things. Get away from work. Get away from family or friends. Get away from crowds. Get away from stress. Get away from reality.
Walt Disney World provides a great release for solo travelers, which can qualify for all of those “get away” moments…except the crowds. It has come to my realization that there are fewer and fewer “low crowd” times at Walt Disney World these days. I was there on a solo trip in mid-October, and it still felt like there were tons of people in the park. Even if attractions promoted 20 minute wait times, there were still people in the attraction, and I still had to wait in a crowd.
So how do solo travelers enjoy the crowds, no matter what the time of year? Well, maybe not enjoy, but tolerate or embrace the crowds? Here are some tips.
Get to know your neighbors.
When you are in line for Toy Story Midway Mania for 60 minutes, that is 60 minutes of time that you will have the same people in front of you, and the same people behind you. They will be doing a variety of things: looking at smartphones, playing line games like “I Spy” or “The Alphabet Game,” sitting or swinging on the queue railing (kids, probably), or talking to each other.
Why not get in on the conversation? It can be as easy as “Man, Florida sure is hot!” or “I’m from Colorado, and I’m not used to this humidity!” Whenever I get into a conversation with someone new, my go-to is the weather. Usually that can progress into other topics.
Another option is to listen to their conversation and jump in. This may be viewed as awkward to some people, so use only when you’re sure it will not seem weird. I was in line for Enchanted Tales with Belle, and the group behind me was discussing when the park closed for non-Halloween Party guests. I knew the answer, so I turned around and provided them with it. It didn’t turn into anything, but I was being helpful and it gave me a chance to talk to people.
Keep a cheerful attitude.
If crowds are not your thing, you might be miserable at Walt Disney World. I knew early on in my vacation experiences that “grumps” can ruin a vacation, even if you only encounter one in passing.
The key to a solo success story? Keep the cheerful attitude. Yes, a child may run into you once…twice…eight times in a day, and your foot might get run over by a stroller, and the screaming child shows no signs of stopping next to you on the monorail, but it doesn’t mean the day is ruined. Smile at the child and say “That’s okay!” Grimace in pain but accept the apology of the stressed-out Dad. Just a smile of acknowledgement from a stranger instead of a glare can be huge for a vacationing family.
Look over the crowds at the park itself.
Yes, there will be people all over the place. But the easiest way to embrace the crowds is to ignore them. Grab that Premium Mickey Bar and stroll down Main Street U.S.A. Yes there is shouting next to you, but look at the details on the trunk of the Tree of Life! You thought you had the perfect spot for the fireworks, but then people came, but that’s okay! Just shift over a little bit and you have a new perfect spot!
I have been on the verge of being upset or annoyed by something, but by just adjusting my view or ignoring the situation as best as I can really helps. I had a family behind me at Fantasmic! that talked through much of the performance. Instead of getting bothered, I listened for the exciting times and listened for how they would respond. It enhanced my experience instead of ruining it.
Create some magic.
Ever bought food at the Parks and given it away? Have you started singing a Disney song and listened as people around started singing with you? Did you start doing something goofy with Goofy and made the cast members and people in the queue laugh? Magical moments are limited to cast members. As a solo traveler, you have more time to plot and plan a magical moment and execute it to perfection. I have bought a Mickey balloon and given it away to a family. I have seen ice cream bought to soothe another person’s child (with the mother’s permission).
It doesn’t even have to be big or require money. Just offering an elderly man or woman your seat on the bus or monorail can be magic. This magic doesn’t just put a smile on their face, but yours, too!
Do you have any ways that you’ve traveled solo and enjoyed the crowds? Have you ever taken a negative situation and made it positive? Did you ever create some magic in the parks? Comment below!