woman on a solo disney vacation
Credit: Nicole Pomarico, HelloGiggles

As a lifelong fan of Disney, my bucket list consists of a lot of experiences related to the Disney parks and Disney vacations, and this spring, I finally crossed a big one off my list. I woke up early one morning, said goodbye to my husband, and got in my car for a seven-hour drive from my home in Atlanta to Orlando, where I spent three glorious days at Walt Disney World—all by myself. It was the first time I had ever taken a trip by myself, and it ended up being one of the best trips to Disney I’ve ever had—and I’ve had a lot.

Traveling solo can definitely be intimidating, especially if you’ve never done it before. But if you’re able to overcome your fears, it’s incredibly rewarding, even at a place like Disney. It might seem like it would be a bummer to be surrounded by families having a good time together, but it’s so much fun to see the parks on your own terms and on your own schedule.

Thinking about taking your own solo Disney vacation? Here are a few tips you might want to keep in mind to make your experience even more awesome.

Get the My Disney Experience app and do some advance planning.

Although it’s definitely possible to go to Disney World and have fun on the fly, your trip will go a lot more smoothly if you plan ahead. Once your tickets are purchased, you can make three FastPasses at a time on the My Disney Experience app, and you totally should—this means you can hop on three rides with a much shorter wait, and once you’ve used those three up, you can make more for the same day.

Credit: Nicole Pomarico, HelloGiggles

If there are any restaurants you have your heart set on visiting, it’s a good idea to make reservations on the app ahead of time. It can be really hard to walk up at restaurants and get a table, especially if you’re going during a busy time.

And BTW, this app is going to be a total lifesaver once you’re in the parks, too—it’ll show you wait times, show times, park hours, and maps of the park.

Keep safety first.

Even though we want to believe that the most magical place on Earth is also the safest place on Earth, that’s not necessarily true, and when you’re taking a solo Disney vacation, you definitely want to make sure your bases are covered. Keep your phone charged in case of an emergency, and let someone know roughly where you plan to be that day in case anything happens.

If you’re driving to the parks, it also helps to drop a pin or write a note in your phone of exactly where you parked. Those parking lots are massive, and when you’re tired after a long day, it’s easy to get lost or forget where you left your car.

Take your time.

The beauty of traveling on your own is having the luxury of doing whatever you want without having to consider anyone else, and that freedom is what will make this Disney vacation so different from the ones you may have taken in the past. Because you call the shots, it’s a really good time to soak up the atmosphere in a way you can’t when you’re visiting with a group of people. One of the best moments of my solo trip was when I grabbed a drink at Starbucks and sat down on the grass in front of the castle at Magic Kingdom to read a book for two hours with no one to bother me.

Really allow yourself to enjoy that freedom, too. If you’re too tired to stay for the fireworks, don’t—you can come tomorrow night. If you want to spend an hour browsing a gift shop, do it. Wanna stand in line to meet Mickey and then ride Space Mountain five times in a row? It’s all you! Traveling on your own terms is such a special experience, and you owe it to yourself to embrace it.

Stay at a hotel on property.

Credit: Nicole Pomarico, HelloGiggles

It can be a bit pricier, but if this is your first time traveling solo (or if you’re not familiar with the area), staying in a Disney World hotel can simplify your entire trip. If you’re flying in, you can take the free Magical Express shuttle to your hotel, and Disney buses will take you to and from the parks, eliminating the need for a rental car if you’re not planning to leave the resort. Staying on property also means that you have basically everything you need at your hotel—most have plenty of food options and gift shops in case you’ve forgotten anything, and it can feel a bit safer at night to come back to a hotel where there are families and Disney cast members everywhere.

Use single-rider lines.

Certain headliner rides at the parks have single-rider lines, and this can save you so much time on your trip. Expedition Everest in Animal Kingdom, Rock ‘n’ Rollercoaster in Hollywood Studios, and Test Track in Epcot will all let you hop into a single-rider line, which moves a lot faster—and it means you don’t have to waste one of your FastPasses on these rides.

Take advantage of Photopass photographers.

One of the biggest bummers about traveling alone is that it can be hard to get photos that you’re actually in. But that’s where Disney’s PhotoPass photographers come in. They’re hanging out all over the parks, and while you can purchase the photos they take on their professional cameras, they’re also always happy to snap a few pics on your phone or camera…and these photos tend to be a lot better quality than the ones you might get when you ask a stranger to take them (though that totally works, too).

There’s so much to love about traveling alone. At the end of my solo trip—which included my first seven-hour road trip all by myself—I felt such a sense of accomplishment. Learning that you can rely on yourself to get from point A to point B and finding out that you can actually have so much fun by yourself while you’re there is empowering. And doing that somewhere like Disney World? Even more magical.